Buying a ready made business

By Building my own tech
How to buy a ready made business

There are a few ways to go about setting up your new website. You COULD build it yourself, slowly grow followers & eventually end up with a popular and profitable blog or website. To be honest, I think that this is the best way to go about the task of launching your own online venture, primarily because, by building the following yourself, you learn how your users respond to certain content & you understand what they like / dislike.

However, there is big business in selling ready-made businesses online. Flippa pretty much dominates this space, it was created from an old forum. Webmasters would talk about everything from web coding to graphic design, then the idea for buying and selling sites came up. Eventually the trend caught on and there were a lot of people listing their web sites for sale on SitePoint. In 2009 Flippa was created to focus solely on site transactions, and quickly became the largest online marketing place for buying and selling web sites (source)

With such a big market place there are tonnes of legitimate businesses and websites for sale, but, as with everything, there are those shady individuals looking to make a quick profit.

What can I do to avoid getting burned?

There are a number of ways to make sure you don’t fall victim to scammers on sites like Flippa. Firstly, it’s important to carry out due diligence, it’s important to be able to answer the following questions as a starting point:

  1. What is the website, who are their target market?
  2. How long has the website been running?
  3. Check that what they say is true using a whois lookup here
  4. If they are a limited company, you can carry out a company check for freehere
  5. What market sector does the website operate in?
  6. How big is the market sector & what are the potential earnings based on this?
  7. Is the sector shrinking over time? How quickly?
  8. Who is selling you the website? do they have a Linkedin profile?
  9. Can you see their other social profiles?
  10. Ask for a Google Analytics login and check their claims
  11. Ask to see their revenue figures (balance sheets + P&L)

There are a lot more things you could be looking for, but these give you an idea of how thorough you need to be when thinking about buying a website or business through a site like Flippa. It’s important that you review both the target market, the industry sector and the website / company itself before you commit to parting with any cash. The seller may tell you that the website has been running for 10 years & has 100,000 visits a month, but, verify their claims by using Google Analytics (to check number of visitors) & a Whois lookup (to check how long the domain has been registered).

Finally, it is important to plan to be a website owner. If you haven’t been one before, it is always useful to get your maintenance processes in place before you take on the website. These processes include:

  1. Monthly reporting on your traffic – so you can see what is / isn’t working
  2. Dead link checks to make sure all of your links are working properly
  3. Website uptime checker through tools like Pingdom
  4. Grammar & spelling checks through each page periodically

Cover image used under creative commons

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