If you’re trying to sell your agency, you’ve met them by now: those potential buyers who have dollar signs for eyes, calculators for hearts, and bank vaults for souls.

You’re not the judgmental type. You’re out to get the most value from an agency acquisition and you’ll give the highest bidder the benefit of the doubt. But this type of buyer prospect rubs you the wrong way.

Maybe it’s that they only ask you about the numbers. Nothing else interests them – not the product, not the brand story, and definitely not your customers.

The truth is, they’re wrong to just fixate on the figures. After all, this isn’t an episode of Shark Tank where entrepreneurs who can’t communicate the value are shamed and sent away without an angel investment.

This is your home away from home. Your baby. The business you’ve poured buckets of blood, sweat, and tears into along with time, taxes, and overhead. You do, and should, care about your business’s future after your exit. And selling to those who only see numbers sets it on a path to destruction.

Don’t Let the Numbers Crunch You

Well if numbers aren’t everything, what is? And how do you identify your ideal buyer?

Firstly, if you’re selling your business, the devil is in the details. You need to know which market indicators point towards a sale. You also need bookkeeping records that are squeaky clean. Your expenses have to be tracked and categorized, your cash flow must be as plain as day, and your projections need to be data-driven.

Secondly, and most importantly, buyers need to know that your revenue will be sustainable and have the potential to grow long after the agency acquisition. No reputable buyer would acquire your agency without fully understanding your profits and losses.

So you do your due diligence and sweat the small stuff – you sort your portfolio by sales, cash flow, profits, assets, and EBITDA. Then when a numbers-driven prospect floats you an 8-figure offer, you get weak in the knees and your heart starts thumping like a dryer with a pair of sneakers in it.

Depending on your valuation, maybe you should take that offer. But before you do, STOP! Ask yourself: does the buyer have my business’s best interests at heart?

Make This Mind Shift to Sell Your Agency

You’re reading this because you’re on a journey. Maybe you’re looking for a business broker, or going through the painstaking process of vaulting your agency

Even if you can say with 99.9% certainty what your agency is worth, the cash factor is cold and hard compared to the warmth of your relationships with your customers.

It goes without saying that you want to sell your agency for the best price. But not necessarily to someone who cares ONLY about making money through an agency acquisition.

Put People First In An Agency Acquisition – the Numbers Will Follow

There is a better way, and we know, because we live it every day.

Of course we crunch the numbers. It’s our job to put your business in the best possible selling position. To hit that sweet spot, we combine various valuation methods. We compare your current income and financial history to your future projections as well as benchmarks for your industry and competitors. 

At the same time, we look at your customer retention rate and the relationships you’ve built in your community. Both are powerful indicators of your business’s potential. A good valuation is as much about empathy as it is capital.

Simon Sinek said as much in his Ted Talk on leadership: “Great leaders would never sacrifice the people to save the numbers; they would sooner sacrifice the numbers to save the people.”

To clarify: If you want to get the full value of your business, you have to think long term. Your exit price is a down payment on your career capital. And your buyer is part of your legacy.

How, then, to protect that legacy? Move away from price-obsessed buyers to those who want to create movements. Who believe in your company’s vision and will drive it forward.

Barney can make that happen for you. It’s what we do!

Looking to Sell Your Agency? Barney Can Help.

Our mission is to help entrepreneurs like you sell – and buy – amazing agencies. Relationships are a priority for us. We will support you throughout your business life, from startup or purchase through sale or strategic exit. 

We are more than a business broker for marketing agencies. In fact, we are your strategic partner. Connect with us!