Following your entrepreneurial dreams doesn’t have to mean building something brand-new from the ground up. Buying an existing business or franchise can increase your chances of success by allowing you to grow an already successful brand. Learn about where to find small businesses for sale and what to look for.
Unless you’ve had your eye on a specific small business and have been waiting for it to go on the market, you’ll utilize other methods to find businesses for sale. Aside from searching for ‘for sale’ signs in windows or reading local classifieds, below are a few of the best ways to find business listings and identify the opportunity that’s right for you.
Please note the businesses listed below are partners with Guidant Financial. We may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page.
Business Listing Sites
Business listing websites are a great resource for finding businesses and franchises for sale, allowing you to research from the comfort of your own home. While the level of information will vary by listing, most listings provide details about the business and its history, the asking price, gross revenue, and the value of any inventory, if applicable.
BizBuySell prides itself on being “the Internet’s largest business for sale marketplace.” It offers a user-friendly way to find businesses and franchises for sale according to a minimum and maximum selling price, business category, and location.
Flippa is one of the top marketplaces to buy digital businesses. On Flippa, you’ll find eCommerce businesses, websites, apps, SaaS products, and other online business opportunities for sale. Flippa lets you learn about the businesses you’re interested in and even bid directly for them via their website.
Franchise.com is the go-to resource for finding franchise opportunities available by category and location. Once you find a franchise for sale in your area, the site also provides information on the amount of liquid cash you’ll need to get started and background information about the franchisor, plus the ability to request more information from the franchisor.
Working with a business broker is like working with a real estate agent. Business brokers have access to a wide database of businesses for sale and can help match you with the one that meets your personal and financial goals. When seeking a broker, be sure to look for one that holds a Certified Business Intermediary (CBI) license, which ensures they meet high professional standards.
First Choice Business Brokers
First Choice offers a business listing search service on their site, in addition to the ability to work with an experienced business broker who can help you select the business that meets your specific criteria.
Murphy Business Sales
Murphy is one of the largest business brokerage firms in North America. They have national and international business broker affiliations, allowing buyers to search for the perfect business around the globe if they so choose.
Transworld Business Advisors
Transworld focuses on three core concepts: business brokerage, franchise consulting and franchise development. They also offer a business listing search service on their website, as well as educational content on buying a business.
Sunbelt offers a large network of seasoned business brokers across the country dedicated to helping buyers find the small or mid-sized business that fits their checklist.
VR Business Brokers
VR boasts five decades of success in buying and selling businesses. Using their site, you can search their wide network of businesses for sale and connect with one of their advisors, who strive to be a true advocate for their clients.
Apex Business Advisors
Apex has access to thousands of business listings and offers personalized support in helping buyers find the one that’s right for them. Apex advisors make contact with sellers, gather information and arrange meetings.
To find a business broker near you, you can also visit the International Business Brokers Association’s website, or learn more about working with business brokers here.
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Franchise Consultant Networks
Similar to business brokers, franchise consultants can help you determine which franchise brand is right for you. Franchise consultants usually work with a large number of franchisors and have extensive knowledge of franchise opportunities in a given market — both for opening a new franchise or buying an existing one.
The Entrepreneur’s Source (TES)
TES uses a “discovery- and education-based” model of franchise consulting, geared to help clients understand different franchise opportunities available and choose the one that fits their needs and goals.
The Franchise Consulting Company (FCC)
The FCC uses a four-step process that helps clients structure their franchise strategy based on their situation as well as the best fitting franchise brand, culture, and operational model.
FranChoice uses a matching process similar to working with an executive recruiter to help clients find the best match based on experience, skills, and personality.
FranNet is made up of a large network of locally-based consultants that work together with their clients to educate them about franchising risks and opportunities.
FranServ is one of the industry’s largest organizations when it comes to training, support, and their nationwide consultant network.
International Franchise Professionals Group (IFPG)
IFPG is a membership-based organization with over 800 members. Their members include franchisors, franchise brokers, lenders, and other franchise professionals, all dedicated to helping aspiring entrepreneurs buy a franchise.
Business Alliance is one of the oldest franchise opportunity brokerage companies in the US. They also work both nationally and internationally.
Career Development Centers
If you’re still on the fence in deciding whether owning a business is the right step for you, a career development center, usually offered at a local university or continuing education facility, can help guide you in the right direction. Career coaches can help you determine what income, lifestyle, and career goals are most important to you and can even provide the training needed to reach your goals. Contact your local colleges to see what career services they provide.
3 Questions to Determine the Right Business to Buy
While trusting your instinct can provide some guidance in choosing the right business to buy, it’s also important to do your due diligence to ensure the business has the potential for success. As you research businesses to buy, keep these factors in mind:
Why is the business being sold?
If the seller has reported declining revenue as the reason they’re selling, this may be a warning sign. As you do your own diligence, look at other local businesses to see if they’re also selling or closing. Such trends may mean the community at large is experiencing a slump, and the business may require more work before churning profits.
What’s the competition like?
No matter what business you buy, there will always be competition. See where the nearest competitor is located and how their business is faring. Are their plans for other competitors to build nearby? The answers can help you determine what future success will look like for the business you’re considering.
What’s the business’s current reputation?
Do online research, look at reviews and even talk to locals to see if the business you’re researching has built a positive or negative reputation for itself. If it’s developed a bad rep, it can be hard to convince customers to try it again, even under different ownership.
Buying an existing business or franchise give entrepreneurs the ability to grow a business that already has a solid groundwork in place. Doing your due diligence to select the right business can ensure the foundation is strong enough to handle future success.
At Guidant, we’re here to help you get the money you need to get started on your entrepreneurial journey. Call us at 888.472.4455 or pre-qualify online to get started.