Monthly Archives: April 2017

3 Ways to Buy an Established Online Business

Large brands used to have a massive retail-environment advantage over mom-and-pop companies because of their distribution. Now, the playing field is even, thanks to the internet. You don’t have to be a national brand these days to build a million-dollar online business.

A solid product, combined with the right advertising platforms and targeting, can quickly make a no-name brand wildly profitable in a short period of time. Now, not every entrepreneur wants to start building an online business from ground zero like I did with my company’s brand, which sells teeth whitening pens and kits. Instead, some prefer to buy an established website.

This option eliminates the brand conception, monetization strategy and business model development, allowing you to jump right into business development and growth. While buying an established online business eliminates a lot of the early-stage foundational work, its success is still contingent on your ability to run and manage the business. If this option is appealing to you, here are three ways to buy an online business.

Related: 8 Reasons a Powerful Personal Brand Will Make You Successful

1. Online marketplace

The most popular option is using an online marketplace to buy an online store. It’s a great place to search for available opportunities, as you are able to see what is available in the industry or niche of your choice. It’s important that you find a business that you are truly passionate about.

Even though it’s already established, it’s going to take immense work to operate and grow the business, which is a much less daunting task when it’s something you truly love. Your new business is going to be a marriage, so you better love what you are jumping into.

When you use an online marketplace, you also get accurate data to analyze. For example, Exchange by Shopify pulls the listing information straight from their data so you know, without a doubt, that the revenue and traffic data being presented is 100 percent accurate.

Related: Without Knowing Much About Technology, How Can I Launch an Online Service Platform?

2. Direct purchase

If you know what you want or have a particular online business already identified, reach out to the owner and see if they are interested in selling it. You can reach out through the website’s contact options or do a WHOIS search to find the owner’s information.

When you do reach out, it’s important that the owner knows you are 100 percent serious about negotiating a purchase agreement. If they have the slightest sense you aren’t serious, you more than likely won’t even get a reply. This is where your preparation will help get their attention and help you make a smart business decision.

A little due diligence is wise before you initiate contact. You want to make sure the online business is healthy. You can use tools likeSEMrush to analyze website traffic and Open Site Explorer and Ahrefsto dive into its link profile. If the traffic and backlink profile look solid, you can then approach the owner. If there are any red flags, like a spammy link profile, then you will want to dive into your research a little deeper to determine if it’s even worth pursuing.

Related: How to Make Money Online: The Basics

3. Online business brokers

This is an option for those who simply don’t have time to search for available opportunities or feel more comfortable having an experienced professional handle the negotiations. They know what to look for, and have the knowledge to quickly determine whether or not any claims made by the owner are in fact genuine.

Think of an online business broker like a real estate agent — they make the purchase process easier on you. Not only that, but they are in your corner if something goes wrong or you have questions.

Just like a real estate transaction, a broker is only paid when the sale is completed. It’s in their best interest to find you the best possible online business opportunity and handle the entire acquisition process from beginning to end.

The technology Harness creates as a Mobile Mogul

For many entrepreneurs, it’s easy to get locked into a startup state of mind (and the instability that goes with it). It’s time to break those tethers, friends! Outsourced chief strategy officer and lifelong entrepreneur, Aaron Scott Young, lays out his recipe to build a business that works hard for you so that you aren’t a slave to the daily grind. Tune in for a veritable how-to guide on conquering challenging and often unpredictable obstacles, measuring performance to boost productivity and selecting the right gear to stay connected with critical business components. (Entrepreneur Network partners Scott Duffy and Alan Taylor trust the HP Elite x2 2-in-1). Plus, don’t miss out on a Business & Burgers first where we sample three delectable PONO Burger creations

Watch more videos from Business & Burgers on their YouTube channel.

Entrepreneur Network is a premium video network providing entertainment, education and inspiration from successful entrepreneurs and thought leaders. We provide expertise and opportunities to accelerate brand growth and effectively monetize video and audio content distributed across all digital platforms for the business genre.

EN is partnered with hundreds of top YouTube channels in the business vertical and provides partners with distribution on Entrepreneur.com as well as our apps on Amazon Fire, Roku and Apple TV.

Entrepreneur is Artist of Life

Who are you and what’s your business?

