How to Sell Your Company or Business

Your Brand or Company may be worth more than you think. Don’t kill it, sell it.


Looking to get out from underneath your company but don’t know what to do?  Your Company, Brand or Business may be worth more than you think.

Don’t kill it, try to sell it.

Do you have a great product, company or a brand you have built? Maybe you even have a successful Etsy store you want to sell. Perhaps you don’t have the capital or time to invest anymore – but you know the brand and the company is still worth something. Sometimes there are many reasons why a person can’t move forward with their company. When this happens, think about selling your company, don’t kill it.

Your Brand or Company May Be Worth More than You Think

Capitalism, as its name suggests, is based on the ownership of Capital. What is capital? Basically, capital is anything that can be traded for something else. Any amount of money is capital, as it can be traded for a huge variety of things. Personal items are also capital because they can be sold. Items such as houses, cars, and ‘other items of value’ fall under this category. 

Capital is anything of value that can be turned into cash. If a blog is earning a #1 spot on Google, it’s worth about $250,000 in Google SEO Adwords for search results alone. But unless it’s a blog that can turn a profit for products sold, it’s nothing more than good content. That is, unless it’s in the hands of someone who knows how to really market a blog to its fullest potential. 

But in Economics 101, we learned what Capitalism is. And it usually boiled down to a tangible item like a house or a car. In reality, there may be digital goods that far outweigh a tangible object in monetary value. We need to start thinking about that idea more.

A lot of business owners and even small Etsy makers, crafters, etc. don’t know what to do with the small business or brand they have spent years building, so they just quit. That’s the worst thing to do. Because you just never know if there is someone out there looking for what you’ve built. And you could be underestimating what you HAVE.

Think about it: If you have built up a social media following, a list of customers, a product that is scalable and blog content, etc. you have a solid foundation and a brand. Now, I’m not saying that every brand created is worth half a million dollars, but your brand could be worth more than you think. And if you can no longer stand to look at it, it could be a fresh new venture for someone else, and a little cash in your pocket.

A lot of people are looking to buy already established businesses, or breathe new life in old business that existed decades ago. If you think about it, it makes sense: Buy a company with a product or brand that is already known, or a proven seller. Such is the case for old brands getting new life and being bought for low prices at auction. Or take Narragansett Brewing Co., which was founded in 1890, closed it’s doors in 1985 and was purchased in 2005.  The stories are inspiring : old brands getting new life

Maybe you have a website in place with ecommerce and the product just needs a little tweaking or marketing expertise. FarmHouse Fresh products are awesome products on their own, but the reason it became so wildly successful so quickly is because it was in the hands of a marketing professional who got it in the hands of Oprah. She knew how to do this. There are hundreds of Farmhouse Fresh-esque products out there, even on Etsy who will never see the pages of Martha Stewart Living or Oprah’s Favorite Things because they don’t have a PR or Marketing professional behind them.

If you aren’t sure if you want to sell your business outright and just need to raise capital or seed funding, check out my article on Angel Investors and Venture Capital Firms

What is your company worth, or How much can you sell your business for?

Valuing a company can be tricky, but the general rule of thumb is to think of a business as a stream of cash. Then value your business based on that stream of cash. Revenue is the best approximation of a business’s worth. If the business sells $100,000 per year, you can think of it as a $100,000 revenue stream. Depending on what your business or product is can make it harder to value.

  • Do you offer products or services?
  • Are your products scalable (meaning, can they be made or recreated by someone other than you)?
  • Do you see a long term future and growth with your products or service?

You can also take your current YTD sales and combine it with marketability and future growth estimate to give you a basic ballpark figure for what your asking price can be.

For example:

“Bridget’s Widgets” creates cloth dolls and sells through her online Etsy store. She has been in business for 3 years. Her first year she sold $4,000 worth of product. In year 2 she sold $8,000 worth of product and in her 3rd year, she is at $15,000 per year.  Based on the current yearly sales and the steady growth in sales per year, we can see that her client base is growing and sales are steady and increasing. Her product is one that can be scaled and either recreated in-house or outsourced by a factory. We also know that the long-term growth for her brand/product could easily be sold for the next 10 years.

