You could spend several days trying to figure out the kind of information you need, and then spend more time looking for resources . . . or you can use this report as your launching pad into the kinds of resources commonly being used by advisors, business owners and the buyers and sellers of small and midsize companies.
Some of the resources you’ll see in this report are free; some bear an access cost; and, some costly databases you can get free from public libraries and other venues.
This webpage is a (continual) work-in-process.
- We would greatly appreciate it if you email me (Ted Leverette) links/info about other worthwhile resources, which we can add to this summary.
- Your comments, too, about what you see herein. (Thank you!)
Subscribe to my free monthly newsletter; see my YouTube channel, and read my how-to books for tips and resources. Already searching? Want better results? Try this: Searcher and Search Evaluation.
Tip: Buying a business? Benchmark first.
Discover, compare and make note of the offerings of businesses for sale. Do not, prematurely, respond to the offerings. First, see how they stack up against similar and other kinds of businesses for sale.
You’re collecting comparative data about business brokers and business sellers. You’re seeing their offerings. You can learn a lot about how brokers do what they do. This helps us focus on what appear to be the most transparent and fair-dealing brokers and sellers. We red-flag brokers and sellers who hide the ball from us. Why waste time with brokers and sellers who are not forthcoming with the kinds of info buyers need?
One of the most important research tasks is to identify, compare and evaluate the pricing multiples and sales pitches. Also, the financial and nonfinancial info published about businesses for sale.
What the Smartest Business Buyers Do First
My webpage shows a quick-and-easy way to begin to safely explore and understand what’s happening on the dealmaking playing field. From there you can dig deeper using other resources, such as what you see in this report.
Now is a good time to better-understand your list of SICs, before you reach out to owners and others.
Example: Hardware, & plumbing & heating equipment, & supplies merchant wholesalers.
- It’s a good idea to examine wholesalers and distributors regardless of where, in the supply/service chain, is your The products will mostly go to or come from a storage, marketing or sales middleman. And what’s happening or forecast for them can be like the “Canary in a Coal Mine” (harbinger of the future).
Using the data and links:
- Some of the entries pertain to more than one category, but are listed only once.
- Most of the explanatory text you see herein is copied from the publishers’ websites.
- Links may have changed. Google for current info.
- Use the websites’ dropdown menus to drill into the information.
Small Business Statistics & Trends, shared by Rachael Elizabeth, lawnstarter.com.
This is a macro view of the world of small businesses, with lots of details, some pointing at the lawn care niche. It’s an example of the kinds of insights you can find online for drilling down into sectors.
Explore for Acquisition Criteria
Trade associations and trade shows can help you know more about industries, and select or narrow the sectors you’re targeting. Venture out to the people who can help you achieve whatever you’re trying to do.
List of Industry Trade Groups in the United States
Comprehensive list with links.
List of Trade Associations & Trade Shows
International. (Quite a few of my clients have sourced opportunities while attending trade shows.)
Directories of Canadian Companies
Search for competitors and check a company’s incorporation status.
Canada―Key Small Business Statistics
Among the resources: Number of businesses, ownership demographics, private sector employment by business size, firm birth and survival rate, the share of high-growth firms, exports of goods by small and medium size enterprises
Jenn’s List of 200+ Canadian Associations
External 3rd party links.
British Trade Associations and Regulatory Bodies
The combination of governing bodies, resources and business listings is meant to offer the researcher an ideal starting point from which to gather information as well as being of assistance to both business and consumer groups and the general public.
Sourcing ― Searching ― Finding: M&A Opportunities
Begin with business brokers and other sources of referral to sellers and potential sellers.
Not included in this report are the numerous people/organizations offering (for a fee) to search on behalf of buyers. That kind of service provider is too risky for coverage here. Be careful.
Likewise, excluded from this report are various resources whose reputations are frequently challenged by legitimate people on the dealmaking playing field.
Online Venues Advertising Businesses for Sale
1000+ Business for Sale Websites & Networking Groups
Worldwide coverage. Websites with descriptions. Facebook professional and M&A groups.
LinkedIn groups, too, including mine: Searchers Seeking Investors or Businesses for Sale.
Below are representative of the dozens of websites that advertise sellers.
- Beware of hyperbole and buyer competition.
Research and Build Your Contact List
Get the email addresses behind any website. Verify the deliverability of any email address.
DataAxle (formerly Infogroup)
Source of small and midsize business data (350 data points) for the United States and Canada.
Email Services, Mailing Lists
Create a business contact list tailored to your targeting needs.
