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 We were absolutely overwhelmed by the response to our sales advertisement for our Bath Coffee Shop. 

Mike Watts and Wendy Race (September 2016)
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How to produce the advertisement that sells your business

How to make an advertisement that sells your business


Good advertising can transform the fortunes of your business sale, increasing your exposure to buyers, showing off the very best features of your business and potentially improving the final selling price of your business.

You only get one shot at appealing to your potential buyer, so follow these key steps to ensure that your advertisement stands out against the competition.


Pick the right asking price

In any form of ‘big ticket’ sale process, whether it’s a boat, a bungalow or a business, the asking price and selling timeframe are at odds with one another. Price the business too high, and it will sit on the market for potentially years while you wait for a seller. Price the business too low, and you’ll risk selling the business at a less-than-ideal offer. The time to conduct the research on asking prices is not when you’re half-way through your advertising term; it’s now.

Work out your rock-bottom ‘won’t sell it for less’ price, then ask yourself what you’d ideally like to get for the business. Once you have established these two figures in your own mind, carry out a business for sale search on as if you were a business buyer, and find out what comparable businesses to yours are asking. How does your asking price square up against other businesses for sale in the market?


Buy the right advertising package

How realistic is your selling schedule? Are you giving yourself enough time to get the business sold? You might think that your business will fly off the shelf in a matter of days, but in reality the market moves at its own pace, and it can take weeks for a new buyer to complete their due diligence procedures, apply for finance and sign on the dotted line. In 90% of cases, it takes at least 8 weeks to sell a business; if you think you can sell your business faster than the average seller, try to quantify precisely why you think this. Is your asking price below average? Have you got certified trading information ready to go out to potential buyers? Is your solicitor queued up and ready to do the necessary? 

If you can’t prove to yourself that you can sell the business in 8 weeks or less, then we recommend choosing a long-term advertising package. Advertising on Daltons Business is cheaper per-month if you purchase a 3 or 6 month package, and if you sell your business within 6 months, we’ll refund you the difference.


Explain why you’re worth it

You have an instinctive working knowledge of your own business – this can make it hard to express exactly how and why the business works so well, and why it’s worth what you’re asking. 

Put yourself in the mind-set of a savvy business buyer. This person is looking to invest a significant amount of their hard-earned money in a business like yours. When you’re preparing your business for sale advertisement, you need to keep this buyer in mind, and ensure that you explain – with photos and text – why your business is worth the buyer’s investment. 

Try to offer tangible information, such as specifics on shop frontage and proximity to local hotspots such as tourist attractions and train stations. If it’s a hospitality business, such as a restaurant or hotel, then capacity is important; make sure you explain how many letting rooms and/or restaurant covers your business has. Try to include some basic financial information such as profit margins and weekly takings. Mention any awards you have won, or good reviews on online ratings sites.

If someone were to set a competitive business up from scratch overnight, could they do what you’re doing now? If not, why not? List out these reasons – these are features unique to your business, and you should include them in your advertisement.

Now is not the time to be bashful about your business achievements. This is a selling process and you have to treat it as such – you must put your ‘best foot forward’. 


Take Clean, Bright Photos

A photo is more than a visual description – it’s a window into the buyer’s future. The buyer should be able to look at a photo of your business and imagine themselves ‘behind the counter’ of your business. 

You don’t need to hire a professional photographer, but you do need to make sure that internal photos are well-lit, that floors, desks and prep spaces are clean and tidy and that everything looks simple, presentable and straightforward. Dimly lit photos of cluttered workstations give a negative impression and risk distracting buyers from the information you want them to focus on, such as brand new equipment, a busy dining area or an excellent retail location with high passing trade. 


Spell-check your text. 

If your advertisement contains typos and sloppy grammar, you risk leaving potential buyers with the impression that you are careless or amateur in your business dealings, which can be extremely off-putting to a new owner.

When writing your description, keep your language tight and well-spelled. Always run your text through a spell-checking program, and if in doubt, ask a family member or a colleague to read what you have written. You want buyers to take your business, and you, seriously from the moment they read your advertisement.


Think carefully about confidentiality

Thinking of selling confidentially? You’re not alone: hundreds of sellers on Daltons Business choose to advertise their business for sale without revealing the precise location, photo or trading name of the business. In some cases, this approach is wise; the employees, competitors and customers might not be aware of the sale, and you might want to keep it that way until a contract is signed. 

Be prepared for the impact that confidentiality will have on your advertising reach, however. Buyers tend to search for specific town names, and photos tend to inspire interest and enquiries. It’s possible to sell the business without a lot of revealing information of course, but it could take longer to grab the attention of your buyer. 

One of the primary benefits of advertising on a business for sale site like Daltons is the 'niche interest' traffic that it attracts; few unqualified people ‘stumble across’ your advertisement, because our website is exclusively of interest to business buyers and sellers. If someone isn’t in the market for a business for sale, it’s unlikely that they’ll see your advertisement. 


If in doubt, keep it short and sweet

Your advertisement does not have to be a comprehensive history of your business to date, nor does it have to give away every operational detail. Remember that the sole purpose of your advertisement is to make contact with buyers. Your photos and text should all work together to encourage buyer enquiries – you just need to include enough to grab the buyer’s attention and prompt them to click the ‘request details’ button.

There's plenty of time to go into detail later on. Once the buyer has made contact with you, you can discuss the specifics of your business for sale directly in person or over email.


Sell your business on the UK's largest business for sale marketplace - click here



 By Sam Haythornthwaite at




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