Outside the Box: How to Buy an Existing Online Business

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Today, many entrepreneurs decide that the business they want to open will be online. But does that mean you need to build a business from scratch?

Not necessarily. There are plenty of opportunities for entrepreneurs to purchase existing online businesses. Here are some tips for those thinking outside the box and buying an existing online business.

The advantages of buying an existing business are that you do not need to come up with the brand concept, monetization strategy, or business model. You can dive right in without the need to toil in the early stages of business development. 

However, as seen in the recent post, E-Commerce 101: How to Start an Online Business, you will need to do other things (due diligence and market analysis are two of the biggest ones) before making a purchase.

Where To Buy an Online Business

There are three popular options for buying an existing online business.

  1. An Online Marketplace. There are several online marketplaces with owners looking to sell their online businesses. It is a terrific place to start to see what is out there, the types of businesses that are for sale, and what might be available in the industry about which you are thinking. There will also be data about sales volume and traffic, much of which can be verified by independent third-party sources.
  2. Direct Purchase. If you are interested in a specific online business, you can reach out to the owner directly. You can use the website’s contact functionality or use WHOIS to find out ownership information for a domain. It will be important to do some homework about the site and present yourself as a serious, interested buyer before approaching a site owner. 
  3. Online Business Agent. Much like with real estate, there are brokers that specialize in finding buyers and matching them with interested sellers. These brokers can assist you with the due diligence and tracking down of the types of website businesses you are interested in that are for sale. These brokers are not paid until a transaction is complete, and they are working on your behalf.

Shopping basket illustration.

Where to Find Information

There are many sites that can provide the analysis and insights you need before choosing an online business to pursue. Here are a few:

  • SEMrush offers insights on any web domain, including search ranks, common keywords, backlinks, display advertising, competitors, and detailed analytics.
  • Link Explorer, a Moz product that gives you detailed information about the site’s links and assists with developing a link building strategy.
  • Ahrefs is another link analysis tool that provides a competitive analysis, keyword and backlink research, and rank tracking.

What to Look For

When you are thinking of buying an existing online business, be sure to look for the following:

  • A track record of profits and sales you can view before buying
  • Multiple income streams and not an over-reliance on one product
  • Demonstrated growth
  • Traffic coming from multiple sources
  • Marketing systems in place

Financing the Purchase 

There are many small business funding options for buyers. From traditional bank financing to peer-to-peer lending, there are options that fit your circumstances. Some buyers consider using seller financing or an earn-out strategy, where the buyer pays the seller a percentage of revenue or profits for a period of time.

One sound strategy is to use your existing 401(k) or IRA funds. Benetrends offers an innovative program, proven over the past three decades to help entrepreneurs secure the funds they need quickly. To learn more about Benetrends’ funding strategies,  download The Definitive Guide To 401(k)/ROBS Business Funding today.

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Outside the Box: How to Buy an Existing Online Business

TOPICS: small business funding online business financing robs 401k online businesses

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