So you have an ecommerce business that you would like to sell. Chances are you have worked very hard to establish supplier relationships, build a great, user-friendly site, optimize the site for SEO, and now you are ready to cash in on your work. Selling an ecommerce business is not unlike selling any other business except there are few key points to keep in mind.
Organic rankings in search engines are very important. Anyone can sell on eBay or Amazon and anyone can pay for clicks. These are all good ways to increase sales volume, but the costs are high. To maximize the value of your ecommerce business you need to rank well for your industry keywords. Investing in a good SEO program a year or so before you bring the company to market will certainly pay off.
You should try to make the business as portable as possible. If the business can be relocated, you greatly expand your potential buyer pool. Don’t purchase real estate for the business or invest heavily in obtaining local customers.
Don’t over invest in automation software. We have seen many businesses that have invested way too much into ERP systems and don’t have the revenue or profit to support it. Make sure you focus on growing the revenue and profit first and then implement the systems to support it.
Run a lean business at least one year before taking the business to market. Take a look at your financials and identify areas that can be cut. Every dollar you save means 3 to 5 more dollars you get when you sell your business. Chances are you shipping costs are a high portion or your expenses. Renegotiate contracts with your shipping supplier to save money. Change from using boxes to bubble mailers to reduces supply costs. Reduce labor costs where you can.
Make sure your books are records are in good condition. A great way not to sell an ecommerce business is to have sloppy financial statements. Take extra effort six to twelve months before you go to market to make sure your records are impeccable.
Hire a good intermediary. Some businesses really don’t need a broker, but an ecommerce business is not one of them. A broker skilled in selling ecommerce businesses will possess a large database of qualified buyers. Most ecommerce businesses will sell, but selling for the highest price requires maximum exposure and expert guidance.