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March 6, 2023

Growing a Business to Sell | Part I

Growing a Business to Sell on an e-commerce business can be a challenging task, especially in the current market. Yoni Kozminski, Founding Partner of South Col, shares insights on the current state of the market, the aggregator business model, and South Col’s approach to investing in e-commerce businesses.

Time Stamp

00:00 | “Welcome to the Ten K Collective Podcast: Accelerating Ecommerce Businesses to Exit with Yoni Kozminski”
02:34 | Michael Krakaris: Exploring Ecommerce, Digital Marketing, and Process Improvement Management Consulting
04:22 | Heading: South Coal: A Joint Venture to Invest in Ecommerce Businesses
05:59 | Exploring the Business Model of an Aggregator: A Discussion with South Coal
08:03 | The Benefits of Working with an Equity Investment Firm for Ecommerce Businesses
14:13 | Exploring the Challenges and Opportunities of Aggregator Business Models: A Discussion with Michael
15:08 | The Impact of Rapid Growth on Businesses: A Discussion
20:50 | Heading: Navigating the Venture Capital Environment as an Entrepreneur
22:40 | Heading: The Cost of Venture Capital Investment
25:08 | Exploring Sustainable Business Opportunities for Entrepreneurs
26:11 | Exploring Strategies for Accelerating Business Growth: A Discussion on Selling vs. Owning a Business
31:12 | Discussion on Accelerating Growth and Exiting a Business
32:35 | Understanding the Current State of Ecommerce Business Exits
34:28 | “Strategizing for Intentional Business Growth: Advice for Amazon Sellers”

Who is Yoni Kozminski?

Yoni Kozminski is a founding partner of South Col, a growth fund focused on accelerating e-commerce businesses to exit. He has a background in digital marketing and has worked with well-known brands such as Sony, Mastercard, and Mercedes-Benz. Kozminski grew a brand to 5 million in 12 months and later founded services such as EScala, which provides consulting services to systemize, scale, and exit e-commerce businesses. He also founded Multiplymii, which provides executive search and HR functions.

Growing a Business to Sell : South Col’s Business Model

South Col invests in e-commerce businesses, focusing on growing them and maximizing their exit value. Unlike aggregators, they aim to keep the founder in the business and invest millions of dollars in it. South Col builds a two-year roadmap and works on removing the founder from the aspects of the business they hate, such as PPC, inventory, logistics, 3PL, and IP lawyers. The founder can then focus on new product development, building out the next ten products, and expanding the brand into new regions. South Col is committed to the outcome and sees upside when the founder does.

Aggregator Business Model Issues

Yoni Kozminski was approached by many aggregators and brokers who wanted to buy e-commerce businesses. However, he did not feel good about this because the brokers’ goal is to buy the brand at the lowest price, which conflicts with the owner’s aim of getting the highest price.

Growing a Business to Sell : Lessons from the Aggregators’ Tales

It is hard to scale any business at speed, and this is never wise. Spreadsheet jockeys saw the immense demand for aggregators and drove up multiples from 1.5x to 7-9x EBITDA. There was a lot of market confidence in early 2020, and the pandemic’s duration impacted it significantly. Entrepreneurs’ decisions are affected by the venture capital model, where they are there to force the outcome, but only 1 in 10 or 1 in 20 will succeed. South Col is a possible alternative for those considering taking on VC.

Why Sell an E-commerce Business?

The business model affects the decision to sell. In a service business, you can typically build healthy margins once you get to critical mass, yielding around 300K a year for you and being independent of you. On the other hand, e-commerce businesses require more cash requirements, making them more stressful to grow. Unless you have seriously high margins, FBA marketplace risks are also a concern.

The Market for E-commerce Businesses

The minimum brand size and multiple will depend on the market for e-commerce businesses. In 2021, the multiple was 5x EBITDA, and a 3-5M rev business could get 9x EBITDA after 2-4 years, but this opportunity is gone. Brokers and investment banks are now looking at larger businesses.

Conclusion

it is evident that the e-commerce business market has gone through a significant transformation in recent years, with the rise of aggregators and a surge in demand from investors. However, the market has become more competitive, and there is a reversion to the mean that should not be ignored. Entrepreneurs need to consider their business models and options carefully, including the possibility of partnering with growth funds like South col. Ultimately, the decision to sell or hold onto an e-commerce business should be based on the business model and the potential for a big payday. Despite the challenges, there are still opportunities in the market for those who are well-prepared and have a solid strategy in place.

Resources

  • Download our one-pager
    “3 Problems Most Ecommerce Sellers Face: Solutions Inside” and take your ecommerce business to the next level!
    Get The Free PDF
  • Looking to explore working with South Col? Get in touch with us today to learn more!
    Contact Yoni at yoni@southcol.co or fill out our form at www.southcol.co.
    Plus, don’t forget to try out our live valuation tool to see what your business could be worth.
    Let’s take your ecommerce business to the next level!

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