How to Sell Your Amazon Business: The Step by Step Guide

Kyle Goguen

April 11, 2022

You may want to sell your Amazon business for a myriad of reasons—raise cash to launch a startup, switch to a new niche or product category with more significant potential, or simply hold cash.

But, selling an Amazon business is not relatively as straightforward as it sounds when you think about it.

Questions like these will crop up:

  • How do you prepare your business for acquisition?
  • Is selling an Amazon business legal?
  • Where would you find buyers?
  • How would you engage them?
  • And the big one: how much is your Amazon brand worth?

If these questions or others like them bother you, keep reading for answers.

This guide will show you all you need to know about selling your Amazon brand, even if you’ve never sold one. You’ll have answers to your questions and a complete guide to help you take action.


Table of Contents

Is It Legal to Sell Your Amazon Business?

Does Your Business Qualify?

Amazon Business Models That Affect Saleability and Valuation

Revenue vs. Profit: Which Do Buyers Care About?

How Old Should Your Amazon Business Be to Sell?

Who Would Want to Buy Your Amazon Business?

Getting Ready to Sell

1. Tidy up your financials

2. Formalize arrangements with suppliers

3. Shape Up Your Operations

Best Time to Make an Exit?

Step-by-step Guide on How to Sell Your Amazon Business

1. How Valuation Works

SDE Accounts for Owner’s Compensation

Discretionary operating expenses

The Reward for Seller’s Hard Work

How to Define the Net Income Multiple

What Type of Brand Are You Trying to Sell?

What is the Market Size of Your Business’s Niche?

Supplier and Product Concentrations Are Risky

Extreme Revenue Fluctuations Between Seasons

2. Documentation

3. Finding the Right Buyers

List in a marketplace

Sell to direct connections

Sell via M&A Brokerage firms

Sell via auction

4. Getting to Know Your Buyer

5. Negotiating an Offer

6. Due Diligence

How Long Does the DD Process Take?

What Happens When Buyers Find Discrepancies?

7. Closing the Deal

How Long Does It Take to Sell An Amazon Business?

To Sell or Not to Sell

Why and When Selling Your Business is a Brilliant Idea

Why and When Selling Your Business is NOT a Brilliant Idea

Dealing with Seller’s Remorse

What to Do with Your Cash

Beyond Selling Your Amazon Business

Is It Legal to Sell Your Amazon Business?

There’s much talk on Amazon Seller Central forums about whether or not Amazon Seller accounts are transferable.

Sellers argue that your Seller Central is one of your Amazon business assets, so it should be sellable.

Luckily they’re correct.

You could sell and transfer your entire business operation, including the Seller account, your Marketplace page, and the right to sell on Amazon to a third party.

And, yes, selling your Amazon business is completely legal.

However, Amazon requires you to file for a change of business ownership after the sale. You also have to make a request through Seller Support to get a letter instructing you on how to complete the transfer. You’d complete the transfer by changing your account details to the details of the new owner.

Does Your Business Qualify?

Is your business worth buying in the first place? What are buyers looking for?

  • Scalability: Sometimes, buyers don’t want to run with the brand’s business structure as is; they want to improve on it. Buyers favor brands that have greater growth potential.
  • Sustainability: Buyers want a business that can stand within the profit region for a long time. Even if your business has a stellar revenue history, but buyers cannot replicate that within the shortest time possible, then your brand isn’t so saleable.
  • Transferability: Often, the business depends heavily on the owner. If that’s the case, the chances of a new owner being able to reproduce the same success may not be as strong.

By analyzing the top recently acquired Amazon brands, we’ve narrowed down the minimum requirements that buyers watch out for:

  1. Profit and loss trend, i.e., or your revenue history,
  2. Age of your business, and
  3. The type of Amazon Business

Let’s go over each of them in detail:

Amazon Business Models That Affect Saleability and Valuation

Sellers use any of these six business models, and Amazon allows as much flexibility for one seller to apply more than one model:

  • Retail arbitrage: Sellers source products from physical stores to resell on Amazon for a higher price.
  • Online arbitrage: Sellers source inventory online.
  • Private label: The manufacturer or supplier agrees to brand the products with the seller’s private trademark.
  • Wholesale: Sellers buy large quantities of products from manufacturers at a lower cost and retail units for a higher price.
  • Dropshipping: Retailers resell products from a supplier without having to handle the goods. The supplier completes the fulfillment once a customer purchases the products on Amazon.
  • Handmade: Proprietary products created and branded by the seller.

