Selling your business can seem very complex: you don’t know where to start, if it’s the right time, who to contact… In short, selling is an obscure step for many entrepreneurs, if so is. This is a great opportunity to monetize many years of work. If you’re looking to capitalize on the online selling craze by reselling your trading site, here’s how to proceed and our advice for a successful sale!
Step 1: Introspection
It’s important to start by asking the right questions so as not to waste time: are you really ready to quit? Why do you want to stop? In which timeframe?
If your site is profitable, it will take between 1 and 6 months to find a buyer. The smaller the site, the faster it will be resold. In any case, it is never good to be in a hurry. The urgency would put you in a delicate situation to negotiate. If you know that you have to or want to stop, you can better anticipate and prepare your switch to avoid disappointment!
Step 2: Get informed and surround yourself
Take the time to understand how the assignment will go. Do not hesitate to talk about it around you or to get closer to an entrepreneur who has already sold an e-commerce if you know it to be advised.
You can also contact an expert in the sale of e-commerce sites who will take care of the sale for you. The construction site resale market has become increasingly structured in France in recent years. And that’s good news for you if you want to resell your ecommerce site! There is indeed a real market today for the purchase/resale of websites, with the ability to be guided and delegated, which was not the case a few years ago.
I set up one of these rare brokers (there are very few of them), so my opinion is necessarily a little biased on whether or not to use this type of expert and I won’t go into detail. Know that there are specialists to call on if you need to – and that’s reassuring.
For each sale it will be necessary in all cases – alone or accompanied by:
To get an idea of the market, feel free to take a look at the online classifieds. To know: there are many online tools to give you a free estimate, some of them specialize in digital business.
- Understanding Ecommerce Resale Tax
It is critical to fully understand what you will be selling, in what form, and the tax and legal implications of your choice. You will indeed need to consider what the tax rate of your assignment will be and whether there are specific steps to be taken upstream. Do not hesitate to contact your accountant at this point, he will advise you well or refer you to a competent person. You can view this overview of taxes related to e-commerce sales to see this more clearly.
- Present your company
This is a comprehensive presentation of your site so that the buyer knows what he is dealing with.
You have to understand that a buyer or a buyer will be afraid that you are hiding something from him. It is therefore necessary to collect a certain number of documents or evidence.
It is best to go even further and organize these documents by presenting them in the form of a clear and complete “sales file”. To help you here is a box and a summary of the documents or supporting documents you need to collect for your transfer.
Anticipate this part, the buyers are often in a hurry to get more information – better not to keep them waiting so as not to lose a chance!
Once these conditions are met, you can proceed to the official sale.
Keep in mind that when selling, you must also notify your creditors and in some cases your employees.
Step 3: Find a buyer
There are several options for finding a buyer.
You can :
- Use your network to communicate your intent to sell;
- Place an ad on one of the advertising platforms that specialize in selling ecommerce sites. You have the choice whether or not to remain confidential about this;
- Go directly to recruiting companies that may be interested.
Please note: if you have chosen to delegate your transfer to an intermediary, this part will of course be taken care of by the latter.
It is important to carefully filter the requests so as not to waste time. This part can become time consuming very quickly.
Step 4: Negotiations
The more you do it at the right time, i.e. when your company is in the progress phase, the more you gain the upper hand in the negotiations. Indeed, a company in decline or in financial difficulties will be much harder to sell.
Don’t be surprised if the buyer wants to negotiate, that’s perfectly normal. He or she will also want to go into detail to fully understand what is for sale. Frame the exchanges with a confidentiality agreement and letter of intent. You can protect yourself from potential nosy or malicious people.
Step 5: The signature
Depending on the amounts involved, make sure to hire a professional, especially to secure the payment!
You can contact a notary or a lawyer. They also take care of the administrative paperwork and you avoid any risk of tax adjustment or nullity of the contract. Make sure to choose a service provider that is accustomed to e-commerce transfers.
Please note that these costs can be paid in whole or in part by the buyer – this point is negotiable.
Step 6: Transfer
It is possible (and even recommended) that the buyer wishes to be accompanied during the transfer phase for some time after the signing. It’s up to you to decide in advance how much time you want to spend with him. The goal is to make the transfer as smooth as possible so that your business is moving in the right direction!
Very good transfer to everyone!
About the author
Marie-Laure Blasquez, co-founder of Storybee, an e-commerce site resale specialist.