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Searching for Calgary Businesses for Sale

There’s no shortage of Calgary businesses for sale online, either on dedicated listing sites, or on the websites of local business brokers. Finding a Calgary business for sale that suits you will be much more easier if you have done your work in identifying the kind of business you’re looking for.

Once you’ve decided on a particular industry or type of business, it’s easy to narrow your search to only those businesses in which you may have some interest.

You will probably have to spend a lot of time searching for a business. If you just wait for the right one to appear online, you may be waiting a long time. Most business sales are kept very confidential. This means that there are always many businesses on the market that are not advertised.

Additionally, many businesses that are advertised for sale may not be very attractive for a number of reasons. There are many more unsuccessful businesses for sale than there are successful ones. And many businesses are overpriced because the owners may have listened to valuation advice from people who don’t understand the real market value of a business.

According to the International Business Brokers Association, about 90% of businesses listed for sale never sell because they’re overpriced, aren’t able to support their revenue or earnings claims, are marketed by inexperienced business brokers, or for various other reasons.

A Different Approach to Finding a Great Business

There are many successful Calgary businesses that aren’t listed for sale. The owner may be in the initial stages of planning to sell, or might be willing to entertain an offer if the price and terms are right.

The first step to finding the right business is to clarify your objectives. Focus not only on the type of business or industry you’re looking for, but also on:

  • What you are willing to pay, or what you can afford to pay.
  • The location of the business.
  • The skills required to run the business. Do you have the necessary experience?
  • The availability of financing.
  • An understanding of market values.

Once you have refined your search criteria, there are two options:

  1. You can work with an experienced business broker or M&A advisor to approach businesses that meet your criteria. Business intermediaries have many contacts and one that knows your target industry is likely aware of several or many businesses that might be good candidates. Recognize that you’ll have to pay the broker a fee is he/she is successful.
  2. Do your own research. Talk to people in the industry and chances are you’ll get some valuable tips on businesses that you could approach. You can also do your own online search, find some businesses that you think might be a good fit, and approach the owners directly, either by phone or by mail (not email). The worst that can happen is getting a no for an answer. But some owners will be open to discussing it with you and getting to know you and your goals for the purchase.

     

Of course you can always do both of the above to maximize your chances.

Developing a plan, determining your focus, and executing a sound business search strategy can often be more effective than a shotgun approach to finding the right business for sale, especially for larger businesses.