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Occasionally, Codedesign Team is part of research teams and business evaluation task forces, mainly when a VC company needs auditing digital marketing projects, e-commerce or companies that support a great part of their revenue online. It is a huge risk to jump on a business venture without understanding the ins and outs from a financial perspective, business, staff, tax, and digital marketing strategies. We provide deep due dillegences to some clients on expations and acquisition. But that got me thinking about selling a business, and if you market it yourself or use a team of marketers. The great question is: what is the vale of the untagible that a great brand and marketing strategy brings in?

When it comes to selling your business, one of the first decisions you'll need to make is whether to handle the sale yourself or enlist the help of professionals. This decision can significantly impact the sale process and ultimately, the final price your business will command. The journey of selling a business is filled with complexities and nuance, requiring a keen understanding of market trends, valuation techniques, and negotiation tactics. This document aims to shed light on the advantages and disadvantages of marketing your business yourself, helping you make an informed decision about this critical aspect of the sales process.

It Takes Time and Effort

One compelling reason against marketing your business yourself is the time and effort required. Selling a business is a time-consuming process; it involves preparing the business for sale, advertising it, vetting potential buyers, negotiating prices and terms, and facilitating the closing process. All these tasks demand a significant amount of time and expertise. As a business owner, your time might be better spent focusing on running your business and ensuring it maintains its performance throughout the sale process.

Even more so than time, the effort required to sell a business can't be understated. As mentioned above, selling a business involves understanding and navigating various aspects of the sale process: market trends, valuation techniques, negotiation tactics, etc. Without comprehensive knowledge and experience in these areas (which many small business owners don’t have), you could unintentionally damage your chances of securing an optimal sale price. Furthermore, the process of researching and preparing your business for sale can take weeks or even months; managing this while still running a successful operation - or even multiple operations - can be incredibly taxing.

Professional Knowledge Can Increase Your Return

On the other hand, enlisting the help of professionals has its advantages as well. First and foremost, professionals possess the knowledge and experience to navigate the complexities of selling a business. They understand how to prepare a business for sale, as well as identify potential buyers and evaluate their offers. If you are wondering, should I use a broker to sell my business? The answer is a very likely yes. A broker can utilize their marketing network to promote your business, leading to increased visibility and more offers from prospective buyers. With expertise in valuation techniques, negotiation tactics, and closing process management, a broker can ensure that you get the best value for your company while avoiding costly mistakes that you may not be aware of.

Most professional advisors are also well-versed in the intricacies of market trends and valuation techniques. This means they can provide objective feedback on the value of your business and help you make sure it isn't undervalued. Such knowledge is essential for getting the maximum return when selling a business, helping boost both the sale price and any additional terms you might be able to secure from potential buyers.

Making an Informed Decision

When it comes to the decision of whether or not to market your business yourself, it ultimately boils down to a personal choice. You must carefully assess your current situation, available resources, and potential risks that could impact the sales process. Do you possess the necessary time and expertise to manage the entire process successfully? Are you willing to invest the required effort to ensure an optimal sale price? Are you comfortable with the market trends and valuation techniques associated with selling a business? These are all important questions that should be meticulously considered when determining whether to handle your own sale or seek professional assistance.

At the end of the day, only you can decide what’s best for your business. Hopefully, this document has provided some insight into the advantages and disadvantages of marketing your business yourself, helping you make an informed decision that will ultimately determine the future success of your business.

The Risks of Going It Alone

Marketing and selling a business independently without professional help carries inherent risks. While it may save you from paying a broker's commission, it can also lead to missed opportunities, lower valuation, and potential legal complications. These risks stem from a lack of market insight, a limited pool of potential buyers, and possible errors in preparing the legal paperwork required for the sale. Potential buyers might also approach a privately sold business with caution due to the absence of a professional intermediary, which could negatively affect the perceived value of your business. Therefore, while going it alone can seem like an appealing choice, the potential pitfalls must be carefully evaluated.

The decision to market your business independently or to engage the assistance of professionals is multifaceted, requiring careful consideration of various factors. Although taking on the sale yourself might save on the broker's commission, the potential risks and costs such as lower valuation, missed opportunities, and legal complications could outweigh the savings. Professional help, on the other hand, brings industry insight, an expanded buyer network, and expertise in valuation and negotiation, potentially enhancing the final sale price and the overall success of the sale process. It's essential to weigh these aspects in light of your individual circumstances, resources, and understanding of the business sale process. Ultimately, the choice that best serves your interests and those of your business will guide your decision.

