Now that you’ve owned a successful eCommerce website with a steady inflow of revenue for a few years, you’ve decided that it is time to sell it. We understand that you’ve invested a lot of hard work and dedication towards your website to make it successful, and now you want to get the maximum possible return for it. So if you are wondering how you should approach the process of selling your website, you’ve arrived at the right place. In the following article, we are going to discuss the various options that can help you sell your website. We have also consulted a few experts to gather the advantages and disadvantages of each method for you. So after the different personal and professional considerations, if you think that you are ready for a profitable exit, there are several avenues that you can explore.
Use a Business Broker
One of the best advantages of using a business broker is that they already have an extensive network of qualified buyers who are thoroughly checked out. A lot of these buyers are usually their regular customers, which means that a large part of your job of looking for an eligible potential buyer is always taken care of. They have a database of thousands of qualified buyers who are on the lookout for people willing to sell eCommerce websites and online businesses with a successful track record. Due to this immense advantage, business brokers have a higher success rate and can close deals much faster. Most of the time it takes them 4-8 weeks to get complete the sale.
Business brokers can fetch you the maximum possible price because it is in their interest too. They usually charge a percentage of the sale value, which means that they will try to get the maximum possible value for you while making sure that the price remains attractive enough for a buyer. They will also use their valuation experts and methods to determine the maximum asking price for your eCommerce business.
If it is the first time you are selling a business, the process might seem daunting to you. A well-seasoned broker can guide you through the different steps from the beginning until the completion of the sale. The business broker will need all the salient information from you, and once you have provided that, they will take charge of selling your business. Rest assured that you will still be the primary decision-maker. The usual steps are:
- Advisory valuation.
- Preparing the marketing prospectus.
- Finding potential buyers.
- Negotiating on your behalf.
- Due diligence.
- Drafting the contracts.
- Resolve legal or regulatory matters.
- Aiding the transfer of assets.
- Closing the deal.
It is the job of the broker to weed out the time-wasters from the potential buyers who are genuinely interested in buying your business. Since security can be a concern, brokers make sure that the prospective buyers sign a non-disclosure agreement. It is to ensure that any financial matters, intellectual properties, and any other well-guarded assets do not get exposed to anyone else during the entire process.
Before you think of hiring brokers, ensure that they deal with businesses with sale values similar to yours. For example, if your business evaluation is $5 million, brokerage firms that sell businesses worth $5 billion will not give you as much attention as you need. Many brokerage firms also have a benchmark screening process to evaluate the eCommerce business before they agree to sell it since they want to maintain their reputation and success rate. Since they need to be stringent about selecting the buyers, they are also particular about the businesses they choose to sell.
There are quite a few business marketplaces that list eCommerce websites and other businesses for sale. These marketplaces charge a nominal listing fee, and the documentation or due diligence required is not very high. Even though they have a lot of traffic inflow, the number of eligible buyers can be questionable, and they do not provide much support to sell your business. Moreover, these websites also charge a success fee, which is almost as much as brokerage charges.
Similar to business marketplaces, many auctions place list eCommerce websites for sale. They share similar pros and cons as marketplaces and should be approached with caution.
Even though direct sales might seem lucrative enough since they save you from any fees, the process can be extremely costly, exhausting, and time-consuming. If you have considerable experience in selling eCommerce businesses, selling directly may be a viable option for you. But if this is your first time selling a business, the process might be too overwhelming for you despite having adequate business acumen or sales experience in your industry.
E-Commerce is one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States and all over the world. There is a large market of potential buyers who are always looking for eCommerce websites with a good track record. So if you feel the timing is right for you to sell your successful eCommerce website and move on to the next venture, rest assured that you can get a high return for all of your investments.
Selling an eCommerce website needs patience and planning. Start by getting your papers and numbers in order. Partnering up with the right business brokers is also an essential step. Set a realistic price and negotiate a better price by adding more services like an extended hand-holding phase for a smooth transition, introduction with buyers and vendors, and more. As a responsible business owner, you also need to ensure that most of your employees are retained by the new management.
While getting a better price is always the goal, it’s never a good idea to inflate your company numbers. Instead, spend time on explaining the challenges your business faces and select buyers who can bring in their expertise to solve them.