March 21, 2022

Buying an Online Business in 3 Easy Steps

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Buying an Online Business in 3 Easy Steps

Unconventional Acquisitions

March 21, 2022

Imagine ditching that dead-end nine-to-five job to acquire an existing business with a proven track record of success. Of course, you’d probably need a fat savings account and tons of connections to make that happen, right?

Not necessarily.

Acquiring an existing business is easier than you probably think because you don’t have to limit yourself to brick-and-mortar enterprises. As a result, tons of people like you are becoming business owners without needing to step foot out of their homes – literally.

How do they do it? By buying online businesses. Can you make it happen? Absolutely. How can you make it happen, though? Here’s a hint: It helps to know how successful people are doing it – and that’s where this guide comes into play.

Start a Business from Scratch? Scratch That!

Okay, so we’ve established that buying a brick-and-mortar business isn’t the be-all, end-all of kick-starting an empire. Online businesses offer more flexibility, and they often weather economic downturns better than businesses in the non-digital world. In addition, you aren’t tied down by geography and other restrictions with an online business.

Sounds great, right? If owning an online business is so amazing, though, why not set one up for yourself?
It’s easy to assume that establishing an online business is way easier than setting up a brick-and-mortar operation, but that’s not necessarily the case. It can take tons of time, money, and effort to gain traction with an online business, and there are no guarantees that any of that work will pay off later. The eCommerce world is extremely competitive, after all.
What does it take to get an online business up, running, and profitable? Well, let’s see. First, you have to identify a niche that interests you. Next, you’ve got to set up a website – and that usually means hiring someone to do it for you, unless you’re also a developer. Oh yeah, you also need to develop an email list and market to it, establish a social media presence and acquire lots of followers, create content that generates interest in your products and services, develop products and promote them effectively – the list goes on and on.
So, yeah – if you’re passionate about controlling every aspect of an online business, you’ll want to develop it from scratch. It’ll be worth the time and effort in that case. But, on the other hand, if you’re going to hit the ground running and start pocketing revenue right away – and who doesn’t? – buying an online business is way better.
Buying websites is a classic example of acquiring a bona fide turnkey business. You’re not just buying the website or domain; you’re buying an entire business with a customer base, proven marketing methods, products, a social media presence, an email marketing list and more.
Once you’ve bought a website for sale, you can let it keep operating as is or improve it to generate even more profits. The important thing is that you’re in the driver’s seat, the master of your own fate.
Learn how to buy an online business with these three steps:

1.) Choose a Niche – and Know What to Look For

Once you’ve bought a website for sale, you can let it keep operating as is or improve it to generate even more profits. The important thing is that you’re in the driver’s seat, the master of your own fate.
Learn how to buy an online business with these three steps:

It’s easier to be motivated about owning an online business when you care about what you’re selling. With that in mind, choosing a niche that interests you is a great way to start. From there, you can begin investigating niche sites to figure out what appeals to you.

Niche websites are easier to handle because they have a specific purpose. In addition, marketing such sites is more manageable because you’re not trying to promote everything under the sun – just specific, niche pursuits. 

Chances are that you already have niches in mind, so this part should be pretty easy.

From there, you’ll want to know how to tell if a website is worth the money needed to acquire it. After all, if it would be cheaper to design and build the site yourself, there’s no benefit to paying for an existing one.

A good rule of thumb here is to multiply the annual profits of an online business by a factor of two or three, which will give you a ballpark sales price that’s within the realm of fairness. Next, you’ll want to factor in any assets that come with the online business. Increase the projected sales price for any of the following things that may apply:

  • an excellent domain name
  • an established, recognizable brand
  • proven, consistent website traffic
  • a solid social media presence
  • an extensive email marketing list of responsive names

The best websites for sale will have, at the absolute minimum, the following characteristics:

  • Multiple income streams – It shouldn’t revolve around only one product.
  • Multiple traffic sources – Traffic flowing to the website should come from several sources, including authority websites and top social media platforms.
  • Ongoing growth – The online business should exhibit continual growth, or you could get stuck with a floundering site.
  • Consistent monthly returns – If you see lots of hills and valleys with the revenue stream, cross it off the list.
  • Proven marketing system in place – The right online business will have a clear, established marketing strategy, including SEO and social media marketing efforts.

2.) Find a Trustworthy Seller or Platform

Next, you need to decide how you’re going to find and acquire the online business of your dreams. Luckily for you, there are tons of proven, effective options, including platforms like Empire Flippers and Flippa.

If you enjoy getting into the nitty-gritty of things, you might want to contact online business owners directly and offer to buy their websites. Identify suitable online businesses and research things like traffic statistics, marketing techniques and products to see if they are up to snuff. Figure out who owns the site using, and shoot them an email expressing your interest.

A lot of legwork goes into buying websites directly. Another possibility is to buy them through an auction site or broker. Brokers have reputations to maintain, but they often have significant barriers to entry to qualify potential buyers. Auction sites have steep learning curves, and lots of shady stuff happens behind the scenes, so they’re not really optimal.

That leaves us with the best option: online marketplaces. Sites like Flippa and Empire Flippers do a lot of the legwork for you by vetting online businesses before they appear in the listings. Of course, you’re apt to wonder, “Is Empire Flippers legit?” Considering how many business owners get their start by purchasing online businesses through the platform, we think it’s safe to say they are totally legit!

Naturally, you’ll want to compare various platforms, like Empire Flippers vs Flippa. A quick check of Empire Flippers reviews should tell you everything you need to know in this regard.

Basically, the best online platforms for buying and selling websites make it easy to communicate with sellers. To list sites for sale, sellers should have to undergo a thorough, bank-grade assessment, including a Know Your Customer, or KYC, check.

3.) Perform Your Own Due Diligence

As helpful as sites like Flippa may be, you’ll still need to perform due diligence before proceeding with the purchase of any website. Think of it like buying a house. Sure, the online listing looks promising, and an established brokerage is marketing the home. Still, it’s up to you to have the place inspected, check into property records, and otherwise vet everything. 

The same thing applies to buying an online business.

Independently confirm the financial and operational health of any online business you consider. Next, consider the nuances involved in the niche of your choice and how its business model works. For example, suppose you’re buying an advertising business. In that case, you’ll want to know how content is typically created, how much it costs to create said content, how dependent the business model is on affiliates, and the cost to acquire a customer.

Dig into how the business is marketed online, especially across social media. Use social mentioning apps to get a feel for the reputation of the business and its branding. Then, use Google Analytics and other tools to assess the overall health of the online business.

We also recommend setting things up so that you can “test drive” the online business before fully committing and releasing payment. Then, when issuing the sales contract, make a binding transitional period a part of the agreement. That way, you’ll have a leg to stand on if the online biz isn’t quite what it seems.

Unconventional Acquisitions consists of savvy entrepreneurs who understand the ins and outs of buying an online business. We help strivers like you buy and build businesses to kick-start their business empires. Our YouTube channel includes tons of great, free resources to help you make the most of this exciting journey, so check it out and check back with us to let us know how we can help.

Yours Unconventionally,

Codie & Ryan

Co-founder- Unconventional Acquisitions

If you want to learn more about how to find and buy businesses, check out these articles

You can also register for the course here OR if you are serious about buying a small business, join our Mastermind.

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