Starting a business from scratch can be exciting, but it is very hard work. While many people dream of the entrepreneurial lifestyle, very few consider buying an existing business as a viable alternative to starting one. Buying a business has many advantages, including predictability, more stability of operations, established brand name, and ultimately lower risks. However, finding a good business for sale isn’t an easy job. Here are five ways you can find a good business and live out your dream of owning your own gig.
Use a business transfer agent
Business transfer agents specialize in this kind of trade: connecting business for sale with willing buyers. They will already have a list of businesses for you, cutting you the time you need to search for a willing seller. On top of that, they will help you do an analysis of the business, and walk you through the negotiations, legal work, pricing, and other aspects of the transaction.
While this is convenient, you do incur the extra cost of commission for the agent. Ensure that you are 100% confident about his/her ability, technical capability, and honesty. Also, make sure that they fully understand your requirements before they start a search for you.
Today, it is possible to find almost anything for sale online. Merchant sites and notice boards allow you to advertise your goods and services for sale. You can start with a simple Google search for “business for sale”, and narrow it down to your preferred location. You can also check out bulletin sites such as Craigslist for any such posting. Anyone serious about selling their business in today’s age would put it up online. Ensure that you do your due diligence before you purchase. It is very easy to get scammed online.
Ask your networks
Never ignore you networking circles. Your networks includes your family, your friends, acquaintances, and even professional colleagues. Putting out word in your networks that you are interested in buying a business can be more effective than you imagine. For more efficient use of your networks, you want to ask those specifically who would be involved in the industry. Ask people how are in your network who are business owners, brokers, bankers, venture capitalists and others who would have knowledge about such issues.
Newspapers and print media
Depending on what country you live in, the classifieds of local newspapers print out adverts for businesses on sale on specific days. Find out what day your country/locality shows these ads and keep a lookout for them. In addition, look in the classifieds of trade magazines for industries you may be interested in. Just like with the internet, ensure that you do your due diligence before you make a purchase.
Fishing for opportunities
This is an aggressive method. Fishing for business opportunities through this technique is not easy, but is potentially rewarding.
First, call business owners in the industry you are targeting. Ask them if they know anyone who is willing to sell. Afterwards, follow up with a letter, reminding them of your request. A few weeks later (preferably two), call them up again and ask. You may need to call a lot of business owners before you get any positive response, but it is worth the shot.
While doing this, try to target older business owners. They would have a higher probability of selling than much younger owners.
This is a guest post from Tom at Intelligent Business Transfer which is home to hundreds of businesses for sale in the UK.