Avoid the Pitfalls When Selling a Business Online

    By Julian Groneberg | Small Business

    The internet has transformed the way people buy and sell – this we have known for many years now. It’s not just ecommerce sites that are booming in the digital age, real estate and property is also big business online and there are many business directory websites that promise to list your business for free. It sounds like a good deal, after all what’s cheaper than free? However for effective exposure across numerous channels, we give some advice and do’s and don’ts and things to look for when selling your business through online business listings.

    Find a reputable place to sell  

    Always look for reputable sites that have a recognisable name. A simple Google search of the highly competitive ‘businesses for sale’ is likely to return the major players on the first few pages. Putting yourself in the shoes of the buyer and asking which sites you would be most likely to use if you were searching to buy a business will also help you to find credible business listing sites.

    Another way to find reputable places to list your business is keep your search enquiry simple instead of long winded this will return the most popular, visited and linked to websites with the greatest search engine visibility. Remember that if the site is easily found by you, it’s also going to have visibility with potential buyers, meaning your business is much more likely to be seen, and the chances of a sale are greatly increased.

    Beware the ‘free’ business listing

    Another important thing to consider is to understand that while some sites may offer free listings, these are usually not the best places to start since they have low traffic and are not recognisable with buyers.  Many others will offer a free listing but this often gets very little from their site since it’s buried on the tenth page, or not able to be found at all!

    The company will then ask you to upgrade towards a featured listing, or a different package which will put you at the top of your business category for a certain amount of time. While it may be frustrating to be asked to pay after they advertised that their listings as free, it’s important to be aware that at least some money needs to be allocated towards marketing the fact that your business is for sale.

    By all means, go ahead and use free sites, but understand that to raise the chances of your business being seen, you will most likely need to pay something at some point to feature your business more prominently.

    Things to look for in a business for sale listing site:

    • No restrictions on how many words/images of the business you can use
    • A method to track how many page views/visits your listing has received.
    • Is the site responsive and able to be seen across numerous digital platforms including smart phone and tablet?
    • Don’t always believe the testimonials from happy former customers. These are one of the easiest things to create without being accurate or even real at all. Instead do your own research and ask your own questions directly to the site regarding placement of the listing, expected traffic etc.
    • Always make sure the site is hosted in the country your business operates

    Consider Using a Business Broker

    Using business brokers service can help in many ways when it’s time to offer businesses for sale. Not only to they give all the advice you need to secure the sale and make your business attractive to buyers, they also have some of the best networks on hand to market your business.

    As well as using their own website listings, a business broker will also be able to market your business online in many other way. This can include arranging  external commercial property listing and broker log in real estate sites and through their own social media channels. This is in addition offline marketing techniques, industry contacts and other networks the broker can take advantage of.

    The internet can be your secret weapon when selling your business, just make sure you avoid the pitfalls or your efforts will be in vain.

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