Based on that info, we can estimate that Bridgets Widgets the Company is worth somewhere around $32,000

Here is a helpful business valuation calculator I have found online to give you a rough estimate of your company’s worth.


Be totally honest about your financial figures and any assumptions, as fabrication serves nobody when buying or selling a company. Note the smallest grey circle, that will be your estimated business value based on your calculations.

Selling Your Business

A lot of people are intimidated by the thought of selling their company, or they don’t even think about it when the need arises. We are still kind of stuck in an old mindset and fail to realize that online businesses (or products) are definitely worth something. Don’t fall into the mindset thinking your business or product isn’t worth anything to anyone else. If you have a product, a following and sales, it is worth something to the right person looking for it. Keep in mind, it may not be thousands of dollars, but it is worth something to someone, and you owe it to yourself to find out.

A lot of business buyers won’t even touch a company unless it is turning major profits but what I think they fail to see is if the product and idea is there, the growth they want can happen if it’s just marketed well. Business buyers have the chance to get in on a ground floor opportunity and earn quite a bit for a product that is already doing well (with a limited budget).

Bottom line: If you have a strong company or brand you have built online, you have a company that is worth something. Let the buyers decide what it’s worth if you’re not sure. Your Following and client list alone could be worth something. Don’t discount the hard work you have invested in your company, product(s) or brand over the years.

The best places I’ve found online to buy or sell a company:

Flippa -So far, this is a #1 site for selling or buying websites (mostly). There are a lot of turn key websites and blogs listed here.

Businesses For Sale. com I like simple, user friendly interface of this website a lot. If I were going to list a business for sale, I might go with this one. Although I do think BizBuySell gets better traffic (see below)

Merger Network MergerNetwork is a social network for business professionals. Create a post about the type of business you want to buy or sell, and send it to your connections. It seems to be relatively active, but I am not sure how it is working for the members.

eBay – People list physical businesses as well as online businesses, e-commerce sites and blogs here all the time.

BizBuySell, You can list your business for sale or browse and find a business for sale on this website. There are also brokers out there who may be willing to sell your company for you. This is a good site to list and find businesses for sale. As with the others, the pricing is about the same to list ($99 for 2 months)

BizQuest BizQuest is also like BizBuySell. There are all kinds of businesses listed, from Franchises to indepently owned Hair Salons to online gift basket businesses.

KEY: Once you list your business for sale, make sure you are utilizing social media to get the word out. Use Twitter, a blog (great for SEO) and Facebook, and share the link to your business listing for sale.

LinkedIn – You can try posting your business or website for sale in a relevant group board. I have found this Buy/Sell Business Group, however, I have requested to join twice and still no response. So unless you are approved by the moderator, you won’t be able to post or connect there. You may also join Buy or Sell a Business (This is a new group I set up myself).

Find a Business Broker – Most brokers may only deal with higher profit businesses, so unless your company is turning hefty profits, it might not be in their best interest to sell your company, as they earn a cut from the sale. Still, worth exploring.

Why Social Influencers Need to STOP Thinking Small

If you think that social influencers aren’t the next Beyonce’s and Biebers (oh wait.) Then you’re dead wrong. Companies like Target, PacSun and Abercrombie need to start paying attention. FAST.

You’re a big influencer in the social space. You’ve put in your time, built your fan following, built your personal brand, now what?

Beyonce + Ivy Park with TopShop, Kate Moss with H&M, the list goes on when it comes to celebrity brands. But don’t you think top influencer branded products are next?

I certainly do.

We are already beginning to see it with makeup companies and beauty bloggers.

Influencers, up to this point, have largely relied on teaming with established companies to collaborate on, for example, clothing or beauty lines…That’s changing.

– Women’s Wear Daily

If you are a successful Vlogger or Instagrammer, where are you in your branding stage? Have you even thought about it?  I look at a lot of top influencers and I see where they are winning and I see a lot of others who could definitely be doing more.  I wonder if they are limiting themselves purposely, or if they are just kind of lost about the next steps to take.

