Are you an entrepreneur wanting to start a business? For people looking for business ideas, finding an online business for sale is a great option.
Starting an online business from scratch can be very challenging. This is why buying an existing virtual business can be such a great idea. When you purchase an online business, you may get the benefits of existing website traffic. You have an existing brand you can leverage. You may have existing customers already in the pipeline.
Additionally, when you purchase an online business for sale by the owner, you may get valuable tips and tricks to help you out. Instead of launching something new, with no support or guarantee of success, with an existing online business you may be getting traffic, customers, and possibly advice from the previous owner.
Considerations When Looking for an Online Business for Sale
Whether you are new or an old hand at running a business, you need to plan first. In particular, make sure you really know what you want when looking for an online business opportunity. Before you plunk any money down on an online company, consider the following first:
What is Your Risk Factor?
Do you have money to spare, and you want to find an interesting project to work on? Or, are you really needing this business to help pay the bills? Consider what you are willing to invest carefully. In fact, you might want to plan on losing money at first, even with “successful” businesses, to be on the safe side.
If you are OK with risk, you may be more interested in finding struggling websites that have potential and turning them around. Or, perhaps you want something tried and true so that you might hook your wagon to an existing, well-known company looking for online franchisees.
Whatever type of online business you buy, make sure you do your due diligence first.
What is Your Desired Niche?
You should choose an online business that excites and motivates you. For some investors, money is a big enough motivator. These money-minded people want what is most profitable, but for other folks, they need more than just profits.
For example, if you hate baseball, you probably won’t succeed if you buy a struggling online magazine for baseball fans. Instead, find something you love – like hockey or horse racing.
What Type of Online Business Do You Want?
Online businesses come in many forms. You may decide you want complete control over your online business. That means that you own the domain name, website code, customer information – everything.
With an affiliate business, you are more like a franchisee than an owner. You may be using a company website to promote the affiliate products, and the customers ultimately belong to the company, not you. On the positive, as an affiliate, you do not need to worry about website development or creating marketing materials.
Perhaps you would like a dropship business, where you have an outside warehouse manage products for you and ship them when they are ordered. Many people looking for an online business for sale on Shopify are really looking for dropshipping opportunities. Check out Shopify’s free “Ultimate Guide to Dropshipping” to learn more about this type of opportunity.
What Are Your Ultimate Goals?
Are you looking to build an online empire, challenging Jeff Bezos and Amazon? Or are you a work at home mom looking for a relaxing and fun online business to help pay some bills? Do you want to do something all by yourself, or are you open to hiring staff or freelancers to help?
Do you want to be an online publisher, and it doesn’t matter so much what your profits are?
For people who have modest ambitions, certain types of businesses may be better, such as affiliate franchises or turnkey dropshipping businesses. By getting an idea of what you ultimately want down the line, you can make better decisions when purchasing your Internet company.
Top 5 Online Marketplaces Offering Websites for Sale
In addition to the methods above, try these helpful online marketplaces to find the perfect online business. Make sure you check the fine print – you may need to pay the website a commission fee, which may or may not be included in the listed “for sale” price.
BusinessesForSale.com is a comprehensive website that offers an easy way to search for Internet businesses for sale. You can filter by business location, category, asking price, cash flow, sales revenue, and listing age.
Many of the listings here, though not all, are actually for affiliate opportunities. You will be more like a franchisee than a full owner. This means that you will not be purchasing an existing customer base. As an affiliate, you will be getting a “turnkey” website (hosted on the company’s servers) that you will need to promote and market yourself. The start-up costs for many of these programs is quite low (under $500 typically). However, the work on your end will be significant to get sales.
Affiliate opportunities include hotel and flight deals, nutritional supplements, sports tickets and futures, vegan dropship companies, and more. If you are looking for an online business for sale on Shopify, this is the place, and you can also find Shopify dropship startups here.
