Launching and scaling an online store is one thing – selling it is another.
While building your store requires strategy, finesse and a lot of hard work, selling your business isn’t a walk in the park. It needs to be handled with care, and it requires the right amount of finesse, too.
This is for a few reasons. First, you don’t want to underprice your business and get a deal you’re not happy with. Second, you want to negotiate a deal that works for all parties. And third, you want to get a deal over the line in a timely manner so that things don’t drag on forever.
Oh, and you always want to create a valuable enough business that attracts a number of offers in the first place.
The selling process can actually be broken down into 3 core stages: First offers, Negotiations, and Accepting the right offer.
In this article, we’ll be taking a look at each stage separately so that you know exactly what to do next.
As soon as you’ve put your online store on the market, you can expect a few parties to start reaching out to you.
But while some might contact you directly, others might approach any partners you have first.
What’s the deal with the initial offers?
While it’s rare that the first offers are ever the last offers, you should still take the time to scrutinise each one diligently. Comb over them, and see what they say. It’s likely that you’ll find in these some low valuations, as well as a number of deal breakers and red flags.
If you’ve never sold a business before, it’s worth pointing out that it’s often the case with first offers that people are trying to low-ball you and get a price that suits them. Hoping to take advantage of your naivety, they fly straight out of the traps and make an offer before anyone else.
The advice here is to resist, to be patient and to just wait for better offers. They will come, provided you’ve already taken the time to bump up the value of your business by – among other things – automating it and sorting out your finances.
Always remember that, whatever offer you receive – good or bad – can be negotiated.
If it’s a poor offer? See if there’s room for negotiation.
If it’s too good to be true?
Again, it will still need to be negotiated.
This is especially true of those initial offers, which will probably be very underwhelming.
However, the negotiation process isn’t for newbies and it can be a total minefield. Not only are you dealing with valuations, offers and counter-offers, you’re also dealing with egos.
You might understand your business super well, and this may spill over into how you negotiate a price – but the buyer will be coming from a different place and might not understand what you’re saying. They don’t care about your business as much as you do just yet, and this is something to bear in mind.
Indeed, the negotiation stage can be a struggle. To alleviate some stress, and to ensure you get the best price possible, it’s a smart idea to work alongside a broker.
If you’ve got a good offer, and if you’ve progressed beyond the negotiation stage and you still feel happy with everything, it’s time to accept the offer.
That said, you may also receive another offer at this point if word has spread that you’re selling your business and are on the verge of closing a deal. If so, weigh up your options – and decide which one to accept.
Like each stage of the selling process, this is another one that’s tricky to handle. This is again why we suggest working alongside an experienced broker who knows exactly how to broker deals, getting them over the line in a timely manner, and ensuring you get the best deal possible.
Naturally, accepting an offer pretty much means the paint is drying – it’s almost time for you to move on from the business you launched and scaled. This can be an emotional time but it’s always important to remember that the buyer is ready to take over the mantle, and cares about your online store as much as you do now.
Selling a business isn’t easy, for a variety of reasons.
As we touched on just now, there’s the emotional aspect that many people overlook. If you’re not sure about a buyer, or if you feel as though you’re not getting the best price, remember that you can always say No or back out.
Just make sure your business is in tip-top shape, and that you’re selling at the right time. If your business isn’t as valuable as it could be, spend a bit of time fine-tuning things, before working with a broker who’ll help you get the sale you deserve.
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