Selling Your Business Checklist
The success of building a profitable Amazon FBA business becomes a little sweeter when you’re in a position to sell for a profit. Regardless of what your initial goals were when launching your e-commerce brand, there may come a time when selling is the most lucrative way to go. To get the most out of this opportunity, following a checklist will prove valuable.
Whether you’re in the beginning stages of considering a sale or have already started the valuation process for your company, here are key steps to selling your FBA business.
Organize Your Financials
Keeping accurate business records from the beginning will prove highly beneficial down the road. Organizing them to track revenue trends, properly file taxes, and potentially, selling your business will serve you well and save a lot of time and energy.
Everyday preparation will put you in a good place when it comes time to create your business exit strategy. When cleaning up your financial documents, you’ll want:
- Financial statements dating back at least three years
- Copies of filed tax returns dating back at least three years
- Revenue, inventory, and customer reports
- Additional asset reports (ex. intellectual property documentation)
Anything associated with the financial operations of your business, you’ll want a record of it to provide to potential buyers upon request.
Scrub Contact Lists
Another category to add to your selling a business checklist is contact information. You’ll want to scrub all contact lists for both customers and suppliers. Take time to review and update the following to remove duplicates and have up-to-date records:
- Customer information
- Newsletter subscribers
- Supplier contacts and account numbers
- Web hosting contact and log-in credentials, if applicable
- Social media and customer service log-in credentials
Essentially, you’ll want a clean list of all the people involved in your business, defined by role, and with information that makes transferring during the business sale seamless.
As you’re considering the steps to selling your Amazon FBA business, decide if it’s the right time for you to sell. For example, if you’ve recently experienced a decline in sales, give them a boost before seeking out a potential buyer. This can support other efforts toward getting the payout you want.
A prospective buyer will have a minimum revenue target that must be met before a sale is considered. To boost sales, implement or adjust the following:
- Launch marketing campaigns, including newsletters, social media, and paid ads
- Introduce new products to reach a broader audience base
- Optimize product descriptions to increase search visibility
- Initiate shipping or sales incentives during a high buying time (ex. Black Friday, holiday sales)
Optimizing your product descriptions is one of the first strategies to implement to help boost sales. Incorporating highly-searched keywords, updating product information, and providing hi-res images are all ways to improve your visibility on the platform and increase click-through and conversion rates. All of these efforts point to the ultimate goal of generating more sales.
Updating your inventory is also important because you don’t want to have a surplus of products that aren’t going to sell. This can bring down your business valuation and can cost you higher storage fees through Amazon. Ensure you have an accurate tally of your product inventory and can gauge when you’ll need to refill your inventory and/or sunset product listings.
There are several moving parts when it comes to updating inventory, but Amazon’s platform makes it easier for sellers to follow and keep their e-commerce store updated. Areas to check for and fix prior to selling your business are:
- Duplicate inventory listings
- Suppressed listings
- Blocked listings
Duplicate inventory listings are a violation of Amazon’s policies and may result in your listing being suppressed or rejected, which can affect sales. To fix, simply go to Manage Inventory in Seller Central and click on Potential Duplicates. Then, go to Review Duplicates to see which duplicates show up. If there are any listed, Amazon allows 30 days to review and respond, after which time they’ll suppress the listing from the search.
Suppressed listings may also occur when the proper character count isn’t followed, and other criteria standards aren’t met. This applies to images as well. Additionally, you may face problems with your inventory and subsequent sales if there is a pricing error in your listings. If detected, Amazon will notify you of a potential deactivation until the pricing is corrected.
It’s important to track the status of your inventory regularly. You’ll want all discrepancies taken care of prior to having your business evaluated for sale.
Determine Your Business Valuation
These first action items of your selling a business checklist will better prepare you for the valuation process. Keeping meticulous financial records helps to forecast future earnings and identify trends in the sales cycle.
First, you’ll want to knowhow to value your business.Use earnings multiples to calculate your online business’ projected worth. Estimate your company's earnings over the next few years and multiply it by a price-to-earnings ratio using a benchmark multiple for a business that is comparable to your own. This will make for a much larger payout than if you were to sell your assets or inventory alone. In addition to net profit, when calculating your business valuation, consider:
- Peak sales season
- Market value of businesses similar to yours
- Proof of assets that add to its worth
Ensure you’re presenting records to a potential buyer that highlights your peak sales season. Providing context to your reporting proves valuable if you sell products that typically draw more buyers during a specific time period.
Also, performing market research of similarly-sized businesses in your product realm will help give you an idea of your own business valuation. Finally, consider the value of your brand, including the size of your customer base, social media following, newsletter subscriptions, and other metrics and documents that will raise your company’s worth in the eyes of a prospective buyer.
Find a Buyer
Once you’ve performed your due diligence of a business valuation, find a reputable buyer that is experienced in Amazon FBA business acquisitions and transactions. It will narrow down your options and focus on the most viable opportunities. Review their buying criteria to establish if you meet what they’re looking for in advance. At Forum, we’re interested in companies with:
- 70% or more of sales through Amazon FBA
- Demonstrated financial success of at least $200K in net profit (SDE) in the last year
- Differentiated products that consumers love in categories that are core to everyday life
- Strong, reputable brands founded by passionate entrepreneurs
Eligible sellers will also be able to cash out years of profits in one day and close a deal in 30 days or less. It also gives you entry into the Forum community if you plan to seek out a new venture. Compared to other avenues, you’ll save on business broker and listing fees, in addition to the sale being executed on a shorter timeline.
Prepare a Business Exit Strategy
Once you’re to the final stages of selling your online business, preparing a business exit strategy is crucial in ensuring you have everything organized, updated, and ready to go. Business exit planning will prevent any delays in the sale of your company. A few of the items left on the checklist include:
- Performing a final review and signing of all documents
- Transferring any remaining log-in credentials and contact information
- Communicating the transition to your employees and customers
When it comes down to the final days before the business sale is official, most of the work has already been done during the valuation process. However, you’ll want to make sure everything is complete with respect to document signing and contact transfers.
Part of this final stage also involves considering how to alert people involved with your business of the acquisition. Clarity and confidence help set the tone of the message. Honor the investment you’ve put into building a great brand by ensuring a proper closure at the end.
Deciding When to Sell
A business owner is driven by all kinds of reasons when it comes to selling their business. Some may be ready to take on a new venture. Others may be ready to simply hand the workload over to someone else and reap the benefits of past hard work. Or, it may be the most beneficial time to get the most out of what’s been built. As lifestyles change and markets expand, there are always new opportunities that present themselves.
Whatever the scenario looks like for you, each step of the process requires careful planning and strategy to prevent disruption and make the transition go more smoothly. By taking time to adequately prepare, you’ll position your company to be at the top of its game prior to selling. This will lead to a greater chance to get the full value of what your business is worth.
A checklist of the steps to selling a business will help to break down what can be a complex undertaking into smaller, manageable actions. It will keep you on track toward your goal and ensure your Amazon FBA business is presented in the best possible light. Once you have a solid plan in place, it will make deciding when to sell much easier and a successful outcome feel more attainable.
If you’re looking for additional information regarding the sale of your Amazon FBA business, follow the link provided to learn about the questions to ask before selling your business.