Achieve Success Faster By Purchasing an Online Business

Achieve Success Faster By Purchasing an Online Business

Many entrepreneurs think that they will be able to launch their startup and find success within the first year. However, they are soon hit with the reality is that this almost never happens with an online business. 

In the majority of cases, it takes much longer than that to achieve any measurable success. In fact, in most cases, it can take as much as four years before seeing any kind of significant revenue. 

A lot of people do not want to have to wait this long to achieve success with their business. These people will either end up losing interest or funding long before they reach the one year mark. Luckily, there is a way to find success faster by doing one simple thing. By buying an already existing online business, entrepreneurs can help to jumpstart their startup success story by months or even years. 

Thriving Customer Base

Finding and retaining customers in the online marketplace is the third biggest challenge that online businesses reportedly face. Therefore, when they are able to start with an already present customer base, it makes the challenge much less daunting.

Thankfully, if an online business is up for sale, that means it will have already been in full operation for at least several months. During this time, it should have gathered quite a few new and loyal customers. In addition to customers, it should also have a developed email marketing list. The entrepreneurs will take possession of both of these once they purchase the site. 

Therefore they can focus a lot of their attention on things like improving products and altering the website layout. This saves them from having to spend a lot of time trying to entice new customers to visit the site. 

Developed Social Media Presence

Considering the fact that 75 percent of customers use social media as part of their purchasing process, it is incredibly important for online businesses to have a strong social media presence. However, in order to do so, they need to make a lot of social media posts on all major platforms. 

Developing fully fleshed-out Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other accounts are something that takes at least several months to do but can often require years of effort. This can be easily circumvented by instead purchasing an online business that has already spent all of this time and effort creating engaging social media accounts. 

Depending on how long the online business was in operation for and how large it grew to be, it could have a total follower count upwards of 1,000 people. This is something that can help put the entrepreneur a lot closer to achieving success with the online business. 

Finding Successful Business Operation Tactics

When someone builds a company from the ground up, they’ll have no basis for what kind of tactics work. This is unless they have previously run an online business that is very similar to their current one. Having no frame of reference for successful business tactics will force them to do a lot of trial and error. 

This can often lead to a lot of time and money being put towards something that then ends up failing. It is during this process of trying to figure out what combination of tactics to use that an online business often runs into financial problems that lead to it closing its virtual doors. 

When you decide to buy an online business, a lot of the trial and error will have already been done for you. If the online business has grown to a point where you are interested in buying it, then it means that the combination of tactics that it is using must be at least mostly successful. 

Therefore, it is very likely that you may only need to apply small changes to maximize the business’s performance. This will end up saving you a ton of money and effort and help you achieve success a lot faster. With all of these great benefits, it is no surprise that so many entrepreneurs choose to buy an online business. To buy some of the best online businesses out there for some of the best prices, then visit Flippa today.

50 Years Old. Meet ArtCove.com

50 Years Old. Meet ArtCove.com

There are a number of factors that go into valuing a business. These are widely known – financial trending, margins, traffic, proprietary tech – but in an industry that is barely 35 years old AGE is also big factor. In this case of Art Cove the business has been around for 50-years, first trading as a retailer in Queens before moving online in 1999. In 2015 they shot the store and now trade exclusively online, both direct and via core marketplaces.

In this Seller Interview we speak with Josh Simone from ArtCove. He takes us through the history as well as their marketplace expansion.

1. The business is 50-years-old. How has it changed in that time?

We started off in 1971 as a brick and mortar art supplies store. After some time we added craft supplies to our store. The business took off with the newly added craft supplies. As time went by, big box stores moved in so we shifted to eCommerce starting our website artcove.com in 1999. At first, instant success but then things started getting more competitive.

In 2014 we started selling on eBay. And in 2015 we started selling on Amazon. We did $200,000 in our first full year on Amazon, with little to no effort, we listed just a few products. In 2018 we expanded to Walmart, Etsy and started building a new website with Shopify giving us the ability to sell across Facebook and Google also. These projects are fairly new but show great promise. Like all great business you must change with the time and we have done this many times through 50 years of trade.

