Many people dream about becoming an entrepreneur and starting their own business. However, small and midsize businesses face challenges. Launching, establishing and maintaining a business is tough, and it can be difficult to remain profitable. New businesses often fail before they have a chance to hit their stride.
Instead of launching a startup, some aspiring business owners purchase an already-successful business or open a franchise. Purchasing an established business is less risky because it has already proven viable and profitable.
To help you get started, here are nine of the most reputable, effective online platforms for buying and selling businesses.
You can search for businesses by category, state and country. Set up a minimum and maximum price and search franchises by type, state, and the amount of money you have to invest. Another helpful feature is the ability to search for a business broker near you.
Editor’s note: Looking for information on opening a franchise? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you about your needs.
With BizQuest, you can browse by state, top cities, popular businesses for sale, and popular restaurants for sale. It also has perks for sellers, such as ads on the company’s partner websites, which include The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. Through BizQuest, you can also find a broker to help you search for a business to buy.
BusinessBroker.net says its database contains more than 28,000 businesses and franchises for sale. You can search for businesses and franchises, find brokers, and see listings by industry and location. BusinessBroker also has a finance and loan center that offers professional guidance for choosing the right small business loan and making your business-purchasing decisions.
BusinessesForSale.com currently has more than 59,000 business listings in the United States and worldwide, including franchises. You can search by business sector, location, and requirements (such as “work from home” or “owner-financed”) to find a business that suits your wants and needs. BusinessesForSale.com also has features such as email alerts and a service directory for those who need small business accountants, brokers and lawyers.
BusinessMart.com has both businesses and franchises available, as well as resources and services to help with funding. You can search by location and business category or, for franchises, by available capital. For sellers, BusinessMart.com offers ad listings that reach thousands of buyers. Additionally, the site allows potential buyers and small business owners to receive quotes from vendors for services such as phone systems and the best credit card processing services to help grow their businesses.
DealStream has a database with more than 20,000 listings, including businesses for sale and investment opportunities. Sellers can post ads for free and connect with entrepreneurs, investment bankers, and business brokers.
Franchise Gator lists new franchise opportunities only, but it has hundreds of listings. You can search for a new franchise based on location, industry and category, investment amount, and top franchises. Potential owners can also sign up for Franchise Gator’s newsletter, featuring expert tips on buying a franchise and running a business.
With more than 1,500 commercial listings available, it’s easy to understand why LoopNet is a reliable resource for discovering businesses for sale in any region. In addition to its website, LoopNet has an app available through Google Play and the App Store to browse listings, making it easier for business owners and entrepreneurs with busy schedules.
LoopNet has partnered with various commercial real estate firms, including Century 21, Cushman & Wakefield, CBRE, SVN, and Re/Max Commercial. Sellers can add a listing to market their property.
Originally started as SitePoint Marketplace, Flippa is an online listings platform for buying and selling online, digital, and e-commerce businesses. The site includes listings for everything from independent websites to small SaaS companies, with plenty of listings under $150,000.
While there are excellent websites available to help entrepreneurs buy or sell businesses, you should still be careful when engaging in these types of transactions. Buying and selling businesses can be quite risky and complicated.
Here are some tips to get you started:
Whenever you’re looking at a business to buy, take time to review the business’s records thoroughly. Examine copies of the partnership agreements, operating agreements and corporate filings. Conduct lien searches to ensure there’s no outstanding litigation against the company.
Most importantly, review the business’s financial records carefully, and confirm its ownership of any assets that would transfer with the business.
Buying a business is not something to undertake alone. Have an attorney help you review company records and structure the purchase contract. A CPA is also a great resource to help you review the company’s books and ensure everything is in order before you cut a check.
Lots of people avoid using business brokers because of the extra fees involved. But brokers can be helpful in many ways. For one thing, they can help you find the right business. A good broker can also aid in negotiations, get you the materials you need to conduct due diligence, and ensure your transaction proceeds smoothly toward closing.
Dock Treece, Brittney Morgan and Shannon Gausepohl contributed to the writing and reporting in this article.