One of the trends that we noted over at our sister site, TrendTracker, is the trend of more small businesses changing hands. In other words, more small businesses are being bought and sold these days.
Since readers frequently email us with questions asking how to find businesses to buy, or sometimes how to go about selling a business, I thought I would outline some of the hottest places online to look for businesses for sale today.
But first, some background information.
Many small businesses today are sold through business brokers. A business broker is an intermediary who helps bring buyers and sellers of small businesses together. In some ways they are similar to realtors, except that they sell businesses instead of real estate.
At the Corporate level, such professionals might be called investment bankers, M&A professionals, or similar exalted titles to match their huge fees.
But in the small business market their title of “business broker” simply matches what they do, broker businesses for sale. And their fees are not the multi-million dollar fees of the big boys, but more realistic for the market.
A former colleague and friend went from being an executive in a NYSE-traded company, to opening his own business as a business broker.
He and his partner started out as the only business brokers in a small town in Ohio. Things are booming, and it is becoming much more common nowadays to buy and sell small businesses. They have since merged with another firm and now cover a wider geographic area — three states.
Says my friend, L. Don Prince of Business Resource Group:
“We find there is more interest than ever in buying and selling businesses in the small-to-midsize-business market. From my perspective things are hot. According to a recent article in Fortune magazine 3.5 million people between the ages of 40-58 lost their jobs between 2001-2004. Ouch. Five percent of the baby boom population… a lot of them have money and can “buy their next job.” Additionally, baby boomers who own businesses are rapidly approaching retirement. I think these are two key drivers of ownership transfer activity.”
I asked Don for the best places to find small businesses for sale on the Web. I thought if anyone would know, he would. He actually took a few minutes to sit down and write out a list of sites with small businesses for sale.
Here is the list of sites he gave me:
You heard it from an expert.