2. You’ve expanded to all marketplaces including Amazon, eBay and Etsy. How have these channels impacted the business?

It was easy at first. We started selling on eBay then Amazon, moving high volume product quickly. The problem is margin. These are a lot lower on Amazon. Our recent expansion shows real promise, we’ve expanded to Walmart, Etsy and started to build a new website reducing our dependency on Amazon. I think by expanding to several marketplaces we have set the business up for long term success giving us and any potential acquirer opportunities and genuine diversification.

3. With so much history you must have a loyal customer base. Do you have a good repeat buyer base?

We have a very loyal customer base. We provide outstanding customer service which keeps people coming back. We just recently rolled out a customer project board so we can see what our customers are doing with our supplies. This has really helped to build long term relationships and get to know our customers much better. We do business with Sea World, Sesame Place, The Los Angeles Lakers, The Howard Stern Show and many other large businesses. We do a lot of business with schools and non-profit organizations also.

4. What are people buying and has it changed over the years? Are their clear trends?

We have focused on everyday type products that anyone can use. We stay away from fads or short-term trends. One of our biggest products is Craft Mirrors. These are an everyday type item that always sell well year-round. We have also found that a lot of best sellers are not carried by the big box stores so this insulates the business somewhat. We have several product lines that no one carries. At the same time we are always adding new products to our website. The trends are very clear.

We run ads for our best performing products and respond well to customer feedback…making product decisions accordingly.

5. There’s so much history here. Why are you selling?

This is a three-generational business, so we do this for a lot more than the money at this point. It’s about keep the business going and taking care of our customers. We are looking for someone to take over our tradition. There’s so much history and even more opportunity here.

Risk vs Reward of Buying Web Properties on Flippa

Risk vs Reward of Buying Web Properties on Flippa

When the average person thinks about building wealth they often follow what they’re taught in school and what their peers or family are doing with finances.

The majority of the time that means go to school, get a well paying job, save money, invest in stocks, invest in mutual funds, and retire one day.

This is a very well trotted path and if you’re interested in having an average amount of “wealth,” that is the safest path ahead.

However, if you want to build substantial amounts of wealth giving you and your family financial freedom, you will need to move off of the beaten path.

You will need to get comfortable with higher levels of risk, begin to understand the importance of cash flow, and do what you can to cover your expense with income generating assets.

I have never met a truly wealthy person that reached their financial independence by not taking risks.

All that being said, taking calculated risks are a healthy middle ground for smart investors looking for alternative asset classes.

Accumulating as much data as possible to support your investment into a newer asset class is the strongest approach to measure your risk.

With web properties like e-commerce, content sites, mobile apps, domains, SaaS businesses, and many others available on the Flippa marketplace now being considered a bona fide asset class for buyers and investors available data is in abundance.

This makes calculated risks easier.

Before I allocate any capital to a new asset, I always weigh the costs and benefits for both long-term and short-term allocation. These are the first three (of many) questions I ask myself before finalizing a deal for a web property on Flippa:

  1. How long until I reach 50% return on my investment with this web property? How long till 100%?
  2. If the web property fails immediately how quickly can my portfolio make up for the loss?
  3. What are additional revenue streams I can add to de-risk this web property?

By answering those questions and a few others I’ve weighed the rough costs vs benefits of NOT buying a quality web property at a fair monthly multiple of revenue. Asking basic questions like those builds confidence, helps with your mindset, and significantly de-risks the investment overall.

The majority of the time while doing my due diligence, I operate in worst case scenario. Dozens of other buyers and seasoned investors I’ve met over the years in this space do the same.

To give a rough average of the returns that can come from acquiring web properties, over the last 3 years, I’ve seen more than half of the web properties in portfolio yield a 100% return on investment (ROI) within 12 months of buying them, after expenses.

That level of return on investment is only available through taking risks on a newer asset class that other investors aren’t as familiar or comfortable with.

This would be considered investing off the beaten path.

Following what everyone else is doing will give you the returns everyone else is getting.

Taking calculated risks on web properties on Flippa using large amounts of public data has proven time and time again to outperform the majority of assets I’ve ever owned.

Investors I know and respect all take risks on alternative asset classes multiple times per year to test the waters with higher returns.

Fortunately, it’s still extremely early in the landscape of buying web properties and with Flippa you have the ability to freely communicate with sellers directly.

