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How to Buy a Business Online: 4 Places to Find a Business for Sale

11/25/2022 13:06:50 +0000
Creating a business plan, sourcing inventory, and generating leads are just some of the tasks when starting a business. But you can skip the gruelling long hours by learning how to buy a business online.

By buying a business, you have the chance to own a profitable company with growth potential. Many business owners also buy ventures within their current industry to widen their market share. Here are other reasons why big companies purchase small companies.
 
Even though buying a business online sounds like a faster route, it also comes with challenges, like finding a business for sale. The procedure of transferring ownership may vary depending on the business model and how the business is sold.
Marketplaces
In a marketplace, sellers can list their businesses for potential buyers to see.

There are marketplaces that implement a set of rules to facilitate smooth transactions and protect all parties. They might ask you for a refundable deposit before you can access the URL, Google Analytics, and profits & losses of your target business. This way, a business for sale won't be exposed to non-serious buyers. Some platforms also offer legal and broker services.

Some marketplaces solely connect buyers and sellers and allow them to sort things out on their own. If you prefer this type of transaction, make sure of any resources available, such as industry reports and case studies.

Despite the safety measures implemented by marketplaces, buyers should perform due diligence before making any upfront investment.
Auction sites
Unlike the usual transactions, the seller cannot change the price once their business is already at auction. They can only decide on the minimum price, while the buyer can bid as much as they want within a certain period.

In some auction sites, you can enter the maximum amount you are willing to spend. Their automatic bidding system will bid in increments on your behalf (up to your budget limit). This allows bidders to stay on top without personally monitoring the auction. It's also a practical strategy to avoid emotional financial decisions.

Research the value of an asset before joining an auction. The bidding war can escalate quickly. So it's best to take definite criteria and budget with you.
Thankfully, there are auction sites that provide information about financials, traffic, and seller notes for verified members. However, understand that these pieces of information don't necessarily tell the whole story. Prepare a list of questions about the cost of operations, marketing initiatives, intangible assets, etc.

Make sure to transact within a site that has a strict verification process for both buyers and sellers.
Brokers
Purchasing a business through a broker is a more individualized experience than dealing through an auction site or a marketplace.

Usually, brokers have a network that allows them to hear about new listings and great deals before everyone else. They can match buyers and sellers and help both parties reach a win-win situation.

Auction sites and marketplaces have filters that you can use to find the most suitable asset for sale. These filters include the type of business, age of business, and sale price. A broker can filter prospects based on more personal criteria.

Here are other things broker services can do:
  • Offer selective representations for buyers who are not comfortable making the inquiries themselves
  • Uphold confidentiality throughout the process and after completing the sale
  • May suggest financing options
  • Handle the paperwork and make sure you don't miss any detail
Online brokerage fees can be hefty, but it's a solution if you don't have time to learn how to buy a business online.
Directly contacting the business owner
You may directly ask business owners if their asset is for sale or are willing to discuss the matter. Follow these tips on how to lead a business conversation on the phone.

If you pick this approach, research thoroughly before getting in touch. Find out the current standing of their business and its estimated value. You might find circumstances that can be leveraged. It's also important to know when to stop the negotiations.

There are lots of analytics tools you can use to know more about an online business.
Conclusion
Whichever avenue you choose, be patient and meticulous. Rushing things can make you vulnerable to unscrupulous sellers. Learn as much as you can about the business you're buying into. If there's anything you don't understand about how to buy a business online, consult an expert.
About the Host
Sophie Howard is the founder of Aspiring Entrepreneurs, a community designed to help people develop the skills and confidence to build a business and a life that serves them. Sophie began online in 2013 with an Amazon firm, which she sold for more than $1 million in 2015.

Sophie has lectured on stages all around the world, encouraging and teaching other ambitious entrepreneurs. She has established instructional programs educating thousands of students how to sell online, in addition to releasing over 1000 products.

Sophie has also written a book titled "Aspiring Entrepreneurs: A Guide to Finding Your Best Path to Financial Freedom."
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