Buy a business? Make sure you have access to everything
NOTICE: Telling a customer that we can’t help them grow their business because they never had access to the right digital assets when they bought them is one of the most frustrating moments.
I would love to say that this has only happened once, but it is a problem too often encountered when you, as a new business owner, do not know what you should get. And, by the time you find out, the previous owner has either dropped the contact or deleted one of the essential information.
Yes, you can start over, but sometimes that means losing some of the social media real estate or customer data you paid for. For some businesses, this means having to create a brand new website because they can’t access the old one.
Entrepreneurs are often not detail-oriented (I’m not!), So if you’re struggling with the details, I highly recommend that you hire an administration genius to help you navigate this list and to do it all at once. I know that to me it would feel like the torture of a million little cuts of paper and eat away at every bit of energy in me.
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But I also know that it has to be done.
Before we jump into what you need to check out, it’s a good idea to know what to look for in terms of value.
The number of subscribers on social networks and mailing lists is often factored into the value of the sale of the business. These numbers only mean anything if you can verify whether they are active and engaged users.
Take a look at social media and see the number of comments received (likes are not the key to engagement). A 100,000 subscriber count means nothing if no one cares enough about the posts to comment.
If they are selling an email list, ask them how people joined the list (did they make a purchase, how were they added) and how often they were emailed. If they haven’t received an email within six months, the list will need to be re-engaged.
A website is only useful because it can be connected to (or talk to) marketing automation software and social media channels (you need to see if they have a Facebook store or if they have broadcast catalog ads if they have an e-commerce store).
Of course, it’s perfectly normal to buy from a business that is performing poorly in any of the above cases because that means that with marketing you will see growth. However, these assets are worth nothing unless they are fully functional, have room to grow, and have built a solid fan base.
Be aware that often small business owners don’t have all of this information in one place, so it’s a good idea to meet with the seller and ask them to go through this list.
If you’ve found your price and are ready to close the sale, here’s what should come to you as part of the sale:
Website connections and their “web person” information
If they’ve brought in a web developer, it’s important that you have an introduction. Find out how they work, if you are able to make changes independently, and how they can help you.
You also need to know the connections and renewal date for your domain and hosting providers (customers have seen sites go down because they didn’t know they needed them). You will need to log in and edit all contact information and remove the previous owner as an administrator.
If the website accepts payments through Stripe or Paypal, you will also need to change the account to yours. Some websites have plugins and apps, and you need plugins for those as well. You may need to enter and edit the payment details for these as well.
Apply to become the primary owner of Google Analytics / Google Adwords / Google Search Console accounts.
Get all email accounts
Sometimes the emails are under a different system than the website (I know, this can be confusing!)
Make sure to get all domains registered to the email address if it is different from the website.
If they have emails you don’t need, set up an autoresponder to your new email address.
Social media is not very social without access
Facebook, Instagram, and any other platform will not help you access an account. Make sure you have administrator access and check that everything is working.
One of the main pitfalls here is not having access to the professional suite or the business manager of Facebook. You must have full admin access to the Page, Ad Account, Facebook Pixel, and Facebook Catalog. You will also need the Instagram account credentials.
It’s important to remove the previous owner from all platforms, but first make sure you have the correct access to everything. Enable two-factor authentication to make sure you don’t get logged out or hacked.
Connections to all the applications and software they use
Some organized business owners have a book or document in which they have recorded all of their logins, but it only depends on the owner’s natural administrative skills.
I lost count of how many times I sat down with a customer who went through the seven common passwords he often uses, then sent a reset password, only to find out that the account d origin was created with a different email.
Get the credentials and verify that they are working.
Google My Business and local directories
You must be the primary owner of Google My Business. We recently worked with a company whose previous owners kept the Google My Business page. This prevented them from using it themselves and impacted their visibility.
If the previous owners also registered their website in local directories, ask for a list of where it was listed, along with the email address and password used so that the listings can be updated. .
There is something exhilarating about buying an existing business and then making it your own. Sorting through the marketing IDs for each area helps create a smooth transition that helps you put your own plans in place and imprint your own energy and enthusiasm to grow a great and profitable business.
Rachel Klaver is a marketing strategist specializing in lead generation and content marketing. She owns Identify Marketing, which works with businesses to create the strategy they need to better tell their story to the right people. Tune in to his weekly MAP IT Marketing podcast – created to help small business owners learn about marketing.