Online Businesses are booming. It makes sense then that we are seeing an increase in the number of online businesses for sale, some well-established and some start-ups. A relatively new area, how does the sales process differ from a bricks-and-mortar business?
The fundamentals still apply; it’s only the business model that is different.
On the road to selling your business you will likely come face to face with someone claiming that they can sell your business to an overseas buyer for more than it is worth. Despite recent actions taken by the ACCC against unscrupulous vendors making these claims, the myth about overseas buyers continues to plague business sellers.
Advertising overseas will cost as much if not more than it does in Australia and knowing the truth about overseas buyers could save you a lot of wasted money.
So, if you’re thinking of selling your business through a business agency now or at any time down the road, take the time to arm yourself with the myths and facts about overseas buyers.
Seth Godin (acclaimed author and teacher) says to start your first business this way:
Begin with the smallest possible project in which someone will pay you money to solve a problem they know they have.
Charge less than it’s worth and more than it costs you.
The beauty about doing so with an Online Business is that not only is it simple to do; it can be done far more cheaply than to go a more traditional route.
Don’t worry so much about the ‘online’ part. It is only a tool, a mechanism to reach people who need to know about you’re your business is doing. Instead, figure out how to create value. The online part will take care of itself.
Don’t quit your day job (whatever that means to you) or use all your savings. Start evenings and weekends. If you don’t want to have to start from scratch, buy a small online business to practice on. The best way to move from Learner to Practitioner is to DO stuff. Figure it out with small failures.
Doing so also helps you build a public reputation (which can remain online only). Build a good one, and be sure that you deserve it, and that it will hold up to scrutiny.
Obsessively specialize. No niche is too small if it’s yours.
Connect the disconnected.
Make money offline. If you can figure out how to create value face to face, it’s a lot easier to figure out how to do the same digitally. The web isn’t magic, it’s merely efficient.
Become the best in the world at something that people value. Easier said than done, worth more than you might think.
Hang out with people who aren’t looking for shortcuts. Learn from them. Find and pay for advice that has not only credentials but also a robust track record.
Fail. Fail often and fail cheaply. This is the very best gift the web has given to people who want to bootstrap their way into a new business.
Make money in the small and then relentlessly scale.
Don’t chase yesterday’s online fad.
Think big, act with intention and don’t get bogged down in personalities. If it’s not on your agenda, why are you wasting time on it?
Learn. Ceaselessly. Learn to code, to write persuasively, to understand new technologies, to bring out the best in a team (especially if offshore), to find underused resources and to spot patterns.
This is not a zero sum game. The more you add to your community, the bigger your piece gets.
Here’s a novel first seven steps to get you going:
Pick your Topic
Create a strategic map of all that is going on within that topic and start checking for gaps and patterns
Concentrating on both the industry players and their likely customers, create a list of keywords that is used to find them and are relevant to your topic
Using these keywords, start searching and note what you find. Again what are the questions being asked that does not appear to have answers?
Top 50 pages
Record what the top 50 pages are that come up for the questions. Explore them for the answers being sought. What’s missing?
Extract contact details
Feed into your database/spreadsheet
Create an “offer”, with the view to discussing what’s missing with the top 50, highlighting how you are the one to assist in plugging this gap (and to project manager it for payment)
Rinse and repeat
Following steps like these will enable you to potentially play in a space you may be more familiar in i.e. the more traditional business, and together, craft and execute an online business model that you has you part of the action.
And it certainly opens the door to a useful conversation about whether your personal goal is useful, your strategy is appropriate and your tactic is coherent and likely to cause the change sought.
In your offer, address:
What’s it for?
When it works, will we be able to tell?
What’s it supposed to do?
Who is it for?
What specific group is this designed to resonate with?
What does this remind you of?
Who has tried this before?
Is it as well done?
What’s the call to action?
Is there a moment when you are clearly asking people to do something?
Show this to ten strangers. Don’t say anything. What do they ask you?
Now, ask them what the material is asking them to do.
What is the urgency?
Your job is not to answer every question; your job is not to close the sale. The purpose of this work is to amplify interest, generate interaction and spread your idea to the people who need to hear it, at the same time that you build trust.
You will rarely achieve this with one fell swoop, so be prepared to drip your way through countless swoops until you’ve earned the privilege of engaging with the audience you seek and them seeing the value in what you’re proposing.
As simple as Seth’s advice is, it is also extremely powerful. Follow it, together with the steps outlined and you will be well on your way.
To talk to me about this and any other business question you have on your mind, please contact me via email: email@example.com.
The thing about Online Businesses | Websites these days is that the market has been around long enough whereby there are businesses of quality, with verifiable statistics and easier to follow financials. So the information collected is more capably captured and consistent.
Trying to sell your business on your own, having not done it before, can be fraught with danger!
As the old adage goes, “You don’t know what you don’t know!“. There’s always the chance that you luck your way through, and all hail to you if you manage to do so.
But what I know for sure is, as an experienced Business Broker, is that most do not sell, or sell well.
You (as the owner) eventually use a Broker after trying unsuccessfully.
In many cases, all that’s unfortunately been achieved is that it takes a whole lot longer to sell and by potentially taken your eye off the business ball, the numbers may then reflect the distraction (which is not good for sale purposes)…
So why consider using a Business Broker from the outset?
We are licensed to assist in the buying and selling of businesses, at the State level
We have insights, gleaned over many years, into specific industries or type of businesses
We maintain confidentiality of buyer/seller
We act as a buffer between the buyer and the seller
We have a working knowledge of accounting, financing, legal, marketing etc to avoid unnecessary surprises in a transaction
We play the role of the “conductor of the orchestra” and even the “project manager”.
If trying yourself is what you want to do first, then watch out for these common mistakes to avoid when exiting. Not:
Focusing on the bigger picture
Doing your own research of your own market
Thinking through the “risks” – almost impossible to be “risk free”
Entertaining a willingness to accept risks •Example: Special conditions that can “kill the deal”
Regarding the probability of things going wrong
Reviewing the seriousness of quantifiable damage
Budgeting for upfront costs
Adapting “generic due diligence checklist/template” to your needs or size of the transaction •Example: Using a checklist suitable for multi-million dollar enterprise on small businesses
Deeming it worth the extra expense to seek input from accountants and solicitors with your particular industry expertise, while maintaining an existing relationship with your accountant or solicitor.
Being sure of who or what professional to seek appropriate advise from
Understanding the limitations of what the professional advisors can provide
Giving appropriate instruction to the professionals engaged
The following are 5 tips to help enhance the sale price of your business… by answering these 5 questions, you are seeing your business popping on Buyers Goggles.
Saleable? (i.e. not revolving around you)
If the answer is no to any of these, then you/we have got work to do. Contact me.