Most business owners think that their business is unique, but what are the factors and attributes that really make a business stand out from others.  There are key factors that make a business both unique and, at the same time, make it more valuable in the marketplace and more desirable to prospective purchasers.

Here are a few:

Intangible Assets  Often intangible assets are major contributors to a business’ success and profitability – here are a few examples:

    • A long-term lease for a great location that is transferable to a new owner.
    • A mailing list of current and past customers,
    • A popular franchise relationship.
    • A well-known product line such as Hallmark.
    • A well-established mailing program designed to attract new customers or clients.
    • Trademarks and copyrights.

Difficulty of Replication  One good example is liquor licenses; they are issued in most jurisdictions by population or on some other limited basis. One cannot just decide to rent some space and open a liquor store.  Also, franchisors often limit the number of units in a geographical area.  Selling certain brands usually is a license not granted to just any store.

Proprietary Products, Services or Technology  A business owner may have developed, or have had developed, software unique to their business which is a key to its success. Or the proprietary item could be something as simple as a secret recipe for a food item, sauce or other food product unique to a restaurant.

Reputation  There is the pharmacy that is known all over town for delivering prescriptions or other medical needs. And there is the hardware store that will still sharpen knives or fix screens. Then there are the local businesses that have “just what you need” or that special something that makes them known all over town. While these characteristics make these businesses unique, it is up to a new owner to continue them.

Transferability  Just as importantly, these unique factors also need to be generally transferable to a new owner.  How effectively these unique business attributes can actually be transferred to a new owner has a major impact on the value of a business and its desirability.

When considering businesses to buy, buyers should look beyond the numbers for those unique qualities that separate a particular business from the pack.  Your business broker can help.