So you’re either a reseller, a private label, or sell proprietary products. Each model has its limitations and advantages on the profitability of your business, how much you’d need to start, and how long it’d take to make a profit.

For instance, over half of Amazon private label businesses require $2,500 to start and may make up to $5,000 monthly. This, in turn, will affect how long it’ll take for your brand to become saleable and its valuation when you wish to sell.

More so, sellers may choose to set up their order fulfillment arrangements or use Fulfillment by Amazon, FBA.

If you have a dedicated, simple enough distribution and order fulfillment pipeline, aggregators would be happy to buy your FBM business. Otherwise, it may be worth a whole lot more if it’s an FBA brand, just for the sake of convenience.

Revenue vs. Profit: Which Do Buyers Care About?

Buyers find appealing the strength of your net profit, the total amount left after deducting the cost of goods sold and operating expenses from the revenue.

Revenues can be misleading for assessing the profitability of a business, so buyers don’t judge saleability based on your revenue.

A business that makes a total annual sale of $1 million but spends up to half of that on marketing, operations, and tools may only be making a profit of $100,000 after deducting the cost of goods.

Another brand with a $200,000 annual net profit is more saleable even if its total revenue is far less than $1 million.

How Old Should Your Amazon Business Be to Sell?

Amazon businesses acquire greater goodwill as they age. As a result, they build a bigger community of loyal customers, more reviews, larger inventory, have more market presence, and a more stable operations framework.

However, business age does not equate to scalability. Simply, buyers consider business age together with market size, market influence, operational efficiency, and growth opportunities on and outside Amazon. There’s no profit in buying a gigantic dinosaur of a business with products no one cares about.

Hence, once a business has started to make a good profit, it is potentially ripe for sale. It can take most Amazon businesses as little as six months or a year to start earning a profit, but even longer to grow a consistent and stable business structure.

Essentially, if your brand is over a year old, has made more than $1 million in lifetime sales, is raking in over $100,000 in net profit, and has a lot of room for expansion and growth, then there’s some profit you can make from its sale.

Who Would Want to Buy Your Amazon Business?

It all depends on the size and type of Amazon business you have.

For a smaller business valued at less than $1 million, individuals who want a taste of the Amazon business enterprise usually make up the bulk of its target buyers. Family businesses, entrepreneurs, career changers, or a small group of friends can partner together to buy a well-performing Amazon business.

More prominent brands valued at $3 million and above attract Amazon business aggregators.

These aggregators are usually bigger Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) companies and private equity groups in the market for a profitable and scalable Amazon brand.

Amazon business aggregators acquire multiple brands and scale their operations to cover a wider buyer demographic using the existing business structures of the brands they buy.

Currently, there’s a lot of attention on Amazon’s China top sellers valued from anywhere between $1 million to over $10 million. However, aggregators like Thrasio, Elevate Brands, Unybrands, and so on would buy any scalable Amazon business that fits their strategy for profit.

Getting Ready to Sell

What should you do in the months and days leading up to the sale? How do you make your business more attractive for buyers to want to snatch it up for top dollar?

Here’s a little list of housekeeping to make your Amazon business attractive to buyers and make selling easier and smoother:

1. Tidy up your financials

A messy financial record is a due diligence nightmare. Unfortunately, common seller scenarios find too many merchants who don’t take out the time to create a proper financial and accounting system. This is usually the case if you start your Amazon business as a hobby or side hustle.

Without a proper corporation, separate corporate accounts, and a regular reporting system, creating a clean record before a sale will take some time and attention to detail.

Leverage available free resources and accounting tools: Xero, Sage-50, QuickBooks, and so on. Use the proper accounting templates for your type of business to summarize your revenue history and profit/loss statement periodically. Keep everything together in one folder for easy access, backup to cloud storage for remote access and safety.

