Month: February 2010

Building an Internet Business with the Goal to Sell It

Guest post by Mark Daoust

I was talking to a person today who was asking about my work as an internet business broker.  He was wondering what sort of timelines I see in preparing a good website for sale and how quickly it takes for me to sell it.  My response to him is the same response I give to every potential client that asks me how long they should expect it will take to sell their business: it depends entirely on the quality of the internet business.  Some website businesses sit on the market for a long time while others are snatched up remarkably quickly.

What is the difference between the sites that have to find ‘that right buyer’ and those sites that buyers will trip over to get a chance to buy?  It usually isn’t the price point (we’ve had offers on 7 figure businesses within a few days of listing them).

If you were to start an internet business today, what would be the best way to build that internet business to fetch the most money possible in the shortest amount of time?

Here are four principles that you would ideally follow if you were to build an Internet Business today with the intent to eventually sell it as quickly as possible for the best price possible.

Keep Detailed and Clean Financial Records

The biggest mistake people make when selling their Internet business is that they do not have a clean, easy to read, understand, and verify financial history.  If you are looking to sell any business for more than $30,000, having a clean financial history is paramount.  A clean financial history will inspire confidence (and reduce the invitation for closer scrutiny), put you ahead of other sites looking to sell, and give buyers quick and easy methods to place a value on your business.

Here are a few key things to do to keep your records clean:

  • Use Quickbooks!  If you don’t know how to use Quickbooks, learn.  If you don’t like Quickbooks, figure out another common accounting program that will be able to generate profit and loss statements for you.
  • If you absolutely hate doing accounting, then hire a book keeper.  If you are building a business to sell, this isn’t ideal, though, as you will want to keep your expenses as low as possible to show a higher cash flow.
  • Incorporate the business as its own entity.  It can be a huge mess to try and separate the revenues and expenses for two or more businesses.  Don’t have your businesses share the same bank account – separate for the sake of clarity.
  • File very honest taxes.  This may be the most difficult thing for a business owner to do. Don’t take expenses on that you don’t need to.  Yes, you’ll probably pay more in taxes, but if you can produce tax returns to verify your financials, buyers will go crazy for it.  Plus, if a buyer needs to get an SBA loan (only available at this time on acquisitions below $200,000), those tax returns will be used by the lending bank.
  • Don’t mix personal expenses with business expenses.  Most business owners do it – those meals with the wife or friends where ‘business’ happens to come up in passing, but 100% of the bill is charged to the business.  Most buyers will understand, but if you can avoid doing this it will make verifying your financials quick, easy, and painless.

If I were to offer just one piece of advice to any Internet business owner, this is the bit of advice I would give. Keep your finances clean, easy to read, up to date, and easily verifiable.  Buyers will thank you (they rarely see well organized financials).

Keep It Automated

I have a great job I would like to offer you.  The salary is $100,000 per year.  All I need from you is to have you pay me $300,000 and work 60 hours per week for the next 3 years.  After that, you may get a bonus check.  Do you want to take it?

(Hint: you are supposed to say no. If you did say yes, call me – really…).  Most buyers won’t take this either.

Buyer’s are not interested in buying a job.  They want a business, which means you have to build a business.  When you can automate part of your business, automate it.  Outsource the boring stuff, outsource the specialized stuff, and focus on bringing your total hours as low as possible.

I’m personally not a fan of Tim Ferris’s “Four Hour Work Week Book” (although Tim Ferris is a fantastic author, business person, and thinker), but his principles are ideal for building a business that would sell well.  Implement those principles and understand this: the more you are crucial to the day to day operations of your business, the less appealing your business will be to potential buyers.

The ideal business for sale will have buyers imagining themselves walking in on day one and earning money without having to hurdle a significant learning curve or spend 60 hours per week just trying to keep up with the business model.

Jump Some Hurdles and Build Stability

Get familiar with the phrase “low barriers to entry” and learn to avoid business models that are associated with that phrase.  A key question many buyers ask when looking at buying an Internet business is “what’s to prevent someone else from starting up the same thing and being just as successful”?  Many website business buyers are not technical in nature and feel as if they are a bit behind the Internet curve.  This is why they are looking to buy an established Internet business – it takes some of the guess work out of having a successful online business.