BizBuySell offers websites and e-commerce businesses for sale. You can further refine results to choose between established businesses and franchises. These opportunities generally cost a lot more in up-front investment money than BusinessessForSale.com. In fact, a rough price range for their established businesses ranges is between $30,000 and $2 million.
Some of these opportunities combine e-commerce with brick and mortar, such a listing for a gift shop that has both a strong online presence and a brick-and-mortar store.
When purchasing websites for sale at these prices, make sure you thoroughly vet the business. Ask to look at financials. Interview the owners and find out why they are selling. Your best opportunity will be someone who is retiring from a successful business, rather than a business that is being dumped because it’s hemorrhaging money.
BusinessBroker.net offers a ton of online business listings that you can browse easily, thanks to their tiled search results format. When you are interested in a business, just add it to your “basket” (cart) to get free information.
Most of these businesses range in the tens of thousands of dollars but include some of the most genuinely interesting opportunities for people looking for niche websites. As of this writing, fascinating results include an aircraft enthusiast website for $25,000, and full Christian streaming television network selling for $850,000.
BizQuest is another site offering higher-end online business opportunities. Some of these opportunities include turnkey e-commerce businesses that include an actual warehouse.
The challenge with using BizQuest is that even if you filter their listings with the term “online,” you will see a lot of brick and mortar results pop up. However, if you are potentially interested in more than just a website, this might be the online business search engine for you.
BusinessMart.com labels itself as “The Business Search Engine.” It offers a free buyer membership that can save your searches and send email alerts for your targeted keywords.
They offer a ton of Internet business for sale listings, though the initial information on the search page is limited. Once you click through to a listing, you will get more information about the business, including the year it was established, the number of employees, and financing opportunities.
The downside of BusinessMart is that the listings tend to be a bit hyped up. If you see an online business for sale advertising itself as the “NEXT [insert big name website here],” you have to wonder why it is being sold in the first place. So, buyer beware.
Other Ways to Find an Online Business for Sale
In the next section, we will cover five great places to look for websites for sale. First, let’s go over some other strategies you can employ to find some great deals.
Use Search Engines
You’d be surprised at how easy it is to forget the obvious, but a search engine should be your first go-to when looking for online business opportunities. You may need to be creative when doing your searches.
For example, try searching for “online business for sale by owner,” and see what comes up. To further refine it, add a category, such as “online nutrition business for sale by owner.” You may be able to find a website that is for sale but hasn’t yet been listed on the big broker sites yet. You might be able to negotiate directly with the owner and save a bundle.
Look for Domain Names for Sale
When you purchase a domain name, you aren’t getting the “whole enchilada.” That is, you will not be getting a website or customer list with your purchase. Instead, what you are getting is simply the domain name (or URL) of the website.
Look for a domain name has good keywords or was attached to a site that had a lot of traffic. These will be much more expensive, in the thousands of dollars if not more. However, they will bring you instant traffic that a new or obscure domain name will not.
You can find domain names for sale at most domain name companies. You can also search the term “domain auction” to find many places offering high-quality domain names. Remember, it’s not whether the domain has “.com” at the end of it – does it have traffic?
Join Online Communities of Entrepreneurs
You might be able to find sources of Internet businesses for sale by checking online communities for entrepreneurs. The bonus is that you will also get a lot of free tips and advice from other people who have “been there, done that.” Participate in these forums to find out what to do and not to do when owning an online business.
You can find many free forums to help you on your quest. Some great online entrepreneur forums include Entrepreneur Connect, PartnerUp, StartupNation, LinkedIn, Biznik, Perfect Business, and the Go BIG Network. Some of these forums will also be great places to seek new business opportunities.
Finding an Online Business for Sale is Not Difficult
As you can see, you can find many great sources for starting an online business. The challenge will be finding the exact right opportunity for you. The good news is, whether you want to be an affiliate, start a dropship company, or launch the next Amazon, you have many options. Take your time, and remember, almost everything is negotiable!
What are your favorite places to find an online business for sale?
Share with us in the comments below!