Get an Understanding of the Digital Space Before Selling a Business

by Caitlin Mary 29th of July, 2022
Get an Understanding of the Digital Space Before Selling a Business
Get an Understanding of the Digital Space Before Selling a Business

The digital space is ever-evolving and changing. Digital products, tools and services are released on a daily basis that can be utilised by business owners to help them grow. Ignoring these trends and new releases can be detrimental to an organisation's success. This can have an impact on the profitability, and ultimately the price they will achieve, when selling a business. 


Bsale recently spoke with Liz Ward, the CEO and founder of Navii, a company dedicated to helping businesses use digital tools and systems to operate more efficiently.

The development of Navii came off the back of Liz’s personal experience working in the tourism industry. 

“We started a digital coaching business called Tourism Tribe back in 2015, it tackled those problems of digital adoption for small businesses. 90% of the tourism industry are small businesses.”

Liz knew they could help more owners navigate the digital landscape. 

“We always knew that the opportunity was there to do what we do with tourism for other business sectors.” After winning a Government Grant, Navii was launched in 2020 to assist small business owners. 

When it comes time to sell a business the owner needs to be aware of the technology and tools available; if they are not yet implemented into their organisation, they need to look at why. 

When you are selling a business, you want to achieve the best possible price. After all, you worked hard to build your business. Technology, tools and services can lead to an increase in revenue and reduced expenses which ultimately increases the net profit of the business, thus a higher sale price.



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How Navii is Helping Owners 

Navii is an Australian Government-backed, independent community of small business owners, industry and digital experts. Launched in November 2020, they assist owners in understanding the technology available and how it can help their organisation.

They help owners stay up-to-date with transformative technology and business opportunities brought by changing markets. Through education they can help owners to understand the technology faster and more efficiently. 

“Small business is just such a huge part of our economy, so it just makes sense to try and make that easy for them, which is what we aim to do.” 

“We’re able to offer a platform to be able to help them [small business] because it is something that is needed, those small businesses are being challenged by the number of technology opportunities available to them, and they’re finding it really hard to put the time into learning about them and adopting them.”

Sharing best practices and bringing together leaders in various industries enables Navii to assist owners in the best way possible. 

Liz's previous experience in the tourism industry is what led to the development of Navii when she saw the struggles of business owners. 95% of tourism businesses in Australia are classed as small businesses, and regional towns often have older establishments that struggle to adapt to new technologies. 

“It was just a passion point for me because I wanted to do something that helps these people because I could see how hard they work and mostly they get into it because of passion and lifestyle. Often it’s lifestyle that is the driver for starting or buying or owning a small business, it’s often not for the money but we want small businesses to be sustainable and to do really well.”


Business Owners Learnt to Adapt During Covid. 

The timing of the grant Navii received and Covid was uncanny, over the last two years business and consumers' digital literacy, competency and confidence have changed drastically due to Covid. These changes have been a widespread shift in business.

“You had this incredible growth in the use of video messaging people using zoom and Facebook messenger. People's confidence grew enormously. Paypal reported extraordinary, never before seen growth in what they call their ‘silver tech’ generation which is the over 50 - 75-year-olds downloading for the first time.”

“So it was this perfect storm of consumers from all age groups (and for the first time ever in the older age group) having the confidence and the necessity to use eCommerce and online payments and they were using social media video platforms and video platforms generally like never before.” 

“There was a whole lot going on in the business world as well, this really interesting humanisation in certain sectors like finance, software and different types of companies that had their business or consumer customers under a lot of hardship so they had more empathy with their customers with extended payment terms or extended software licence terms or rental agreements and all these other things,” Liz said.

Customer service expectations were changing and “the whole bar has been lifted for business”. During Covid, there were incredible stories of businesses “pivoting with their products and business models”, while at the same time consumer expectations were going up. The expectation for both sides was lifted which means there are a lot of small businesses that were left behind to catch up.  


The Need for Digital Literacy in Business

Liz and Navii recognise the need for digital literacy and competency for businesses now more than ever, particularly as Australian organisations were below the benchmark average prior to Covid and now the benchmark is even higher.

