Thinking of selling your business? The process of selling or buying can often be a long-winded and daunting experience. Bizdaq is an online platform that enables easy buying and selling of a business without agents. Its CEO, Sean Mallon speaks to Your Ready Business on transforming how businesses can be bought and sold online.
Can you start by telling us a little bit about your background? How did you become a tech entrepreneur?
I’m 29 years old and started my first company, (Intelligent Business Transfer) aged 21. My original business was a traditional business transfer agency* and we always utilised technology to stay at the forefront of our sector. Over a period of a few years I saw how the landscape of the business sale marketplace was changing. With this I saw an opportunity to develop an online platform which relied solely on technology to expedite the whole process as well as make it much more cost effective – I guess it was an evolution of experiences rather than a “light bulb” moment.
What opportunity did you see to innovate with Bizdaq?
The clearest insight we had was that our biggest competitor was not other brokers, but business owners already trying to sell their business without an agent in order to save on cost and hassle.
Many others have tried to break the traditional ‘’agency’’ model but with fairly unconvincing and unexciting alternatives. At Bizdaq we have built the world’s first platform enabling business owners to handle the whole process with all the tools and knowledge required. They can not only value their business, but manage the whole transaction to completion online – saving vast amounts of time and money.
What is it that makes Bizdaq so successful?
We have built an intuitive “step by step” platform that will guide the user through the sale depending on where they are up to, such as from valuation to building an advert, to receiving an enquiry to arranging a viewing, all the way to negotiating an offer using our “offer” tool. Bizdaq can help businesses through every step of this process. Beyond that it is undoubtedly the pricing model, we are literally saving small business owners around £10,000 on the average sale (based on our most recent data.) That’s a colossal amount of money that would otherwise end up in an agent’s pocket.
How did you sort out financing for your idea? What would you change about small business access to funding?
We raised funding through a small venture capital fund which has provided us with capital to build the platform as well as take us through to launch. I have also invested heavily from my other business, which has given us a great platform for growth.
There is definitely capital available for the right business and the right entrepreneur. I think the biggest problem for some investors is that many aspiring entrepreneurs do not spend enough time researching their marketplace or making a time or financial commitment to their project before looking to raise funds. I also think there is a wave of opportunity now with the likes of Funding Circle offering a new way to fund a business. The more traditional lenders are going to be left behind over the next 5-10 years unless they loosen their criteria and start accepting that lending comes with some risk, on their part as well as the entrepreneurs.
In hindsight, is there anything you would do differently to launch Bizdaq?
Our build took nearly 18 months and this was mainly because we continually strived for perfection – this was definitely our greatest challenge and our biggest learning to date, as it simply doesn’t exist. In fact, we learnt more in 4 weeks after launch than we did in the 18 months building Bizdaq.
As a small business that’s highly reliant on technology – how do you “future proof” your tech and infrastructure?
We are looking to future proof Bizdaq by ensuring we are at the forefront of our industry. We are learning the requirements of our users daily and by reacting quickly to implement new features we should always be ahead of the competition. Our infrastructure as a small business is very resilient and because we are mainly cloud based we make ourselves incredibly flexible for growth.
As a tech-based business outside London, how have you gone about recruiting and retaining the right talent?
It’s not easy, mainly because London is well known to be the tech hub of Europe, not just the UK. However we have established a small team who are committed to the vision of Bizdaq and believe in what we are trying to do. Any small business has the same issue regarding recruitment and retention however if you give clear focus and freedom to capable and talented people then they are always likely to feel challenged and less likely to have their heads turned.
What’s the best piece of advice that someone has given you, or that you’ve picked up from reading / experience? What would you say to someone starting out on his or her entrepreneurship journey?
• Surround yourself with people more capable than yourself and give talented people the space to be successful.
• Once you’ve made any business decision, make sure you give it 110% – any hesitation increases the chance of failure
To anyone starting out or considering starting out; get on with it. What is the worst that can happen?
*An organisation utilised by mutual fund companies and other financial services firms to prepare and maintain documents and records relating to shareholder accounts.