Joe Burrill started on Flippa in 2012, looking for small businesses to buy, grow, and then sell. What began as an experiment in the realm of acquisition entrepreneurship evolved into a thriving brokerage business, Just Website Brokerage, conducted entirely on the Flippa platform.
The Beginning of a Successful Career in Brokerage
Joe’s introduction to Flippa happened when he signed up to an online course by the eBusiness Institute, run by Matt and Liz Raad. The institute has long seen the opportunities available on Flippa and encourages hundreds of students and individuals every year to purchase their first online business on the marketplace. While many follow the path of growing and eventually selling their acquisitions, Joe charted a distinct course.
In his early 20s, Joe was eager to get into the world of online businesses, and Matt and Liz gave him the confidence to make his first ever business acquisition on Flippa. The business he acquired was small, and more of a learning experience than a money maker for him,yet it served as the ideal springboard for Joe’s entry into the intricacies of buying and selling online businesses.
Over the course of six years, Joe honed his expertise in the acquisition and sale of businesses. It was during this period that he recognized he had cultivated a unique skill set in selling, prompting him to shift from being a business buyer and seller to leveraging his skills as a broker, assisting other Flippa users in their business transactions through his brokerage company, Just Website Brokerage.
Brokering 208 Deals totaling $5.1M in Transactional Value
Now one of Flippa’s oldest brokers, Joe has been a part of a staggering 208 transactions totalling $5.1M in transaction value.
Working predominantly with Content sites, Joe possesses the skill of effectively presenting a business’s quality, along with highlighting the potential opportunities for a new owner.
In the past year Joe has achieved remarkable successes in terms of a profit multiple, with the best being a business that sold for $30,000, with a yearly profit multiple of 6.25x.
Joe attributes these successful sales to the quality of businesses that are coming his way, as well as the astute buyers in the market who can not only identify a quality site, but are willing to invest in growth opportunities when they see one.
“The quality of a site is the differentiating factor between online businesses for sale. A sale with a high profit multiple is usually a result of one of two factors – the quality of the site, or the opportunity for growth of a site.”
While quality involves considering numerous metrics, including traffic engagement, the business’s age, its niche and evergreen factor, and of course the monthly profit,the assessment of a business’s opportunity is more subjective, necessitating buyers to discern it for themselves.
Joe’s Latest Success
Joe’s most recent success was the sale of a booming Italian-based Ecommerce business in the evergreen fashion niche.
The business’s strengths included a straightforward business model, adaptability to market trends, and exceptional relationships with manufacturers, which made it incredibly appealing to potential buyers.
At the time of sale, the business had a monthly profit of $11.1K, and showcased a steadily growing revenue. The business sold in just under three months.
Finding the Perfect Growth Opportunities
Having been a part of so many Content site sales on Flippa, Joe possesses a distinctive perspective on what sells most effectively.
In his experience, buyers consistently express a willingness to invest in the potential growth of a business. One prevalent opportunity that attracts buyers is when a Content site relies solely on a single revenue stream. Buyers perceive this as a significant opportunity to swiftly introduce additional revenue streams, thereby accelerating profit growth. For instance, if a site is exclusively monetized through Amazon Affiliate programs, a buyer can promptly experiment with new revenue channels like Google Adsense.
“Buyers are often willing to acquire a business at a higher multiple when the businesses have more opportunity for growth.”
For every listing he manages on Flippa, Joe provides a list of opportunities without overcomplicating things. He discovered that the best way to attract buyers on the marketplace is by clearly highlighting the facts of the business and letting buyers identify growth opportunities as they see them.
The Process of Selling
Joe thoroughly researches a business before turning it into a listing on Flippa. Generally, he’ll spend up to two weeks collaborating with the seller to ensure he has a solid understanding of the business and its key highlights.
During this process, he gathers a wealth of information from the seller, and then streamlines it into an easily digestible format for prospective buyers. Once the business is listed, Joe and his team take charge of all buyer communications, keeping the seller on the sidelines until the right buyer emerges.
In the quest to find the ideal buyer, Joe approaches every inquiry and discussion as a potential match for the deal. He adopts a strategy of providing potential buyers with more information than initially requested, a tactic he has found effective in separating serious contenders from those merely curious about the details.
Learning along the way
After more than a decade of engaging in the buying and selling of businesses on Flippa, Joe has gathered immense knowledge on the world of online acquisitions, as well as valuable insights for both sellers and buyers.
Here are Joe’s key pieces of advice for others:
- For significant transactions, ensure a comprehensive sales agreement is in place.
- Utilize an escrow service for secure fund transfers.
- Acknowledge the uniqueness of each sale; the process varies for different types of businesses.
- For smaller deals (under $25K), adopt a no-reserve strategy.
Joe emphasizes, “Time definitely kills deals.”
Businesses that do well in sales are typically:
- In a specialized niche that sparks enthusiasm: pets products, hobbies, niche sports or anything that stirs people’s passion.
- Laden with opportunities.
- Governed by a straightforward business strategy.
- Free of hidden complications.
One of the more intricated deals Joe managed was a six-figure sale, a transaction that extended over two months for the seamless transfer of assets.
“I guarantee you, this deal would not have gone through without a lot of patient negotiation and back-and-forth between me and the buyer, and me and the seller. This is where the value of a broker becomes clear.”
For Joe, the sheer number of buyers on Flippa is what keeps him coming back to the marketplace to sell his brokerage listings. He also appreciates the platform’s user-friendly interface for browsing deals.
“I don’t list businesses anywhere else, other than Flippa. There are so many buyers and if you can create a listing that stands out from other businesses you’ll sell your business.”
Along with the large volume of buyers, Joe loves all the new features that Flippa introduced recently. Managing so many different listings at once can be difficult but he finds that the clean, easy to use Deal Room and messaging capabilities makes it much easier to monitor all the different deals he brokers.
“Being able to shortlist interested buyers is a huge benefit to managing deals and staying on top of buyer communication.”
As of today, Joe has just reached the incredible milestone of $5.1M in transaction value, has seven live listings ready to find a new owner, with many more in the pipeline. Check them all out here.
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