Digital Marketing Due Diligence 

Conducting digital marketing due diligence for a business involves a comprehensive review of the company's online presence, strategies, tools, and performance metrics. When you're evaluating a business's digital marketing efforts, consider the following checklist:

  1. Digital Strategy and Goals

    • Define the overarching digital strategy.
    • Identify the short-term and long-term goals.
    • Analyze alignment with overall business objectives.
  2. Website Audit

    • User experience (UX) and user interface (UI) evaluation.
    • Mobile optimization and responsiveness.
    • Loading speed and performance.
    • SEO (Search Engine Optimization) health, including on-page and technical SEO.
    • Content quality and relevance.
    • Conversion rate optimization practices.
    • Security (SSL certificates, etc.)
  3. SEO Analysis

    • Keyword rankings and performance.
    • Backlink profile and quality.
    • Organic traffic trends and growth.
    • On-site optimization (meta tags, URL structure, etc.)
    • Technical SEO factors (sitemap, robots.txt, site speed, etc.)
    • Potential penalties or black-hat techniques.
  4. Paid Advertising (PPC)

    • Ad spend and return on ad spend (ROAS).
    • Ad copy quality and relevance.
    • Landing page performance and conversion rates.
    • Audience targeting methods.
    • Performance on different platforms (Google Ads, Bing Ads, etc.)
  5. Social Media Presence

    • Platforms utilized and their relevance to the target audience.
    • Engagement rates, follower growth, and overall activity.
    • Paid social advertising efforts and performance.
    • Content strategy and calendar.
  6. Content Marketing

    • Quality and relevance of the content.
    • Content strategy and calendar.
    • Performance metrics (traffic, engagement, conversion, etc.)
  7. Email Marketing

    • Email list size, growth, and segmentation.
    • Open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates.
    • Email platform and automation capabilities.
    • Compliance with laws and regulations (e.g., CAN-SPAM Act).
  8. Affiliate and Partnerships

    • List of current partnerships and affiliations.
    • Performance metrics for each.
    • Terms of agreements.
  9. Analytics and Reporting

    • Platforms and tools used (e.g., Google Analytics, Tag Manager).
    • Accuracy of tracking setup.
    • Key performance indicators (KPIs) tracked.
    • Past performance reports and their insights.
  10. CRM and Marketing Automation

    • Platforms used and their capabilities.
    • Data quality and management.
    • Automation workflows and performance.
  11. Competitive Analysis

    • Identify main competitors in the digital space.
    • Analyze competitors' strengths and weaknesses.
    • Market positioning and unique selling propositions.
  12. Regulatory and Compliance

    • Adherence to digital advertising standards.
    • Compliance with data protection regulations (e.g., GDPR, CCPA).
    • Other industry-specific online regulations.
  13. Budget and ROI

    • Digital marketing budget allocation across channels.
    • ROI for each channel and overall.
    • Cost per acquisition (CPA) for main channels.
  14. Team and Resources

    • In-house digital marketing team expertise and structure.
    • External agencies or freelancers involved.
    • Training and development efforts.
  15. Technology Stack

    • Martech tools and platforms in use.
    • Integration capabilities.
    • Future tech needs and scalability.

This list provides a foundational overview of what to consider during a digital marketing due diligence. The specific requirements may vary depending on the industry, company size, or specific goals of the assessment. 

Taking into consideration all of the above, let's dedicate some time to understanding what are the pros and cons of doing a digital marketing audit by yourself, with consultants or hiring a digital agency.

Doing It Yourself


  • Cost-Efficiency: You won’t have to allocate a budget for external help.
  • In-depth Understanding: Handling the audit yourself means gaining a deeper understanding of your own business operations and strategies.
  • Full Control: You have full control over the audit process, setting your pace and focusing on the areas you find more important.


  • Time-Consuming: Conducting a comprehensive audit can be time-consuming, potentially diverting time from other critical business operations.
  • Lack of Expertise: Unless you have a background in digital marketing, you might miss out on expert insights and analyses.
  • Bias: Being intimately involved in your business can sometimes lead to oversight due to personal biases.

Hiring Consultants


  • Expert Insight: Consultants generally bring a wealth of experience and can provide expert insights and fresh perspectives.
  • Focused Approach: Consultants can provide a more focused approach, helping to pinpoint and address specific issues.
  • Flexible Engagement: You can engage consultants for a short-term project, providing flexibility and potentially lower costs compared to a full-time agency.


  • Cost: Hiring consultants can be expensive, especially experienced ones with a proven track record.
  • Less Control: You’ll have less control over the audit process compared to doing it yourself.
  • Limited Resources: Individual consultants may have limited resources compared to a full-service agency.

