Why launch a business from scratch when you can just buy an existing business?
It offers a greater safety net in that you have a built-in understanding of how the business can perform financially, while also saving you the headaches associated with the setup of the business – licensing, equipment, and supplier agreements will already be in place. Before you can kick the tires on a business, you need to actually find a business you are interested in buying.
There are several questions you will need to ask yourself. Prime among them:
- What sort of business would you enjoy running?
- What can you afford to buy?
- Where do you want to own a business?
- Do you have the skills to run the business?
Once you can answer those questions for yourself, it is time to investigate what opportunities the market is offering.
In years gone by, a person wanting to purchase a small business would look to the classifieds section in a newspaper. While some local papers do still carry classifieds with listings of businesses for sale in the region, most listings have moved online.
As with any website built around listings, sites featuring business listings offer search functionality, enabling you to quickly find a business that meets your interests, price range, and location. The sites themselves are often reflective of the type of business listed for sale. Seek Commercial, for example, tends to offer more franchise businesses. Other sites like Bsale, Gumtree, and Business For Sale, are more orientated around owner/operator business listings.
It pays to engage local accountant firms and ask about their clients. They may have a list of clients that are currently considering selling,
Related Industry Professionals
Professionals who maintain ties to your chosen industry can often be relied upon to provide not just raw information, but also rumours on interesting opportunities. If you can talk to professionals throughout the supply chain, or even trade journalists, you will likely find insight you won’t hear anywhere else.
Business Brokers and Real Estate Agents
Consulting with both brokers and real estate agents are likely to be able to provide you with in-depth information about businesses currently for sale. In addition to guiding you towards potential businesses that may suit your requirements, business broker industry associations may provide fruitful in your initial exploratory activity. The Australian Institute of Business Brokers, for example, offer quarterly industry reports and have a market sentiment gauge showing the current state of the market on a state-by-state basis:
Once you’ve found the business that suits you and your needs, it’s time to undertake due dilligence and organise finance. As per the Australian Institute of Business Brokers, it is currently a buyers market, so you are looking at the right time.