How to Sell your Online Business
As an online business owner, there are few choices more difficult than deciding whether or not to sell. After years or even decades leading your company, handing it over to someone else may seem unthinkable. Yet there comes a time when you must let a business go in order to move on to other great ventures, or retirement. Consult your attorney, and consider talking with business brokers in your area for comprehensive support. The following guide will provide you an overview of things to think about when selling your business:
The Time for Online Business Sales
Before you sell a business, make sure that it’s the right time to do so by asking the following questions:
- Is the brand all about me? A common problem for online businesses is that their brands are tied up with the identity of the founder, so when the founder leaves, customers no longer recognize the company. If your firm's public image can’t be distinguished from your own, you may consider a rebrand before you can sell.
- Am I at my height? The ideal time to sell is when your business is at its most profitable. If you sell before or after this point, you won’t get the best price. Pay attention to sales figures, website visits, social media mentions, and all other indicators of success; only sell if these metrics show your company at its peak.
- Will my business be undervalued? Small business owners often run as many expenses as legally possible through their companies, even things like country club membership fees. This can lead potential buyers to view your business as less profitable and make smaller offers. You should eliminate any expenses that are running through your business but not actually necessary for operations before you sell.
Preparing for a Successful Sale
To sell your online business for the best possible price, you need to give potential buyers accurate information about its history and potential. You should gather the following information:
- Traffic Data- Using Google Analytics and other online tracking tools, assemble detailed records of traffic to your website, social media pages, and all other platforms. This will give potential buyers a sense of your company’s online visibility and the prospects for bringing in more customers.
- Marketing Records- Assemble brand guidelines, samples of your blog posts, videos, ads, and other content used to market your company. Buyers need this to get a sense of how your company is perceived online, to understand your brand philosophy, and even how your brand fits into their portfolio of other businesses.
- Financial Data- Buyers will want detailed records of your company’s finances, including all outstanding liabilities and assets it owns. Buyers need this to assess whether your firm will be a profitable purchase. Consult your business attorney about executing a non-disclosure agreement beforehand to protect your privacy.
- Standard Operating Procedures- Document your standard procedures in as much detail as possible. Your buyer will need this information to take over without disruption. This kind of information may be considered intellectual property, and can add value to your business.
Selling your business is a huge decision and there are many things to consider throughout the process. Keep in mind these tips to ensure that the transition is as smooth as possible while making sure you get the best price.