“It’s not about digital literacy with the younger people, it’s about business strategy, they know how to use the apps or websites they’re not scared of breaking anything they just go for it. What they really appreciate [about Navii] is the business and digital strategy. Why am I doing this? What is the investment? What am I expecting to get out of it? It’s just part of business.” 

“I think eventually we will get to the stage where we won’t put the word digital in front of marketing or business, it will just be marketing, it will just be business, but we’re not there yet. I think when we think about marketing now most people's minds now go to digital methods of marketing so we are getting there. We’ll change the language in 5 years or so.” Liz said. 

Whilst businesses continue to grapple with the technology available, when your selling a business you need to think about how your business is catering to today. Are your products and services delivering to the current tech saavy clients. Whether you are placing a cafe for sale or a supermarket, do you have the best software? Can your clients order from their tables? Can you split bills? Can you place orders online? Is your email marketing effective?

Online Struggles Faced by Owners

Of the businesses coming to Navii, the biggest things they need help with are their key objectives, that they don’t know where to start and feel overwhelmed. 

“Their lightbulb moment, they know it’s important but they don’t know where to start and the other thing that we know is that most of the people who get benefit from, or are attractive to Navii, are coming because they have a business objective of getting more sales and they’ve got that growth objective. Another lightbulb moment is that they are clear about their future.”

Owners who are thinking about selling a business may find it hard to review their technology and where they can improve. There is often alot of stress when preparing a business for sale. This is why companies such as Navii can be utilised. Helping owners to understand where they are at now, and where they could be in the future. 

Social media is also a big driver. Liz said that businesses often use language such as; ‘I just want to do it better, I want to know how to do it to have benefits for my business’. 


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“They’re trying but they just don’t know whether what their doing is of any use, whether they’re wasting their time, and that is completely understandable because if you just look at Facebook and Instagram by way of example, being two main social media platforms that nearly every business will want to be on, they have changed so much.”

“The algorithm has changed so much in the last 3 years and the posting format, the tools and the way you use the platforms has moved so quickly, and these poor business owners just can’t keep up.” 

Understanding the technology, tools and services that are available to assist your business is important. Whilst we know owners can struggle with the amount of information available and sometimes head into overload. Selling a business is about obtaining the best possible price for your business sale. 

Technology and tools can help drive an increase in revenue and reduce expenses, ultimately leading to a higher sale price at settlement. 


Check your Digital Health Before Selling a Business

Selling a business is an extensive process; a lot is involved, even from the initial phase of preparing your exit strategy. If you are considering selling a business, it’s a good idea to check your digital health as an initial step. There may be areas you could address before placing it for sale. 

Navii has a really well-evolved diagnostic tool, the digital engagement health check, that is predominantly about sales and marketing but it is the “main hook for businesses” as it conducts an assessment of the businesses entire online presence from their website to their social media, search and more. 

“It gives an amazing profile of where a business sits benchmarked against small businesses in Australia. The report gives them every point that could be an opportunity for them [to improve,] it could be they don’t have a clickable phone number on their website for example and the report gives them that feedback, why it’s important, and a solution for it.”

“It’s an amazing diagnostic tool that can also be used as an action plan, it gives us tremendous data about where the issues are about small business but its main use is for the business owner, that they can go ‘oh look here is 20 things I can do myself and improve my online presence’ pretty much immediately and those are some of those quick wins.” 

“Against best practice, the average for small business in Australia is below 50%, out of the opportunities that exist across these fundamental marketing platforms, Australian small business is about halfway there generally speaking.” 

Education and access are key to helping small businesses in Australia keep up in an increasingly online marketplace.

Implementing technology months before selling a business could positively impact the sales process. If you’re unable to implement any new tools, mention relevant technology in your Memorandum in the ‘potential growth’ section, so the buyer is aware. 


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About the author

Caitlin Mary


Caitlin has a background in media and communications, studying journalism at University and doing various freelance writing and production work over ...

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