Where to Find A Business to Buy

How to Find A Business to Buy

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You dream of owning a business and experiencing its many benefits freedom, power, wealth, and fulfillment. But you do not want to start a business on your own.  There is too much risk and uncertainty.  Plus, you do not know what you would want to do that could be successful. 

Instead, you want to find an existing business or a proven business idea that you can operate successfully.  But the million-dollar question is: Where do you find it?

There are several methods of finding a business to buy, and each has its own benefits.  Here are some options to consider:

Word of Mouth

This method of finding the perfect business to buy is very much chance-based and consists of someone telling you about, or you drive around and seeing, a business that is for sale.  Due to its nature, you are exposed to a limited number of businesses.  And unless you are lucky that one of the few discovered in this fashion is exactly what you want, this method is not highly effective at finding the perfect business to buy.

Classified ads in the local newspaper

The old-fashioned method of finding a business to buy is to look in the classified ads in the local newspaper and see if any catch your eye.  This is a difficult way to find a business to buy for several reasons.  One, the number of businesses-for-sale listed in the classifieds is small compared to the overall universe of businesses that are for sale at any time.  Two, classified ads typically present you with only three lines of cryptic text to give you background on the business.  And three, classifieds do not have a search function, so you must spend a lot of time looking through all of the classifieds to find those businesses that interest you.  While classifieds can serve a purpose in buying a business, they are not very efficient or effective.

Business Brokers

Business brokers are typically very professional and knowledgeable in the art of buying and selling a business.  Plus, they are skilled at helping sellers sell their business.  But therein lies the rub they are contractually obligated to help the seller sell the business. They are not obligated to you as the buyer.  Therefore, brokers will usually look out for the seller’s best interests first, which means they will often only show you businesses that they represent.  This severely limits your exposure to the number of businesses that are available for sale at any one time, which makes it an inefficient method of finding the perfect business to buy.

However, more common these days are Buyer Brokers.  These business brokers represent you, the buyer, in your efforts to buy a business.  This can be remarkably effective because the broker knows how to navigate the process of buying a business.  However, you often must personally pay the broker to help you buy a business, which increases your costs.  Therefore, it is often best to conduct a search for a business on your own, and then hire an attorney or experienced broker to guide you through the purchase process.  But where do you search for businesses on your own?

Online marketplaces

Online marketplaces typically contain an exhaustive list of businesses that are for sale.  Plus, it is easy to search these thousands of businesses instantly to find only the ones that meet your criteria.  This makes online marketplaces the most effective, efficient and comprehensive method of finding the perfect business to buy.

There are many online marketplaces to choose from, but they are far from equal.  Some have inadequate search functions, others are just interested in collecting listing fees from business sellers, and others do not offer the buyer tools to help make your search process easier.  As a result, selecting a good business-for-sale marketplace is critical in your search for finding the perfect business to buy.

You want a site that allows you to search its listings for free and has a strong search function to help you do it effectively.  In addition, you want a site that allows you to save your searches and be alerted via email anytime new businesses are listed that meet your search criteria.  This saves you the time and effort of continuously searching sites everyday looking for the right business.  Instead, the site does the work for you and presents you with businesses that are of interest to you.

Finally, you want a site that puts its money where its mouth is, one that charges sellers based on performance and not on a pre-set monthly fee.  These sites are dedicated to helping match business buyers with sellers while lowering the cost of selling a business.  As a result, these sites are highly effective for both buyers and sellers.

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