After extensive buyer research and feedback, we’ve modified our way of formatting a listing when selling your business. These changes are reflected in this document and demonstrate how to write a good business listing when listing your business for sale. The aim of a listing is to give a complete (even if anonymized) view of a business to potential buyers. The listing should clearly explain what the business is, its strengths and what opportunities there are, how it is operated, who the customers are, and details about the offered deal. The format of a listing should follow a clear structure and format and contain specific sections of information. These are:
- About the Seller
- Executive Summary
- Seller Notes
- List of Assets
These sections are explained in more detail below. Please note that the listing should be written in the third person as this has been proven to be a more effective format.
1. About the Seller
This section provides information for potential buyers to learn more about you. This personalizes the listing and has been proven to be effective when included as part of a listing.
- Bio (Typically the first paragraph of a LinkedIn profile or resume. May include education, past experiences, businesses owned, etc.)
- Links to social accounts (LinkedIn, AngelList, Twitter, personal website, etc.)
Please note that the social links do not have to be included on your profile if you do not want them to be.
Please also indicate if you want an NDA attached to your listing. This will hide the identity of the business.
An example of a completed ‘About the Seller’ section:
James is bright and business minded and constantly on the outlook for challenges. He has completed a bachelor’s in Finance at the University of Melbourne. Currently, James works as a data scientist at Google and is an experienced digital marketer. James has always had a passion for ecommerce and has previous sold a business on Flippa for $250,000K.
2. Executive Summary
This section is an Elevator pitch. Describe what the business is / does. It should contain basic information about the business, like business type, age, industry, business model, company location, founders etc.
- One or two paragraphs
- No bullet points or special formatting
- 3rd person / objective
An example of a completed ‘Executive Summary’ section:
Banana Boat is an Australian based eCommerce business selling Apple Watch bands and was registered as a sole proprietor on Jan 1st, 2017. Banana Boat’s focus is to offer Apple Watch owners the possibility to wear their watch with a high quality and beautifully designed leather watch strap. Banana Boat’s straps can be ordered through the webstore and are shipped worldwide.
Banana Boat’s strap of the Apple Watch can be interchanged very easily; Apple Watch owners can simply choose to wear a strap to match their outfit. Apple Watch owners are generally looking for premium products and for ways to give a unique touch to their accessories in order to distinguish themselves. This makes for a very interesting opportunity in a niche market.
This section details the strengths and opportunities of/ for the business. You should outline what makes this business a good business. What the areas of potential improvements are.
- Sections (Strengths, Opportunities)
- Bullet points under each sections
An example of a completed ‘Highlights’ section:
- Private-label products in the highly Unique Category
- Freedom to run business from anywhere in a world
- Multiple potential ways to grow business worldwide plus expanding through other sales channels
- Unique designs
- Length of operation on Amazon and in the niche
- Fully automated business, mostly admin and planning processes 2-3 hours per week
- Short lead time from purchase order to products landing in Amazon warehouses
- Business Development; partnering with other webstore and resellers to sell products through alternative channels
- Fulfilment by Amazon: exposure and quick/convenient delivery options for customers.
- Expand product offering
This section describes what needs to be done for this business to keep it running. It should provide clarity around the amount of “volume” per task (i.e # of emails for customer support). You must specify details in this section as well as the estimated time commitment in Hours/Per week.
One section per type of operation conducted in/ on the business (administration, customer support, fulfillment, marketing, etc)Bullet points for each task within that operation
An example of a completed ‘Operations’ section:
- Customer support (1-3 hrs/wk); about 7 tickets per week. Most are about shipment information. The owner takes this as a chance to make customers advocates of the brand by delivering high quality and personalized answers/solutions.
- Planning and purchasing new inventory (0,5 hrs/wk); sourcing of the parts has been done. For Banana Boat’s current products it just a matter of reordering the parts in time. The parts are manufactured in China and the lead times can be between one to two months.
- General Administration (0,5 hrs/wk); the basic bookkeeping needed for quarterly Dutch sales taxes.