2. Formalize arrangements with suppliers

Private label brands and proprietary product merchants are a huge deal for Amazon business aggregators, mainly because they’re gunning for these brands’ product licenses and design elements. Private labels combine the manufacturer benefits and designated retailer status without the responsibilities of managing your factory.

However, it’s more attractive to have a formal arrangement when selling a private brand, possibly a transferable agreement with the manufacturer for the supply of that product. In fact, there wouldn’t be an acquisition without the certainty of continued supply of your main private label products.

3. Shape Up Your Operations

  • Automate or outsource

A good eCommerce automation tool will manage repetitive tasks, free up your schedule, and boost the efficiency and scalability of your operations.

Source: Peppybiz

Also, consider outsourcing other tasks you cannot automate or hire an employee. The goal here is to establish a sustainable system that yields profit without being overly dependent on your presence. It improves your brand’s transferability.

  • Market on a dedicated brand site

Creating a dedicated site is an added advantage. It gives you a lot more opportunities to engage with customers, control your own mailing list, and provide a better brand experience.

China’s top Amazon brand Shein reached a $15 billion valuation by adding a dedicated high-converting brand site to the list of business assets up for sale.

  • Inventory control (production and supply lead times)

Optimize your supply chain and production to shorten the time it takes to restock your inventory. It ultimately improves customer satisfaction and revenue. In that regard, you need all the good reviews you can get, but if customers get tired of waiting for you to restock, nothing good comes out of it.

Best Time to Make an Exit?

The direct short answer is to sell when your brand is most attractive to potential buyers. For example, a gift brand may want to sell during peak season, when its revenue and profit figures look attractive the most.

Even if your brand is not seasonal, there are probably a few seasonal bestsellers that boost your total revenue during holiday seasons, summer times, spring break, etc.

If you’ve noticed that your monthly earnings take a jump in the winter-Christmas season, the best time to put up your Amazon business for sale would be around or just after that season. You want a healthy financial situation in the period running up to your sale date, so it doesn’t appear like you’re trying to sell a dead or dying business.

Remember, to take advantage of this time, you should consider starting your exit planning earlier in the year.

Step-by-step Guide on How to Sell Your Amazon Business

Now that we’ve cleared out any doubt regarding your decision to sell, when to sell, and what to do before selling, let’s dive into how to actually sell your Amazon business. The first step is finding out how much your business is worth.

1. How Valuation Works

Pricing your brand depends on a whole lot of factors that it’s precarious to balance sometimes. Do it wrongly, and you settle for less than your hard work is worth, or risk tagging an inflated price that no aggregator would want to touch.

Empire Flippers, a business-listing marketplace, provides a calculator tool for valuing any eCommerce brand. How many hours you work on the business weekly, your average annual revenue, number of SKUs, and use of a brand site are some of the factors they consider to arrive at a final estimate.

However, the basis of every valuation is the strength of your earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA).

Most eCommerce businesses have their valuation done in the same way. That is, as a multiple of their net income. Likewise,

Amazon Business value = Net Income × Earnings Multiple

Most online businesses have their net income determined through the Seller’s Discretionary Earnings, or SDE. A business that earns $130,000 in average annual SDE and selling for a 3.7 multiple is worth $481,000.

This model is convenient for a lot of reasons:

SDE Accounts for Owner’s Compensation

SDE allows you to add the owner’s compensation, such as salary, back into the net income.

To calculate your SDE from your annual revenue,

SDE = Total revenue – Cost of goods – operating expenses + owner’s compensation + discretionary operating expenses.

Discretionary operating expenses

The SDE model also accounts for other add-backs into the business earnings, like

  • Personal meals and entertainment
  • Travel
  • Mobile phones
  • One-time and repeat expenses, and
  • Charity

These items make up the discretionary operating expenses and include all personal expenses incurred in doing business. In addition, the money can also include the cost of services and subscriptions you’ve paid for but which are no longer in use.

The Reward for Seller’s Hard Work

Given the age of a business, its current revenue level, and the number of listed products, it becomes apparent how much work a seller has put into growing the business.

Valuation models like the one used by Empire Flippers consider the seller’s contribution to the business in terms of time and skill and calculate the earnings multiple to reward that.

