It's not beyond the realm of possibility that the best place to sell your business may be online.
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In fact more and more small business owners are utilizing the internet as a vehicle to attract buyers for their companies. But if you think selling your company online is as easy as listing golf clubs on eBay, think again.
Selling a business online requires a certain amount of planning and sophistication. In other words, you have to know what you're doing since a shoddy online listing can actually lower the selling price of your business if it makes your company seem like a Mickey Mouse operation. To do it right, there are a lot of considerations that need to be taken into account. Here are some of them . . .
Take a quick survey of the internet and you'll find no shortage of business-for-sale websites interested in listing your FSBO (for sale by owner) business online - for a price, of course.
While many of these websites approach their task competently and professionally, some are more interested in collecting a check than anything else.
A good way to separate the winners from the lemons is to check out some of the businesses that are already listed on the site. Do the listings inspire you to learn more about the businesses offered or are they filled with typos, poor visuals, and outdated entries?
Also, you'll want to check out the traffic volume of any potential listing site to maximize the number of people who see your company's listing.
The largest business-for-sale marketplace is BizBuySell.com. It's one that we have experience with, and we recommend it as a first stop as you begin the process of listing a business for sale online.
Many online buyers mistakenly put tons of effort into their sale listing but no time at all into their own website. The problem is that once your sale listing generates interest for a possible buyer, his next stop is guaranteed to be your company website. If your company site is skeletal or contains information that contradicts what you said in the sales listing, you're sunk.
You don't have to spend thousands of dollars upgrading your site with all the latest bells and whistles. However, it does need to be up-to-date, presentable, and accurate. Another nice touch is to list your web address prominently in the listing, maybe even with a hyperlink directly to your site.
Details, Details, Details
Nothing is more discouraging to an online business shopper than a website that lists a business for sale but doesn't provide any details. Contrary to what you might think, details don't scare away potential buyers - they attract them.
At a minimum, plan on including the asking price, rough revenue estimate, and years in business anywhere your company is listed online. You may also want to consider including other details such as down payment requirements, owner financing terms (if any), scope of assets included with the purchase, number of employees, visibility features, and the possibility of a training period for the new owner.
Although the space available to you in an online listing is limited, more information translates into more interest by people who already have a general idea what your company is all about.