Most people looking for a business to buy need a reason to pull the trigger. If the transition is easy – that’s one of the biggest reasons to pull the trigger, quit the job, grab the 401k, and jump into the deal. If you have set your business up to be easily managed, have operational policies for the employees to follow, financial and operational reporting is in place, and sales management systems and client database are up to date, then the buyer will be able to picture themselves in the owner’s seat.
The typical buyer has management experience, finance experience, sales, or marketing experience, but probably does not have all the skills necessary (on day one) to run your business. Most buyers are strong enough to learn as they go and make it work. However, in order to attract more buyers to your business, you need to make it appealing to a wide range of personalities and skill sets. Also, you have to remember that there may be a spouse involved in the decision to buy your business and they will want to be secure with their husband’s or wife’s desire to leave a job and buy your business. Set your business up with the written systems mentioned above and you will make that decision much easier for the buyer and their family.
The impact of this on the price of the business is a little more difficult to calculate. But, the time it takes to sell will no doubt be shorter, there will be less need to negotiate your price, and you will probably have multiple interested buyers from whom to choose. By the way, you might find that having written operational systems will actually improve your business!