Perhaps they don’t want to do more, and that’s OK, too.  Personally, if I had millions of followers and subscribers to my YouTube channel, I would be hustling the shit out of that. (I mean that in a good way, of course)

One YouTube girl in particular (I won’t mention her name) has a huge influence and what is she selling?  Stuff that looks like she created it on Zazzle.  If that’s what she wants for her brand, that’s totally OK.  I am not going to say what she’s doing is all wrong if it’s working for her and if that is what she is aiming for.  However, I will say that what she’s doing and what Chiara Ferragni are doing are what separates the right now influencers from the ‘it girl’ brand builders and future company CEOs with staying power.

Cheap tees from Zazzle are not going to cut it for long term branding strategy.  Do what Beyonce would do.  Think you can’t?  Think again.

Think bigger.

If you think that social influencers aren’t the next Beyonce’s and Biebers (oh wait.) Then you’re dead wrong.  Companies like Target, PacSun and Abercrombie need to start paying attention.  FAST.  Don’t you think that PacSun should have been keen on a  Justin Beiber capsule collection?  Uh, yeah.

Know who Cameron Dallas is?  If you’re a clothing company or any big brand, you should.  If you don’t, I’m going to say, you need to wake the fuck up.

California native Cameron Dallas has gained over 15 million combined followers on social media in less than a year.  He’s the 7th most followed Viner and, since starting to post on YouTube a few months back, has already added over 3 million subscribers to his channel.

As a social influencer, what you do now is going to set the stage for whatever career you wish to create, or residual income you plan to make in your future. Riding the hot social media train right now is awesome.  You are creating content, building your brand-but you have to think of where you’ll be 2 or 4 years from now. How will you stay relevant in your current space, and what are the next steps for you or your brand?  Are you working toward what you have already planned and are you reverse engineering that vision?

For some, they got into YouTubing because it was fun, and the next thing they realize is their channel has blown up and they don’t know what the hell to do with it next.  So they stay on that current flow and focus, never really thinking about what’s coming ahead in the pipeline.

Remember this guy?

Chris Crocker, 2007-08

His name is Chris Crocker and once upon a time he had millions of YT Followers, even before his ‘Leave Britney Alone’ video that went viral. In fact, his video was one of the most watched YouTube videos of all time. He literally became a founder of ‘viral videos’.

Where is he now?

He is still active on social media, and has a good fanbase on Instagram but has since deleted his YouTube account and the infamous Brit video because of well, “toxic troll haters”. And you can’t blame him, his brand was himself and his past was part of that brand. Now in 2016,  we see him reinventing himself to leave the old persona behind.

Chris Crocker, now


The beginnings of his brand and YouTube career were in the early stages of  YouTube in general, so many of us had no idea how the current Tube world would evolve.

And that is the lesson I am talking about right here and now.  We don’t know what 2 or 4 years from now will look like, but if you have a solid plan and an audience right now, you can be harnessing that in the most positive way.

In the case of Chris, he just did what everyone else was doing, vlogging. He shared a very personal part of his life with the world because that’s just who he is.  He realizes now he made a few poor choices with his fame then (i.e. the Maverick Men porn videos). But if he had known all of this would blow up, perhaps he may have made more strategic plans. If I could have talked to him back then, I would have suggested a super funky or soft androgynous underwear line, named Crocker.  Why the hell not? 

And this is where all of you who may be (or probably aren’t) reading can make a difference.

Stop thinking so small.

Stop thinking within these invisible parameters, they don’t exist.

If you have half a million or even 200K followers, be ready. Be thinking ahead, reverse engineer your brand and your strategy. Don’t assume this is all going to be here 4 years from now. If you have an idea, I urge you to go for it while you have the attention of your audience. If you LOVE writing, vlogging and creating videos then keep doing that. Chances are, you will excel and evolve with the social media trends. But if you see something bigger ahead for yourself, such as the case was with Jessica Alba or Chiara Ferragni, plan your strategy now.  Your current career is your skill honing, your brand building, your research.  Your future career is going to be supported by whatever work you are putting in now.

Jessica Alba started The Honest Company in 2011, and it has been wildly successful, to the tune of $1.7Billion. She leveraged her celebrity status to launch the brand and company, but she stepped back and allowed the quality of the products and the message to speak for itself. You see, it isn’t quite enough for a celeb to just build a brand and reap insta-rewards.  You have to create something pretty worthwhile with a worthwhile agency, or it might blow up in your face.

