Six Dos and Don’ts of Selling Your Printing, Sign, and Promo Business (Photo Credit: Minuteman Press International)

For people who are looking to sell a printing, sign, and promotional products business, there is the right way to approach a potential sale and a wrong way to go about selling. It is easy to get caught up in different issues along the way that you might not realize right away.

Whether you are looking to sell your printing business within the next two months or two years, it is important to make sure you prepare properly for the potential sale.

Here are the Six Dos and Don’ts of Selling Your Printing and Sign Business:

Six Don’ts of Selling Your Printing, Sign, and Promo Business

1. Don’t hesitate in getting your financials in order. One of the biggest issues sellers of any business run into right away is having the proper financial documentation together. It is critical to have your finances accounted for and your financial paperwork in order for buyers to fully evaluate your business and answer the inevitable questions that will come up. If you are looking to sell anytime in the next three years, get your paperwork squared away now.

2. Don’t wait in filing your taxes. Just like having your finances in order, it is vital to have your taxes filed and paid on time. If you owe back taxes or are delayed in filing, it could raise red flags and buyers could be scared away. Again, if you know you are going to be selling your business, clean financials and tax reporting are two huge keys to executing the sale.

3. Don’t set the wrong price and have an improper valuation of the business. One of the biggest reasons many businesses don’t sell or take a long time to sell is that they are priced too high. Print and sign shop owners can make the mistake of setting the wrong price for their business. Usually, this is based on an improper valuation that is wrong, or even worse, it is based on no valuation at all. You should look into getting a professional valuation of your business from experienced leaders in the industry who know how to value your business and set the right price. Because printing and sign businesses are so unique, it is crucial that the people who help you evaluate your business know what they are doing. By setting the right price and having the right valuation, it should speed up the timing of the sale and create a win-win situation for both you and the buyer.

4. Don’t make unnecessary equipment purchases. It’s easy to get bogged down by unnecessary equipment that is not profitable. Before you make any new purchases, think things through carefully and make sure the equipment you buy will actually be used to turn a profit and increase the value of your business. Adding equipment that does not increase profitability can actually subtract from your sales and ultimately hinder the sale, so be aware of this.

5. Don’t have payroll expenses that are unmanageable. Payroll expenses are another aspect of your business that buyers will be looking at. You should make sure that your payroll expenses are manageable and make sense for the sales you are achieving.

6. Don’t be discouraged by lower sales volume and think you can’t sell your business. You don’t have to necessarily be doing $1 million in sales to sell your printing business. As long as your business has the right valuation, is priced fairly, and has growth potential, there can be potential buyers out there who are looking to buy your print shop. Stay proactive and don’t be discouraged from trying to sell, and ask for help if needed.

Six Dos of Selling Your Printing, Sign, and Promo Business

1. Keep your business open and up to date. If you are looking to sell your business, it is important to keep it open, operating, and up to date. The last thing you want to do is come across as unprepared and unorganized to potential buyers. Keep a clean work environment, continue to do all of the little things to run your business the right way, and make sure to stay proactive.

2. Build your client base and don’t rely on just a few big clients. Having an active customer base is the lifeblood of any business. It is important to keep building this base especially if you are looking to sell your printing and sign business. When buyers see that you have added new customers, it will only increase their interest and help facilitate the sale for you.

3. Keep marketing your business. Marketing your business is vital to both keeping it up to date and building your client base, as previously mentioned. You must continue to build your brand and stay active on the marketing side to ensure that you solidify your standing with your clients and your community. You never know where a potential buyer can come from, and marketing is huge in showing that you are still building up your business even if you are going to sell.

4. Look outside the printing bubble for potential buyers. One mistake that most print, sign, and promotional product shop owners make is thinking they can only sell their business to other people in the industry. The truth is there are other buyers outside of printing who are simply looking to buy an established business. Printing has the advantage of being a B2B business, which is a hot commodity among buyers. The key for you to unlock this untapped potential pool is to enlist the help of experienced printing industry professionals such as an established franchisor who can help you find, qualify, and ultimately train these buyers.

5. Do your research. Instead of going in blind when selling, you should do your research and make sure you understand exactly what you need to do to sell your business. The best thing you can do is be proactive so you don’t get caught off guard by the questions potential buyers will ask you.

6. Have realistic expectations. Ultimately, you need to have realistic expectations when it comes to selling your printing business, what it can sell for, and how long it will take. Of course. you don’t want to undervalue your business, but you also don’t want to set a price that is simply too high and not in line with your financials and other assets.

The keys to executing a successful sale are outlined in the dos and don’ts above, with the goal of giving you the best advice on how to sell your printing and sign business that creates a win-win situation for both you, the seller, and the buyer as well.

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