As many of you know, I have been looking for businesses to buy, over the last few months. Primarily in the digital technology space. There are plenty of resources that I am leveraging in this process, from my personal network to business brokers to online websites. I figured this would be a useful post for any of you looking for businesses to buy, as part of setting an M&A strategy for your business.
When looking for a business to buy, you need to be well connected to people that know about businesses for sale. This includes people like lawyers, accountants, bankers, venture capitalists, private equity firms, consultants, etc. So, be sure to let these types of professionals know you are on the hunt, and what specifically you are looking for, and they may know of current opportunities. Or, at a minimum, hopefully, they will keep you on their radar for future opportunities that arise over time.
Business brokers or investment bankers are companies that are engaged by a seller, to help them sell their business. They prepare all the marketing materials, reach out to prospective buyers and act as an intermediary between the buyer and the seller of the business. Business brokers come in all shapes and sizes, from "one man shows" to big companies, and they typically have a specific area of focus. Some focus on big companies, others focus on small companies. Some focus on the Midwest, others focus on the West Coast. Some focus on the technology industry, others focus on manufacturing. All as examples. So, find the business broker that that best serves your target company size, industry and location. Doing some searches on Google should point you in the right direction (e.g., "business broker Chicago technology").
As a few examples of some of of the better ones I have worked with, focusing on smaller businesses in the digital technology space, reach out to the partners of firms like these:
Corum Group (based in Seattle)
Digital Exits (based in Los Angeles)
Exit Strategies (based in Silicon Valley)
Peakstone Group (based in Chicago)
Petsky Prunier (based in New York)
Progress Partners (based in Boston)
Valley Biggs (based in Tampa)
There are a plethora of websites promoting businesses for sale. Some do a ton of volume, and others are smaller. Some are the front end of a business brokerage, and others are simply an online marketplace. But, these are all good places to start your search--many with easy tools to search by location, industry, revenues, cash flow and beyond. Just understand, on these sites, there will be lots of other buyers looking for the same types of opportunities as you. So, be prepared to move quickly, as you see new stuff hit the market. If you see listings that have been hanging around for a while, that can either mean "buyer beware" or use it as an opportunity to "make your best offer". Be sure to sign up for their newsletters or automated search listing announcements, so you don't miss any new listings that get posted over time. I have put a star next to the ones I use the most.
Alpine Business Brokers
App Business Brokers
Buy Sell Website
Empire Business Brokers
Quiet Light Brokerage
W3 Business Advisors
Hopefully, you are now "in the know" on how to find a business to buy. So, whether you are an established business looking for tuck-in growth extensions or additional market share for your business, or an entrepreneur looking for a base platform to invest in as your next venture, M&A can be a great solution for you. And, worth mentioning, the more recurring cashflow the target company generates, the easier it will be to help you finance such acquisition from traditional banks or SBA backed lenders. The acquisition financing is out there for good deals, so don't think you need to fund this entirely by yourself.
For future posts, please follow me on Twitter at: @georgedeeb.