I am Grace Kraaijvanger, founder of The Hivery, a creative and collaborative coworking space designed to support women throughout all phases and stages of their professional lives. We offer programming and mentorship designed to cultivate meaningful personal and professional relationships, instill a greater sense of self-worth and foster professional confidence. Our mission: to unleash the unique potential of every woman.

What does the word “entrepreneur” mean to you?

Being an entrepreneur means to be an artist of life. To be willing to take big risks, because of the deep belief in creating things that matter. The passion for building, the determination to stick it out, the creativity to think differently and be willing to pivot, and the “blessed unrest” to express who you really are. Building a business is just like art — the only way to get there is to embrace the messy parts, show up consistently, and know that there is no other way for you to be who you are but to do what you do.

Related: Do Something That’s Never Been Done Before, According to This Marijuana Tech CEO

What was your toughest challenge and how did you overcome it?

After we’d been in business for a little over a year, and were finally starting to get our “sea legs” (i.e. profitable, with a validated concept), we lost our lease. We had sixty days to find a new home. I felt a big sense of responsibility to offer our community and members both a seamless experience and a beautiful new place to work. Real estate in the Bay Area is tough, so finding a new home in 60 days seemed impossible.

Among the first spaces that I looked at was a former dance studio with a skylight atrium in the shape of a honeycomb…a perfect home for The Hivery and the one we are in today. What initially felt like a business nightmare had a serendipitous happy ending that propelled our business into larger growth. You know what they say about ‘life giving you lemons’…our new Hivery HQ is definitely the lemonade.

What’s the problem you are attacking now?

The world needs more places devoted to helping women create, grow and lead. It is my intention to create “Hiveries” all over the world. Since launch, we have been a catalyst for women starting businesses, hiring each other, working together, investing in each other, going back to work, and experiencing positive transformation. To me, the most valuable part of The Hivery is the moment when a woman steps outside of herself and is met by a community of supportive women. This is where the real stuff happens.

Related: 22 Qualities That Make a Great Leader

What trait do you depend on most when making decisions and why is that useful for you? 

The biggest thing that being an entrepreneur has taught me is that we often know the answer all along, we’re just not ready to accept it yet. So often I’ve chosen a path or made a decision and then subsequently dissected it, taken it apart, changed tack, and then come full-circle right back to the original idea. I chalk that up to the creative process. We have an idea, we express it, we reject it, we hold it up to the light, and then we embrace it again. Entrepreneurial decision-making is like the exhilarating and agonizing process of making art. In the end, it comes down to what’s in your deepest intuition. As I mature, I’m learning to trust it faster.

Related: Entrepreneurship Is All About the Fight

How has your leadership style evolved?

The first time someone called me a CEO, I looked around to see who they were talking about. I was creating my business with a ferocious passion, and making strategic decisions every day, but I hadn’t accepted that title. I’ve learned that I’m the best leader when I’m grounded and calm, making decisions from my gut, and not from being reactionary. I’ve become a better listener, and I’ve learned to roll with the flow. I no longer believe that I can plan or anticipate everything. I’ve learned to trust that when things don’t go according to plan, something that I never dreamed possible is waiting for me down that unexpected path.

Is there a particular quote or saying that you use as personal motivation? 

I believe in this quote by revolutionary modern dance choreographer Martha Graham so deeply that it’s a typographic design element in our atrium. I’ve read it thousands of times and feel that it holds all the truths:

“There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique, and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium; and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, not how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. No artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.”

Starting Outside the Silicon Valley May Be Difficult But Laying The Ground For Entrepreneurs Generation

In the new podcast Masters of Scale, LinkedIn co-founder and Greylock partner Reid Hoffman explores his philosophy on how to scale a business — and at Entrepreneur.com, entrepreneurs are responding with their own ideas and experiences on our hub. This week, we’re discussing Hoffman’s theory: Silicon Valley has an inimitable blend of talent. No other region can match its collective capacity or wisdom for scaling, except maybe China. Listen to this week’s episode here.

There’s absolutely some truth to the idea that Silicon Valley is the best place on the planet to build and scale a business right now. Doing it elsewhere is without a doubt a risk, but it’s not as if it’s not happening, and happening with frequency.

After all, there are quite a few success stories of massive growth coming from various corners of the world. Spotify. Snap. Wix. And ahem, Fiverr.

Related: China’s Tech Scene is Poised to Explode. Here’s What U.S. Startups Need to Understand.

