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How Can I Sell Excess Inventory When Going Out of Business?

By Ryan Himmel

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

My family runs a snack bar business that unfortunately has to close down. How should we go about selling our excess inventory (approximately 30,000 bars at 12 bars per box)? The lot expires in July 2013. Any suggestions for marketing promotions, special deals or ways to get the word out about our products FAST would be great.

One of the toughest aspects of starting a business is knowing when it's time to call it quits. When that time comes, the business owner needs to evaluate the trade-off of trying to get the most money for the company versus exiting quickly. It's very difficult to achieve both. However, it can be an easy decision if the business can no longer survive on its own, as is the case with this snack bar scenario.

Let's assume that you're anxious to sell the remaining inventory or assets as soon as possible. Your first step is to identify other businesses that value the assets you have remaining in the business. They may be direct competitors, suppliers or complimentary businesses. They may not give you the best price, but reaching out to them will be the quickest method to sell the inventory. Therefore, I would inquire with other snack bars in the region as well as local convenience stores that sell similar goods. Don't bother with your supplier, because you have an expiration date on the goods and they will just be in the same position that you are in now.

If you've failed to find a bulk buyer of your goods or assets, the next step is to go to local markets or outdoor events that will allow you to sell at their venue. It's sometimes difficult to quickly become an approved vendor at these events, but it's certainly worth a phone call with the organizer.

Your last option is to push a hard sell at your own location. This means deeply discounted promotions and buy-one-get-one-free promotions with flyers on every car in the parking lot and around the neighborhood.

I hope you're able to sell the inventory. Let us know how it goes and which method worked out the best for you.

Ryan Himmel

Head of Financial Partnerships, Xero Americas

Ryan Himmel is a CPA and financial technology executive who has dedicated over a decade of his work toward providing solutions to help accountants and small-business owners better run their firms. Himmel currently leads financial partnerships in the Americas for Xero.

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