Make your business difficult to copy and emulate.  In a competitive field this may require having a unique blend of vendors, a core set of keywords that you rank well for, and a blend of partners that drive traffic to your site.  Alternatively this may be finding a nice niche without a lot of competition that you can quickly dominate. Even if there is nothing to prevent someone from entering your market, being able to point to a loyal customer base is something that cannot be replicated in a few months.

While assuring that you have entered a market that has some challenges to enter into, be sure to build some stability.  If you rely on vendors or suppliers to supply products, don’t rely too heavily on just one vendor.  Similarly, if you receive most of your web traffic from a handful of well placed organic ranking keywords, figure out how you can stabilize your market.  Always ask yourself what you would do if one key component of your business disappeared tomorrow.  Don’t rely on any one person, company, or vendor to be loyal to you or your company.

Know When to Sell

This may be the most difficult thing for an Internet business owner to determine.  The fastest selling businesses are growing businesses.  However, when you are growing, it is difficult to imagine giving up something that is fun and exciting.  Here are a few key tips to keep in mind:

  • Not all businesses grow forever.  Entrepreneurs especially have a tendency to get their businesses to a certain point, and then find that they are unable to bring it to the ‘next level’.  Know your limits and skillset and sell before you hit your limit.
  • It’s fun when its growing, it’s not fun when its shrinking.  The reason so many Internet business owners miss out on the best time to sell is that they are having too much fun.  When times get rough, however, and their businesses are no longer putting  charge in their day (and similarly are no longer putting green in their bank accounts), they think it is a good time to sell.  Ask yourself why someone else would find your business fun when you no longer find it fun? Chances are, not as many people will be interested.
  • Don’t max out your value. Buyers love to see a clear path for continued growth. Few Internet business buyers are in this business to hold a steady asset. This is a high risk, high reward type of acquisition which usually attracts those who want to see big dividends for their investments.  Don’t exhaust all the growth potential of your business and paint a clear picture for a new owner so they can see just how easily they can grow what you started.

Does it Make Business Sense?

Building the ideal business to sell involves making a lot of decisions that may not make the best business sense.  As always, you need to weigh the potential benefits of selling your business against what is good for your business today.  I personally wouldn’t recommend following all of these principles to the letter, but rather follow the spirit of these principles as they can apply best to your individual Internet business.

Buyers are constantly seeking quality online businesses to buy.  If you can carry some of these traits, and carry them better than other, similar businesses for sale, you’ll have buyers tripping over themselves to make you a quick, cash offer.

==>> Mark Daoust is the owner of Quiet Light Brokerage, an Internet Business Brokerage firm.

Free Niche Research: Engagement Rings

free niche research

Even though it may not feel like it, wedding season is right around the corner, and that reminded me about engagement rings.

Let’s dig right in, and see what possibilities lie in this niche.

Top 10 Highest Paying Keywords(from the Google keyword tool)moissanite engagement rings $2.80

expensive engagement rings $2.75

engagement ring financing $2.34

titanium engagement rings $2.26

two tone engagement rings $2.26

titanium engagement ring$2.21

engagement rings stores $2.18

black diamond engagement rings $2.14

cushion cut engagement rings $2.13

unique diamond engagement rings $2.13


eternity engagement rings $2.12

asscher cut engagement rings $2.06

diamonds engagement rings $2.03

cubic zirconia engagement rings $2.01

oval diamond engagement ring $1.97

Top 10 Most Searched Keywords(all phrases are exact matches in Google)diamond engagement ring 201,000

diamond engagement rings 110,000

antique engagement rings 60,500

vintage engagement rings 49,500

princess cut engagement rings 33,100

solitaire engagement rings 33,100

cushion cut engagement rings 22,200

tacori engagement rings 22,200

cubic zirconia engagement rings 18,100

bezel set engagement rings 14,800


moissanite engagement rings 14,800

black diamond engagement rings 12,100

emerald cut engagement rings 12,100

white gold engagement rings 8,100

edwardian engagement rings 4,400


Wedding forums will be a huge resource for you: get involved!

Also, bridal magazines, and event coordinators are great to connect with for this venture.

