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Opinions Wanted "Business For Sale" sign

Dancinbaer

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
If you were planning to get out of the framing business, what do you think your customers reactions would be if you placed a sign in your window that read "Business for Sale" or "Going Out Of Business"?

(edit)Would they think
A: I better get that picture (or whatever) framed before it's closed/ changes hands.
B: Oh well, I guess I'll just bring my picture (or whatever) to (other framer) to get framed.
 
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PaulSF

PFG, Picture Framing God
I would hope they would be sad, and wishing you the best.

The restaurant next to me was called The Clamhouse, and had been there for decades, a real institution. For the past couple of years, however, their business had been declining quite a bit. Ownership changed at least once in the past two years, and just before Thanksgiving it closed for remodeling. No explanation posted, it was just closed up with newspaper over the windows. It reopened just before Christmas as a filipino restaurant, and business seems to have improved. But every once in a while, someone (usually older) will pop in and ask what happened to The Clamhouse. They will express regret that it closed, and usually admit that they hadn't eaten there in years. I just give them my "well, duh" look.
 

DPPhotography

CGF, Certified Grumble Framer
Well, when I sent out a mailer to the existing customers when I bought this shop in December (that said Change in Ownership), the majority of people that came in didn't buy anything, they just wanted to tell me how upset they were about the sale and how wonderful the previous owners were. One of the previous owners almost told one of them to calm down and realize that if they would have come in more often with frame work, they wouldn't have had to sell.
 

JRB

PFG, Picture Framing God
Very bad idea. List your business with a broker, pay his commission and conduct the sale privately. If I were interested in purchasing a business, it darn sure would not be one with a for sale sign in the window. That clearly says you do not have enough customers to worry about losing.

The other side to trying to sell your business yourself is trying to overcome your emotional involvement, it is next to impassible to do.

I lived on a very nice sailboat for twelve years while I was building my business from scratch. After I bought my house, I found I was neglecting my boat, so I decided to sell it.

A young fellow responded to my ad in the paper. I was showing him the boat on a rather chilly December morning. He was a shrewd negotiator and did not hesitate to point out any defects he could find to get my asking price down.

The problem was, that boat and I had been through more than a few storms and other adventures together, we were very attached to each other. Badmouthing my boat was a bad idea, he ended up in the drink, very cold in December.

I knew right then that I could not sell my boat myself. I went up to the marina office right then and listed it with a broker. He sold it less than two weeks later for my full asking price.

Like our customers who think they can do their own framing, I recommend having a professional do it, it always comes out a whole lot better.

John
 

Paul N

In Corner
Very bad idea. List your business with a broker, pay his commission and conduct the sale privately.
But keep in kind that business brokers ask for 12% commission! (at least the ones here around the Tri-State area.....:mad:. When I bought my business that's what the previous owner had to pay them.

But maybe now they're more "haggle-friendly".
 

Pat Murphey

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
But keep in kind that business brokers ask for 12% commission!...
12%! - "Frame it yourself", do you know how much framers mark up their frames? I agree with John, but haggling is not a bad suggestion in this market. Keep in mind your feelings when someone "haggles" in your shop. :D:D
 

JWB9999999

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
I agree 100% with the others. Don't post a sign. It'll cut your number of customers and further reduce the value of your business. However, that doesn't mean you can tell anybody, because of course that'd make it very hard to sell indeed.

Try these resources:
1. As mentioned, a business broker

2. Ask other area frame shops if they'd be interested, or if they know someone who would; go outside your immediate area as well, as people in neighboring areas may be looking to expand into yours

3. Do you belong to any business clubs? use them! Rotary, Kiwanis, Optimists, Lions, Chamber of Commerce, etc. Get the word out amongst fellow business owners.

4. Advertise. When doing local advertising, just say that a business is for sale, but not what kind. For any callers, you can give them lots of general information they'd need to fetter them, without telling them the name of the business first (but don't use your business phone number as the contact number, or anyone can just google it). When doing more regional advertising, it'd be easy to say that a frame shop is for sale in your general area. You could even advertise nationally in the framing magazines. Probably the least likely avenue of success, but it only takes 1 buyer...
 

Paul N

In Corner
12%! - "Frame it yourself", do you know how much framers mark up their frames? I agree with John, but haggling is not a bad suggestion in this market. Keep in mind your feelings when someone "haggles" in your shop. :D:D
Don't be so elitist with brokers!!. Haggle (I mean, negotiate smartly....!!:p
 

couture's gallery

PFG, Picture Framing God
I agree 100% with the others. Don't post a sign. It'll cut your number of customers and further reduce the value of your business. However, that doesn't mean you can tell anybody, because of course that'd make it very hard to sell indeed.

Try these resources:
1. As mentioned, a business broker

2. Ask other area frame shops if they'd be interested, or if they know someone who would; go outside your immediate area as well, as people in neighboring areas may be looking to expand into yours

3. Do you belong to any business clubs? use them! Rotary, Kiwanis, Optimists, Lions, Chamber of Commerce, etc. Get the word out amongst fellow business owners.

