More people than ever are taking the plunge into entrepreneurship. If you’ve already carefully weighed the pros and cons and still love the idea of being your own boss, it’s time to begin searching for a business to buy. While you might accidentally stumble across your ideal business opportunity, it’s more likely that you’ll have to make a concerted effort to find the business of your dreams. So, where do you start?
If you’re looking for a business in a particular geographical area – a B&B in the Cotswolds, for instance – your first step might be to ring around several existing businesses to get a feel for the market. Oftentimes businesses are transferred by word of mouth and some are never formally advertised for sale – or you might be lucky and get your foot in the door before the seller officially lists their business for sale with an agent. Even if your first approach doesn’t yield any results, you could end up connecting with a seller referred to you by one of your phone contacts.
Contact an Agent or Broker
Professional business brokers or agents are often retained by vendors to help them find a buyer and negotiate a deal, which means they’re well placed to connect you with some sellers. If you register as a prospective buyer with the agents who specialise in your preferred business sector or with those who cover your geographical search area, you should be among the first to know about upcoming opportunities. Make sure you stay in regular contact with your chosen agents so you’re at the top of their mind when new businesses come to market.
Check Business Listings Online
Sellers are increasingly turning to online selling platforms liketo find buyers without racking up thousands of pounds in commission. Registering as a buyer on Bizdaq will mean you’ll get early notification of every new business for sale listing within your specified search, which can include filters such as industry, location and price. You can save lots of time searching this way and as you can instantly see all the details of each business you browse, you’ll get an idea of whether or not it would be a good fit without wasting time foot-slogging around unsuitable options.
Keep an Eye Out for Local Ads
Although it sounds charmingly old fashioned, some would-be business sellers may decide to gauge market interest by placing an ad in a local newspaper or maybe in an industry publication – especially if they feel it is likely to appeal to a narrow niche. If your business search is focused on a clearly defined area, it’s worth subscribing to the newspapers that cover that region. You may also want to consider placing your own ‘business wanted’ ad in a local publication to tempt sellers who may otherwise not have considered looking for a buyer.
All small business owners know that networking is a valuable resource. If you stay in touch with the business people you already know and make contact with organisations – including chambers of trade and professional bodies – you might get a tip for a business for sale that could be a perfect fit for you. People like to be helpful and will often give you the benefit of their own knowledge if they feel like they have a connection with you. Try to get yourself added to organisers’ mailing lists and make a note of events that might bring you into contact with business owners in your sector.