How do I sell my media business?

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Selling any business is a long, complex procedure that involves months, even years, of work. Trying to sell a media business, especially, is one that has various, industry-specific challenges. But, if selling is your end-goal, then putting the hours in and going about the sale correctly is absolutely worth it.

Before you kick the formal process into gear and start looking for buyers, you should take the time to make the necessary considerations and preparations, to ensure you have solid plans in place when the time is right.

In this piece, we’ll take you through some factors to consider to ensure that your sale is a success and one that really reflects the worth of your business.

Get the right people involved

The term “Media” covers a number of different sectors, which can refer to print, digital, video, social media or many more, as well as a huge number of specialisms within those categories.

Therefore, it’s vital that you get the correct advisors involved in your sale. Not just advisors who are reliable and trusted (although this is of course essential), but advisors who are known and respected in the same circles your business operates in.

Appointing advisors who are specialists in the same field as you will ensure you’re getting advice and information from people who really know the sector and the true value of your business.

Get your key players on board

At any media business, there’s one asset that’s key: your employees. They’re the creative force behind what you do, the media specialists make your business the best and are vital to the value of your business.

When you’re in the process of selling your business, ensuring that your key creatives and managers are kept up to speed on developments will be crucial to an effective sale, handover and transition. Keeping your key players in the dark will sow distrust and could upend your entire sale plan.

Partner up

Successfully selling your business will likely take up the vast majority of your time; after all, it's a process requiring extensive preparation and negotiation to complete. For that reason, and for a few others, promoting one of your senior people to the position of partner can help ensure business doesn’t suffer while you’re trying to sell.

This will have other benefits in that it will help you stay connected with the business and your workforce by having one of them work closely alongside you. It will give you someone to bounce ideas and problems off as you try to sell and it will provide an attractive legacy option to potential buyers, presenting them with someone who knows the business and is ready to take on a senior role once you’re gone.

Keep clients in the loop

As with your top talent, your strategic and business relationships, the people you work with and the other companies that trust you will form an integral part of the package you are offering to potential buyers.

For that reason, it is essential to keep your close business contacts up to speed on your sales process, your plans, how far along it is and what the outlook will be post-sale. Ensuring that they are fully on board and have faith in your business moving forward will make your business that much more attractive to buyers and push its value up even higher.

Sell it well

Harnessing your resources and talent to produce a slick, persuasive presentation to potential buyers can assure that you find the right buyer and that your business goes for a top price.

But it’s not just about showing off an impressive product, it’s also about demonstrating that your business is reliable, compliant and secure. We’ll get to these points over the next few steps.

Be open on revenue

As a media business, it’s likely your revenue comes from numerous sources. Being transparent about where your money comes from will not only make your business appear more trustworthy and honest to prospective buyers, it will also give them an idea of how best to proceed as and when they take over.

Before selling, put together a reliable guide to your revenue streams, so that it’s clear to potential buyers what money is coming from what source.

Make sure you’re cyber-secure

Media businesses are a prominent target for hackers and other cybercriminals, largely due to the amount of customer and client information they possess. The costs of any lapses are huge, whether in terms of loss of revenue, loss of data or, perhaps most damagingly, loss of trust.

Demonstrating your strength in cybersecurity to possible buyers will help with your company’s valuation, as will showing that you have the right procedures in place to respond to any breaches.

As always, remember that buyers will conduct due diligence on your company. In order to make sure they don’t find anything unexpected, it’s important that you conduct it too.

Find the right buyer

If you run a well-known, profitable and innovative business, you’re not likely to be short of interest when you come to sell it. While it may be tempting to leap at the first offer that meets your valuation, taking your time and finding a buyer that really suits your business could be worth it.

Finding a buyer that shares similar values and motivation could help ensure a smoother transaction. It will also help reassure employees, clients and business partners that there will be some continuity post-sale, rather than a state of upheaval.

Finally, finding a buyer who understands your business properly will help ensure its ongoing success post-sale. While you may sell up and then never think about your old company again, it’s also possible that you will still have an emotional investment and that seeing it struggle would hurt.

By getting the right buyer in you can help to ensure the continuing success of your former colleagues and employees, and of the business that you spent years of hard work building.

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