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Internet Industry Statistics

By: Richard Parker: President of The Business For Sale Buyer Resource Center and author of How To Buy A Good Online Business At A Great Price ©

The industry of website business buying has some very interesting statistics. When I have mentioned these numbers to people outside this industry, they are stunned.

  • 90% of all of the people who begin the search to buy an online business never complete a transaction.
  • Only 20% of all of the website businesses listed for sale ever sell.
  • Business brokers only account for 10% of all transactions.

Why is it so important for you to know this? Let’s look at each one individually:

Why 90% Never Buy

Interestingly enough, a recent poll indicated that 50% of all Americans dream of owning a business. One would think that with such high numbers, far more people would be successful. After all, a 90% failure rate is abysmal. There are several factors why this happens.

Reason # 1: Most people have never bought a business before. They enter this process completely unprepared. Even if they’ve had a successful career to this point, for most, nothing they’ve ever done adequately prepares them for what’s involved in the process of buying an Online business. It’s even new to those who have been involved in corporate acquisitions because now, it’s their money at stake. Clearly, a lack of education is the number one reason for failure.

Today’s website buyer will face an onslaught of life altering questions, situations, and decisions during the various stages of the buying process. Lacking the critical knowledge to make these decisions, they simply choose to abort the project rather than seek out materials to assist them. It’s crazy, but most people will spend hours online trying to save a few bucks when booking a vacation, but will not invest any time learning how to buy the right online business. To avoid this trap, educate yourself, before you start looking, and certainly before you invest your money.

Reason # 2: Determining the right website to buy is difficult for most people. With so much on the line, most get too scared to take a chance of buying the wrong Internet business. After looking at many website for sale listings, and even speaking to and visiting some sellers, most people cannot get comfortable with what type of business, online or off, that fits with their strengths. Don’t spend your time searching endless Internet business for sale listings, trying to figure out which, if any, may be right for you. Determine what type of website is right, and then find it (it’s actually quite easy once you know how to do it). Whatever it is that you do best has to be the single most important driving factor of the revenue and profit of any business you consider purchasing.

Reason # 3: A lack of expert advice. Not having access to expert and unbiased advice derails many people. Business brokers almost always work for the seller. Family and friends, while generally supportive, usually lack experience in this area and so they too do not prove to be of much help. Plus, most are negative about the entire concept because they don’t want to see you at risk. The average person cannot afford to hire pricey consultants or representatives, since they want to allocate their available funds to the acquisition itself. Whatever it takes, be sure that you have someone with whom you can strategize and discuss various opportunities or have their input for the situations you will encounter.

In summary, to avoid being a 90%er:

  1. Educate yourself - get hold of the resources you need and study them.
  2. Determine what type of online business is right for you
  3. Affiliate yourself with someone who can provide you with expert advise

Why Most Listings Don’t Sell

There are too many listings. The Internet is swamped with business for sale listings. There are hundreds of thousands available. Websites scream about quantity: “20,000 businesses for sale…click here”, but very few provide quality. Now, it’s certainly not the website’s fault. They are providing you with a service. Unfortunately, they cannot police the quality of information provided. Sellers and brokers list businesses, and provide information that is often inaccurate or misleading. Any seasoned buyer knows that they have to dig in and extract the information. You have to know what questions to ask, what to look for, and how to determine if what is being represented is true.

Most online businesses for sale are overpriced. The sellers have no logical reason for their asking price outside of deciding that they want x amount or worse, they think their business is worth what Google paid for YouTube. That may be fine for them, but that’s no way to package a website business for sale. There are additional unrealistic expectations by the sellers which cause only one in five to sell: they want all cash sales, they do not provide adequate books and records, the business may be in decline, they want to get paid for future grwoth, and quite often, they do not disclose enough information for someone to make a logical decision.

Every business has secrets. You need to learn everything about the website before you buy it. When sellers misrepresent facts, or do not disclose all of the issues, when/if they arise, buyers become leery of continuing the negotiations. Again, it comes down to knowledge.

Business Brokers Are Only Part Of The Process and A Big Part of The Problem

Sellers and intermediaries very often have terrible follow-up skills. Have you tried contacting any of the sellers? Most of the online listings are represented by business brokers. I don’t know about you, but one of the biggest complaints I hear is that you cannot even get a reply to your inquiries. It’s craziness.

A business broker can be of use to Internet business buyers in the right scenario. Keep in mind that they almost always represent the seller. In all fairness, they are besieged with buyers so when you contact them, be compelling. Demonstrate that you’re serious. Tell them exactly what you’re looking for (if possible), how much you have to invest, and most importantly, that you’re READY to buy immediately, if you find the right opportunity.

Don’t restrict your search to brokers. Once you have an idea of the type of online business you want, consider doing a direct solicitation to businesses that fit your needs. Send them a direct letter (better than an email) and let them know what it is what you’re looking for. Get the word out to everyone: friends, family, professional contacts. You never know where the right lead will originate.

Your Next Steps

Buying an online business is something that anyone can achieve. Don’t let this become a looking process. Put yourself in a position to buy. Above all, educate yourself. You cannot guess your way to success! With the right information and advice, you’ll make all the right decisions. Don’t allow yourself to become a 90%er!

This article represents a fraction of what you’ll cover on this topic in How To Buy A Good Online Business At A Great Price© - the most widely used reference resource and strategy guide for anyone thinking about buying an online business. Read a detailed listing of what you'll learn.

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