Large brands used to have a massive retail-environment advantage over mom-and-pop companies because of their distribution. Now, the playing field is even, thanks to the internet. You don’t have to be a national brand these days to build a million-dollar online business.
A solid product, combined with the right advertising platforms and targeting, can quickly make a no-name brand wildly profitable in a short period of time. Now, not every entrepreneur wants to start building an online business from ground zero like I did with my company’s brand, which sells teeth whitening pens and kits. Instead, some prefer to buy an established website.
This option eliminates the brand conception, monetization strategy and business model development, allowing you to jump right into business development and growth. While buying an established online business eliminates a lot of the early-stage foundational work, its success is still contingent on your ability to run and manage the business. If this option is appealing to you, here are three ways to buy an online business.
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1. Online marketplace
The most popular option is using an online marketplace to buy an online store. It’s a great place to search for available opportunities, as you are able to see what is available in the industry or niche of your choice. It’s important that you find a business that you are truly passionate about.
Even though it’s already established, it’s going to take immense work to operate and grow the business, which is a much less daunting task when it’s something you truly love. Your new business is going to be a marriage, so you better love what you are jumping into.
When you use an online marketplace, you also get accurate data to analyze. For example, Exchange by Shopify pulls the listing information straight from their data so you know, without a doubt, that the revenue and traffic data being presented is 100 percent accurate.
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2. Direct purchase
If you know what you want or have a particular online business already identified, reach out to the owner and see if they are interested in selling it. You can reach out through the website’s contact options or do a WHOIS search to find the owner’s information.
When you do reach out, it’s important that the owner knows you are 100 percent serious about negotiating a purchase agreement. If they have the slightest sense you aren’t serious, you more than likely won’t even get a reply. This is where your preparation will help get their attention and help you make a smart business decision.
A little due diligence is wise before you initiate contact. You want to make sure the online business is healthy. You can use tools like SEMrush to analyze website traffic and Open Site Explorer and Ahrefs to dive into its link profile. If the traffic and backlink profile look solid, you can then approach the owner. If there are any red flags, like a spammy link profile, then you will want to dive into your research a little deeper to determine if it’s even worth pursuing.
Related: How to Make Money Online: The Basics
3. Online business brokers
This is an option for those who simply don’t have time to search for available opportunities or feel more comfortable having an experienced professional handle the negotiations. They know what to look for, and have the knowledge to quickly determine whether or not any claims made by the owner are in fact genuine.
Think of an online business broker like a real estate agent — they make the purchase process easier on you. Not only that, but they are in your corner if something goes wrong or you have questions.
Just like a real estate transaction, a broker is only paid when the sale is completed. It’s in their best interest to find you the best possible online business opportunity and handle the entire acquisition process from beginning to end.