Set your business up for an easier sale.

Buying and selling online businesses is becoming more mainstream thanks to services like (formerly MicroAcquire). Last year I sold one of my online businesses, and I learned a lot during the process, including things you might be doing with your business now that could create headaches when you decide to sell. So if you think you might sell your business in the future, here are some things to think about.

Don’t comingle accounts

If you run a couple of businesses, it’s a lot easier (and cheaper) to use the same accounts for multiple businesses: the same Facebook ad account for all your business ads, the same email service account for your emails, one hosting package, etc. But these can be difficult to extract when you sell your business.

I get it. You don’t know if your business idea will take off, and setting up new accounts at each company is a pain. It can also be more expensive because some services are cheaper as they scale. For example, the email provider I use for my businesses has a flat monthly cost and only a small incremental cost when you add new accounts.

Just be prepared to split these apart in the future. When I sold my business, I needed to split off the email accounts, the DNS account, and my Facebook account. The hardest was Facebook. The ad account went back many years, and I’d run quite a few different projects through it.

Use Stripe for payments

I’ve heard horror stories from people who have used PayPal to accept recurring payments. Not only is PayPal a horrible product with dismal customer service, but transferring accounts to a new owner is challenging.

I used Stripe from day one for my business and am thankful for that. When it came time to transfer the payment account, which was one of the most critical parts of the deal, Stripe completed the process within a few hours.

Their support was speedy and even worked with me to make both my and the buyer’s 1099s reflect the correct payments at yearend.

Document your processes

This is a big one, and it’s not something you’ll likely do until it’s time to sell your business or onboard an employee/contractor. But there are two reasons to document your business processes earlier.

First, writing an “owner’s manual” for your business will help you think about your processes and find improvements.

Second, if you’re a solopreneur, this manual could be a lifeline to a loved one who has to take over your business should something happen to you.

And then, when you go to sell your business, it will be nice not to have to document the entire thing under pressure.

Don’t make long-term commitments

This is something I did correctly. My longest subscription terms were one year.

I see a lot of small businesses, especially SaaS businesses, offering “lifetime” deals. This can be a deal killer when you try to sell your business. Now that I’m on the other side looking at businesses to buy, I don’t want to inherit the liabilities of these lifetime deals.

Post link: 4 things to do now to make it easier to sell your business in the future

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