If you are searching for a way to change the trajectory of your life and accumulate true wealth, take a risk on by acquiring a small web property on Flippa to test the waters.

Spread your allocation out across multiple niches and business types, and make sure you’re collecting as much data as possible to de-risk your investment.

Also, be sure to have fun with the process.


Author bio: Steve McGarry

Steve is host of The Sound Money Podcast and spends most of my days talking about blockchain startups, dApps, coffee, and influencer marketing.

 

Data Breaches Big and Small: What Can We Learn?

Data Breaches Big and Small: What Can We Learn?

Author bio

Dan Fries is a freelance writer and full stack Rust developer. He looks for convergence in technology trends, with specific interests in cybersecurity, micro mobility, and smart cities. Dan enjoys snowboarding and is based in Hong Kong with his pet beagle, Teddy. His website is danfries.net.


 

If you own an online business or website, you need to actively take meaures to prevent a data breach. If you are considering selling your online business, you should make sure your across the best security practicesYou’ve probably heard that those who don’t learn the lessons from history will repeat its mistakes. In the world of cyber-security, failing to heed that advice could have devastating effects on your reputation and bottom line

 

That’s exactly what seems to have happened in 2018, which smashed all records set in 2017, itself a jaw-dropping year for data breaches. Not only was there major chaos in terms of financial loss and damaged reputations for corporate giants, about 60% of reported breaches targeted small businesses. Those are the ones that rarely make the news.

 

Only 10 percent of cybercrimes are even reported, so imagine how the actual numbers add up. 

 

Digging into Breaches

 

What kind of malfeasance are we talking about? More than half of the leaks exposed customer information, and a whopping 46% or more leaked credit card and other financial records, including account numbers. 

 

One of the most dangerous times for small companies is during a merger. With so many larger companies buying up smaller businesses and online properties changing hands like it was a poker game, all parties involved need to take care they don’t inadvertently release privileged data in the process

 

What can you learn from big and small data breaches in order to prevent future grief? 

 

Without further ado, and in no particular order, here are a few of our “favorite” breaches of 2018 and a handful of case studies to provide context and additional insight.

 

1. British Airways

From August 21 – September 5, hackers were able to access credit card payments of 380,000 travelers on both the airline website and mobile app. 

 

2. Orbitz

The travel aggregation portal experienced a database hack that exposed the credit card information of 880,000 travelers who booked through their website between January 1, 2016 and December 22, 2017. The hack wasn’t discovered until a year later.

 

3. SingHealth

Singapore’s health care information system was hacked in an attempt to gain information about the Prime Minister’s health. In the process, the hackers exposed the patient histories, names, and addresses of 1.5 million other citizens.

 

4. T-Mobile

On August 20, 2018, the telecommunications giant was hacked via an API interface. Encrypted passwords and billing information of two million customers was exposed. 

 

5. Saks/Lord and Taylor

On an undisclosed date (because no one is sure when) the credit card information of five million customers was accessed. The hacking group JokerStash claimed responsibility.

 

6. Timehop

From December 2017 to July 2018, names, addresses, and some phone numbers of 21 million Timehop members were left vulnerable due to insufficient authentication in their cloud computing environment.

 

7. Ticketfly

The online ticket seller was hacked by someone calling themselves “IsHaKdZ”. Personal information of 27 million customers was exposed. 

 

8. Facebook

It was a banner year for the social media giant. In addition to their problems with third-party data sales and congressional hearings, the accounts of 29 million users were exposed when hackers gained access tokens to their accounts. This occurred from July 2017 to September 2018.

 

9. Chegg

Personal information, shipping addresses, user names, and passwords of 40 million customers were accessed by an “unauthorized person” between April 29, 2018 and September 19, 2018. The eCommerce website is an online retailer selling such brands as EasyBib.

 

10. Google+

Personal information of 52.5 million account holders, including employers and job titles, was exposed due to a software glitch. This happened from March 2015 to 2018, and again from November 7 to November 13, 2018. Google has since shut down this platform for good.

 

One of the most dangerous times for small companies is during a merger. With so many larger companies buying up smaller businesses and online properties changing hands like it was a poker game, all parties involved need to take care they don’t inadvertently release privileged data in the process.

