How to sell your business privately: A case study

How to sell your business privately: A case study

We recently helped a gym owner in the Newcastle / Central Coast region sell their business privately in just 75 days.

Whilst we can’t comment on many aspects of the sale to protect their confidentiality, we think it makes an interesting case study on how to sell your business privately. Particularly if you happen to own a gym!  


Let’s start with the timeline:

The ad was posted on Direct Business Hub in early January and was live on our partner sites like AnyBusiness within 24 hours.

This particular business was advertised confidentially, meaning we didn’t disclose the business’s identity in the ad or use any images linked to the business or the premises. But we still wanted to maximise the exposure of the business to active buyers.

To do so, we listed the business in both the “Gyms” category and the “Sport/recreation” category to increase the number of buyers who would view the ad. 

We also used stock images of gyms (like the one at the top of the page) to make the ads more visually appealing. Based on our experience, ads with images attract far more buyer interest than ads without images. 

The owner received the first enquiry within 48 hours of the ad being live and during the 75 days before the business was sold the owner received 17 enquiries.


Enquiries per week. 

We’ve consolidated the enquiries from all our partner sites in the chart below which shows the first week was the most popular for enquiries.

How to sell your business privately

This makes sense because many buyers have watchlists set up to alert them to new business listings which meet their criteria.

By advertising the business across all the major business for sale websites and in multiple categories we are triggering the maximum number of buyer alerts.

What’s also interesting is that week 4 was just as fruitful as week one when we had the benefit of the watchlist alerts we mentioned.

This is a great reminder that while there are strategies we can employ to maximise buyer enquiries, ultimately a buyer will enquire about your business when they are ready.


The importance of advertising on multiple business for sale sites

The second thing this business highlighted was the importance of not just listing your business on one business for sale site.

The chart below breaks down the source of the enquiries we received for this particular gym.

How to sell your business privately

As you can see more than ½ the enquiries came from AnyBusiness.

However, we should point out when we recently calculated the enquiries across all businesses listed on Direct Business Hub the percentages look quite different. You can read more about which websites generate the most enquiries here and the 5 best websites to sell your business here

At Direct Business Hub we advertise businesses across six partner sites. In this case, three of those sites received all the enquiries but as we’ve stated above – that’s not always (or often) the case.

At this point you may be thinking “wouldn’t the seller have been better off just advertising on the site the buyer came from”. That’s a fair question, however, we’d suggest the answer is No for two primary reasons:

  1. Before selling your business you can’t know which site the buyer will come from.
  2. It takes more than one buyer to create competitive tension. Often the second-buyer is just as important to negotiate the best price & terms when selling your business.

By advertising on a wide range of sites your business will have the best chance of achieving a great result.

If you’ve been thinking about selling your business privately then you should grab a copy of our free guide on selling your own business here.

Ready to sell your business?

If you are ready to sell your business you need a great ad to attract buyers attention. 

Check our guide on how to write the perfect ad below or compare our listing packages. 


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