Customer/Supplier Lists and Reputation
Any prospective buyer is going to want to see that the business can be maintained after the transaction. If the owner exiting would tank the business, many buyers aren’t going to take a second look. Ideally, you would be able to show that your business has a customer list that will allow the buyer to forecast recurring revenues. For example, if I’m selling a pool cleaning business and I can demonstrate that I have a book of business with clients who have been loyal over several years, a buyer can project what types of revenues to expect in the future.
Brand name, trade secrets, trademarks, and patents
A strong brand name can be very attractive to a would-be buyer. This is because a strong brand name will attract customers. If consumers recognize the brand as being high quality, fun, or providing reasonably priced products/services a buyer will want to be sure they can continue to use the name. Think about Apple, Inc. Just say “Apple” and people will start to have an image of a specific type of product and experience. If you were to consider a purchase of Apple, Inc., but the name wasn’t included, would you be willing to go through with the purchase? Likely not.
Databases and Proprietary based Software
Let’s examine the pool cleaning business mentioned above. The business likely has a database with customer data. As many of us know, knowledge is power and data is a stepping stone to knowledge. Leveraging the data in the database, a buyer could identify customers who may be good targets for additional services. If the database includes email addresses the buyer could initiate an email marketing campaign when running promotions or deliver useful messages on pool care in various seasons.