Data Breach Case Studies

Behind each data breach or leak lies a personal story of a company that didn’t pay attention to details. Taking a deeper dive into a few of them might more seriously demonstrate the gravity of what can happen when security isn’t emphasized.

Does your business have the resources to withstand a million-dollar leak? How about $100,000? Most companies don’t. In fact, most small companies will go out of business within six months of a data breach, even without the negative publicity. Almost as bad as the difficulty you’ll likely encounter trying to sell a website with a data breach history.

 

Case Study: Aadhaar

Customers affected: 1.1 billion

What Happened?

Aadhaar is the national database that contains all Indian government identification cards. The database not only holds names and ID numbers but also biometric information like iris scans and fingerprints. Although registration in this database isn’t mandatory, some 1.1 billion Indian residents are enrolled. 

The system is used for everything from registering a sim card to obtaining government benefits. It was accessed via a leak from the state-owned utility company, Indane, allowing anyone with access to their website to download customer ID numbers. It was due to a vulnerable endpoint, something that is easily patched. 

This isn’t the first time the Aadhaar system has had security issues. The company has suffered numerous breaches, and the government did nothing about this latest leak for weeks, calling it fake news when the public learned of the breach. 

Key takeaway: Digging deeper into the breach, we find that the problem can actually be traced to Indane, an Indian LPG gas company with vendor access to Aardhaar but which was leaking data through unsecured website endpoints. Whether Indane specialized in incompetence or simply tried to cut website hosting costs related to development is unclear, but the bottom line lesson remains that a government database is only as secure as the vendors allowed to access it.  

 

Case Study: Starwood Hotels

Customers affected: 500 million records

What happened?

As we can see from numerous cases, hotels are a prime target for hackers and breaches. They hold credit card information for reservations and the dates that people will be away from their homes. This is an open invitation to various means of theft.

In the case of Starwood, parent company of the Marriott chain, the guest database experienced “unauthorized access” that was only discovered on September 10, 2018, but the leaks may have been ongoing as far back as 2014. The database contained not only guest names, addresses, and phone numbers, but credit card information, reservation dates, and passport numbers. What a treasure trove for thieves!

Key takeaway: Starwood failed to implement even basic security strategies. Though the company has been short on details, it seems hackers were basically living on their servers. One method of entry was infiltration of a POS system. For a nominal fee, the best VPNs available today would have encrypted their POS network, ensuring that any leaked customer data stayed private. Nota bene: avoid using free VPNs at all costs as they are fraught with security holes.

Additionally, in the case of Starwood, the guest database was not protected until November 2018, two months after the breach was discovered. Security suite software and a robust firewall might have prevented THIS unauthorized ingress. Since the company has hotels all over Europe, it’s also left itself open to potential fines of up to 4% of gross revenues under the new GDPR regulations

 

Case Study: PATCO Construction 

Customers affected: The company

What happened?

 

A Trojan Horse virus was slipped into the company’s system, allowing thieves to access their corporate account and drain it to the tune of just over half a million dollars in less than a week. The company was able to recoup just under $200,000 of the money, though they initially failed in a lawsuit against the bank that handles ACH transfers, which they believe didn’t use reasonable security during wire transfers. They won on appeal, but still had to pay interest on hundreds of thousands in overdraft fees.

 

Key takeaway: Before you conduct any business electronically, make sure that the bank and any third-parties involved in conducting transfers and other financial business use adequate security. You should also ask how they handle data breaches in the case that any occur.

 

How to Protect Yourself and Customers

 

What happened to Volunteer Voyages demonstrates that small business owners don’t have much recourse after the fact. If the banks won’t reimburse you and police have trouble catching cyber criminals, what’s left?

 

We’ve touched on the idea that a data breach can make it hard to sell an online business. At the very least, expect it to drive down the valuation to the point that your profit potential is downright depressing. Consider the following steps to boost site security for a reasonable expense. The money spent will likely be far less than the financial hit you’ll take in the event of a data leak or breach. 