Fulfillment and Assembly
- Fulfillment: All orders are fulfilled by a third party and thank you emails, order confirmations with invoices and emails with tracking information are being sent to the customers automatically. If products are out of stock, people can sign up to a back-in-stock message, which can be sent automatically when inventory is replenished.
- Assembly: the parts ordered from the suppliers need to be assembled before they can be brought/send to the fulfillment warehouse. This only needs to happen very sporadically. It takes the owner about 10 hours to completely assemble and package 200 straps.
Marketing and Business Development
- Marketing, (1hr/week): Reaching out to vloggers, bloggers, Apple news/tech websites, influencers, content creators. Recently an affiliate program has been set up. This could be helpful for the promotion activities.
- Business Development (0 hrs); currently no time is spent on business development. There are interesting options to explore such as partnering with web shops and resellers for other sales channels. Potential partners are reaching out to Banana Boat every now and then.
This section provides information about the nature of the business customers. It enables potential buyers to learn more about their future customers. It should contain the following information as sections:
- Customer profile & segmentation
- Customer acquisition
- Customer retention
- 3 sections (profile & segmentation, acquisition, retention)
An example of a completed ‘Customers’ section:
Customer Profile and Segmentation
Our target market is 15 to 40-year-old females with an interest in fitness and sports.
50% of our customers are from the US, 35% from Europe and 15% from China.
Customer have been acquired primarily via Facebook and Instagram campaigns which represents 85% of total traffic.
While direct traffic driven by SEO represents 15% of the total traffic.
Our CAC (customer acquisition cost) is approximately $5 per customer for new customers.
Customers are retained by advertising new products and sending out promotion via a mailing list.
The mailing list currently has 13,000 active subscribers with an open rate of 23% and a CTA of 11%.
Our customer repurchase cost is $0.30c
6. Seller Notes
This section is the place for the business owner to outline from some specifics about the evolution of the business. Here is a great opportunity to comment on any financial anomalies in the P&L. I.e why has the month of July been so slow? Why were costs abnormally high in June? Was there a change in marketing strategy which increased your customer acquisition cost? Also please note any other important elements of the proposed deal eg seller will provide 3 months post-sale support.
An example of a completed ‘Sellers Notes’ section:
As of May 1st the new name, “banana boat”, has been used. This impacted SEO in the first few weeks. The business seems to be recovering now. I think it is key to start generating backlinks to the new domain. Prior to this name change I asked all suppliers to put production on hold for open orders. I did not want the old logo to be embossed/engraved in the parts at this moment. Only after the new name had been chosen in mid April, production could continue. This caused quite some SKUs to be out of stock for a while.
7. List of Assets
The final section should list off all assets that are included with the business.
An example of a completed ‘List of Assets’ section:
- Amazon FBA Store
- Social Media Accounts
- Facebook: Facebook.com/BananaBoat
- Twitter: Twitter.com/BananaBoat
- Domains: BananaBoat.com, BananaBoats.com, and ILoveBananaBoats.com
- Mobile App
- Email List(s) – 430
- Trademark and LLC
- All remaining stock
Title and Description
Before you launch your listing, you’ll also need a title and description. The title is one of the more important parts of the listing, as a good title will get you more clicks to view your auction. Your title (80 characters) and summary (200 characters) are designed to help you showcase the top listing attributes and will be displayed within the search results. As an example, we’ll be referencing this listings title and summary of this Home & Garden content site selling for $500,000:
Here we see the title as “4 y/o Popular Chainsaw Blog $14,000+ Amazon Affiliate/ month w/ 114,000 Uniques” and the listing summary being “Leading home & garden niche Blog dedicated to Chainsaws – People who wish to buy Chainsaws can read comprehensive reviews on the website then proceed to a purchase on Amazon.”Both the title and the summary appear in search results and therefore need to really ‘sell’ the business by providing a concise snapshot that summarises the key selling point and points of interest about the business. You have a limited character count as outlined above, but use this space to define the businesses monetization method and include the most attractive numbers.
These may be, but are not limited to:
- The businesses average Monthly Profit
- Seller approval rating
- Mailing list
- Monthly unique visits
Have any questions about any of the above? Send us an email at [email protected] and we can help!