Hiring a Digital Agency


  • Comprehensive Service: A digital agency like CodeDesign can offer a comprehensive service, utilizing a team of experts with different specialties.
  • Access to Tools: Agencies typically have access to premium tools and software that can aid in the audit process.
  • Experience: An agency brings a wealth of experience working with various clients, which can be leveraged for your audit.


  • Cost: Engaging an agency can be the most expensive option, especially if it's a well-established one.
  • Potential Misalignment: There might be a misalignment in understanding your business goals and culture if the agency doesn't invest time in proper onboarding.
  • Longer Engagement: Agencies often seek longer-term engagements, which might not be ideal if you're looking for a quick, focused audit.

Codedesign Digital Audit classical timeline

An ideal timeline for a digital marketing audit is pivotal to acquiring a business as it allows you to thoroughly evaluate the digital assets and strategies of the potential acquisition. Here’s how you might go about it, considering CodeDesign’s expertise in due diligence for digital:

Week 1-2: Preliminary Analysis

In the initial weeks, you would focus on a preliminary analysis of the business's digital assets. CodeDesign would kickstart this phase by identifying and reviewing the business's current digital marketing strategies, website performance, and SEO health.

Example: During this period, CodeDesign might identify that the business has a robust email marketing strategy in place but finds room for improvement in their SEO practices.

Week 3-4: Deep Dive

Following the preliminary analysis, a deep dive into the intricate details of the digital landscape of the business is undertaken. CodeDesign would scrutinize data analytics, customer segmentation, and CRM platforms to gauge the data quality and customer engagement strategies employed by the business.

Example: CodeDesign might find a well-segmented customer database that allows for targeted marketing strategies, giving the business a competitive edge in the market.

Week 5-6: Competitive Analysis

During this phase, CodeDesign would undertake a competitive analysis to assess the business's digital stance compared to its competitors. This involves analyzing market share in the digital space and understanding the unique selling propositions of the business.

Example: The experts at CodeDesign might discover that although the business has a lower digital market share compared to competitors, it has a niche and loyal customer base, presenting an opportunity for growth.

Week 7-8: Final Reporting and Recommendations

In the final stage of the audit, CodeDesign would compile a comprehensive report outlining the findings and recommendations based on the audit. This would be pivotal in guiding your final offer for acquiring the business.

Example: Leveraging the insights gained through the audit, CodeDesign might recommend a strategy to enhance the SEO practices of the business, aiming to elevate its digital presence and market share.

Week 9-10: Making the Offer

With a detailed understanding of the business's digital landscape, curated by CodeDesign, you would be well-equipped to make an informed final offer for the acquisition.

Example: Based on CodeDesign’s detailed audit and recommendations, you might decide to proceed with a strong offer, backed by a strategic plan to capitalize on the identified growth opportunities post-acquisition.

In summary, an ideal timeline for conducting a digital marketing audit before making a final offer for acquisition would span approximately 10 weeks. This timeline allows CodeDesign to meticulously perform due diligence, ensuring you have a holistic understanding of the business's digital health, thereby aiding in making a well-informed acquisition decision. It’s a structured approach, giving each phase the time it deserves to ensure a successful acquisition.

FAQS - Frequently Asked Questions

Why might selling a business myself be time-consuming and challenging?

Selling a business on your own can be time-consuming and challenging due to the complex nature of the sales process. It involves multiple steps, including business valuation, preparing the business for sale, marketing it effectively, negotiating with potential buyers, and navigating legal and financial paperwork. As a business owner, focusing on these tasks while simultaneously managing day-to-day operations can be overwhelming. Additionally, without prior experience in selling businesses, there's a risk of underestimating the business's value, attracting unqualified buyers, or failing to negotiate the best terms, which can prolong the process and impact the final sale outcome.

How can professional brokers or marketers enhance the sale process of my business?

Professional brokers or marketers can significantly enhance the sale process of your business by leveraging their expertise, networks, and resources. They have experience in valuing businesses accurately, preparing compelling sales materials, and effectively marketing your business to a wide pool of qualified buyers. Professionals can also handle negotiations and due diligence processes, ensuring that you achieve the best possible sale terms. Their understanding of the legal and financial aspects of business sales can streamline the process, reduce stress, and minimize the risk of errors or delays.

What are the risks of marketing my business for sale on my own?

Marketing your business for sale on your own carries several risks, including the potential for underpricing or overpricing your business, attracting unqualified buyers, and compromising confidentiality. Without the proper valuation knowledge, you might set a price that doesn't reflect the true value of your business, leading to financial losses or a prolonged sale process. Handling negotiations and vetting buyers without experience can also be challenging and might result in deals falling through. Additionally, maintaining confidentiality is crucial to prevent disruptions to your business, and improper handling of this aspect can lead to issues with employees, customers, and competitors.

