Article Summary of 5 Ways to Sell Your Business Online for Free:
- Rating System For Selling Your Business Online For Free
- Options to Consider When Selling Your Business Online For Free
5 Ways to Sell Your Business Online for Free
One question I get asked a lot: Is it possible to sell your businesses online for free?
The short answer: yes. But just because you can, should you?
We all know the digital age has transformed how we do business. The technological revolution has made owning, operating, and selling a business more efficient.
Naturally, as a business owner who is ready to sell, you are looking for the simplest way to sell. While selling online is possible and seems simple & inexpensive, it is a mixed bag of results.
I wouldn’t recommend putting all your eggs in the online basket. But it’s still a strategy you can use combined with other ways of selling.
With that said, we’re going to look at the ways you can sell your business online for free.
Rating System For Selling Your Business Online For Free
Not all channels for selling are created equal.
For each category, I’ve provided an ‘effectiveness score’ from low (1) to high (5) that includes how:
- Quickly you can get started
- Likely you are to attract qualified buyers
- Much effort you will put in
- Whether or not paying money will increase your odds of success
After the score, I’ll talk more in-depth about what you need to consider when deciding to market your business through each channel.
5 Options to Consider When Selling Your Business Online For Free
Online marketplaces are websites dedicated to putting buyers and sellers of business together. Here are three of the top websites to buy and sell businesses.
Effectiveness Score: 3
Rationale: Online marketplaces like BizBuySell and BizQuest have become very popular in the past 10 years. They require some work up-front to list your business, go through an evaluation, and to track down your financial deals. However, like marketplaces, they attract many different buyers and sellers. Buyers have the advantage here as they can quickly compare your offer to thousands of similar businesses.
Also, as quick, simple, and convenience as these online marketplaces are, the reality is – according to Forbes – that 90% of the business listed never sell.
The advent and rise of social networking have dramatically expanded access to potential buyers. 2 quick takeaways for social sites:
- LinkedIn is the premier social network for business-related connections. Through LinkedIn, you can search for and connect with potential buyers. If you have extra marketing dollars, you can pay for targeted advertising. LinkedIn will allow you to reach out to people you don’t know but are in your industry and may be interested in a sale or joint venture or another type of M&A.
- Other popular social networks, such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube provide access to potential buyers that you already know. You can reach out to your contacts on these networks or search for entrepreneurs who are buying.
Effectiveness Score: 3 (For LinkedIn) 1 (For all other social sites)
Rationale: Advertising your business on social networks is relatively easy to do, but hard to do well. If you have a strong network of well-connected people, this might be an effective way to get the word out about your business. Unfortunately, if you do not pay for targeted advertising, competitors and clients will quickly know you are interested in selling.
Online Classified Ads
Online classified ads are another avenue to attract potential buyers. These online classified ads are different from online marketplaces in that these classified ads promote everything. They range from selling houses to furniture to jobs. This mass of online humanity makes trying to sell something as niche as your specific business difficult.
- Craigslist is the premier digital advertising platform. Placing an ad is fairly straightforward. Take it from me, you’ll usually get a lot of unqualified interest in your business here.
- Local newspapers or magazines in your area may offer free or low-cost digital advertising.
Effectiveness Score: 1
Rationale: Online advertising is the least effective way to successfully sell your business. What it is good for is getting a read on the market interest. You can post a classified in less than one hour, and within 24 hours, you should have responses. Unfortunately, these most often won’t be qualified, so be wary of spending too much time here.
Business Broker Websites
A business brokers job is to connect buyers with sellers and to mediate a profitable deal between the two. Some business broker websites offer free listings to attract buyers and sellers.
- Businessexits.com. The site requires that you create an account and complete a free valuation of your business.
- Businessbroker.net. I have included this site, allow they now charge a fee to list a business.
Effectiveness Score: 3
Rationale: In my article, 6 Advantages to Selling a Business Without a Broker, I discussed the many downsides of working with brokers. However, selling through these sites can be a good way to attract qualified leads. This will take some work and might set you back depending on the site.
Find Local Meetings Online
Many local meetings of business owners, brokers, and local entrepreneurs are now advertised online. You can search for these meetings. While you can meet digitally through web chat platforms, most meetings are still in-person.
- Meetup.com is a popular way to find local business-related meetings in your area.
- Business Networking International (BNI) has local chapters around the world.
- Eventbrite.com is an event-management company where you can find business-focused events.
Effectiveness Score: 2
Rationale: Local meetings can be a great way to find local buyers ready to buy. Unfortunately, this is hit or miss. You’ll spend a lot of time in meetings that won’t get you closer to a sale. You’ll also spend time driving to and from the meeting, which will eat up time and money.
Don’t Just Look To Sell Your Business Online For Free
In summary, selling your business online for free is an effective ancillary tool. This means that you should use these strategies in conjunction with other strategies. It’s good to reach out to your connections on Facebook but it’s also good to call people you know that may be interested as well.
If you’re still looking for other ways to sell your business, then I encourage you to contact me. Selling online for free is usually a waste of time, energy, and money. My job here at Mpact Ventures is to buy businesses just like yours. If selling online isn’t right for you call me today.
I know your business is your lifeblood. You worked hard to create a legacy, and selling is the most important decision on your mind now. Let’s make sure it’s done right.