Comprehensive intelligence on more than 200,000+ business records.
(Go to Companies House to learn more about companies found here.) UK businesses with information on different business activities and companies engaged in all kinds of services, management, distribution or products production are listed here.
Filter targets by revenue, company age, employee count, total capital raised, or whichever investment criteria matter most.
Deal sourcing, target identification. Contact databases.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator
Target the right people and companies. Zero in on the right sales prospects and decision-makers. Start meaningful conversations with prospects, even if you’re not connected. Easily save lists of target accounts, leads and get notified of new matches.
B2B intelligence & company contact data with engagement software, and dynamic workflows.
- Regretfully, there is inaccurate info within this database. Worse, this from a ZoomInfo Privacy Team email to a company complaining about false and inaccurate data about the company: “As a matter of policy, we do not delete company profiles upon request.” (Trying to get corrections is NOT easy and may not accurately occur.)
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
For our purposes, it’s a way to keep track of what’s happening, such as the interactions, during your search for opportunities. (And, in some situations, using these kinds of services are more trouble than they’re worth.)
Manage leads and deals.
Manage leads and deals.
Comparative Performance Indicators
It’s a good idea, before interacting with brokers and sellers, to have information to assess the degree to which what they tell you about the business stacks up against industry statistics. Without this insight you can’t have sufficient perspective about the quality of whatever financial and non-financial information is being shown to you.
RMA Statement Studies
Financial Ratio Benchmarks and Sector Reports
Enhance financial decision making at your organization through reliable benchmarking data. Financial and risk professionals need high-quality benchmarking data to make smarter financial decisions. RMA Statement Studies is the only source of comparative industry benchmark data that comes directly from the financial statements of small and medium-size borrowers of RMA’s member institutions.
- Tracking more than 700 industries both nationally and regionally based on the North American Industry Classification System codes.
- More than 20 key financial ratios as well as balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow line items are available from more than 240,000 statements
- Download a Sample Statement Studies Report
IRS Corporate Ratios
The IRS Corporate Ratios provides industry standard financial statement benchmarking data for over 210 industries. This data will assist you in benchmarking a target company’s financial performance against industry norms.
Financial statement ratios. Common-size balance sheet and income statement line items.
Valuation & Pricing Businesses for Sale
GCF Business Valuation
Insights into numerous kinds of companies.
The Business Reference Guide
Published by Business Brokerage Press (BBP).
Perspectives from the business brokerage industry. Asking price rules of thumb; pricing tips from BBP industry experts; industry resources. Industry selling price multiples (summary) data from DealStats. Covers nearly 600 types of small businesses.
Buy/Sell Done Deal Stats
PeerComps was created by GCF Valuation (certified business appraisers) to give valuation professionals, intermediaries, accountants, attorneys and other business advisors the most reliable information possible on comparable transactions and valuations for small businesses. Small business comps data has been gathered from national, regional and local SBA lenders across the United States. Database and small business valuation calculator focuses on “main street” businesses with annual revenues between $250,000 and $5 million (average revenue of $1 million).
DealStats Value Index
The DealStats Value Index summarizes valuation multiples and profit margins for private companies that were sold over the past several quarters. Google for more sample reports:
- “However, as the Delta variant emerged and the pandemic lengthened, returning to an environment again of risk and uncertainty, EBITDA multiples plummeted to their lowest levels over the illustrated period, to 3.1x and 3.2x.”
- “The end of the first quarter of 2021 marked the one-year anniversary in which the coronavirus pandemic has impacted the U.S. economy.”
IBA Market Data ― Institute of Business Appraisers
- Comps: over 37,000 comparables
- Industries: over 800 industries (SIC codes)
- Large sales: over 2,500 over $1M
- Recent: over 6,000 from the last 5 years
Besides Price/Sales, Price/EBT, SIC, NAICS, Location, Annual Gross, Annual Earnings, Owner’s Comp, Sales Price, Business Description, sale date, and geographic area, there are fifteen asset fields (for one year) and sixteen income statement fields (for three years). The expanded data does not exist for every transaction, but there is a significant amount of expanded data and it’s growing every month.
Following are the main databases by type (available al-a-cart or within select bundles).