How to Define the Net Income Multiple

Many of the top Amazon brands listed for sale have their value well above 40× their average monthly earnings. But this is not just an arbitrary number. Considering annual earnings, businesses could sell between 3x to 5× their net profit.

Often, you could find a business valued at a 2× multiple or less. That is usually the case for businesses with irregular financial records and weak operations.

Two factors determine how you may define your earnings multiple:

  1. Financial
  2. Recent profit and loss record,
  3. Profit margin,
  4. Replicability and complexity of cost structure,
  5. Stability of earnings,
  6. Owner’s influence on earning power.
  7. Non-financial
  8. Market trend
  9. Business age
  10. Number of SKUs
  11. Operations (owner’s involvement, employees, automated/outsourced processes)
  12. Traffic and conversion rate
  13. Goodwill (product ranking (bestseller rank), reviews, repeat purchase)
  14. Brand assets (dedicated brand site/blog; product rights, IPs, and licenses; trademarks; physical assets).

What Type of Brand Are You Trying to Sell?

No two Amazon businesses are the same. Even when selling similar product categories, brands have their unique qualities.

Your Amazon business model, its niche and niche potentials, product/supplier concentration, and seasonality will affect what buyers are willing to pay for.

We’ve talked about the effect of your business model on saleability and valuation. Let’s go over the rest:

What is the Market Size of Your Business’s Niche?

It’s fun to break into a highly competitive niche and build a stable, profitable brand in it. But, what happens a few years later when that niche no longer draws as much buyers’ attention?

Most Amazon sellers aren’t looking to start selling as a full-time business. So, they would probably not want to spend much time building customer interest in a particular niche with narrow market size.

Suppose there is minimal potential for your Amazon business niche to soon become a major interest among buyer groups. In that case, it doesn’t show much scalability, and there won’t be any interest from aggregators in buying it. Now, if the niche’s potential is dwindling, so will the value of your Amazon business.

Supplier and Product Concentrations Are Risky

But only if you don’t lock in a transferable agreement with your supplier. Buyers would not want to source products elsewhere when they buy your business. It would be almost impossible if the product’s branding is unique to your business.

When your Amazon business depends solely on one supplier, it prevents an inventory nightmare of shipping and cataloging many products from multiple suppliers. However, you risk losing a lot of revenue, time, and customers when your sole supplier runs out, draws out the lead time, or drops your business.

On the flip side, it’s risky for one product to be the source of up to 90% of your revenue when you have a multiple-product inventory. This sort of imbalance in the percentage contribution of one product to the total revenue, in relation to other products you sell, defines the term product concentration. Consider sorting out your product mix to reduce the concentration of bestsellers to below 20%.

Of course, this does not apply when you only manufacture one particular product on your own or have a transferable agreement with the supplier of the high concentration product.

Extreme Revenue Fluctuations Between Seasons

Your business should still make a respectable profit in the off-season, relative to your revenue level in-season. Now, this does not have anything to do with how high profits can reach in the period of the year you sell the most.

Revenue lows and highs that are too far apart between seasons show irregular profit margins and high seasonality in your business. This means your brand’s revenue is unsustainable, indicating high seasonality. You can smoothen out the difference between your periodic revenue peaks by adding fewer seasonal products into your product mix.

2. Documentation

Preparing for the acquisition. Buyer prospectus and marketing elements. Financials. Get your numbers right.

Buyers will conduct their due diligence, but it would help if you had documentation for all your brand assets and processes. Buyers will request a list of documents at different stages of the acquisition, and you ought to plan to provide them as part of the documentation you will present.

Some of the documents you should have ready include:

  1. Bank statements for the required number of months.
  2. Amazon merchant statements.
  3. Proof of cost of goods (vendor invoices should serve).
  4. Supplier information list, agreements, and contracts.
  5. Key performance reports from third-party tools.
  6. Business registration and documentation.
  7. Tax returns.

Of course, the nature of your operation and business structure will determine what you require and what you can provide. For instance, if you also sell through an eCommerce site, you’ll have to provide merchant statements in addition to the Amazon statements.

Also, you should include the revenue history for any physical store that you wish to sell as part of the business.

This step also requires you to familiarize yourself with your financial details. Know the important numbers: your profit margin, net profit, revenue, number of SKU, and critical KPIs of your marketing operations.