Possible Affiliate Programs
As always, has many possibilities. They have diamond engagement rings, princess cut diamond engagement rings , engagement rings white gold and more.

Of course,l don’t stop at rings: offer your audience everything they need for a great engagement party 😉 & have some great programs as well.

Monetization Suggestions

AdSense has good payouts in this niche, but as always, I would include affiliate offers as wll

Build a list! Create a report about  “10 most romantic ways to propose”, or something similar, and build a list. Couples need so many things once they are engaged: romantic getaways, wedding planing, gifts, wedding dresses, etc.

Here are some domains available for this niche at this time: & .info get 14,800 exact searches a month.,  .biz & .info get 4,400 exact searches a month. & .info with 6,600 exact searches a month. & .info, with 8,100 exact searches monthly.

Do you have questions? Feel free to ask in the comments below, and I’ll do my best to help you.

And if you need research done for your own niche, don’t hesitate to look at my keyword research offer!

How to Choose an Internet Marketing Affiliate Program

With the advent of the Internet, making money from your home no longer has to be a dream scenario. You can create an online business for yourself and become involved with an Internet marketing affiliate program. Creating an online business is often stressful task, but the Internet makes the process much easier.

An Internet marketing affiliate program is a method of marketing that makes use of one website in order to drive web traffic to another one. So, a business will recompense an affiliate each time a customer is driven to the website or purchases a product because of the affiliate’s advertising endeavors. The marketing modes most commonly used by internet marketing affiliate programs are search engine optimization, paid search engine marketing, e-mail marketing, and display advertising.

As a word of caution, however: make sure you thoroughly research each affiliate program before you sign up. There shouldn’t be any tie-ins or hidden terms and conditions waiting to trap you. I’ve heard horror stories of people whose commissions were kept because they didn’t make a certain number of sales, even though the amount of commission was quite large.

There are programs with great commission, but poor conversion, and there are programs with lower commissions, but great conversion. See what other affiliates are saying about a merchant before you start promoting them.  A good placed to do that is the ABestWeb forum.

Also, it’s important to talk to the affiliate manager, and see if they are willing to help you grow your business. Some couldn’t care less, while others will get out of their way to help.

Some of the most popular places to find affiliate offers to promote are:

An affiliate program can be a very effective method of boosting the sales of your online business and consequently, making you more money.

Read the amazing true story of how one woman, with no previous business experience, earns $435,000+ per year … selling other people’s stuff online!

In her down-to-earth, sincere and often humorous style, Rosalind Gardner guides you through the entire process of building an affiliate marketing business on the ‘Net. In 220+ pages, and more than 68,000 words, you’ll learn how to pick the best programs, negotiate a commission raise and save time, money and effort on everything from affiliate software to web hosting.

To learn exactly how she does it, Click Here.

8 Social Networking Do’s

1.  Do write attention grabbing posts. Attention grabbing posts can be created a number of ways including:

•  Ask Questions – Asking a question helps engage your reader immediately.

Arouse curiosity – Make them have to click through to find out what you’re talking about.

Provide value – For example a “How to” statement demonstrates value and benefit.

2. Do Integrate Social Networking Into Your Company Website.

Add a find me/follow me button. Most website and blogging platforms offer widgets, modules, or plugins that help you promote your social networking profiles

•  Add it to your signature. Do you have an email signature?  Do you send newsletters, autoresponders, and promotions?  Add your social networking link or name to your signature.

3. Do Choose the Right Social Networking Sites

With more than 200 mainstream social networking sites, and that’s not including all the forums, chat rooms and blogs, it can be difficult to decide which site is the right site to invest your time and energy in. Evaluate them based on:

Popularity – How many active members does the site have?

•  User Statistics – Is your audience participating on this site?

•  Features – Does the site offer business promotion friendly features?

•  Your Profile Options – Are you able to build a profile to build brand awareness and promote your business?

4. Do Create a Social Networking Strategy. Before you begin comparing social networking sites, spend a few hours or days creating a plan. Write down:

•  Who your target audience is

•  What your social networking goals are

• What image you want to convey

•  What options you need to achieve your goals and create your ideal profile

5. Do Test and Track your efforts – Social networking is like any other marketing strategy. It’s important to have a goal, a plan and a system to measure and track. That way you can be sure you’re spending your time and marketing budget wisely.

