Should You Buy or Build a Business to Supplement Your Retirement Income?

buying and online business

There are numerous benefits to running a business after you’ve retired. First, it’s a great way to occupy the vacuum of time that is likely to emerge now that you don’t need to worry about being up every morning for work. Plus, as the boss, you can delegate lots of tasks so that you can still enjoy more free time than you’re used to.

But one of the most compelling reasons for running a business when you’re retired is that it can be a great way to supplement your income. You can never really know for sure if you’ve saved enough. Unexpected expenses combined with the uncertainty of how much time you have make things very confusing, so having even a modestly profitable business you can run while you’re living through retirement is a great way to make sure you’re prepared for whatever may come your way.

However, starting and running a business is risky and takes a lot of work. And while there are certainly many options you could pursue, I’m here to tell you why buying a business, specifically an online business, is actually a better move for those of you looking for some added comfort moving forward. Consider the following:

Existing businesses can run on their own

A well-run business that is generating profit from sources such as organic search results or social media is actually quite sustainable and may require little extra effort from you. To keep something like this running, one of the most important things you’ll need to work on is content. And there are countless well-qualified content creators out there working as freelancers and contractors to help you do this.

All you need to do is set the strategy and deadlines, as well as review work as it comes in, and the rest will pretty much work out on its own

If you decide to try and expand into new areas, you may need to get more involved, but generally speaking, if you buy a business that’s already making money, you can sustain it and grow it by bringing in a quality team and then delegating appropriately. Or, you can hire a marketing agency that specifically works on promoting brands through a certain channel, such as Facebook or Instagram. The returns on these kinds of efforts tend to be high, especially when working with reputable firms.

This isn’t to say an existing business will require no work, but rather that it will require far less than if you were to try and build something on your own.

It’s easier to attract employees:

Building on this, for your business to run on its own, you need to have a good team in place that you can trust. Depending on the size of the business, this may be just one or two people, but it could be much bigger.

If you’re just starting out, it’s going to be tough to convince qualified employees to come work with you. No one likes not knowing if the company they work for is going to be around six months down the road.

By buying an already profitable business, you’ll be able to market yourself better to future employees, increasing your chances of bringing in a team to which you can delegate work without constantly worrying if they’ll do a good job.

You can work from anywhere

This is one of the most attractive parts of owning an online business. The freedom and flexibility that comes from remote work is expansive, and when you’re retired, it’s nice to know that you can travel and still generate an income.

Of course, you could do this starting your own online business, but the advantage of buying an existing one is that it will be profitable right away. Setting up a business requires your constant attention, and although you can do it from anywhere, it doesn’t really lend itself to the remote lifestyle quite as much. Find something already making money and you’ve essentially just bought your freedom.

You can predict value

While it’s obviously impossible to know what’s going to happen in the future, well-run online businesses are actually surprisingly predictable. Strong traffic numbers supported by good search engine performance, email marketing and social media don’t go away easily.

You can look at a business and get a pretty good idea as to where it’s headed. Generally speaking, an online business is worth 2.5 times its yearly revenue, so when buying a business, keep this in mind.

Is this business working at full potential? A good way to know is to look at how many sources of traffic it has. If it’s only relying on search engines, know there are customers waiting in the worlds of social media and traditional mediums. Or, check to see how many keywords the site is ranking for. If it’s profitable but you see that it’s missing out on some good keyword opportunities, this is a good sign you’ll be able to expand.

Using this 2.5x rule, project where you can take the business to and plan for when you’ll sell it. This will give your nest egg a nice boost, and you’ll also be making money along the way.

Existing businesses control expenses

It’s hard to say which costs more: starting a new business or buying an existing one. This will depend a lot on the type of business. But existing businesses do have one thing over new ones: you can predict what you’ll need to spend.

When starting a new business, expenses can easily get out of hand. As you poke around in the market seeing what works and what doesn’t, you may see your bank account start to dwindle. For early career folk, this might not be a big deal, but for those approaching retirement or already in it, the idea of massive fluctuations in expenses should rightfully get your heart rate going.

Final thoughts

Deciding whether to buy an existing business or to start a new one will also depend a little bit on you. If you’ve got some passion you’ve never been able to pursue and can’t find a decent option, maybe the best move is to go out on your own. After all, it’s your retirement, so you need to enjoy it. But if you’re looking for a nice supplement to your income and a way to live freely and flexibly, look at acquiring an online business that’s already doing well so that you can live life to its fullest without worrying about money.

About the author: Jock is an internet entrepreneur who specializes in the buying/selling and appraisal of online businesses. He loves the freedom and flexibility of internet companies, and he encourages people interested in them to get involved as much as they can. While he’s still a long way from retirement, he’s helped many individuals acquire companies that have helped them live worry-free long after they’ve stopped working full-time.

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2 Responses to Should You Buy or Build a Business to Supplement Your Retirement Income?

  1. Ramona @ Personal Finance Today June 6, 2018 at 10:44 AM #

    Usually people who sell businesses have something they don’t like with that business anymore. Very few want to just focus on their families or probably immigrate, in many cases said business has ‘something’ wrong with it. I’d rather avoid buying into these and just build my own stuff.

    • Ian Bond June 8, 2018 at 3:48 AM #

      Valid point Ramona, but it can take years to build a profitable website, like I’m trying to do here. Also, 90% of all small businesses fail in the first 5 years, probably no different online versus offline.

      I try to find the real reason a profitable site is being sold. As you point out, it’s often fatigue and that’s great for a buyer! Sometimes a site could be in free-fall, but you can engage good third party valuation firms to do due diligence that mitigates this.

      Why not build and buy??

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