Good businesses-for-sale are truly not real easy to find and the search for a business acquisition can be, and often is a lengthy and exasperating process for a buyer. In our experience, there has not been a time when good buyers looking for a business-to-acquire did not significantly outnumber the good businesses being offered-for-sale.
Many buyers contact us to request our “list of businesses” for sale. In the ensuing conversation, we’ll ask buyers what they are looking for and will frequently be told “a profitable business with growth potential; not sure what exactly, but I’ll know it when I see it. What I don’t want is —!” and very often, not much more than that.
That is not necessarily a real helpful description for a broker trying to identify a business-to-buyer fit potential, and with regard to the “list of businesses” for sale, many businesses never reach a list because we always seem to have a longer “list of buyers.”
We suggest that a buyer seeking the assistance of a broker, either formally or informally, begin by preparing the most complete description possible; the type of business, the size of business, suitable location(s), buyer’s background, acumen, financial capabilities, etc., and when we can actually sit down with a buyer from time to time and explore ideas and potentials, the clearest picture will generally emerge.
One way or another, be it in face-to-face conversation, by phone or in written description, it will be in a buyer’s interest to spend the time necessary to refine the search criterion as succinctly as possible but at the same time, not so tightly that good opportunities might be missed. A focused listing of suitable business categories and types will help a broker conduct a better quality search and recognize businesses that might fit.
Each time we begin looking at a new business-for-sale, we inevitably begin thinking about our list of buyers; those with whom we are in contact and for whom we see fit potentials. When we don’t have a reasonable picture of the buyer’s search criteria, background and capabilities, that buyer probably will not come to mind first. And, with more buyers than businesses creating serious competition for those there are, it is simply in a buyer’s best interest that the picture be the clearest picture possible.