If you’re just starting your search to purchase a business it can be difficult to wrap your head around all the possibilities. A business that is a perfect fit for one entrepreneur may not be the right fit for another - it really depends on how your own preferences, skills and passion.
Exchange has thousands of businesses listed for sale, but by thinking about your personal goals you can easily come up with some criteria to narrow down your search.
What are my goals?
A goal doesn’t have to be something audacious and never done before. Some people thrive on having a huge, seemingly unrealistic goal, and thrive on the pressure and intensity required to hit their goal. Other entrepreneurs can thrive using a technique called “chunking” where they have a series of individual small goals which are attainable. Cumulatively these small chunks amount to something significant and make it easy to dive right in. One of the benefits of chunking is that getting started is much easier.
There isn’t any right, wrong, too big or small goal.
Some people work very well with extremely, large, audacious goals. You can set both small goals and large big picture ones.
Setting large goals and chunking your goals aren’t mutually exclusive, you can use both methods. Your goal may be to become fashion entrepreneur with your own collection worn globally. If you have never sold a single item of clothing before this can be daunting, so a realistic goal may be to ship 10 orders of a single item in a certain niche or trend. A small initial goal that you can realistically achieve in a short-period of time will provide you with the motivation and excitement to set a goal of 25, 50 orders and progressively larger goals.
Questions to Ask Yourself
Only you can determine what your own goals are. Unless you’ve sat down, put focused energy into thinking them through, created a plan of action and finally committed, it will be tough to feel excited about the goals. To help you determine what your goals are and what are realistic goals you can achieve, we’ve put together a list of some questions you can ask yourself.
Some businesses on Exchange are rapidly growing and exploding with sales, but the current owner is struggling to keep up with demand and is overwhelmed. If you excel in operations and management, your abilities may you a great fit for the business. Other businesses may be in need of a facelift, or new branding. There are lots of other pieces of running an e-commerce business like fulfilment, product development, customer support, community management, public relations and more.
Find a business that has been missing one of your key abilities. Utilizing your skill with the right business can unlock new growth, change the operating requirements or increase the profitability in a way the previous owner could not.
A common misconception is because a business is large, or has high revenue is that it will require a huge amount of work. Established businesses may have business processes clearly defined, a remote team helping run crucial operations like fulfilment, social media management, or customer support. Some large businesses have built custom technology to provide them a competitive advantage. However, just because a business is large and established doesn’t mean they have nailed down all the workflows.
The age, size of the business, or even number of products for sale doesn’t necessarily indicate how many hours it takes to run a business. Check out the FAQ on each listing page to learn more and contact the seller to learn more about what the day to day operations are.
If you’re looking for a business that isn’t full-time, you can still consider the business and think about ways you would automate and systemize routine processes.
Some readers will skip over this question and find their dream business first, then work backwards to find a way to fund the purchase if they personally can’t. Exchange filters businesses based on 4 price tiers ranging from $0-100, $100-1000, $1000-$10,000 and $10,000+. Within any category, you can also sort businesses by list price from lowest to highest and vice versa. Having some range of price you would be comfortable with can help with narrowing down the search.
Depending on the number of orders it may be sufficient to manage fulfilment with a printer and some mailers, or you may require a label printer, tape gun, and other basic equipment in order to efficiently ship out orders. On each listing page, you can see if the business owner is including the inventory for sale.
Businesses focused on a niche such as surfing, or winter clothes may have a high degree of seasonality in the summer or winter. A very busy time followed by a lull in sales may be great for your personal workflow and lifestyle, or you could be looking for something that is more consistent throughout the year.
If you’re shipping globally you can consider focussing on growth in other markets with reversed seasons during downtimes. A swimsuit business with a core market in Europe could focus on Australia during the European winters. You could also consider marketing to Europeans travelling abroad in the winter vacation as well, but regardless the seasonality in the business will likely continue to exist.
The dream business is different for everyone and is only a decision you can make. We hope these questions to consider hope spur some thinking about how to choose your ideal business. Have you purchased a business before? Share in the comments some of the questions you asked yourself when starting a search.