Looking for a container ship for your loved one this holiday season? Or perhaps a French spa is more your style. While most small businesses and equipment are sold through brokers, a new Web site in Bingham Farms, SellMyBusiness.com, aims to do just that.
“We’re sort of like eBay for businesses,” says John Maddox, president of SellMyBusiness.com. “It all started 18 months ago when I wanted to broker some business deals, and I thought there just has to be a way to do this on the Web.” After a few months of research and design, Maddox and several partners raised $350,000 to launch the site.
In its first month of operation in April, the site drew 800,000 visits. Since small businesses account for nearly 90 percent of all companies in America, the Web site found a ready market of prospective buyers and sellers. “A lot of small businesses don’t have lawyers or accountants on staff, so a site like ours is another avenue for people to sell their businesses, or obviously for investors to find opportunities,” says Mark Lundquist, vice president of the Web operation and CEO of Troy consulting firm Fulcrum Edge Inc.
Overall, the companies listed on SellMyBusiness.com range in price from hundreds of thousands of dollars to $50 million. Around 100 businesses are added each week, on average, with a good percentage of FSBOs. “The average age of a business owner is 56 years old,” Lundquist says, “so we target our advertising to them, as well as [to] young professionals who may not want to tackle the corporate world.”
Now nearing completion of a second round of funding of $5 million, the site has started to add more features, including a private business vault, where pre-screened investors can search for opportunities in a secure environment. The vault, which requires a $150 monthly listing fee, is targeted toward business owners who want to actively sell their company without alerting their employees or suppliers. A standard listing runs $59.95 per month.
“We’ll offer more options like additional photos and video,” says Maddox, principal of Bingham Farms accounting firm Maddox Ungar Silberstein. “Plus, we list business books for sale and a place where people can sell equipment like trains, locomotives, boats, drill presses, real estate, you name it.”
By 2010, the company plans to generate up to $10 million in annual revenue. Different languages will be offered, as well.