4. Advertise. When doing local advertising, just say that a business is for sale, but not what kind. For any callers, you can give them lots of general information they'd need to fetter them, without telling them the name of the business first (but don't use your business phone number as the contact number, or anyone can just google it). When doing more regional advertising, it'd be easy to say that a frame shop is for sale in your general area. You could even advertise nationally in the framing magazines. Probably the least likely avenue of success, but it only takes 1 buyer...
All of these are good ideas, but depending on the area it won't take long for your customers to hear about it...especially in a small town or small rural area...so be prepared to answer questions from your customers
 

johnny

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
One of the places we like to go for ice cream after work has a "business for sale" sign leaning against their store now, right before warm weather too. It makes us not want to shop there. You wonder how much they care, and anything clues that they aren't providing the same service and product they did before are magnified. Your framing business is all about quality and service. If people think that you have reason to not care as much they will take the good stuff elsewhere.

I had some experience with this when the landlord rented the huge vacant spot next to me to a fly-by-night persian (chinese) rug and furniture going-out-of-business specialist with the word "gallery" in their name. All the signs on the building are standardized and it looked like I was the framing part of their gallery since they had their product lines listed in signage going down the building. Going out of business signs and banners everywhere and auctions every saturday that flooded the parking lot. It looked like I was going out of business to anyone that wasn't already very familiar with my store. For over a year my new customers were way, way, way down. Rumours started that I was going out of business. It was one of the worst, most stressful years of my professional life. I don't recommend bringing it on by choice.
 

Jeff Rodier

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Put it on Craig's list. No sign in the window. We are in the process of selling the ice cream shop and had dozens of responses from Craig's List. The buyer is local but have had about 10 come from out of state to look. I should have waited before accepting an offer because the Craig's List buyers have been willing to pay more than what I accepted.
 

cjmst3k

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
B.

I think when a consumer senses failure, or perceive a frame shop as a "rocky business" (which a business being sold in the environment would be the latter) they would prefer to patronize and be part of a "successful" business. ...so, I'd say a "business for sale" sign would reduce patronage even further. The only exception I can think of is if you have long time customers who know the employee or owner who is selling, and want to get work done by someone familiar before it changes hands.
 

j Paul

PFG, Picture Framing God
The only exception I can think of is if you have long time customers who know the employee or owner who is selling, and want to get work done by someone familiar before it changes hands.
In general, I would also agree that a sign "Business for Sale" would not be a good idea.

However, as I remember (correct me, If I am wrong Kathy) "Emibub" had a swarm of customers bring things in to get framed when they learned she was going out of business. Not enough to convince her that it was a long term trend though.
 

Bob Carter

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
I agree with my friend, John

A broker cando many things besides running intereference in an emotional process

They have a sense of true market value an most importantly can screen the nosey lookie lou's from serious buyers. Bet the farm when handled yourself, you wil see scavengers and competitors

12% will probably be less than the potential reduction you may give way in haggling
 

Maryann

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
I agree with my friend, John

12% will probably be less than the potential reduction you may give way in haggling
And I have to agree wholeheartedly with Bob. When I sold real estate in a previous life, the for-sale-by-owners always sold for less than the house was worth~ probably because the owners didn't market them well and finally got frustrated and sold them for what they could get - which was not what the market was getting. They more than gave up the 6% commission it would have cost.

My problem here is that I don't think a business broker exists within 150 miles of my store. Not really a problem yet but part of the exit strategy that I'm researching.
 

Dancinbaer

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
As usual, thanks everyone for the sound advice. No sign in the window.

Next question, as I have never sold a business before, what do I look for in a broker?
 

Bob Carter

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Hey Dancin'

Having used a broker before, I can give my advice

Find someone that has experience in selling something in our industry

Find someone that has a one page contract (okay, just not 20 pages) in plain English

Find someone with at least 5 references in your market and call everyone. Ask them, also, if they know of anyone else that has used him. I can give you 5 satisfied customers easy; it's the unsatisfied you are looking for and he's not going to provide that

Find someone that you instinctively like

Other than that, it's a "c r a p" shoot

And, don't be afraid to say let me think about it
 

Emibub

PFG, Picture Framing God
However, as I remember (correct me, If I am wrong Kathy) "Emibub" had a swarm of customers bring things in to get framed when they learned she was going out of business. Not enough to convince her that it was a long term trend though.
Yes John, that was me. I did send word out to my customers making one last offer explaining why I was closing and thanking them for their support over the years. I had a loyal group of customers who wanted to work with me one last time. It was a #### shoot though, they could have just as easily decided to go elsewhere knowing I wasn't going to be around any longer. It was a nice way to go out. I had to remain open another month or so just to finish the orders. I left with money in the bank!

I didn't post it in my window or store though. I didn't start officially start telling walk-in traffic until 2 weeks before i was closing for good. Keep in mind I was closing up shop not trying to sell my biz. I would go the broker route too if I had a whole biz to sell.

Good luck in what you choose to do Denny!
 

JRB

PFG, Picture Framing God
Really????????? Wow.
I didn't lay a finger on him, all I did was walk toward him. He kept walking backward away from me, went one step too far. It only took him a few seconds to pull himself out, that water was cold. I was walking up to the brokers office so I had trouble understanding what he was yelling about. :)

Oh, and yes, Really!!!!!!

John
 
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