Thinking Of Buying An Internet Business?
The number of people using the Internet growing day by day and business done via the Internet is growing exponentially. Every year more and more people are buying online and spending more — over 900 million people bought something online in the last year alone and lots of small businesses are taking their share of this — it’s not just the big guys like eBay and Amazon.
Internet selling can include a wide variety of methods, from a modest eBay shop to large companies selling thousands of diverse products. There are also people that deal in website domains and there are the traditional bricks and mortar businesses which use the Internet as a platform for advertising and promotion.
With the growing number of opportunities to make money online and the enormous potential for the growth of Internet businesses, there are more Internet based businesses coming up for sale. For many people it is too daunting to start an Internet based business from scratch and they would prefer to buy a business that has already been established. Every year there are more and more businesses becoming available for sale, from start-up websites to well-established companies with large turnovers and a valuable list of customers.
Value for money
Internet businesses can be very good value for money because of the inherent potential for growth with a global market. Even local businesses can expand their reach by selling additional products to a wider market online with the potential to earn an unlimited income, given the right product.
Internet businesses also provide a more flexible working life for their owners, many of whom are able to work from home — it sure beats working for someone else for a living! An Internet business can provide the sort of lifestyle that many people crave — it can allow business owners to control their working hours and automate much of the day-to-day work involved with an Internet business. With the growth of freelance work on the Internet, many business owners can delegate a lot of the chores of running a business to other people as and when they need to and this means they can avoid the hassle of employing paid staff.
Internet businesses are no more risky to buy than a traditional businesses because the usual validation principles apply to any business. These days most respectable business sales agents are dealing in Internet businesses alongside their traditional bricks and mortar businesses and any buyer will perform their due diligence in just the same way for an Internet business as they would for any other. Any resistance to buying an Internet business is fast disappearing and people are gaining more confidence these days in buying an Internet business as it becomes more mainstream. This was echoed a few years ago when people were cautious about buying items from the Internet — now it is commonplace and people are confident about buying from Internet sellers with all the safeguards that are now in place.
As with any business you are considering buying, you should take precautions and carry out your due diligence before buying an Internet business. Investigate every opportunity carefully before you sign contracts or part with any money and make sure you verify any information you are given. Make sure you check the following:
Domain name: find out if the seller is actually the owner of the website domain and ensure that you will have ownership transferred to you if you buy the business. Find out about the history of the domain and if there are any issues with things like being blacklisted for problems with content, issues with spam or viruses and so on. Check that there is nothing adverse on the Internet about the website — like bad reviews or derogatory comments in blogs and forums and social media sites, for example. You should be to find out this information by doing a simple Internet search.
Traffic history: look at how much traffic the website is getting and how the volume of traffic varies over time. This will give you an indication of the peaks and troughs of the business, although it does not tell you how many sales are being made, it can highlight times when the business will be quiet and when you have to prepare the busy times.
Understand the finances: look carefully at your seller’s account and cash flow forecast and make sure you understand where the money comes into and goes back out of the business. Look for the potential to develop the business and increase your profits in the future — if the business is being sold because it is starting to run out of steam, you will either have to look for another business or find a way to inject some new life into this one.
How much work would be?: Internet-based businesses are not always an easy way to make money, sometimes they can be pretty hard work, so assess just how much work is involved in the day-to-day running of the business, dealing with customer enquiries, packaging and sending out products, after sales service and so on. Check whether the business runs a newsletter and how much work is involved with writing this and getting it sent out. Make sure you are prepared to take on the amount of work it takes to run the existing business and the effort it will take for you to develop it into the future.