Great trade sales happen when someone wants to buy your business, not when you want to sell it. The best trades sales happen when someone needs to buy your business.
When you think about potential buyers for a portfolio company, an important question to ask is this: who has an existing revenue-generating relationship that they want to preserve or extend?
For example: we owned an importer and distributor of an industrial product. Our business had almost 70% market share in Australia and New Zealand. The raw material was supplied by one offshore company under an exclusive contract.
The CEO of our business mentioned that his shareholders were considering an exit . . . and just seven weeks later the offshore supplier owned our company. They simply weren't willing to take the risk that one of their global competitors might snap it up and lock the market away forever.