One final important document to prepare is the buyer prospectus. This is essentially a marketing copy, in the same way as a sales page. It should provide prospective buyers with an overview of your most relevant business details and convince them why they should buy.

In this step,  don’t make claims you cannot prove. The most common claims sellers make is to exaggerate the position of their brand or products in the market. When buyers pick an interest or make you an offer based largely on such claims, the sale will most likely fall through in last-stage negotiations.

3. Finding the Right Buyers

You’ve successfully put a price tag on your brand and are ready to move on to the next stage: where to find the right aggregators to buy your business.

Depending on your knowledge of the acquisition market, you’ll probably need help navigating the entire selling process. And since we’re talking about selling an Amazon brand, a market for which speculations make up much of what we know about it currently, you’re definitely going to need guidance.

How much help you need will factor into deciding how you want to sell your business, and ultimately, where to find the buyers. For that, there are a few options to consider:

List in a marketplace

Business listing marketplaces are much like eCommerce platforms where buyers and sellers transact to buy or sell online businesses, digital products and platforms, websites, and so on. The Empire Flippers platform is essentially a classified listing of eCommerce businesses.

Source: Empire Flippers

Business listing marketplaces provide sellers who want to sell on their own an easier way to meet a large number of buyers. Marketplace platforms may provide other M&A advisory services and valuation but most of the process is dependent on the seller.

There’s a potential to make a good sale and for very little listing fees but, you have to have sound knowledge of the acquisition market.

Sell to direct connections

There are a few ways to engage direct connections who may show interest in buying an Amazon brand. There’s ever a good number of people, some you know, who are looking to change careers or start a new side gig.

Discuss your decision to sell with your friends, family, and colleagues, and then connect directly with whoever shows interest.

Another good way to meet buyers directly is through your LinkedIn connections. eCommerce seller communities like Million Dollar Sellers are also a great place to connect with entrepreneurs who might show some interest in buying a profitable Amazon brand.

The biggest advantage of selling on your own is that you don’t have to pay service charges to sell, no brokerage commissions, no listing charges, no after-sale percentages to a third party.

You control all the sales processes, set up your communication schedule with the buyer, and sort out all the documentation required, which is somewhat intimidating and can turn into a marketing hassle.

It is also potentially risky if you’re selling directly to someone you don’t know personally. As you’re somewhat limited, it may be impossible to verify buyers properly.

Of course, you won’t be able to conduct thorough market research and may leave a lot of cash on the table when you sell. But, it can turn out a lot quicker, smoother, and more rewarding if you sell to a trusted personal connection.

Sell via M&A Brokerage firms

Business acquisition brokers are often industry-specific and with a specialty in catering to the needs of buyers and sellers within certain industries and localities. Selling through a brokerage is probably your best option to get good value for your business, a quick and smooth sale, and a stress-free transition.

Brokerage firms will handle the entire sale process and only require you to have, arrange, and provide the necessary documentation. Thus, brokers act as an independent go-between for the buyer and seller. In addition, brokers have the dedication to getting you the best deal because brokers get their commission from a successful sale.

The downside to this would be the 10 – 15% of sales revenue you’d have to pay the brokerage as fees for their services.

Top Amazon business brokers you should look up:

  1. FE International.
  2. Quiet Light.
  3. The FBA Broker.
  4. Digital Exits.
  5. Latona’s.

Sell via auction

The business acquisition-by-auction process usually starts off in the same way as listing on a marketplace but settles on the final offer through competitive bidding among prospective buyers. Some M&A brokerage firms may also market your business to their verified buyers and then decide through auction.

The business listing is also for a defined time so that once the time expires, the seller will decide on which top-bidding offer to engage with. The eCommerce business, website, domain, and app listing marketplace, Flippa, offers both classified and auction listing to get buyers the best deal possible.

Source: Flippa

However, as with marketplaces, there’s a long list of sellers and businesses on offer per day. So there’s very little coverage. Also, on most auction marketplaces, you’re responsible for the entire acquisition process.

M&A auction sales attract a similar fee to the brokerage commissions you pay when you sell via M&A brokerage firms. But, they equally offer all the valuation, M&A advisory, and exit planning services for an easier sale.

