How To Prepare Your Online Business for Sale​

As an expert exit advisor with proven results and a track record in the online business brokerage field, I have had the privilege of influencing and consulting with numerous online business owners about the sale of their businesses.

Over the years, I have gained extensive experience in planning, optimizing, and preparing online businesses for sale, across various categories such as Amazon FBA businesses, affiliate sites, content sites, and ecommerce businesses.

My expertise lies in understanding my clients’ needs, their motivations for selling their online business, and guiding them to make the most beneficial decision. In this post, I will share my insights on how to prepare your online business for sale, ensuring it’s an attractive proposition for potential buyers.

The Importance of Preparing Your Online Business for Sale

Before diving into the steps to prepare your online business for sale, it’s important to understand why this preparation is crucial. The process of selling an online business can be complex and time-consuming.

However, with proper preparation, you can significantly increase the chances of a successful sale, and potentially, the final sale price.

When you prepare your online business for sale, you make it easier for potential buyers to understand its value. By organizing your business finances, establishing systems, and ensuring all your documentation is in order, you present a clear picture of your business’s performance and potential. This not only attracts more potential buyers but also instills confidence in them, making them more likely to proceed with the purchase.

Steps to Prepare Your Online Business for Sale

1. Get Your Finances in Order

One of the first steps in preparing your online business for sale is getting your finances in order. This involves keeping track of your profit margins, expenses, revenue, and taxes. It also includes assessing the value of your business accurately.

A profit and loss statement (P&L) is an essential tool in this process. It provides a snapshot of your business’s financial health and should be updated monthly. Ensuring the accuracy of these numbers is crucial as potential buyers will scrutinize these documents closely.

If managing finances isn’t your forte, consider investing in professional cloud-based accounting software or hiring an accountant or bookkeeper. These options can help you maintain accurate financial records, making the process of preparing your online business for sale smoother.

2. Establish Systems and Create Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)

Establishing systems and creating SOPs for different aspects of your business is another vital step in preparing your online business for sale. SOPs provide a detailed manual of how various tasks in your business are handled. These can range from product selection and keyword research to content creation and SEO optimization.

Having SOPs in place not only streamlines your business operations but also makes your business more attractive to potential buyers. Buyers are typically looking for a well-oiled machine that they can manage without investing too much time and effort. If the business depends heavily on the owner, it may deter potential buyers. SOPs can help resolve this issue.

3. Determine the Right Time to Sell

The right time to sell your online business depends on what you hope to achieve from the sale. Whether you’re looking to cash out and start a new venture, pay off your mortgage, or achieve a specific financial goal, determining your end goal can help you assess the potential sale price of your business.

To estimate this, you can use a valuation formula that considers the average net monthly profit over a period of at least 12 months and the sales multiple. This formula gives you an idea of how much net profit you need to make to hit your exit target for the sale of your business.

4. Review Your Business Performance

Six months before you plan to sell your online business, it’s advisable to review your business performance. This review can help you identify any issues that need to be addressed and make quick wins to improve your business’s attractiveness to potential buyers.

During this review, consider your supplier contracts, especially if you run an e-commerce business. Ensure these contracts are transferable to the new owner to prevent any complications during the sale process. Also, consider outsourcing as much as possible to make your business more appealing to potential buyers.

5. Update SOPs and Review Financials and Analytics

Three months before selling your online business, take the time to update your SOPs and review your financials and analytics. Ensure your SOPs are still relevant and your financial records accurately reflect your business performance.

6. Set a Hard Minimum Sale Price

Setting a hard minimum sale price is essential during the negotiation process. This price is the lowest amount you’re willing to accept for your business. Setting this limit can help you or your broker identify which offers to consider and which to reject outright, saving both you and the buyer time.

7. Talk About Your Failures

Finally, don’t shy away from discussing your failures. While it may seem counterintuitive, talking about what you’ve done wrong or where you’ve neglected your business can actually increase its value in the eyes of potential buyers. These buyers often see opportunities to fix things, improve the business, and add instant value, making your business an attractive investment.

Conclusion

In conclusion, preparing your online business for sale is a strategic process that requires careful planning and execution. By following these steps, you can ensure your business is in the best possible shape for sale, attracting potential buyers and maximizing your final sale price.

Whether you choose to sell privately or through a broker, remember the importance of transparency, accurate financial records, and clear operational procedures. With these in place, you’re well on your way to a successful sale.

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