Business Exit Strategy: Invest In Micro Market Design

Aug. 9, 2019

Leading operators agree that a well-designed market will generate more revenue, will make clients and their employees happy and will often result in referral business. There is another benefit of investing in design – a big benefit that is realized when an operator sells their business.

Kelner: “Micro markets put a halo on a company”

Mike Kelner, owner of VBB, one of the industry’s most experienced business brokers, said there is no question that well-designed micro markets are very attractive to buyers. “Every buyer in our industry is interested in micro markets today,” said Kelner. “Micro markets put a halo on a company, especially if those markets are thoughtfully designed. The valuations are impressive – much higher than vending.”

Steve Orlando, an experienced operator of ten years who co-founded Fixturelite, the leading supplier of micro market retail displays, seating and design features, said his clients recognize the long-term benefits of focusing on design.  “There was a time that technology set vending routes apart from one another,” said Orlando. “Today we see some of the most successful operators designing environments from a thought leadership perspective, and that lends well to the longevity of the account and its profitability.” Learn more about a free demo of the Fixturelite Design Tool.

Kelner: “Well-designed markets point to a solid business.”

“The halo on a company gets even bigger when the seller’s micro markets are thoughtfully presented - well beyond just a few coolers, basic racks and a kiosk,” said Kelner, who has acted as the sell side representative in hundreds of acquisitions. “Any operator can be in the micro market business, but a company with well-designed markets points to a solid business. It says that the seller is up to date on the industry, pays attention to detail and knows what they are doing.”

“Buyers are also attracted to any factor that is going to reduce their risk,” added Kelner. “The beauty of well-designed markets is that they are usually under contract.  Even if they aren’t, when the operator and client have collaborated on a market that really makes the client happy, we know the relationship is stronger.” 

Orlando: “Minimums pay off when it’s time to sell your business.”

According to Orlando, an emphasis on design creates a tremendous opportunity for operators to present a basic if-then proposition.  If I make this investment of time, effort and money in design – if I take the steps to deliver the collaborative workplace that you and the company CEO are committed to – then I need to be assured that our revenue objectives are met.  “This is how minimums come into play in major locations,” said Orlando. “Minimums pay off when it’s time to sell your business.”

Kelner agrees. “Any feature that guarantees revenue and mitigates risk is very attractive to buyers.”