All of us in the Internet Marketing world want to make millions of dollars. Whether it’s the allure of Silicon Valley success stories from the late 90’s or just the allure of not working in some stuffy office, there is always that hope of making it “big” and “balling out of control” with riches made on the Internet.
Today, I’m going to tell you exactly how you can sell your online business. If you build a successful business and are looking for an exit strategy, these bullet points below will help you cash out, and cash out big.
Cashing Out and Exiting from Your Internet Business
The layman may not understand that virtual property such as websites, blogs and online businesses are worth money but we web owners know better. There comes a point in every web owner’s life when they want to move on to greater and better things or just diversify their online presence into something which might be potentially more fruitful and interesting. At this point they will sell their website but it is not as easy as it sounds. More than a few steps go into it and they are detailed below.
- Never underestimate the value of your website. It probably provides products and services to a niche or has local significance so it can be worth just about anything that someone will pay for it and more. If you need a calculating gauge then you can write down your earnings , minus the possible costs and then multiply that number with two or twelve depending on how much of a fan following or readership you have.
- It is irresponsible and even heartless to give the operating object of your hard work to a web entrepreneur who either lacks the technical expertise to run it efficiently or does not understand its significance as an online business or as intellectual property. Take your time and maximize your gains by choosing an entrepreneur who can carry on your work and find it fruitful and rewarding in the process.
- Even before you start looking for a new owner for your brainchild, gather all traffic related statistics that you can because they are instrumental in deciding the kind of price you are going to get. These will include anything from shares to likes, visitors, countries that use the website, local and global page rankings, search engine positions and so on. The higher your rate, the more money you can demand because all these can be translated into hardcore revenue.
- If you have used basic hosting which did not provide you with a statistics package, you can invest in something like Awstats, or Webalizer that give updated stats and you can share them with interested parties or use these reports when you advertise (more on that later).
- Make a point of gathering all accounts so that the new owner can get accurate estimates of what they can expect to earn and what their costs will be regardless of whether they are uploading new content or not. If they can keep up the kind of quality that you were providing before, they can retain your customers and also hope to expand the marketplace to create a greater following.
- The best way to get a buyer is to look within your own local community first. There might be enthusiastic superstores which would be looking to expand online and add to your product catalog. You can even contact your suppliers and put forward a proposal of why having an online business would be great for their store or brand.
- If you want a web entrepreneur who is passionate about selling online and if you do not want your website to simply be absorbed into a much bigger enterprise and forgotten about, there are a few places you can find them. Ebay has a section on buying and selling websites and there are plenty of online forums where there are potential businessmen looking for a business just like yours. They might incorporate either their own products or carry on with your suppliers. Some great forums where you can fish for suitable buyers are buymywebsite, BusinessBroker, BuySellWebsite, and eBizBrokers. You can also go the private route and work with someone like Website Properties Online Business Brokers.
At some point you will find a worthy buyer and then you will need to negotiate back and forth to get your target price. Unless you have an extremely gracious person communicating with you, most buyers will point out flaws (especially in the data that you provide them) and will try to undermine the price. The most important thing to remember is to not show that you are in a hurry to sell or that you are desperate. It is a bit like playing poker.
Concluding a deal may not be as easy as they make it out to be. Bear the following points in mind so that you emerge as a winner and do not make any expected yet embarrassing mistakes.
- Discuss the all-important issue of money transfer beforehand to avoid awkward conversation later on. Make sure you have an established understanding with the buyer preferably in the form of paper so that they cannot attempt to scam you by sending a smaller amount and so on.
- Although you may not need to engage a lawyer if the party you are doing business with is reliable or reputable but it is essential you insist on basic paperwork which outlines the extent of your liability, the terms under which the deal was struck, agreed payment and so forth.
- Being a new web owner is hard so you may find you are receiving calls and emails at all hours of the night asking for technical advice or help regarding the online business you have run for so long. This cannot be avoided at first but you will be better off by specifying a period of time during which you will be available so that you are not nagged or taken advantage of unduly.
- Make a small package of supplier information, accounting information, receipts and bills and other useful tidbits for the new owners. This should also include all important email addresses and phone numbers. This will keep them from bothering you again and again.
After you have received a well-deserved injection of cash, you can then go about planning new and daring projects. It is best to stick to what you are good at or what you have experience excelling in but you could break free of online businesses altogether and start a travel blog or online diary if that is what floats your boat.