 

The most important thing you can do is learn about data protection, and make sure that all of your employees and subcontractors understand the process and necessity. The second step is to perform a thorough assessment of where your network stands on cybersecurity. If you don’t have qualified personnel on-staff, outsource an audit to a reputable security consulting firm. However, the knowledge you gain is meaningless unless you use it, which is step three. 

 

The most relevant data security measures you can employ are:

 

  • Install a firewall

 

  • Buy security tools like an anti-virus software that are made especially for small businesses.

 

  • Evaluate and redesign security protocols to meet today’s threats.

 

  • Use a VPN with high-grade encryption and privacy protection on every network and connected device used by you, your employees, and vendors.

 

  • Educate staff about passwords. 

With a full 81% of breaches traced to weak or repetitive passwords, simply tending to this one area could greatly reduce your exposure to hacker mischief. Today’s acceptable passwords should be long and convoluted to evade ever-stronger cracking techniques.

Rather than try to manage passwords with faulty human brainpower, organizations should use password management software and two-factor authentication (2FA). This puts your computer to work creating and managing company passwords and forces a two-step login process that requires a second key generated to a different device (like your smartphone) in addition to the one you’re trying to log into.   

 

Final Thoughts

 

With a full 81% of breaches traced to weak or repetitive passwords, simply tending to this one area could greatly reduce your exposure to hacker mischief. Today’s acceptable passwords should be long and convoluted to evade ever-stronger cracking techniques. 

 

 

Don’t allow your company to become another statistic. You can avoid being the next hard-luck tech story by taking the offensive when it comes to data protection. 

 

Effective, enterprise-wide employee training, comprehensive security solutions, and automation are all best practices to incorporate without breaking your budget. Start today because tomorrow might be the day you get hacked.

The big increase in women-owned online businesses

The big increase in women-owned online businesses

The trajectory is clear. There is a surge in female business entrepreneurship. However, the finer details reveal a more complex pattern than appears at first impression. The 2018 American Express economic study ‘State of Women-Owned Businesses Report’, presented an exciting picture of the rise in female business ownership. It reported that in the US there are almost 2,000 new businesses being founded by women each day and that women now own around 40% of businesses overall. However, the devil is in the detail, and in stark contrast the highly regarded tech industry reviewer TechCrunch reports that only 17% of all business startups have a female founder, and that proportion has not grown significantly over the past 6 years. A glass ceiling also applies to female-owned businesses which have been backed by venture capital investment. So, what explains the apparent disparity in these reports?

The highest proportion of women-owned enterprises are in the small business and non-tech business sectors. Since the 1970s the number of all women-owned businesses in the US has increased by a staggering multiple of more than 30 times, and importantly the employment created by those businesses has increased 40-fold. Yet they still account for only 6% of total workforce employment and under 5% of all business revenues.

While there was considerable growth over the past decade in the proportion of businesses generating more than $1 million dollars per annum in revenue which are female-owned, women-owned businesses still remain predominantly small ones, with businesses generating more than $1 million dollars per annum accounting for only 1.7% of all female-owned businesses. For proper understanding of the statistics it’s important to clarify that where a business involves partnerships and multiple owners/founders, the classification of female-owned and female-founded is defined as at least 50% of the ownership is female. In this context TechCrunch clarifies that only one-third of female-founded businesses are entirely female-owned and led. 

So, notwithstanding the undeniable impression of a dramatic improvement in the overall level of female business ownership, the detail is complex and masks the reality that women are still under-represented in both online businesses and tech-based startups and particularly in VC-backed businesses. 

This is so notably the case that in 2018 a mere 2% of all VC investment funding for all startup businesses in the US went to enterprises with all-female founders. The reasons for this are clear. Firstly, the vast majority of all-female businesses are too small to attract venture capital. Secondly, investment decision-making in venture capital still remains so male-dominated that over 90% of those who allocate investment funding in the US are male. However, the consequent financial favoring of male enterprises is arguably based primarily on unconscious affinities and informal, unintentionally-gendered business networks rather than any deliberate bias.

As a potential change driver, the present under-representation of women in VC-backed businesses actually presents a massive opportunity. The current time seems poised at a critical turning point for a substantial and sustained increase in female entrepreneurship in online businesses. In February this year, Forbes published a report on the many reasons for women now being more motivated than ever to start up or buy into their own businesses, instead of being content to remain an employee of someone else’s business. 

