The Steps to Buying an Online Business

Mark Woodbury

Mark Woodbury

Mark is a Co-Founder of Upward Exits. He is a serial entrepreneur with experience in financial modeling, mergers and acquisitions, and online business ventures. When he isn't working or reading, you'll find Mark at the beach or in the mountain with his dog Heisman

The buyer should start by registering as a buyer. This gives us an idea of who we are dealing with and can be more effective at pointing you in the direction of deals that meet your skillset and financial capabilities.

Registered buyers will have the ability to view the the businesses for sale that we represent. You should have an idea of what type of business you are looking for and what industry. 

Once you find a business or two that you are interested in, we ask you to sign a non-disclosure agreement to e-sign. You should read and understand this document before signing.

Providing confidential listings helps assure that the business domain, strategies and contacts are not shared widely.

Once we have screened your buyer profile and received your completed NDA, we will grant you access to the confidential data room.

In the data room you’ll find an executive summary of the business, review the key metrics, financials, seller Q&A and more.

This will give you nearly all of the information you need whether the business is a fit for you or not.

If after your thorough review of the information provided, you still have some questions about the business, we invite you to send us an email outlining all of your questions. We will be happy to discuss the questions with the seller and get back to you.

This step is often skipped and the buyer can move straight on to having a short phone call with the broker.

If the prospective buyer is interested in the business after performing cursory analysis, it is time for a phone call.

The purpose of this phone call is primarily for us to provide more clarity about the business to the prospective buyer and discuss any areas of concern that they may have.

This is also typically where we ask for some more information on the buyers skillset and financial capabilities.

If the buyer likes the business and wants to make an offer for it, they may do so by writing a one page indication of interest letter or by discussing with the broker on the phone.

This offer is non-binding and simply helps us insure that the buyer is serious before we ask the seller to spend more time with them.

Once the buyer has displayed interest in acquiring the business and has shared what they would be willing to pay for it, the seller will then need to make themselves available to discuss the business further.

This is a chance for both parties to be introduced and for the seller to ask further questions.

We ask that this happens only after the seller has submitted an indication of interest so that our sellers don’t waste time on calls with buyers who are not going to make serious offers.

Many offers include holdback, seller financing or management terms. At this stage those terms are agreed to in principle.

Once the terms of the deal are agreed to in principle, the transaction is carried out.

For simple cash based deals, only a 1-page sale-purchase agreement is used.

More commonly, an asset or equity purchase agreement will need to be created by the buyer with their proposal and presented to the seller.

Upward Exits is registered broker with where the funds will be securely held,

Fund in Escrow will initiate the Due Diligence period, which is typically up to 14 days. 

Some buyers choose to have a 3rd party assist with due diligence. A reputable company in this space is Centurica. 

Once Due Diligence is complete, the assets will be migrated to the buyer including payment processors. 

Related Posts

Buying an E-commerce Business

There are a multitude of reasons why investors and entrepreneurs have been flocking to the e-commerce industry. Owning a small business has always been appealing

Ecommerce valuation

Who Buys Ecommerce Businesses

Who buys ecommerce businesses In the past year, we have seen growth of buyers outpace the growth of sellers, this means that valuation multiples have

Who Buys Amazon Businesses

In the past year, we have seen growth of buyers outpace the growth of sellers. This is especially true for businesses making more than $250K