Just ask Kate Hudson how Fabletics (owned by JustFab) is doing amidst the thousands of complaints from disgruntled customers.

When you strip back all the marketing hype, the core of every good celebrity endorsed, celebrity branded product or collaboration should be the product. Quality product and quality marketing is key to long term success.  

Your audience is tuned in, it’s time to start thinking of taking your brand to the next level. If it is your desire to take this as far as you can, you need to know when to strike and start creating a foundation for long-term growth by creating quality products that will become an extension of your brand and eventually a COMPANY.

All of this-this crazy cool internet madness that allows any one of us to write a post or create a channel with videos and succeed like we never have before, this is a gift.  You and I are in the midst of an evolution that is incredible and intriguing.

Understand where you are and harness your fanbase.  There has never been a better time than NOW to reach out and grab the limitless opportunities. 

Why ‘Intuitive Entrepreneurship’ is Crucial

Sometimes it means moving rapidly on an idea that sparks almost out of nowhere.

Lately the phrase “intuitive entrepreneurship” has been popping into my head.  Perhaps these are buzzwords which are being used more often. Or perhaps, the need to employ this way of thinking is more crucial than it has been before. Letting go of old paradigms is really hard, but I guess it’s much harder when you find yourself left behind because you were afraid of change and taking a risk.

“Entrepreneurs are different. They have the ability to deal with uncertainty, to take risks and tolerate ambiguity. They usually have a personality that is mercurial, and they have highs that are really high and lows that are really low. There’s good evidence that they have strong self-confidence but also tend to be overoptimistic. They rely extensively on their own intuition.”  -James V. Koch
Old Dominion University

As natural-born entrepreneurs, we are kind of wired to take risks and be rebellious.  We learn really early in life what interests us and what doesn’t.  This is probably why I sucked so much in school.  I never understood the point.  I was incredibly bored. I saw myself, my life and my future in a space that had nothing to do with anything going on in those classrooms.  Life was more interesting, more intelligent and grander than the education I was getting there. I couldn’t wait to get out of school to actually create my life the way I saw it. 

I think this is one trait of an entrepreneur that really stands out. If you are a natural born entrepreneur, you probably know you are a bit of a stubborn individual. You live in a bubble of your own ideas, often times feeling like you speak a different language than others.  You are totally driven and would rather stay up all night planning and doing research than sleeping.  And for anyone who tries to sway you from your vision, your hustle and gut instincts -well, that’s all but impossible.

I have been exercising my intuition and trend forecasting skills for a long time now. So the methods and skills I use are pretty natural to me.  My career as a fashion designer has meant that using intuition, and awareness with research is vital to creating collections or pieces that are relevant. I was told in my career that, “If it didn’t scare me, I wasn’t thinking big enough”. A design manager at a company I worked for wanted us to “make him a little uncomfortable” with our designs.  So taking risks has been a huge part of my life in my career and in my own entrepreneurship.  And I embrace it wholeheartedly.

What exactly does it mean to be an intuitive entrepreneur? Sometimes it means taking a little time to think over and research an idea, and sometimes it means moving rapidly on an idea that sparks almost out of nowhere.  With so much information being served to us on a daily basis, sometimes all we have is our intuition to go on. Taking your time on an idea just for the sake of pragmatism isn’t the wisest choice, even if it sounds wise to everyone else.  If you feel deep in your gut that an idea is a hot one, I encourage you to go for it.  This, in my opinion, is the purest form of intuitive business strategy, and the nature of an entrepreneur.

