If you’re looking for a business to buy, it’s worth keeping in mind that only one in five businesses that are for sale are actually ever advertised. For this reason, if you want to buy an existing, profitable business, you might need to take the initiative and seek out a prospective seller rather than relying on finding them through adverts.
You could use a broker to find a business to buy, but this doesn’t work for everyone. If using a broker doesn’t feel like the right approach for you, don’t worry. There are lots of possible options to explore to help you find trending business for sale locations or a good business to invest in. There are lots of other ways to find businesses for sale without the need of hiring a broker or relying on advertising. These options could include:
- Word of mouth. Let your network know that you’re interested in buying a business, and see if they know of anyone selling.
- Clients. Your clients or suppliers might know someone looking to sell their business. Let them know what kind of business and sector you’re interested in.
- Pitching to competitors. Arrange some meetings with your competitors and suggest merging your two companies.
- Web listings. There are online directories that list businesses for sale. Look for a directory that specializes in your chosen sector.
- Direct marketing. Buy or build a database that includes the contact details of business owners in the sector you’re interested in. Write each one a personal letter, explaining that you’re an investor and why you’re interested in buying businesses in their sector.
- Advertising. Place adverts in publications for your sector. Your advert should say that you’re a private investor seeking a new business opportunity.
- Search engine ads. Advertise on search engines to attract sellers. You need to invest in PPC advertising and have a good landing page where sellers can leave their details.
- Display ads. Attract interest through display ads on platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook.
- Organic social media. Write a short post for your social media platforms to let anyone who follows you know that you currently seeking a business to buy. You might be surprised by how many responses you get.
- Trade shows. Attend trade shows aimed at your target sector. Use the show as an opportunity to contact business owners. Let them know that you’re interested in buying companies.
- Other dealmakers. Get to know other dealmakers and let them know which sector you’re interested in, and what kind of business you would be interested in buying.
- Partnering. Form a partnership with another dealmaker to find profitable options for sale.
- Deal swapping. Swap deals and tips with other dealmakers. A deal that doesn’t interest you might be perfect for someone else, and vice versa.
- There are a few drawbacks to working with administrators. You won’t be able to carry out as much due diligence on the purchase. You will be buying a business ‘sigh unseen’ and might have to make a blind bid. However, administrators might agree to staged payments, so you could spread out the cost of buying a business.