4. Getting to Know Your Buyer

It is important that you research the acquisition market when you’re planning to sell. Learn about a few top buyers and common offer terms sellers get, possible marketplaces to list, and potential brokers to use. You’ll also get an idea of the market trend for similar Amazon businesses.

But, once you’re listed and start to get buyers’ attention, focus on learning specific key details about each prospect. Researching prospective buyers helps you narrow down your choice to aggregators or entrepreneurs with the best chance to grow the business.

Understanding your buyer’s acquisition history, funding, corporate structure, and objectives prepares you to negotiate and communicate better with them throughout the other parts of the process.

For instance, you may learn that a particular buyer has a huge interest in a niche for which your brand controls a major interest. That gives you an edge you may exploit when negotiating an offer. A good first place to start is a buyer’s LinkedIn profile or business website.

Depending on how you want to sell, buyers get to learn a lot about you from interviews taken by your brokers, your marketing package, or seller details on the marketplace you’ve listed. Brokers usually handle any preliminary inquiries from buyers about the business listing. But, as a buyer’s interest becomes apparent, the brokers or marketplace service providers will schedule a conference call between you and the buyer.

The purpose of this call is for both parties to get to know whom they’re getting into business with. The broker may moderate this call, but the conversation is essentially between you and the buyer.

Here are a few things you can expect from buyer conference calls:

  • Buyers will ask you what they’ve already read on the prospectus or know from your broker. They’ve seen the material, and now they would like to hear from the horse’s mouth.
  • Expect buyers to test how well you know your numbers. So, get your numbers right.
  • A buyer may want to also know why you’re trying to sell a perfectly profitable business with great growth potential. Looking desperate will send the wrong message to potential buyers.
  • Expect some buyers to bait you. When they want to know how much you expect to make from the sale, politely defer to your broker.
  • Confidence is a selling point. Don’t come off as arrogant or awkward, be yourself, and give honest answers.  Investors are often overscheduled and time-conscious. Save time by keeping answers short, direct, and simple.

The conference call may seem like an insignificant step you’re not looking forward to because you just want to sell and get over with it. However, its outcome has the potential to determine if a buyer goes through with the acquisition or not.

5. Negotiating an Offer

The next step after a successful conference between you, the buyer, and your broker is the letter of intent (LOI). It simply documents the buyer’s intention to buy, states what offer they’re willing to make, and under what terms.

Any conventional business can attract all sorts of buyers with different intentions for the business. Factors like, the buyer’s goal, strategy, and plan for the business will be in the offer they’ll make you.

For instance, if a buyer intends to keep as much of the business’s original structure, they may want you to stay on to manage the business. If that’s the case, the offer may be for a part-ownership, where they pay a percentage of the valuation, so you’ll still retain ownership of the business. They could also buy the company fully but under the terms that you stay on for a specified time on a salary range which the LOI will state.

The LOI can also detail the schedule of payment. Meanwhile, if a buyer does not think your business is worth its valuation, then they will offer only a fraction of your asking price in the LOI. Not to worry, it’s not yet a done deal.

Negotiations are a significant part of business acquisitions, and they can go back and forth as many times as it takes to reach an accord between buyer and seller. In the negotiation stage, your broker or marketplace service provider acts as an intermediary. If you’re selling to a personal connection, then the entire process is between you and the buyer.

The question then is, when is the offer structure and terms right? When can you accept?

To answer that, you must consider why you’re selling and what’s in the future. For example, if you’re selling to move on from the business and possibly step into a new career or product category, then any offer to stay on for some time is not right for you.

6. Due Diligence

At this point, buyers want to be sure they’ve picked a winner and that your business is the way you so claimed. A buyer would like to know:

  • Your brand’s growth potential.
  • Possible scalability challenges they may encounter.
  • The size of the market and your brand’s significance in that niche.
  • Competitor strength.
  • Customers’ impressions.
  • Any legal issues they might encounter after acquisition.

Essentially, buyers will want to verify the critical financial, operational, and marketing details about your business.

If you’re selling through an acquisition brokerage firm, they will guide you through the pre-sale planning stage to make available everything a buyer would need to assess your business. Otherwise, provide only the documents your buyer needs when they send you a request.

