How to Find a Business to Buy
Buying a business is a great way to start your career as an entrepreneur. There are many advantages to buying a business compared to starting one from scratch. These include the fact that someone else has already established the product and/or service, as well as the brand recognition and the customer base.
While you will probably invest more capital in purchasing a business than you would starting a new one, your investment will be rewarded with hopefully greater returns in a shorter amount of time.
Once you’ve decided on what industry you’d like to focus on and gotten the funding together to purchase a business, though, finding a business to buy may not be so simple. Unlike homes, for example, there aren’t “For Sale” signs posted in business windows as you walk down the street.
Businesses don’t always advertise the fact that the owners are looking to sell, either. They often want to keep that a secret so as to not spook their employees and their customers while they’re trying to find a buyer themselves.
So, how, then, can you find a business that is for sale? Here are a few ways that you can uncover some possibilities.
Ask Around Your Business Network
Making connections with other business owners is one of the most important things you can do as an entrepreneur. It allows you to glean helpful information and tips on how to run your business, and generally gives you others to bounce ideas off.
Business connections are great for passing along word-of-mouth. And businesses that are for sale often spread the word through their trusted associates. As such, if you’re looking to purchase a business, try reaching out to your business connections and asking them if they have any leads. While they may not have any themselves, they may know someone else who know someone.
You can do this by either calling around, or simply polling people who are in a networking group or other social club to which you belong.
Make Connections with Investment Bankers
When business owners decide they want to sell, they often will go to an investment banker or investment firm to see if they are interested in purchasing it — or if they have anyone in their network who might be. Another way to find a business for sale, then, is to make a solid connection with an investment banker or two.
You can make these connections through the same networking events or social clubs, as well as asking around your current business network. While investment bankers don’t always have a long list of businesses for sale that you can choose from, they often know of at least one person interested in selling, now or in the near future.
Even if the investment banker you meet doesn’t know of a business for sale now, they could keep an ear to the ground for you in case they are notified of any down the line.
Hire a Business Broker
A more direct way to find a business for sale is to hire a business broker. These people are trained to find businesses for sale and bring the details of the opportunities to you. They are like head hunters for business deals.
Business brokers can sometimes work for both ends of a deal. For example, they may be hired by a business owner who is looking to sell the business, and then present that opportunity to you as someone looking to buy a business. This can be a good thing, though, as it means they are invested in making a good deal happen for their clients — on both ends.
One thing you want to make sure you do if you hire a business broker is vet the ones you’re considering. You want the most legitimate ones out there, who will fight for you and your interests.
Search the Internet
Like almost anything nowadays, you can find businesses for sale on the internet. Don’t be afraid, though: There are specific, legitimate websites out there that are designed just for this purpose. You can think of them as the Craigslist for businesses.
The great part about these websites is they make the search process easy. They provide a searchable list of businesses for sale that you can filter by industry, location and a number of other factors. The downside is they obviously don’t list every business for sale — and possibly not the ones that would be the best deals for you.
If you’ve still not been able to find a business to purchase after trying the above methods, you could always go a different route — advertise yourself. Try posting messages on your social media accounts telling of your intentions.
But don’t stop there. Post social media ads that are targeted to the people you want to see them. The ads should say what type of business you’re looking to buy and what location.
You could even target business owners through advertising in local trade publications, or at events they are likely to attend.
By doing your due diligence and covering all your bases, you could find a number of viable business purchase opportunities in your own network, your extended network or a network you create on your own through advertising.
Our best advice? Don’t waste another day and talk to a Sunbelt South Florida broker today!
Sunbelt Business Brokers of West Palm Beach provides dedicated business brokerage services for all of your selling needs. Whether you are an established business owner nearing retirement and looking to sell, or an ambitious entrepreneur seeking your next investment opportunity, there is no reason to look beyond Sunbelt Business Brokers. Contact us at (561) 832-9222.
Read more about why to choose Sunbelt to find a business to buy here.