Searching for a business for sale

Searching for an acquisition opportunity

There are many advantages to buying an established business; they can help you rapidly increase turnover by adding new revenue streams and providing access to new clients. They can also offer the possibility of capitalising on struggling competitors. Being aware of all of the opportunities available to you is extremely important if you wish to make the most of the them.

Finding the right acquisition opportunity
It is not unheard of for acquisition research to take hundreds of hours of investigation and background work into the business for sale market, compiling lists of reliable sources, making contact with the right people and then targeting the right opportunities based on your criteria. These are all necessary steps that will have to be taken in order to access the best opportunities.

Define your search criteria
You can save yourself a lot of time by first outlining your acquisition criteria before you begin to search. This involves deciding on criteria such as the type of company you are looking for, the asking price, turnover and location. Each of these criteria will hold various levels of importance to different buyers and so it is important to establish which criteria are key to your search.

Timescale
The main issue with placing a limited timescale on an acquisition is that more often than not it will take more time than you would like to reach completion. You need to take time to ensure that you are pursuing the right opportunities, so the time spent searching, performing due diligence and negotiating can quickly mount up.

Performing the search
Many acquirers are often business owners themselves, having most of their time taken up by the day to day running of their own business to be able to spare the time needed to successfully search for acquisition opportunities. There are three options available to busy buyers interested in finding the right acquisition.

  • Search for the business yourself - You obviously have the best understanding of your acquisition criteria, however you may not have enough time to dedicate to the search as other obligations may get in the way. Finding out where to search for acquisition opportunities and developing the necessary contacts are a vital part of the process and can take a considerable amount of time. You need to decide how much your time is worth.
  • Designate an employee to handle the search - Using an employee to perform the acquisition search will free up your time, however you will need to make sure that they have a firm understanding of the acquisition criteria and the processes involved. You will need to take into account any additional training they may require and factor in the effects it will have on their other duties. Do they have the resources available to perform the search to the necessary level?
  • Use a professional - Using a professional or dedicated service can help you access a network of acquisition opportunities that may be missed otherwise. They will have a wealth of experience and connections that they will be able to use to your advantage. Using a professional will also free up your time and may end up being more cost effective and can often help speed up the process by putting you in contact with the right vendors quickly.


Once you have found an opportunity
Remember that in many cases you may not be the only person looking for an acquisition opportunity, there will often be others in a similar situation looking to capitalise on the same opportunities. It is important to always keep a watchful eye on competitors as well as the businesses for sale market, as access to information will be key to early acquisition success.  

You can never really predict when an opportunity will present itself so make sure you are always prepared, those that have their acquisition criteria clearly established will always be in a stronger position against other potential purchasers. Those with proof of funds available will always be well placed to move the quickest on opportunities.

Good luck with your acquisition search. For more details on how to develop a successful acquisition strategy take a look at our article - .

The Business Sale Report has been helping their network of subscribers find opportunities since 1995. Click here to find out more about our services.