You’ve already gone through one of the steps to speed up the due diligence process by cleaning up your finances. Still, expect buyers to ask for more documentation and details they may deem relevant.

How Long Does the DD Process Take?

As long as buyers need to complete a full inspection of the business, market analysis, vetting of the seller, etc. In many cases, it’s usually just a few days. But, depending on the size of the brand, the number of assets up for sale, the complexity of the business model and operational framework, it could be a few months before buyers derive any satisfaction.

What Happens When Buyers Find Discrepancies?

It is not uncommon for buyers to find errors in the profit and loss statement, pending legal actions, or trademark violations in the process of due diligence. Sellers may be hard-pressed to leave out unsavory details they perceive will jeopardize the sale. Doing so would put you and the business at risk.

Buyers’ course of action when there are irregularities will depend on the nature and severity of the discrepancy. They may choose not to go through with the acquisition if they find financial irregularities, especially in the profit and loss statement, or miscalculations in your revenue and gross margin.

Buyers with strong interest in your business will most likely adjust their offer by the discrepant amount, multiplied by the agreed earnings multiple. For instance, if a buyer discovers a $30,000 difference in stated annual net earnings after they’ve locked in an offer of $750,000 (based on a 2.7× multiple), then the offer is adjusted to:

New offer = $750,000 – ($30,000 × 2.7)

= $669, 000

Other market, legal, or asset documentation discrepancies are more likely to terminate the offer if they’re serious enough. Do whatever you can to avoid irregularities in your documentation. It chips away at the trust between buyer and seller.

7. Closing the Deal

The buyer’s satisfaction from the due diligence locks in the deal. You’re happy, and the broker is happy. Then, it’s time to sign over your Amazon brand to a new owner.

Once you sign the asset purchase agreement (APA), the deal is officially closed, and you can expect the financing to go as detailed in the contract terms.

The next step is to transfer your Amazon business assets and brand site admin access (if you sell on a dedicated site) to its new owner. Grant buyer access to your seller account by changing the account details to the buyer’s details.

During this time, you complete the transfer of all parts of your Amazon business operations, including confidential documents that you didn’t provide during due diligence:

  • Vendor list,
  • Supplier agreements and licenses,
  • Intellectual properties,
  • Production outfit, and
  • Proprietary product design.

The process will also involve scheduling some time for training. The training period depends on the size of your operation, the number of assets due for transferring, and the complexity of your processes.

How Long Does It Take to Sell An Amazon Business?

An Amazon business sale could take as little as a week and as much as a year to close. The US aggregator, Thratio, buys businesses in as little as 45 days and has had a record sale that happened in only seven days.

The time it would take to complete the sale of your business is proportional to the size and type of your business. The kind of buyer asking for your Amazon brand and what they require, including the scope and terms of the deal, will also affect how long the sale process takes.

Often the due diligence gets drawn out, and if buyers aren’t satisfied or lose their patience, they’ll walk, and you’d have to start over with a new buyer.

If you tried to make a firesale for a quicker acquisition process, you’d end up leaving a lot of money on the table post-closing.

To Sell or Not to Sell

Great! So we’ve covered all of the steps on how to sell. However, we must tell you, there’s a big chance that you’re giving up a goldmine by selling, and it may all have been a bad idea after all.

So, let’s circle back and talk about why you want to sell in the first place and when it isn’t a good idea to sell your Amazon brand.

Why and When Selling Your Business is a Brilliant Idea

Even for a profitable business, if you’ve lost enthusiasm for, no longer feel challenged by, or bored of its operations, then growing it becomes impossible. Burnout is one of the top reasons why owners sell their businesses, and it’s a perfectly valid reason to sell.

Other times selling your Amazon business is a good idea are:

  1. To shift your attention to better opportunities elsewhere.
  2. To grow as an entrepreneur.
  3. To free up your time for a new venture or career.

It is safe to say that selling a business you think is no longer profitable or has minimal potential for growth is reasonable. The problem is, no one would want to buy it then. So, watch your revenue history, and if you notice a continued downward trend, it might be a good idea to sell.

