How I Automated My Business to Make it More Attractive to Buyers
There are lots of great reasons to automate your business as much as possible. When you take “you” out of your business, you’ll have more time to focus on other pursuits, including other business endeavors. Likewise, you’ll have more time for family, hobbies, and travel.
In my case, one of the primary reasons I automated my business was because I wanted to sell it, and I knew that cutting back on the amount of time required to run my web-based business would make it much more attractive to potential buyers.
Building a Business That is Acquisition-Ready
I recently told the story of how I turned my consulting business’s website into a passive income powerhouse. I turned my consulting knowledge into passive income products, like e-books and online classes, that I could sell on my site. This provided me with a significant second income stream, but it also helped me achieve my ultimate goal of selling my business for a significant sum.
Building my business around passive income products was the first step in making my business “acquisition-ready,” meaning it would be attractive to a potential buyer. The second step was automating my business as much as possible. I knew that potential buyers don’t want to acquire a job where they need to work 40-60 hours per week to keep revenue coming in. They want to buy a business with automated systems in place so that they just need to manage the business without needing to work on repetitive tasks every day.
Here are the steps I took to automate my business and make it as attractive as possible to buyers on the Empire Flippers Marketplace.
Step #1: Create Evergreen Content
The first thing I did was make sure I was creating evergreen content on my site. Evergreen content is content that is likely to be accurate and highly sought after not only this year, but for many years to come. I focused on writing blog posts and sending out e-mail newsletters that showed people how to solve common problems in my niche, and how to achieve success with their projects. Each topic I selected would be useful no matter when the person was reading the article.
When you create evergreen content, it cuts down on the amount of work you need to do to keep your site current. Eventually, I had almost 500 evergreen articles on my site. I also used the evergreen articles on my site as the basis for my e-mail newsletters.
I automated my e-mail newsletters as well by sending out my articles on a rotating basis. I realized that if I sent out 2 articles per week, it would take almost 5 years before subscribers would see a duplicate article, and by that time, they would likely forget that they had seen the article before. Thus, I was able to stop constantly writing new articles for my site. Sure, I could create an article when I saw a need, but for the most part, my e-mail newsletter was now hands-off – I could simply send out one of my evergreen articles several times per week to my growing newsletter list.
Step #2: Create Evergreen Products
The second step to automating my business was creating evergreen products that I could sell. Rather than creating super-topical info-products focused on current fads, I developed e-books, webinars, and online classes that solved problems that had always existed in my industry, and that were likely to continue to persist for many years to come.
I worked hard and over the years created 24 different evergreen classes and webinars, as well as a number of evergreen e-books that I could sell. This allowed me to stop focusing on product creation. I recorded my courses and webinars once and sold them year after year. I sold my classes on a standard rotation, with each class being offered for sale for a 2-week period once per year. If someone wanted to buy my business, not only would they have evergreen content and e-mail newsletters, but they would have 24+ products ready to launch and sell over and over again.
Step #3: Outsource Where Possible
It’s no secret that most business buyers don’t want to get bogged down in day-to-day operations. Instead, they want to focus on the big picture. They want to optimize the business, develop marketing strategies, implement new search engine optimization (SEO) tactics, and figure out ways to maximize revenue. I knew that if I wanted to sell my business for a high multiple, I would need to make sure that a new owner would not be stuck handling things like customer service and social media marketing.
I decided that the best way to automate this portion of my business was to outsource. I was able to find an excellent virtual assistant (VA) who worked for me, remotely, 20 hours per week. She handled all of my customer service work, posted class materials for my customers, and diligently managed our social media presence. This allowed me to significantly reduce the number of hours I needed to spend working in my business.
Step #4: Implement a Hands-Off Sales System
The next step in my business automation was to create a hands-off sales system. As noted above, I was able to create a hands-off e-mail newsletter by using my nearly 500 blog articles as my newsletter content on a rotating basis. I also created 24 classes and webinars that I sold on my website on an annual basis. My sales strategy was to launch each class for a 2-week period, before closing the launch window and moving on to a launch for the next class. I needed a way to make this launch process as hands-off as possible for a potential buyer of my business.
I developed a standard, 6-e-mail launch sequence for my classes that would run over each 2-week launch period. The launch sequence was always the same. The first week I would send an e-mail announcing an early bird registration price on Monday, an article with a pitch for the class on Wednesday, and an e-mail announcing the close of the early bird registration period on Friday. The following week, I would send 2 articles with pitches for the class (one on Monday and one on Wednesday), followed by an e-mail announcing the close of the regular-price registration period on Friday.
I followed this launch strategy for each class I offered. Each time I offered a class, I would simply resend the e-mails from the last time I launched the class. What used to be a full day of writing new marketing copy and setting up an e-mail sequence became a 20-minute task of turning old e-mails into drafts to be scheduled in my e-mail platform.
Step #5: Create Successful Standard Operating Procedures
The fifth and final step for getting my business ready to sell was to create standard operating procedures that a new owner could use to run the business in just a couple of hours per week. I had already automated my business as much as possible. A new owner wouldn’t need to create any new content or products, my VA was handling customer service, and my sales launches were a simple copy-and-paste endeavor for the new owner, who only needed to follow the formula to continue being successful.
I wrote up all of these systems into a simple 10-page document that anyone could follow. The document showed a new owner how to run the business by running the systems without getting stuck in busywork. Ultimately, I was running my very successful business in about 5 hours per week, and I knew a new owner could, too. With help from Empire Flippers, I was able to find a buyer for my business in a minimum amount of time, and at a price I was very happy with.
Automating Your Business: You Can Do It Too!
While my ultimate goal in automating my business was to get it ready to sell, I also reaped many rewards along the way. Automating my business allowed me to have much more time to spend on other business projects, and it increased my income because I invested some of that extra time into improving my website’s marketing, SEO, and sales funnels. In my experience, every business – including yours – can benefit from building automated systems into its business plan.