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Getting your site ready for sale

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5. Check your legal position and iron out any wrinkles before they become deal breakers. Did you tell your newsletter subscribers that you'd never sell your list? Do you have any content on your site reproduced under licence (with you as the licencee)? Are all your contracts transferrable, from the hosting to the forum licence to your shopping cart software and customer paying facilities to the contextual ad/affiliate earning account?

6. Decide where you are going to list your site for sale. If you're listing with a business broker choose brokers carefully - many of them don't understand online businesses and, more worryingly, don't know how to sell this class of business. Decide whether you're going with one who's charging a percentage of the final selling price, or an upfront fee (and what he's going to do for that fee). If you're listing in a forum, read our top ten tips for selling at a forum.

7. Keep all your contracts ready. A copy of a Non Disclosure Agreement (sample) and a Contract for Sale would be handy. You'd rather have your carefully thought out contracts that the buyer requests small amendments to... than a contract drawn up by the buyer's lawyer with terms largely unfavourable to you. Also, having them to hand puts you in a position to strike while the proverbial iron is sizzling.

8. Get some advance publicity if you can. Buy a program that can generate viral traffic... and give it away for free. Run a competition or a giveaway if that is going to get you a mention on a high profile site. Talk to a public relations company about opportunities to get your site/business mentioned in the media. Buyers are a lot keener to buy businesses they've already heard of. If you can get your site mentioned on even an obscure TV program there's the "As seen on TV" label you can use to attract attention..

9. Don't take it all too seriously. There are sellers who do none of the above and they still sell. However, as common sense would dictate, the better prepared you are the higher the price you are likely to achieve.

10. Stay safe. After all that trouble, and transferring the business over to the buyer, how would you feel if his cheque bounced? Fortunately, you don't need to take the risk anymore. Our guide to safe conduct of these big transactions is all you need.

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