According to the US Small Business Administration, 99.9 percent of American businesses are small businesses. This equates to 33,185,550 small businesses in the US in 2023. A 2023 survey of business owners by Guidant Financial—a small business and franchise financing company—found that 12 percent of small business owners planned to sell their business this year. It’s a number that is expected to go up as thousands in the baby boomer generation reach retirement age every day.
What does this mean for you? If you’ve dreamed of becoming an entrepreneur but don’t have the resources to start a business from scratch, now is actually a great time to buy a small business for sale instead. In this article, we’ll take a look at a few tools you can use to make your search for the right small business a successful one.
Make the Most of Your Network
Networking can lead you to small businesses for sale in specific industries or locations. If you haven’t already done so, join local industry groups and get involved. Take part in industry happy hours and other casual meetups and make time to attend industry conferences. You should also consider joining the local small business association or chamber of commerce. Attend their meetings and sponsored social events.
In the process, you’ll get to know many small business owners. Some may already be interested in selling their businesses. Others may not have thought about it but will be open to discussion. Some may know other business owners who are looking for buyers.
Of course, industry groups, associations, and chambers usually include membership fees. And most conferences will require you to pay for registration. But these costs could be easily offset by the advantage of meeting the owners of suitable small businesses before they’ve even listed those businesses for sale.
Enlist the Help of a Business Broker
Working with a business broker is similar to working with a real estate agent. Just like homeowners who want to sell their residences will hire real estate agents to help them do so, business owners looking to sell their small businesses may choose to secure the assistance of a business broker. These brokers will help them find buyers and assist in the selling process. And as a result, they can be a great tool when you’re looking for a small business to buy.
When you contact local small-business brokerage firms, they should be able to connect you with multiple opportunities. Additionally, if you’re not yet clear on the type of industry you’d like to buy or the industry you’d like to operate in, a business broker can help you answer those questions. And when it comes time to evaluate your chosen business and negotiate a sale, the business broker can advise you on the process.
Of course, before signing a contract with the broker, you should do your due diligence and check their reviews, references, and history. It’s important to make sure that the broker will be looking out for your best interest in the transaction as well as that of the seller.
You should also confirm the fee you’ll need to pay for the broker’s services. Some charge as much as 10 percent commission on the final selling price of the business. However, if you don’t have the time to commit to intensive networking and would like someone else to do much of the legwork for you, the commission fee could be well worth it.
Search Online Buy-and-Sell Business Marketplaces
The days of advertising businesses for sale in local newspapers and print magazines are over. Today’s readers are getting their news and other content online—and they search for businesses for sale on the internet as well.
There are many companies on the web that aggregate the listings of small businesses for sale. Most let you filter your search by factors such as price, location, and industry. If you’ve already determined the type of business you want to buy, these websites can save you a lot of time, as they allow you to substantially narrow your search.
You’ll also likely be able to set alerts for small businesses for sale that meet your parameters. And the best marketplaces will provide you with many of the details you’ll need to determine if the opportunity is a good fit financially.
Smobi is one such website. The Smobi platform was created to make small business ownership attainable for anyone by simplifying the buying and selling process. The number of listings of businesses for sale on Smobi is growing every day. And each listing contains verified data that includes comprehensive business insights, financial records, and performance metrics. Buyers, sellers, and brokers are all using Smobi’s revolutionary technology and best-in-class data to buy and sell SMBs.
While Smobi is currently offering access to its platform for free, other marketplaces for buying and selling small businesses may charge a monthly or annual fee. Either way, the potential time-saving gains should more than outweigh any associated costs.