Where to Find Businesses for Sale

One of the best ways to make more money is to start a business. If you are interested in owning your own business, it can make sense to buy a business, rather than start one from scratch. Purchasing a business or business franchise, provides you with access to a business model that has already been shown to work. The right business purchase can result in a simple solution for your needs. You don’t need to worry about where to get inventory, or how to run things. You can step in and carry on the success of the business.

open for business

But where can you find a business for sale? The good news is that there are plenty of places to look if you want to buy a business:

Business Broker

There are brokers whose entire business model is based on helping would-be business owners buy businesses. A good business broker knows what’s available, and understands the process. If you are looking for help every step of the way, a business broker can a great asset. Not only does he or she have lists of businesses that are for sale, but you can get insight on what type of business would be best for you, and advice and help as you complete the purchase.

If you do work with a business broker, you need to be upfront about your situation and what you can afford. Your business broker needs to know your circumstances if you expect to get a deal that works for you.

Go Online

You can find almost anything online — and that includes businesses that are for sale. There are online business exchanges like MergerNetwork.comBizBuySell.com and BusinessesForSale.com. These web sites help you identify potential business purchases. There are lists of people selling businesses on their own, or with the help of brokers. You can initiate a private exchange, or enlist the help of a broker when you go to these sites.

If you are interested in buying a franchise, visit the web site of the business you want to be associated with. You can find information about franchise opportunities for a number of businesses, from 7-Eleven to Subway, by looking online. Make sure you understand what it takes to start a franchise before you commit.


Just in my local Sunday paper, under the “Business Opportunities” section, I see four businesses for sale, including a sno-cone shack business with multiple locations around town. Check your Classifieds (Sunday is usually best) for local business that are for sale. There might even be a “Businesses for Sale” heading.

There are also online Classifieds that you can check. Check with local Classifieds sites, as well as national sites like Craig’s List (be on the alert for scams). You might have better luck finding businesses that are for sale by owner when you utilize the Classifieds.

Word of Mouth

As always, word of mouth can be a great help. Find out whether your friends and family know anyone who wishes to sell a business. Contact your network and let the members know that you are looking to buy a business. A friend of a friend might know someone, or you might be surprised to find that Uncle Lloyd is looking to retire from running his business. These types of introductions can be useful, since you can get the “inside” track on the sale, and you have a personal connection.

Offer to Buy a Business that Isn’t “Officially” For Sale

In some cases, even if someone isn’t selling right now, he or she might be open to selling — if you suggested it. Sometimes, business owners just haven’t considered the possibility. If you bring it up, you might be surprised at who might decide to sell, even though the business isn’t listed as for sale elsewhere.

If you go this route, though, you need to make sure that you can show you are serious about your intentions, and that you have the ability to purchase the business. Actually, it’s important to be able to show your ability to buy no matter how you plan to look for a business for sale. If you don’t have the funding lined up, there’s not much point in trying to convince a business owner to sell to you.

Photo credit: OpenSource.com.

About the Author

By , on Aug 23, 2013
Miranda Marquit
Miranda is a professional personal finance journalist. She is a contributor for several personal finance web sites. Her work has been mentioned in and linked to from, USA Today, The Huffington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and other publications. She also has her own personal finance blog: Planting Money Seeds.

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