There are various reasons for selling an e-commerce business. Perhaps, you’d launched your website as a means to earn some passive income. Now that the business is growing, you might find it difficult to manage alongside your day job and other commitments.
On the other hand, you may have intended to sell it all along. Maybe you just wanted to propel the business to success, sell it to an interested buyer, and move on to another new venture. Irrespective of why you want to sell your e-commerce website, it’s crucial to devise a proper exit strategy.
Here’s the thing – selling an e-commerce business isn’t just about finding and approaching prospective buyers. If you want to get the best deal, you need to follow a proper business-exit plan. From organizing your financial records to finding the right online business broker – it involves various critical steps.
The good news is that selling an online store is easier than selling a brick-and-mortar business. This is because when your business operations are online, you can attract buyers from various parts of the world. It ensures that you get the most profitable deal without worrying about where the buyer is based.
So, what’s the best way to sell an online business? Well, there isn’t a generic formula to help you assess your business valuation and find the right buyer. That’s why in this blog, we’ve compiled a few effective tips to simplify the process. Let’s get started.
Prepare Your Website
What’s the first thing a potential buyer would do if they’re interested in your e-commerce business? Chances are they’d want to check out your website to decide whether your business is worth their consideration. You need to ensure that your website makes a remarkable first impression on every prospective buyer.
This, in turn, means your website must deliver a top-notch user experience. Start by optimizing your homepage to make it attractive and easily navigable. Also, improve the site architecture to ensure that a visitor can easily find relevant and useful products.
Next, keep an eye out for the website’s overall performance and speed. Make sure you’re also using the right security measures to protect customers’ data, as well as business information. Check the product pages to make sure that content and images are of top-notch quality.
The idea is to weed out any potential website performance issues that might turn away prospective buyers. The more efficient, faster, and user-friendly your website, the lesser the time needed by a new owner to get it going.
Organize Your Financial Records
Financial recordkeeping is one domain that baffles most online business owners. While you’re well-versed with designing a website and generating sales, maintaining accurate financial records may not be your cup of tea. It isn’t surprising that accounting is the most commonly outsourced business operation.
Nevertheless, any potential buyer would want to evaluate your balance sheets, tax summaries, income statements, and other reports before making a decision. Any inaccuracy or discrepancy in these reports could act as a red flag, potentially driving the buyer away.
That’s why it is wiser to recruit an experienced accountant who can take care of maintaining your financial statements. Even if you can’t afford a full-time accountant, you can hire one on a contractual basis.
Find a Trusted Business Broker
Here’s the thing – selling an online business on your own isn’t rocket science. But having a business broker on board could simplify the process and ensure that you get the maximum value for your website.
They’ll analyze various parameters of your business, including intellectual property, inventory, traffic, sales, etc., and calculate its valuation. Also, they’ll handhold you through the exit process and even connect you with reliable and vetted buyers.
The good news is that you’ll find a decent range of reputed online business brokers on the internet. Make sure you check the broker’s website to assess their credentials and reviews before approaching them. Also, find out how their business valuation process works and what kind of assistance they provide.
Will the broker help you handle the legal paperwork once a deal is finalized? How big a list of buyers do they have? Do they have prior experience in selling businesses in your niche? These are all questions you should ask before selecting an online business broker.
Don’t Ignore Sales
Just because you’ve decided to sell your business doesn’t mean you should abandon it altogether. If you want to attract prospective buyers, you must ensure steady traffic, conversions, and sales in the last leg as well.
Remember that you’re still the owner of the business and it’s up to you to ensure that it remains profitable. Also, any noticeable decline in sales in recent times could be a potential red flag for buyers.
Gather Customer Data
The good thing about buying a flourishing e-commerce business is that the new owner won’t have to start from scratch. You can make the proposition even more attractive by organizing all your customer data using a customer relationship management (CRM) platform.
It’ll ensure that the new owner can start running marketing campaigns right after buying your website. Make sure you update relevant customer data and remove inactive leads/customers. Also, check whether the data is accurate and properly segmented.
Have you ever tried your hands at selling an online store? Share your experience in the comments section below.