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Online business is booming and there has never been a better time to start or buy your own business.
The purchase is a particularly interesting option, because much of the preparatory work is already done for you. You don’t have to go through the often lengthy and grueling process of determining your business model and monetization methods, which means you can go straight to expanding the business and increasing its profits.
Of course, whether you acquire a business, take it to the next level or blow it up, it depends on your experience and your ability to manage it. If you are new to the process, buying and running a business could be more of a learning experience than anything else.
Nevertheless, if you are looking for an online business to sell, it is extremely important to focus. This will allow you to narrow your search from the start and eliminate the need to browse sites that don’t match your interests and other key criteria. Whether building or buying, the same principle applies: concentration is essential.
Related: The Basics of How I Built a Seven-Digit Company Without Employees
Of course, finding a business to buy can also be a challenge, because you have to know or watch. Here are four ways to find an online business to sell.
It can be helpful to approach companies independently if you know exactly what you’re looking for. Of course, you will always want to go through the appropriate channels to do your research, prepare a business plan to demonstrate your ability to run a business, and to introduce the business owner, either directly or through ‘an intermediary.
You’ll want to analyze website traffic and backlink profile using tools such as Alexa and Ahrefs. Doing due diligence at this point is absolutely crucial, because if you find offensive trends, you may want to broaden your search and find other companies that are worth approaching. If a site still looks attractive after doing your research, you can move forward with the pitch. The key thing to remember is to communicate that you are serious about buying the business. This is why having a plan is so important.
If you don’t know who owns the website, you can often find details by running a simple Google search or Whois search.
2. Online markets
There are many markets online and there are many buyers who start their research on one of these sites because it is one of the most obvious places to start. Buyers can browse a variety of ads available in their chosen industry to find the most viable opportunities. Buyers can also request additional information about any ad, which will alert the seller of your potential interest.
Although creating an account, analyzing the ads, and interacting with the sellers is a relatively simple process. One market does not necessarily have more credibility than the other, and is generally only as good as the brokers and sellers who use them to sell their businesses.
It is certainly possible to find desirable sites using marketplaces, but you will still need to use your best judgment to find sites that are right for you.
Related: Don’t Start an Online Business Unless You Want To Run The Gauntlet
3. Auction sites
Auction sites are similar to commercial markets, the main difference being that potential buyers can bid on the sites. By using this system, sellers have the opportunity to attract more interest to their websites, increase the price of their businesses and earn more money. At other times, sellers may auction a site without having a solid understanding of its value, which gives the market the opportunity to vote with their offers.
The large number of ads makes auction sites an attractive option for eager buyers. However, you should know that the companies on the auction sites have not necessarily been verified. As a result, buyers take on more risk because there is less focus on auditing transactions and revenue, and some ads may still be distorted.
Due diligence is therefore the responsibility of the purchaser. If you are not familiar with best practices, buying a business through an auction site should be approached with some caution. Quality listings are more difficult to determine, and shill auctions – the practice of creating fake buyer accounts to bid on the site – can artificially inflate the prices of companies that may not be worth the requested value.
4. Website Brokers
Website brokers (like my company) are experienced in selling businesses online, have knowledge and expertise, tools and a large network to tap into. Lists of brokers are usually pre-screened using their due diligence process, and they specifically look for legitimate, established sites with stable income – everything you should be looking for as a buyer.
Brokers facilitate the buying process for buyers. They can count on their experience, work with them to resolve any problems that may arise, and benefit from their advice and guidance during their structured sales process.
Brokers are only paid when the sale is concluded and therefore have every interest in supervising the operation from start to finish. This is also why they are committed to organizing high quality announcements.
As a buyer, you should always be looking for trusted brokers, as this is a relatively new industry. Focus on building relationships because that’s how you find the best website brokers.
If you are looking to buy a business online, you have different channels and one is not necessarily better than the other. They all have their pros and cons, and you need to compare your overall experience with the channel you’re looking to use.
If the due diligence process is new to you and you have never bought a business before, online markets and auction sites may not be the best options for you. On the other hand, even if you have a lot of experience selling businesses online, there are times when working with a broker is the smartest thing you can do.
If you are looking for more information on buying a business online, here is my business guide: The Advanced Guide to Buying a Business Online.
Related: 4 Critical Steps to Create a Profitable Online Business