6. Do Update frequently – Like blogging your social networking results are only as good as your efforts. You can also make use of tools like HootSuite that allow you to schedule your posts on Twitter and let you track several Twitter accounts at once.

7. Do remember to be professional. Talk with your audience as if they were customers because they are potential customers. They’re also potential partners and valuable resources. What impression do you want them to have of you?

8. Do Start small. It’s easy to overextend yourself and join too many social networking sites. Start with one or two, build great profiles and actively engaged followers before you begin marketing and promoting on another site

Free Niche Research: Romantic Getaways

free niche research

Today’s niche is something each of us needs from time to time.

You don’t want to be romantic only on Valentine’s day: keep your dearest relationship alive by going on planned romantic getaways.

There are lots of searches for this niche: great for niche marketers!

Top 10 Highest Paying Keywords(from the Google keyword tool)

Mexico romantic getaways $2.75

romantic getaways Poconos $2.51

romantic Poconos getaways $2.51

Pocono romantic getaway $2.48

romantic cape cod getaways $2.29

romantic getaways new England $2.19

romantic new England getaways $2.19

romantic getaway package $2.13

romantic spa getaway $1.99

romantic getaway deals $1.99


luxury romantic getaways $1.99

cheap romantic weekend getaway $1.96

romantic vacation getaways $1.92

romantic honeymoon getaway $1.90

romantic anniversary getaway $1.82

Top 10 Most Searched Keywords(all phrases are exact matches in Google)

romantic getaways 49,500

romantic weekend getaways 8,100

romantic getaway 5,400

romantic weekend getaway 5,400

cheap romantic getaways 2,900

cheap romantic weekend getaways 2,400

romantic cabin getaways 1,900

romantic weekend getaway packages 1,900

romantic getaways in new England 1,300

romantic vacation getaways 1,300


romantic beach getaways 880

romantic getaway packages 880

romantic honeymoon getaways 590

romantic new England getaways 480

romantic winter getaways 480


You can get lots of information by requesting getaway catalogs from travel agencies. As a matter of fact, you’ll want to connect/get affiliated with some travel agencies, as they would provide you with romantic packages, and plane tickets for your romantic getaways.

Also, find a couple travel/honeymoon forums , and get involved, as much as possible in those forums. You’ll learn a lot about the best places to go, eat, etc.  for your romantic getaway.

Possible Affiliate Programs
Amazingly enough, has something for this niche as well. They have many romantic getaway books which would be great for you to buy, so you can get information about those specific places. You can then review those books on your site as well. has & CJ also has, and other travel related programs. has some travel programs as well: search and find one that you like  You can also go to Google and search for “romantic getaway” + “affiliate program” and you may find some merchants that offer their affiliate program in house.

Monetization Suggestions

AdSense has good payouts in this niche, so you can definitely go ahead and so a review type site with AdSense ads on it.  But, I would definitely include affiliate offers, as they have very good payouts.

You can also get creative with this niche, and research Bed & Breakfasts  for example, and get some private deals with them. Lots of opportunities!

Here are some domains available for this niche at this time: & .info with 2,900 exact searches/month., .net, org, .biz & .info: with 2,400 exact monthly searches: WOW!, .org & .biz with 1,900 exact searches,  .net, .org, .biz & .info, with 1,900 searches a month: how about that?, net, .org, .biz & .info: 1,300 exact searches monthly. Amazing! This is so specific, your visitor already  KNOWS exactly where they want to go.

RomanticVacationGetaways, net, .org, .biz & .info, with 1,300 exact searches a month., .org, .biz & .info get 880 exact searches a month. Again, your visitor already decided where they want to go for their romantic getaway!, .org, .biz & .info get 880 exact searches a month., .org, .biz & .info get 590 exact searches a month., .net, .org, .biz & .info, all available. WOW again! Very specific search!

As you can see, this niche is ripe for taking on! there are some amazing opportunities for domain names with lots of searches!

Do you have questions? Feel free to ask in the comments below, and I’ll do my best to help you.

And if you need research done for your own niche, don’t hesitate to look at my keyword research offer!

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