It starts with understanding what makes Silicon Valley so damn attractive today, and ends with a recognition of why it’s so worthwhile to build businesses elsewhere.

Location, location, location

There are a number of reasons for Silicon Valley’s dominance that are foundational ones. These are building blocks that, for the most part, can be recreated anywhere in the world.

  1. Great young talent. Whether it’s Stanford, Berkeley, San Jose State or Santa Clara, the Bay Area is home to a huge volume of diversified tech talent. The economies of scale impact everyone from developers to marketers and salespeople.
  2. A culture of accepting transplants. The Bay Area may be home to many, but it’s never been heavy on natives. As a region that has been growing since World War II, the Bay Area and Silicon Valley have been largely accepting of transplants and immigrants. That makes it an easy place to relocate from both a policy standpoint in California and from a cultural standpoint.
  3. Easy access to capital. As the birthplace of the venture capitalist, there’s quite a bit of access to the funds so many startups need to grow. According to the Martin Prosperity Institute, 25 percent of the world’s venture capital dollars are based in San Francisco and San Jose.
  4. An appetite (and governmental blind eye) for innovation.While Airbnb may have become embroiled in controversy and a ballot proposition in 2016, the company was able to use the Bay Area as a test bed for some time without any governmental handcuffs. As Uber and Lyft grew into global players with push back from taxi unions in places like New York and Washington, D.C., Silicon Valley had little to no issue with the ride hailing concept.
  5. High of 75, low of 55. It’s tough to beat the Bay Area’s weather, and while this may seem trivial, it’s an absolute draw for talented individuals all over the globe. San Jose has257 days of sunshine a year. Seattle? Just 152.

Related: Utah, the Next Silicon Valley?

Giving a man a fish or teaching him how to fish . . . with dynamite

However, there is one additional and substantial reason Silicon Valley continues to be number one in terms of scaling a business, and it’s something Reid Hoffman discusses in this week’s episode. There are simply more people in positions of leadership who have done it before. The idea of crazy, hyper growth is second nature in Silicon Valley, and the “muscles” needed to generate such growth are already developed in the region through the personalities and leaders that do business there.

The “PayPal Mafia” is a group that many of us in the tech community revere, but what are we really talking about? We’re talking about a group of smart people who built a company that had explosive growth. Those people then went on to form other companies in Silicon Valley, spreading their knowledge and experience. Those companies created a new class of entrepreneur, seasoned with previous scale-driven success. What each of them has done is truly impressive, but what’s worth noting is that much of that success has remained within Silicon Valley. Not a ton of those pioneers have left the friendly confines of the Bay Area, and it’s this generational “passing down” of experienced and skilled hyper-growth builders that many other areas lack.

Related: How Tech Entrepreneurs Can Excel Outside of Silicon Valley

The new kids on the block

While Silicon Valley is the best bet today, I’m confident that the next wave of Silicon Valleys are growing before our very eyes, and for those of us building those communities, the payoffs extend far beyond our current ventures.

Avenues to access capital are quickly expanding. New resources like crowdfunding as well as the influx of institutional investors into places like Israel are already bearing this point out and increasing the flow of money to other regions. Talent — a resource that’s always constrained due to the local supply — is far more accessible through a variety of means, including digitally. Not to mention the opportunity many governments have to adopt new regulations to spur innovation-driven immigration to enable greater numbers of talented individuals to enter an ecosystem.

Related: 3 Myths About Starting a Company in the Midwest

Israel is a good example of a place where one particular vertical has churned out successes in the form of cybersecurity. Supply of talent has been exceptionally strong, as has innovation. Successes like Checkpoint have fueled more businesses in that industry, and it’s created a pathway for others to find success. Success itself becomes cyclical, driving other variables like talent supply and funding. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

As businesses like Spotify, Snap, Wix and Fiverr have sustained success, they will create new, experienced “masters of scale” in their regions of the world, which will drive the same cyclical returns in those ecosystems. This process is already underway, and for those of us who are engaging in this transformation, we’re creating ecosystems that will fuel entrepreneurship for generations to come, creating buzz, experience and enthusiasm that sit within the culture of a region, just like Silicon Valley today.

Hoffman is right. It’s not impossible to start a successful companyoutside Silicon Valley, it’s just damn hard. Not only is that changing, but the reward for taking that risk is much larger than any individual success. It’s the actions of pioneers, and as successes pile up, it will only become easier and easier.