Multiple large-scale surveys consistently establish that women are motivated to start their own businesses in the pursuit of freedom, financial independence and personal fulfillment. For many women, independent entrepreneurship is also a way of circumventing the glass ceiling they have encountered in their professional employment.

More and more women are recognizing unmet service and product needs in society and developing innovative solutions to create and capture a lucrative and professionally rewarding market niche. 

 

Key enablers for the trend to gather momentum

Increased Access to Business Finance

The National Women’s Business Council (NWBC) urges women to make greater use of network support opportunities including Small Business Administration support and loan programs and partner networks such as SCORE and the Women’s Business Center. Networking, including online support networks, can provide valuable encouragement, advice and practical resources. This can create access to existing networks of ‘angel investors’ who are specifically focused on female entrepreneurship – or at least consciously predisposed to financing women-founded, owned and led businesses. 

Greater female access to business startup capital is poised to be a powerful game-changer. As this development gains traction it may re-focus the targets of larger scale venture capital financing which, as stated, is currently deflected from female-founded and female-led business ventures.

Effective Mentoring for Women in Business

Successful established female entrepreneurs can provide crucially important role modeling and a powerful source of practical advice and guidance for aspiring and novice business founders and also for women who buy an existing online business with the intention of managing it well and developing it further. Female mentoring networks are thriving, widespread and very easy to connect with. They can be expected to result in real and sustained improvement in women’s participation in all kinds of business ventures, maybe particularly in the online and startup environments. Male mentors have a valuable role to play too and many women in business have found the supposed boys’ club is actually far more open, supportive and collaborative than it’s sometimes perceived to be. 

Time to Seize the Day

For women, this is the greatest of times to create your own business space and join the growing community of female online business leaders. The necessary success factors are in place, the momentum is gathering, and the opportunity awaits right here and now.

 

Translate.com sold on Flippa for $853,000

Translate.com sold on Flippa for $853,000

Translate.com is a translating website with almost 2m visitors per month. The business sold last November on Flippa with a winning bid of $853,000. The auction, which had no reserve created a lot of interest and attention in the buying community.  

We caught up with the buyer Volodymyr to discuss the purchase. In the interview below, he talks about how long he was looking for an online business before purchasing the site, his immediate plans and why Flippa is his preferred platform.

 

Interview with the buyer – Volodymyr Nesterenko

Were you looking for a website with this type of organic traffic for long before you bought this site on Flippa?

No, we were not looking specifically for translation traffic, we were just watching what was for sale. We started doing that about 2 years ago and normally we pay more attention to career and education (SaaS) and pet care goods (Amazon Affiliate model). Previously we had a couple of good deals there. There were also sporadic opportunities in the ESL (English as a Second Language) space too, but no deals, so when Oleksii spotted Translate.com, we decided it was a good place to start.

 

What made you choose to buy Translate.com? Where you aware of the site before it became available for sale?

We hadn’t heard of Translate.com before, but we were ready to buy something in the ESL space. The domain name is absolutely epic, but we’d have never done it if it was only about the domain. The previous owners did a good job, there was a real product with a well automated workflow under the hood. On top of this, tens of thousands of freelance translators from all around the world.

 

What were your immediate plans when you first bought this site? Have you executed these?

The immediate plan was to transfer everything smoothly and not to break anything. For example, we had to take over two mobile applications and numerous integrations, such as an integration with Zendesk which enables our B2B clients to translate support tickets. Translate.com carries out human translation in a really frictionless way and we didn’t want clients to feel any pain because of the ownership change. After the transfer, we audited the programming code, did some critical fixes. We are now renovating the site and apps and also working on a strategy for this line of our business. Realistically, we can increase revenues 10x in 2-3 years.  

 

How did you find your experience with Flippa?

The listing was hot (more than 170 bids) and the overall deal wasn’t easy but everything worked well. We spotted the sale on Flippa, which tells for itself, and we appreciated a simple process too. Listing page, chat with a seller, the auction, escrow service – everything was great and we didn’t need anything on top. Maybe some extra help with the asset purchase agreement, but that’s it. We are watching many platforms where people buy and sell business and Flippa is definitely one of the few on the top of our list