The road to selling your e-commerce business for the best valuation can be difficult without help. Thankfully, there are many resources and businesses that specialize in facilitating this process available online.
When Is The Best Time To Sell An E-Commerce Business?
It is crucial to selling your e-commerce business at the right time. In addition, planning your exit strategy will help to get you the highest valuation possible.
For example, buyers will be more attracted to your business during its seasonal uptick in sales. However, it usually takes some time to sell the business. Therefore, it’s often a good strategy to begin selling at the start of the sales season.
Consulting an online business broker ahead of time to discuss this can be very helpful, especially for first-time business owners.
How To Prepare Your Business For Sale?
- Get a professional to put your financial records in order. These are crucial to buyers, and the better organized and presented they are, the better your chance at success.
- Get your customer database in order. This is the second most important set of documents your buyers will be going through.
- Stock your inventory so that the business is fully functional – nothing should be out of stock.
- Be sure that your e-commerce storefront is attractive, easy to use, and up to date.
- Keep the business running smoothly. A steep drop-off in sales will make it seem like you are trying to sell a dying business.
Where Is The Best Place To Sell An E-Commerce Business?
Medium-sized businesses (those making $20k-$5m annually) are best sold through a brokerage. Some examples of great brokerages online include:
Store Coach – Priding themselves on getting bigger multipliers than most, they don’t charge any upfront listing fees whatsoever. With an over 90% success rate, they also have some of the lowest brokering fees in the industry. Finally, they handle every aspect of the brokering service, including listings, lead generation, vetting, and managing all communication and asset transfers.
Digital Exits – They specialize in selling high-end e-commerce businesses. They typically handle mid to large companies up to $20M. They are best for well-established companies with strong balance sheets, making at least $100k annually for two years running. Their services are comprehensive and are considered highly reputable.
FE International – They are one of the most reputable small brokerages on the internet. They handle all aspects of selling the business in-house and have an impeccable track record. The main drawback to using them is their hefty brokerage fee, which can go up to 15% for large websites. However, you do not need to pay any fees upfront.
Small businesses (those making less than $20k annually) are best sold through classifieds, marketplaces, or forums. Here are some of the best choices:
Flippa – Flippa is one of the most popular marketplaces for buying and selling small e-commerce businesses.
Shopify Forums – Shopify Forums have some of the most in-depth discussions of small e-commerce businesses.
Exchange Marketplace – The Exchange Marketplace is a resource made by Shopify to help you evaluate your store. You can also create a public listing where you’ll receive offers from buyers.
Oftentimes it’s short-sighted to sell your successful eCommerce business, but whether it makes sense now or several years down the road, there will come a time to do so. When you are ready, you should certainly use a broker. Not only do they handle the process for you, but even after their fees, you will pocket more in most scenarios.