How does professional knowledge increase the return when selling a business?

Professional knowledge can significantly increase the return when selling a business by ensuring that the business is valued accurately, presented attractively, and marketed effectively to reach the right buyers. Professionals leverage their understanding of market trends, industry benchmarks, and buyer behavior to position your business advantageously. Their negotiation skills and experience in structuring deals can also result in better terms and higher sale prices. By avoiding common pitfalls and managing the sale process efficiently, professionals can help you maximize your financial return.

What factors should I consider when deciding to market my business myself?

When deciding to market your business yourself, consider factors such as your knowledge of the business sales process, your ability to remain objective, and the time you can dedicate to the sale. Assess your understanding of business valuation, marketing, negotiation, and legal requirements. Consider whether you can handle the emotional aspects of selling your business without bias. Also, think about the impact on your ability to run the business during the sale process. If you lack experience or time, it may be more beneficial to engage professionals to ensure a successful sale.

Can I achieve a higher sale price by using professional marketing services?

Yes, using professional marketing services can help you achieve a higher sale price for your business. Professionals have the expertise to accurately value your business, identify its unique selling points, and target the right buyer audience. They can create a competitive bidding environment and use their negotiation skills to secure the best possible terms. By presenting your business in the best light and leveraging their networks, professionals can increase interest and demand, potentially leading to a higher sale price.

What are the common pitfalls of DIY business sale marketing?

Common pitfalls of DIY business sale marketing include mispricing the business, poor presentation and marketing materials, limited reach to potential buyers, and breaches of confidentiality. Business owners may lack the resources and networks to effectively market their business, leading to missed opportunities. Handling inquiries and vetting potential buyers can be overwhelming and might result in engaging with unqualified buyers. Additionally, without experience in maintaining confidentiality, there's a risk of information leaks that can disrupt business operations and reduce the business's value.

How do professionals evaluate potential buyers?

Professionals evaluate potential buyers by conducting thorough due diligence, including financial assessments, background checks, and assessing the buyer's strategic fit with the business. They look for buyers who not only have the financial capacity to complete the purchase but also have the experience, resources, and vision to continue growing the business. Professionals also consider the seriousness and motivation of buyers, filtering out those who are not committed to proceeding with the transaction. This vetting process ensures that only qualified and interested buyers are presented to the seller, increasing the chances of a successful sale.

Is it worth paying for a broker's commission in the business sale process?

Paying for a broker's commission can be worth it in the business sale process, considering the value they bring in terms of expertise, time savings, and potentially higher sale prices. Brokers handle complex aspects of the sale, from valuation and marketing to negotiating and closing the deal, which can be challenging and time-consuming for business owners to manage alone. Their ability to attract qualified buyers and negotiate effectively can result in a smoother process and a more favorable sale outcome. The commission paid is often offset by the higher sale price and better terms achieved with their assistance.

How can I make an informed decision about marketing my business for sale?

To make an informed decision about marketing your business for sale, conduct thorough research on the sale process, evaluate your own capabilities and resources, and consider consulting with professionals for initial advice. Assess the potential benefits and drawbacks of selling the business yourself versus using professional services. Gather information on the track record, fees, and services offered by brokers or marketing professionals. It may also be helpful to speak with peers or advisors who have experience selling businesses. This preparation will help you understand the complexities involved and make a decision that aligns with your goals and capabilities.

About Bruno Gavino

Bruno Gavino is the CEO and partner of Codedesign, a digital marketing agency with a strong international presence. Based in Lisbon, Portugal, with offices in Boston, Singapore, and Manchester (UK) Codedesign has been recognized as one of the top interactive agencies and eCommerce agencies. Awarded Top B2B Company in Europe and Top B2C company in retail, Codedesign aims to foster personal relationships with clients and create a positive work environment for its team.  

He emphasizes the need for digital agencies to focus on data optimization and performance to meet the increasingly results-driven demands of clients. His experience in digital marketing, combined with a unique background that includes engineering and data, contributes to his effective and multifaceted leadership style.

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About Codedesign

Codedesign is a digital marketing agency with a strong multicultural and international presence, offering expert services in digital marketing. Our digital agency in Lisbon, Boston, and Manchester enables us to provide market-ready strategies that suit a wide range of clients across the globe (both B2B and B2C). We specialize in creating impactful online experiences, focusing on making your digital presence strong and efficient. Our approach is straightforward and effective, ensuring that every client receives a personalized service that truly meets their needs.

Our digital agency is committed to using the latest data and technology to help your business stand out. Whether you're looking to increase your online visibility, connect better with your audience, get more leads, or grow your online sales. For more information, read our Digital Strategy Blog or to start your journey with us, please feel free to contact us.

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