The ability to be creative, think on the fly and make key business decisions with little time amidst the tsunami of external information is vital. Intuition is the natural intelligence that allows us to see ahead of the curve, to generate innovative ideas, to communicate powerfully and to do so without having to study spreadsheets or gather piles of data.  -Simone Wright

On more than a few occasions, I was designing 3-6 years ahead of the game.  And because of that, I either hit it out of the park or swung too quickly and struck out.  In 2008, a collection I worked on wasn’t market relevant, yet. Prospect Denim, a denim collection I helped create and launch in 2008, become relevant – 5 years later.  In fact, every denim company launching in 2013 offered that ‘homespun, made in USA the old fashioned way’ branding message that I created for Prospect in 2008. My partner at the time had the foresight to predict the laser technologies in denim finishing long before any other mainstream denim companies were doing it.  In 2007-08 I foresaw the return to the small batch, USA-made apparel roots happening before it did. Collectively, we saw the direct-to-consumer selling approach. Unfortunately for Prospect Denim in 2008, the rest of the denim world needed more time to “catch up”.  We made our dent in the fashion industry with our innovative thinking and award winning website but it wasn’t enough to translate that into multi-million dollar conversions.  Had we launched two years later, we would have completely crushed our competition.

Being too far ahead isn’t aways a bad thing, but timing is important.

I struck at the right time in 2009 with my first real apparel company, Berry Jane.  At the time, the ‘leggings as pants’ movement was still really new.  It was Berry Jane and Black Milk who were paving the way.  It was hugely successful in it’s first 6 months, and by month 7, we were already on our way to multi-million dollar revenues by year 2. My only kiss of death with that brand was allowing three of the four devils of branding and the wrong partnerships to enter into the picture.

They were:

COMMITTEES (water down inspiration)
BUREAUCRACY (rules override initiative and the ability to think)
RED TAPE (not being nimble and adding layers just because we think moving slowly is somehow smarter than moving swiftly)

As a creative entrepreneur, you simply can NOT let other people into your sandbox or business before the vision (or business) is fully realized.  I can’t stress that enough. Your brand and vision cannot afford to be compromised before it is fully realized. As an intuitive entrepreneur, you can seen how this will play out. Chances are, you have visualized the success of your project like no one else can. You can’t let other people change that. Most importantly, if you are going to change anything, it needs to be because you saw the areas that needed improvements or changes and you did it.  Use your intuition.

Be brutally honest with yourself. This is lesson #1 in intuitive entrepreneurship.

Be OPEN to seeing, hearing and feeling when something isn’t right and quickly adjusting or tweaking areas where you feel it needs to change.  If you discover that your idea simply sucks, or there is just not enough white space for your brand or business, it’s OK to adjust the sails or just fucking scrap it.  Spending time beating a dead horse or living in the past keeps you in that present state: beating a dead horse that will never rise and living in the past that will not propel you forward.  If you see something changing, or if the old ways of doing things aren’t working anymore, you owe it to yourself and your company to figure out why. Spend some time observing and taking it all in.  Pay attention to what is going on around your space.

Ask yourself: What does this project feel like?  Am I doing everything I can with it? What are the successful people doing?  Where is all of this headed?  As a consumer, what do I want? What does all of this feel like?

When you tune in more, you will get better at it.  Take time to be alone with your thoughts and meditate. Analyze your questions and answers.

In my past experiences, I learned to strike when it felt right and to avoid big decisions if I felt hesitant.  I also learned to avoid too many naysayers or partners who tried to change or complicate my flow of things. I learned how to walk away quickly from a person who felt “off”, or a project that just didn’t have the legs I thought it would have. Nor did I partner up with a person because I was desperate for funding or creative collaboration.  I was not attached to the projects or brands simply because I had invested so much into them.  That’s not a good enough reason to continue investing your time, your life, energy and money.  If it’s a project that needs changing in order to be successful, do the necessary changes that it needs, otherwise, be OK growing it slowly or toss it.  There has to be a return.  If it isn’t paying you back financially or emotionally, it’s not worth it. This is another area where your intuition will not lead you astray.  If it feels sucky, let it go and move on.

You have to be willing to hear and see what’s going on around you and predict what’s coming next. Where do you want to be in that game?  In 2008, Tony Robbins hosted a seminar on entrepreneurship. He talked about the economy in the USA, starting a business, and how it was going to challenge all of us.  He also spoke about the power of giving back and truly connecting with our clients and customers in a very personal way (through social media). If you have 30 minutes to spare, I highly recommend this video.

Anticipating is the ultimate advantage in business and in life.  Be ahead of the game, don’t wait to react.  Play the game. KNOW the road ahead.