Finding Buyers: Who’s Looking for a Business Like Yours?

Picture of Katie Fleming

Katie Fleming

Co-founder and COO of Owner Actions

Two owners, talking to others, are finding buyers for their business.

Every day, groups of people search for businesses to buy. Many do this to achieve their goals of entrepreneurship, expand their market, or attain strong returns on their investments. Some buyers try to find a specific kind of business to own and operate. Others are looking for value, potential, and possibility.

As you start thinking about finding buyers for your business, ask yourself this: Who’s looking for a business like yours?

A smiling man is interested in buying a business



Thousands of experienced professionals aspire to become business owners.


Instead of taking on the risk of starting a new business, many are interested in buying a business that’s already established, profitable, and positioned for future success. Who follows through with this idea? Usually, it’s people with management know-how, and either disposable cash, access to capital, or familiarity with how to finance their purchase.



Your employees


Too often overlooked, your employees may be one of your best options for business buyers.


Your business likely includes managers or team members who have enough knowledge about the company and its operations, customers, suppliers, and market to help the business succeed far into the future. They may not have access to the capital they need to buy the business. However, options like SBA loan financing, retirement plan financing, or seller financing could help them cover the cost.


Employees of similar businesses in your area


Your competitors’ employees may have similar knowledge, skills, and abilities to your own team members. Some may be ready to run a business in a market that they know intimately.


It can be difficult to connect with this group without alerting their employer of your plans. But, if you can navigate it, you might find a qualified person or team who will be eager to take the reins of your business.



Owners of similar businesses in your area (your competitors)


You may consider selling to a rival business owner who knows your market, customer base, and competitive positioning, as well as what it takes to run a successful business. Your competitors could be eager to acquire your business if it means expanding their capabilities, building their customer base, and removing a key competitor. But, of course, there are risks to announcing your news to this specific audience.


Competitors may try to pull your customers and key employees away without making you an offer for the purchase of your business. And, by having an opportunity to evaluate your business’s financials, strategies, and secrets before closing the sale, your competitors may find ways to retool their own businesses to become more profitable without making a real offer for your business.



Owners of similar businesses in other areas


Much like selling to a competitor, there are advantages to selling your business to a person who owns a business like yours in a different location.


You could connect with an owner who’s interested in expanding to new areas and accessing a larger pool of customers. But, of course, many of the risks of selling to a competitor apply here, too. Owners who learn about your decision to sell may decide to make a play for your customers and employees and move into your valuable market without making an offer to purchase your business.



Owners of synergistic businesses


People who own businesses that have similarities to yours may be interested in buying your venture. Often, they do this to expand their market share, access new pools of customers, enter an adjacent market, or save costs on the production or distribution of their core product lines.


Other people who own businesses in other industries may be interested in your business simply because it looks like a sound investment.



Private equity groups


Private equity firms may want to buy a stake in your business. This is often the case for groups that believe in a business’s ability to grow and capitalize on emerging opportunities.


These firms tend to keep existing management teams in place. However, they often want to have a say in the direction and strategic decisions of the business.



Is it possible to share the news of my sale without introducing risk?

Every option introduces risk, but there are steps that you can take to minimize them. You can learn more about these steps in our article, Confidentiality and the Sale of Your Business.


I’m interested in selling. How can I start finding buyers for my business?

This list might give you some ideas for finding buyers for your business. Dive more deeply into it. Try to think of people in any of these groups who stand out as possible buyers. If can name a few, take this step: Think about how you could gauge their interests, theoretically if not practically at first. Once you test the waters, you can have frank conversations with those who seem most interested.

If you prefer to sell to a buyer who is unfamiliar with your business, a broker could be a great resource. A business broker can help you price, position, and market your business to qualified buyers ready to buy a business just like yours.


Would you like to connect with a broker? Click the Connect button below to get started:


Of course, you don’t have to use a broker to sell your business. This guide can help you weigh the pros and cons of hiring a business broker and navigating your own sale:


What’s next?

Ready to sell your business? We can help. Log into your owner’s portal for a step-by-step guide, articles, and advice you can use to find buyers, market your business, and negotiate a favorable deal for the business you’ve worked hard to build.

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