Selling your business online cannot be an easy decision. Once you have considered the various aspects involved and are certain it is the right course of action for you, all efforts must be made in order to maximize your returns from the sale. One of the key activities in this process includes the identification of the right medium to list your online business for sale. We will describe the 4 most prominent ways to do so. However, before listing your business, you need to ensure it is in good shape to be sold.
How to make your business ready for selling?
The tips in this section are worthwhile even if you are not certain about selling your business online, as they help you take stock of your business performance, help you identify gaps to plug and ensure optimum running levels.
Organize Financial Data: Naturally, any buyer will want to know the financial health of your business. This is the foremost concern on their mind – whether buying your business is a financially sound decision and what is the level of risk involved. You might already be doing so, but keep a dossier handy that contains your annual/quarterly sales figures, details of accounts receivable and payable, gross margins, net profits, debts, liabilities, tax filings and everything else that is covered in a P&L statement. Businesses with low debts and liabilities, steady revenue flow, and robust financials are inherently more attractive and likely to get a better valuation during the selling process.
Gather Operational Metrics: Prospective buyers will be keen to understand the effectiveness of your business operations. Details around your website traffic, cart-to-sale conversion ratio, repeat customer orders, new customer count, average store review, returns and cancellations, etc. are all important metrics that give an insight into how your business is performing. Not only does this make it easier for buyers to assess your business’ performance, it also helps you identify areas of improvement in your operations. You can use stop-gap solutions to improve on some of the underperforming areas to improve your business valuation before you sell your business online.
Create Streamlined Process: Buyers, by nature, are a risk-averse lot. After having analyzed your financial figures and gone through your business performance, the next question on their minds would be regarding the transition of the business under new ownership. Several expert findings show that businesses with well defined policies and processes are more desirable to buyers. If you have invested the time and effort in building standard operating procedures (SOPs), process workflows and a responsibility matrix, it gives clear visibility into how your operations work and assures the other party of being able to replicate (or follow) the documented instructions and procedures to achieve a seamless ownership transition without affecting the business performance.
How to list your business for selling?
Having taken the necessary preparatory steps, it is now time to identify the ideal way to list your business. Here are the 4 main ones for you to choose from.
Private Sale: Selling on your own gives you the most freedom in terms of identifying and choosing the buyer, establishing your terms and conditions, negotiating the final price, and so on. You also save big on any sales commission or consultancy charges. However, the process requires a fair amount of skill and experience. If you are going to sell your business online for the first time, you may wish to seek professional guidance so as to not get shortchanged in the process.
Sell to a Competitor: Possibly the most straightforward and simple sale would be directly to a competitor or a large conglomerate willing to take you over. Here, too, there are no third-party charges involved and the sale can be quick and clean. Be mindful though, if you plan to open another venture in the same industry then you may end up passing on your success secrets to your competitor.
Use a Broker: A popular method of listing a business for sale is through brokers and similar intermediaries. Their strong professional network helps identify buyers from a larger pool. Moreover, brokers also manage the different legal and contractual aspects of the process, freeing up your time and reducing your stress. For their services, they do charge a brokerage and this needs to be carefully examined as you will need to bear this cost.
Sell to an Acquirer: Trust is one of the key concerns when you consider to sell my business online. Selling to a reputed acquirer can be a rewarding experience as they have the knowledge and the resources to run the process smoothly and reliably, thus ensuring maximum returns for you. Professional acquirers have dedicated teams to hold your hand through the entire acquisition process and also save you the cost of the many overheads that can be a part of the overall process.