Why and When Selling Your Business is NOT a Brilliant Idea

Exits are an undeniable part of entrepreneurs’ lives, and experiencing one drives you on to building your next business from the ground up. But, of course, you’ll need the time and the cash to capitalize on that new venture.

However, there are a few truths about selling a business that isn’t so obvious.

For instance, what you’re left with after you deduct all transaction expenses is significantly less than the value of the business you’ve just sold. So you would either have to start small, seek external funding, or partner up for your next venture.

Plus, you don’t get much compensation for all the time you’ll put into the exit planning and the stressful documentation process. The hope of a lump sum payout is not enough to go through that. Besides, financing may take any form that will not include an all-cash payout.

Dealing with Seller’s Remorse

It is not uncommon to find that after selling, you lose confidence in the deal you agreed to or regret the decision to sell in the first place. Sellers recounting the opportunity cost of selling their businesses, especially if it’s their first time, is a pretty common scene. No matter how good a deal you get, you probably will always think you could have done better.

Besides, given the time value of money, you would most likely make as much as that sales value in two or three years if you’d stuck with the business. Plus, after taxes and fees, what’s left of the money could never buy a business with the same earning multiple and net profit.

If you did not apply the suitable pricing matrix, considering prevalent acquisition market trends, you might have a good reason to worry.

Otherwise, the easiest way to deal with seller’s remorse is to validate your reason for selling. Sell for a solid business-relevant reason and not for a quick payday. That way, you’d be too busy on your next project or planning to buy a new business with better opportunities before seller’s remorse can set in.

What to Do with Your Cash

Depending on the financing method you agreed to in the APA, you may receive a one-time all-cash payment. Otherwise, the buyer may offer an earn-out paid from the business’s profit over a specified time. Also, the terms of the deal could defer financing or mandate a holdback until it meets certain post-closing conditions.

In most cases, this leaves you with the entire payout from the acquisition; that is, less the broker’s commission (of 15%, usually), taxes (of 25%, state and federal), and legal fees (varies). If you didn’t sell to capitalize on a new venture, you’d have to find creative ways to invest or put your money to good use.

Here’s what we’d recommend:

  • Take some time to think about it

Take some time to distance yourself enough from the business you’ve just sold so you don’t end up diving back into the same niche. That might not work out so well, considering the market might not be as friendly as the first time around.

What you can do is research other interests while you chill out. For example, you might discover emerging market trends that’ll offer a better opportunity.

  • Invest some of it sensibly while you’re making a decision

You don’t have to put your money into building a new Amazon business. You could invest to earn some dividend on your money. Investing while you wait will give you more time to decide on and set up your next project.

The point is to try and put at least some of the money to good use while deciding what to do next. So, invest only in what you’re sure of. Otherwise, save everything up in a bank account, so you don’t end up losing your fortune in a bad investment.

  • No pressure

Until you reach a decision you’re confident about and comfortable with, don’t feel pressured into putting all your money into just any business. You want to be careful how you proceed to get all the benefits of your hard work. Essentially, when you do come up with a good idea of where to put your money, you’ll be better off for it.

Beyond Selling Your Amazon Business

Selling an Amazon brand can be a demanding experience to get through. But the reward of getting a fell-swoop 2X to more than 18X your annual revenue could be well worth the stress.

Plus, you can get the opportunity to advance as an entrepreneur—pursue a different goal or simply enjoy the benefit of your years of hard work.

To make the most of your sale, you need to understand what buyers want beforehand. For example, take the pricing of your business as an instance. More time spent researching the market or consulting a brokerage firm will give you a greater edge.

Another way you can make a safe sale and smoothen acquisition journey is to join an eCommerce sellers’ community like Million Dollar Sellers.

Million Dollar Sellers (MDS) is a community of the world’s top successful Amazon sellers, all vetted and earning over $1 million in annual eCommerce sales.

Many of our members have successfully gone through selling at least one eCommerce business. Networking and getting feedback from them will position you for a more profitable exit.

You’d learn from members’ experiences with brokers to make the right choice. Additionally, you’d participate in our live and virtual events where we talk about the most pressing issues about growing your business and making more sales.

MDS provides a community of like-minded entrepreneurs where you can network and grow. In addition, members are willing and capable of offering you actionable answers to questions no one talks about on regular eCommerce forums.