Need Help Buying a Small Business? Start Your Search Online

May 31, 2012

It seems as if there’s a silver lining amidst all the scary economic news.  Surprisingly, this is a terrific time to become an entrepreneur.  Businesses are priced right and are often available at bargain prices with seller-assisted financing.  But many people don’t have experience negotiating a deal, and they need help buying a small business.  Where can you go to start learning about business ownership?  There are numerous websites devoted to entrepreneurship, but the best ones feature a directory of existing businesses for sale.

The volume of businesses being sold is what keeps prices competitive in nearly every industry, but pricing varies greatly from one area of the country to the next.  Many would-be entrepreneurs find it difficult to know if they’re getting a good deal.  It may be easy to find businesses for sale by category, price range and location, but not everyone feels comfortable conducting an interview with the seller.  A business broker may be help in buying small business by interviewing the current owners and assessing the value of the company.  According to the International Business Brokers Association, which represents hundreds of the nation’s top business brokers, the number of listings on business directory web sites is up considerably since last year.

How to ask for help in buying a small business –

As one might expect, the rise in the sale of businesses has closely paralleled improvements in the housing market.

Just like one would work with a realtor to help them buy a new home, entrepreneurs need help buying a small business for many more reasons.  The first course of action in finding a business is to consider what you enjoy doing the most.  Is it spending time with friends and family or would you prefer to interact with people all day?  Are you more a “project manager” or a “people manager?”

So where do you get started? The first step you need to take if you want help with buying a business is to determine the type of business you want to buy.

  1. Determine your commitment level – How serious are you about making a business successful.  Are you willing to put in the hours it may take to grow the business?
  2. Establish what you can afford – If you want to qualify for an SBA loan, choose an industry where your skills can translate.  You will also need about 20 percent as a down payment, a FICO score of over 700, and some type of collateral for the loan.
  3. Figure out what skills you have – Look at your qualifications and ask yourself which skills would translate into owning a business.  Are you comfortable selling?  Do you have retail experience?  Any professional licenses?  Would you be comfortable managing employees or would you rather run the show yourself?

Many entrepreneurs are so excited about acquiring a business that they fail to consider the long-term lifestyle impact.  Concern over business debt and competition may translate into long hours, which could impact personal relationships and family time.

Don’t rush into business ownership without considering all your options. If you need help buying small business, look to for comprehensive listings and advice.