An online business can be the product of years of hard work and dedication but at some point: stagnation occurs. Most web owners decide to sell when they have developed other interests and when the considerable stress of operating an online business has worn them out. While this might be the case, they will almost never want to get it off their hands for cheap. Making an advantageous deal happen is an art and the points mentioned below will help you make that happen.
Members of Affiliate University’s Educational Course on Affiliate Marketing were treated to a webinar in April by David Fairley, who owns WebsiteProperties.com.
He has helped me sell online businesses in the past and is a very well respected broker of Internet Businesses.
Today I took a step back to reflect on some of the conversations we’ve had and put pen to paper, so to speak.
Steps to Selling Your Website or Online Venture
- Take as much time as you need as it certainly is a transition of sorts and can make you emotional and prone to bad decision making. Taking a few months is recommended because this gives you the chance to do any fixer-uppers to inflate the price of the business and also to get your documentation together such as profit sheets, sales information, supplier’s contact details, technical manuals and what not for the new owner.
- The accepted method of evaluating what your online business is worth is to include profit minus expenses and then inflate the value up to twelve times if need be. Now there are technical tools and software which do this calculating for you and give you a good starting point since the final deciding power is you regardless of what stats claim. Many factors are used by such software such as expected sales, current sales, customer base, economic projections, geographical factors, product appeal, and cash flow and so on.
- Never undermine the value of your business as some people might pay triple what others would so you just need to wait for the right buyer to come along and while you are waiting you can put an ad on eBay or any social platform that you trust. Another well-used trick is to contact suppliers especially if they are larger stores or chains regarding your website and whether or not they would like to buy it. A lot of the time larger stores have thought about creating a defined online presence but maybe they just need an established set up where their products are already being sold.
- Contacting people that have no connection to your business with a well written email has known to work wonders especially if you can gear it to make the venture profitable for them. Now these people typically include overseas companies that might want a presence in your area but not in a physical brick and mortar form. An online venture can be the perfect gateway especially if that venture has a loyal clientele already. The business could actually benefit from foreign input.
- While it is rarely necessary to hire a lot of experts such as accountants to get the sale through, you will need to get advice so that you do not make a contract which you end up regretting later. Always remember to get all major agreements on paper so that the buyer cannot back out or wire less money at the last minute and the like. Services like websitebrokers.com can be useful if you aren’t getting the right kind of offers and want to step up your game but this all comes for a fee.
How You Can Excite The Buyer Into Paying More
- Be prepared and yet firm. If you appear overly desperate to get rid of the website they will sense something is wrong and that will never go in your favor. Wow them with statistics that your website performs well, brings in new customers on a daily basis and has the potential for unprecedented growth in the future. (This can be done by providing graphs with economic projections).
- Use specifics when communicating with the buyer to show competence which reflects well on the business. Be honest about page views, visits, sales, web traffic globally and locally, bounce rate and website metrics. Use tools such as Awstats and the Webalizer so you have a more official report to pass on.
- Be upfront about the costs as this will save you a lot of trouble later on. Give them details of server costs, hosting charges, paid software subscriptions and the whole lot. When you give over the site make sure a detailed but basic manual is included so you can avoid calls and emails from the new owner later on asking for advice on how to run the site. You can also specify beforehand how long you will provide advice for and at what point they will need to take over the reins or hire someone who knows what he’s doing. Financial statements are a great idea as you save time in compilation.
- Attempt to build a friendly relationship with the buyer so that they are more likely to oblige your needs when it comes to negotiating the price. It is better to build up to it as throwing large numbers around on the onset can scare buyers away. Give the buyers a sense of the passion and conviction you had when you first started out as this will make them value the business more and subsequently pay more for it.
Reputable Marketplaces You Should Look Into
- Website Broker
The value of virtual property is on the rise as Whatsapp just went for $19 billion so it is safe to assume that every operating online business out there is worth a decent amount of money you only need to make sure your effort and hard work is repaid and that the dream will live on. Many smaller online businesses that are sold get lost in the complex web of larger corporations.
It may not be a bad thing but a buyer that will care for the business will give you more peace of mind as you move on to other projects. Remember a sale will require more than one contract so do not be alarmed and hire a lawyer if you are concerned about legal implications.