When you start your program to purchase your "ideal" company,
you quickly realize that your ultimate success will depend on
two primary skill sets: 1) Your ability to FIND viable
companies that are for sale, and 2) Your ability to
effectively qualify the potential acquisition investment once
This article is about only step one, how to creatively find
viable companies and one's that are able to be purchased.
Assuming you have clearly defined your business purchase
criteria and you have decided to pursue only companies that
are "officially" for sale, versus attempting to find and
contact company owners who might be willing to sell, you will
need to explore as many ways as you can to find companies for
sale as possible.
As a business buyer you want to use the best means possible to
position yourself to get the first shot at your most promising
acquisition candidates and to do such in as cost effective
means as possible.
Often the more "creative" you are to find deals, the quicker
you'll find the "right" deal. The more diverse your means to
locate viable companies for sale the better your chances of
finding a quality acquisition candidate that few others are
When you are pursuing acquisition candidates you really never
know where your next deal will come from. It could be word-of-
mouth, something your read in a newspaper, a visit to a website
or a lead from an association meeting. Listed below are a
variety of ways you can use to find businesses to buy:
25 Ways to Find Businesses For Sale
* Investment Bankers: Regional, National, International
* Investment Banker websites: Listings of businesses for sale
* Business Brokers: Regional and National
* Business Brokerage websites: Listings of businesses for sale
* Venture Capital Firms: Good referral potential
* Mezzanine Lenders: Regional, National, Always aware of potential deals
* Newspapers: Listings in Local, Regional, National and Industry specific
* Magazines: Listings in Regional, National and Industry specific
* Newsletters: Listings in printed or "Ezines" on the internet ? Industry specific
* Commercial Banks: Many of their clients are considering sale of their company
* Consultants: All varieties, many have extensive practices and many owner contacts
* Associations: All varieties, some are focused just on merger & acquisition activities
* Business Directories: All forms of printed and electronic, many industry specific
* M&A Service Providers: They know who is selling what often on a national basis
* Product Suppliers: Many product manufacturers/ distributors are in the know
* Trade Shows: Walk a trade show in an industry of interest, salesman love to talk!
* Accountants: Many have large practices with extensive business owner contacts
* Professors: Many provide consultative services to business owners or are board members
* Corporate Officers: Especially Corporate Development managers, seeking "spin-off's"
* Bank Trust Departments: Sometimes viable businesses surface in trust situations
* M&A Legal Specialists: Many are in the "crosswinds" of constant deal opportunities
* Networking Meetings: Your local business newspaper publishes many of these
* Technology Licensors: Always aware of companies getting "out" of new technologies
* Directory of Board Members: Board members typically know other board members
* Business Associates: Current and previous business associates and service providers
These "25 Ways to Find Businesses for Sale" are only a few of
the creative means you can use to find acquisition candidates.
Keep this list and add your own methods once you start your
business pursuit program. With today's endless capabilities of
the internet, its worldwide reach into various countries,
industries and industry participants, there are countless
variations for most of the means listed here.
As important about being proactive to locate companies to
acquire you need to be as diligent to broadcast and document
your specific business purchase interests and purchase
criteria whenever and wherever possible. Business owners;
individuals, corporations with multi divisions, merger and
acquisition intermediaries, private equity firms need to know
who you are and what specific businesses you seek to purchase.
This notification effort can be manifested in printed or
"electronic" formats. The internet again is the most cost
effective means to document your exact business purchase
criteria and interests. However, be aware that there are few
e commerce sites that specifically accommodate proactive
business buyer needs. Most business transaction websites focus
on listing businesses for sale, facilitating primarily
business sellers needs, not business buyers.
Take the time and effort to research and try all these
different means to locate companies to buy. Some will be more
productive than others, while some may be more accommodating
to your specific business pursuit requirements. You must do
what you must to throw away as much hay as you can to get to
that needle in the stack!
About the Author:
Mark Smock is President of http://www.business-buyer-directory.com,
the FIRST international business buyer directory of its kind.
Business Buyer Directory provides a non-traditional means for
proactive business buyers to locate businesses for sale
worldwide that meet their exact registered purchase criteria.