Beginning Your Search – Where to Find a Business for Sale
If you’ve always dreamed of owning your own business, but held back because you’re worried about the risk of starting one, don’t let that stop you. You can buy an existing business with established cash flow and a history of success. There are many types of existing businesses for sale in different price ranges and a number of great resources to help you find one and buy it.
1. Business-For-Sale Marketplaces
Online business for sale marketplaces, such as BizBuySell, will have thousands of listings of existing business and franchises for sale. BizBuySell connects buyers, sellers and brokers to the most comprehensive source of for-sale businesses and related resources. You can filter your search by desired location, industry and business cash flow.
BizBuySell offers other additional tools to help you find a business to buy:
- BizAlerts. If you don’t find anything that interests you immediately, you can set up alerts that notify you via email when new business listings are added that meet your search criteria.
- Valuation Reports. If you want to research pricing in local markets, these reports give you access to detailed listing data from thousands of for-sale and sold businesses
- BizBuySell Edge. If you want to access more advanced search tools, an Edge membership includes educational videos, advanced listing stats and custom recommendations.
- Business Broker Directory. If you need professional assistance in buying a business, consider working with a professional business broker in your area.
2. Professional Business Brokers
Business brokers typically represent the seller, yet many also offer assistance in the buying process. A good business broker should be well-connected and familiar with businesses for sale in the local market. Some specialize in certain types of businesses, such as restaurants or retail stores, so choose your broker accordingly. One of the easiest ways to find a business broker is through finding a business for sale that interests you, then contacting the listing broker for more information.
Other options for finding a business broker include:
- Professional Business Broker Associations. Regional associations, such as the California Association of Business Brokers (CABB.org), are great for finding business brokers in your area.
- Business-For-Sale Marketplaces. BizBuySell has one of the largest directories of business brokers. Each broker profile specifies the areas they serve, area of expertise, plus any existing businesses they have listed for sale.
3. Your Network of Friends and Colleagues
Reaching out to people you know is one of the best ways to hear about businesses for sale or about great recommendations on local brokers. For example, your accountant, attorney or professional colleague may know of a business owner who is interested in selling. Having a warm introduction through a mutual contact makes it far easier to build a relationship with the business owner. It also saves you time from searching through an outside organization or a broker.
Your network of friends and colleagues may include:
- Professional colleagues. This may include former co-workers, vendors, suppliers, LinkedIn connections, or any professional groups and associations.
- Accountants and attorneys. These experts are often very well-connected with a network of business owners, as well as their own colleagues who may be selling a business.
- Friends and acquaintances. Get the word out and let your friends know that you’re interested in buying a business. They may know someone who wants to sell.
- Business owners. You may already have your eye on a certain business. Consider contacting the owner directly and ask if they’d be interested in selling.
Reach Out, Follow Up and Stay Organized in Your Search for a Business
Finding a business to buy is an iterative process. It requires time, organization, focus and diligence. With the right connections and/or team of professionals not only could you locate a potential business to buy, but you could also negotiate a deal and become the new business owner. As you're searching for businesses to buy, keep in mind key areas of potential businesses you are scouting, such as its financials.