How To Sell Your Ecommerce Business For The Maximum Price In 11 Steps

STEP 1

MAKE SURE YOU REALLY WANT TO SELL YOUR BUSINESS

I know this sounds crazy, but if you feel your monthly positive cash flow outweighs the lump sum of selling your business then don’t sell it. But remember, your business may not be doing as well later and you will have lost the opportunity cost to sell at a higher multiple.

STEP 2

PREPARE YOUR SITE FOR THE SALE

You need to make sure that the site is appealing to the new owners. If it has clutter, navigation issues, and poor aesthetics, buyers see this as extra work they need to do after the acquisition.

STEP 3

MAKE SURE YOUR INVENTORY IS UP TO DATE

A website with products marked “out of stock” on nearly every page will be unappealing to your customers and prospective owners. Make sure your inventory is in stock for the new owners.

STEP 4

MAKE SURE YOUR FINANCIALS ARE IN ORDER

Make sure you have your financials done by an expert. You should have your last three years of tax returns, income statement, cash flow statement, and your balance sheet done by a professional CPA.

STEP 5

ORGANIZE YOUR CUSTOMER DATABASE

Make sure that you have a database of all your customers and their contact information, preferably email. Your database is the most important asset of your business and allows your buyer to feel comfortable in knowing he/she has a customer base to sell to.

STEP 6

FOCUS ON SALES, TRAFFIC, 06 AND BUILDING YOUR DATABASE

While you are in the process of preparing your business for sale, continue to do the things that will help improve the valuation. Do not neglect these items as they can cause you to trend in a downward manner affecting your sales price.

STEP 7

CONSULT WITH A VALUATION EXPERT 

Make sure you speak with a business valuation expert to help determine the true value of your business. Also make sure they are knowledgeable in the sale of e-commerce businesses because there are certain nuances that differ from traditional businesses.

STEP 8

FIND A BROKER THAT SELLS ECOMMERCE BUSINESSES

You want to find a business broker that is familiar with the sale and valuation of e-commerce businesses. You may also want to list your site on several broker portals.

STEP 9

QUALIFY PROSPECTIVE BUYERS

Even though you will probably use the services of a broker, the bottom-line responsibility to sell your business falls on you – and you should be proactive in selling your business without stepping on the toes of your broker.

STEP 10

COMPLETE THE SALE

Once you’re ready to accept an offer, it’s time to get the lawyers involved. Just make sure you have a lawyer that specializes in contract law. Convey your wants and needs to your attorney, and they’ll take care of the rest.

STEP 11

THE TRANSITION

Once the sale is complete, don’t just metaphorically “hand over the keys” and walk away. Depending on your contract, you might be obliged to assist the new owner as part of the transition process. This type of contingency in the deal is much more appealing to buyers.

MISTAKES TO AVOID WHEN SELLING YOUR BUSINESS

Don’t be impulsive, make sure you want to sell. Make sure you don’t accept an offer if you’re not getting paid upfront. Don’t assume that you’ll be paid in full from an installment plan over the next few years. Plan early and have an exit strategy the day you start your business.

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