7 Essentials To Successfully Sell Your Liquor Store

How to sell a liquor store

How to sell a liquor store? Liquor stores have proven to be stable, “recession-and-pandemic-resistant” type businesses. They provide liquor store owners reliable earnings. Consequently, they are highly desirable business opportunities assuming all the key elements are in place.

Selling a California liquor store typically takes 6-12 months to complete after you listed your business for sale. The time to sell can be considerably shorter if there are competing buyers.  How to attain competitive liquor store buyers for your business? 

If you are wondering how to sell a liquor store, here are 7 time-tested tips to help you find your perfect buyer to optimize your liquor store business sale.

Think Like A Buyer 

Ask yourself, “What do liquor store buyers want?”

Think back on when you acquired your liquor store.  What was your motivation for owning a liquor store and for buying your business? If you are like most liquor store owners, you were probably seeking a well-run, highly profitable business that you could run either as an owner-operator or semi-absentee.

The liquor store business lends itself well to buyer who are either operators or investors.  So, it makes sense to appeal to both buyer pools to increase your chances for a highly optimized liquor store business sale. 

To appeal to both the operator and investor, there are very specific, actionable steps that you can take to 1. Increase your odds of selling your business (keeping in mind that only 25-33% of small businesses sell; and 2. Maximize your sale proceeds. To do so, your business should be presented in the best possible light in terms of business operations, profit, marketing and the information about your business should be made readily available to properly vetted buyers.

Gauge Your Competition

Business sellers sometimes have unrealistic views of their business’ value or desirability. They tend to look at their business with rose-colored glasses, even if it makes them blind to what everyone else is seeing. This will make you vulnerable in a business sale because you are negotiating from a weak position if you are putting forward an enormous effort to convince all interested parties about the value of your business, rather than letting the facts speak for themselves. 

To help you develop a sober assessment of your business, we suggest that you look at liquor stores for sale on popular business listing websites, such as BizBuySell (national business sales) or BizBen (California business sales).  

Once you have identified a few relevant competitors, honestly compare your business’ profile with your competition. What are your strengths? Weaknesses? What do you need to do to enhance your liquor store so that it appeals to more buyers as a worthwhile investment?

To help you with your comparison, here are some elements of a highly desirable liquor store

  • High-profit-margin
  • Strong sales revenue (at least 1 million/year)
  • Long-standing & well-established business
  • Consistent, regular clientele. 
  • Experienced employees – stable staff
  • Properly calibrated inventory
  • Systems and procedures in place
  • Effective marketing systems in place 
  • Good lease terms
  • Great location 
  • Ample parking
  • Great floor space
  • Located near major roads with sufficient population density 

The more of these elements that your liquor store has, the more desirable, the more valuable and, therefore, the more likely that it will sell and for a maximal price.

If you are lacking in many of these favorable liquor store features, then take the time to work on your business. You will serve your interests, and wallet, by increasing the value and desirability of your liquor store well before you list your business for sale. If you have most of these favorable elements, then you can look at getting your business ready for sale. 

how to sell a liquor store

Organized Business & Financial Records 

Fundamental to all business sales, regardless of industry, is to properly organize your business and financial records. Your liquor store records should be accurate, thorough, easy to access, neat and, preferably, digitized. 

Not only are organized records better for running your liquor business by making workflow easier, having well-organized and thorough business records reflects your business well in a business sale. 

Optimize The Appearance Of Your Business 

Appearance matters when selling a business, particularly in retail. For retail businesses, drawing customers into the store is essential for success. You want to make your store as inviting as possible. 

The visual appeal of the premises is crucial for a successful business sale. Make sure that the shop frontage and signage are clear and appealing.  Assure that it is well-lit, and enhance the appearance by keeping it clean, clear and tidy.

Similarly, assure that the interior is very clean, smells good, is properly decorated, tidy, and well-maintained interior. It’s important to keep aisles clear and maintain inventory in the storage area rather than in the retail space. 

Prioritize Repeat Customers

Creating loyalty/membership marketing is highly beneficial and impressive to buyers. Providing a buyer with your customers loyalty list for running promotions is a highly valuable asset that liquor store buyers appreciate.  

Use email and text marketing systems to build loyalty memberships to run promotional events to drive sales. 

Market to Boost Your Bottom Line 

As with with any business sale, the numbers speak for the business. The key numbers are sales and profits, of course. 

Start as soon as possible to increase your bottom line. Your bottom line number regarding your liquor store cashflow is one of the most critical factors in getting you what you want from your liquor store business sale. Check out our prior post regarding Liquor Store Profits.

Most retail customers will visit the liquor store that happens to be closest to where they live. Nevertheless, customers tend to favor liquor stores based on price, product options, knowledgeable and friendly sales staff, promotions, etc.  

Marketing your liquor store is the way to get your store visible for converting sales. You could appeal to customers with digital promotions, such as Facebook ads and posts, and retain them through knowledgeable, friendly customer service.

Make sure you have a well-optimized, mobile-friendly website with local search engine optimization (SEO) so that your liquor store shows up in search results. You want to know your essential keywords so that they are used extensively throughout your website and other online marketing assets. Niche down to capture more specific, converting customers.  

Know Your Customer

Look carefully at your location and demographics. Does your inventory appeal to the local population profile, ethnic mix, education/income levels? Spend time researching and determine the right combination of products to properly match your customer base. 

If location is not the driver of sales, perhaps it’s specialty. Whether craft beer or uncommon wines and spirits, connoisseurs will travel to get their preferred liquor.

Promote your tailored offerings to your customers via loyalty club membership, discounts, etc. Make sure your promotions are both in your store and online through Facebook, Google, etc.

Find out more about how to sell a liquor store

Check out our Liquor Store Broker’s Secrets for Selling Your Liquor Store At A Great Price. This is a video and email series that we have put together for our liquor store sellers to help them optimally prepare their liquor store for sale.

If you are considering how to sell a liquor store, Mission Peak Brokers’ business advisors provide expert valuation, full marketing services, and strict confidentiality, as they introduce your liquor store business to prospective buyers. We will be involved at all stages until your liquor store successfully sells. 

Contact us to help you prepare and successfully sell your liquor store business.

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