Useful tips to help you sell your bed and breakfast business
If you’re thinking about selling your bed and breakfast business, you need to make sure you can attract a buyer. So how do you make your business stand out from all of the other bed and breakfasts on the market?
Making your Bed & Breakfast look appealing
The first thing you need to do is think about why someone would buy a bed and breakfast. Unlike a retail, commercial or industrial business, with a bed and breakfast, you tend to live at your place of work. So how attractive are the living quarters in your bed and breakfast? If they look dark and dingy, and in dire need of some care and attention, then fix that fast.
First impressions count. Don’t take a risk in hoping that a potential buyer will see past the tired looking fixture and fittings and, instead, be drawn to your businesses’ ‘potential’. Business buyers rarely take a punt on ‘potential’. They are looking for certainty, and what is certain is that the ‘window dressing’ will make your business stand out. Make the place look inviting and irresistible to a buyer and you’ll find it far easier to sell your bed and breakfast.
Most of us are driven by images. When we’re thinking about buying a car, taking a holiday or choosing a new home, we take note of the photos. So, spend time getting the pictures right. Use the best camera you can find, and choose the lightest, brightest day. If you have a friend or family member who’s a budding David Bailey, then ask them to take the photos for you. The more images – or video – you can show, the more your business will stand out and you’ll have a better chance of selling your bed and breakfast in a timely manner.
Think about what draws customers to your bed and breakfast. Is it the scenery, the amenities or the proximity to somewhere popular that drives demand? Make sure your business listing promotes that. Tell everyone what makes your business great. Why is it, in your opinion, the best bed and breakfast in town? Yes, there might be other guest houses and hotels to choose from, but what makes your business stand out? Is it the ease of parking or the belly-busting breakfasts you serve? Is it the comfort of the mattresses or the power showers in each room’s ensuite bathroom? Whatever it is, tell everyone about it!
Ask an outsider’s view of your Bed and Breakfast
Ask for an outsider’s view on things too. And ask someone who won’t just pay you lip service. When you’ve been running a business for some time, you can get bogged down in the day-to-day running of it and miss what a casual observer might spot. That might be things that are easily fixed, such as a spot of peeling wallpaper, a dated duvet cover or a few more weeds than you’d expect to see in the garden! It’s all about the small things – the detail – that will give you the edge and, when selling your bed and breakfast, making sure your business stands out.
Sell it yourself or seek help?
Do you sell the business yourself, or use a business transfer agent? This will depend on your own circumstances and how much time you have. But like anything in life, choose the right expert and they will end up saving you time and money. And they’re more likely to get you the buyer – and the price – that you want. But if the broker is dealing with dozens of business, make sure they know how to make your business stand out. Remembering all the time, though, that the best person to sell your bed and breakfast is you. You can’t expect a broker to have as much knowledge, passion or, indeed, as much at stake as you.
What about your staff? If you have any employees, it might not be in your best interest to let them know you are selling straight away. You don’t want to plant any doubt in anyone’s minds, which could see them leaving at the worse time for you. Keep your staff motivated, as they will portray the positive image you’ll want any prospective buyer to see. More importantly, they’ll continue to look after customers in the manner you’d expect and maintain your bed and breakfast’s good reputation. That’s vitally important when you’re selling and will play its part in making your business stand out.
A bed and breakfast is a lifestyle business. So, sell the lifestyle, not the daily grind. When thinking about writing your business listing, or any other promotional materials, tell a potential buyer about the benefits of running a bed and breakfast. That might be working from home, and not having to endure daily commutes. It might be the free time you have outside of looking after your guests. And it might be the rewards you get from running a business that you are in control of. When selling your bed and breakfast, remember why you started it in the first place, and that could make your business stand out.