Too many to list here, but these might be of particular interest:
Private Market Transactions
|ValuSource Market Comps||Over 49,000 comps, 750+ SIC/NAICS codes, covers 30 years. Mostly under 1 million in sales.|
|ValuSource M&A Comps||Over 10,000 comps covers 10 years. From 1 to 250 million in revenue. Based on public 8K filings (public companies acquiring private companies).|
|BIZCOMPS®||Over 12,000 comps, covers 10 years. Mostly under 1 million in sales.|
|Goodwill Registry||Over 3,000 transactions containing the intangible values (goodwill) of medical and dental practices.|
Business Valuation Resources, LLC
BVR’s deal and market databases include detailed information on the purchases of “Main Street” companies, middle market merger and acquisitions (M&A) of privately held companies, middle market merger and acquisitions of publicly traded companies, control premiums, implied minority discounts (discounts for lack of control), discounts for lack of marketability, and financial benchmarking data. The databases are used by a wide variety of merger and acquisition professionals, including business appraisers, business brokers, investment bankers, and professionals who work in venture capital. Additionally, the data is used in price discovery by entrepreneurs, investors, advisors, and business owners who are considering a business purchase or sale.
You can access these from BVR or (if available) go direct to the providers:
- BIZCOMPS – Main Street Private Company Transaction Comparables
- Bizminer Premium Package
- Bizminer Pro Package
- Bizminer Starter Package
- Butler Pinkerton Calculator – Total Risk Allocator
- Cost of Capital Professional
- DealStats (formerly Pratt’s Stats)
- Economic Outlook Update
- FactSet Mergerstat/BVR Control Premium Study
- First Research Profiles
- Guideline Public Company Comps Tool
- ktMINE Reports
- ktMINE Royalty Rate Comparables & Full Text Licensing Agreements Database
- Stout Restricted Stock Study & DLOM Calculator
- Valuation Advisors Lack of Marketability Discount Study
- Vertical IQ – Industry Reports
Dealmaking & Marketplace Reports
Business Value Multiples • Financial Analysis • Market Analysis
BizMiner provides analytical industry content to thousands of banking, accounting, valuation, CRE professionals and consultants; and over 200,000 business students in almost 100 universities. We are the exclusive provider of financial and industry market data services to the International Business Brokers Association. Our granular, reliable content is licensed by US and Canadian taxing agencies.
BVR – Vertical IQ – Industry Reports – Intelligence on small- and medium-sized businesses in more than 570+ industries.
IBBA Market Pulse Report(s)
The International Business Brokers Association and M&A Source have set a goal to provide quality information on a quarterly basis in order to become the go-to source for insights on Main Street and Lower Middle Market transactions.
Previous Market Pulse Executive Summaries
BizBuySell.com Insight Reports
These quarterly reports touch on industry profiles, but the usefulness of these reports are the buy/sell statistics.
BizBuySell Insight Report:
National Business-For-Sale Trends and Transaction Activity
Insight Report Archive [Overview of history and market outlook with important analyses.]
Interactive Market Data [Useful table showing history of pricing and multiples for numerous USA locations.]
Data Tables [Listing Metrics by Geography, especially multiples of Asking Price to Cash Flow.]
Data USA puts public US Government data in your hands. Instead of searching through multiple data sources that are often incomplete and difficult to access, you can simply point to Data USA to answer your questions. Data USA provides an open, easy-to-use platform that turns data into knowledge. It allows millions of people to conduct their own analyses and create their own stories about America – its people, places, industries, skill sets and educational institutions. Ultimately, accelerating society’s ability to learn and better understand itself.
Explore, map, compare, and download U.S. data.
Start here: Background.
“Data USA, the most comprehensive website and visualization engine of public US Government data.”
- Be amazed here: Viz Builder.
Company, Sector, Industry, Market Analysis, Stock Quotes, Earnings, Economy, News and Research.
Performance • Growth Rates • Profitability • Efficiency • Mgmt. Effectiveness • Valuation • Financial.
Example: Automotive Aftermarket Industry
backgroundchecks.com is one of many. Google for more insight.
These are a few of them: TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian.
Companies House ― United Kingdom’s registrar of companies.
Get information about a company. such as financial statements, capital structure, organization, officers, litigation, etc.
- (Sadly, nothing like this is freely available re USA companies!)
FREE business statistics. Income Statement (%) • Balance Sheet (%) • Ratios
- Very limited scope and timeliness. Website is a feeder to BizMiner.
Full Support of Business Valuation Activities. Applying Industry Research.
IBISWorld’s comprehensive collection of reports cuts hours from first-stage project research.
(Access it from public libraries.)
Provides access to private and public U.S. and international business data, industry news, facts and figures, executive contact information, and the ability to access industry profiles and ratios.
Mergent Online: Use the link to access a huge variety of business and financial information.
Serving the library community since 1992. Online SaaS (software as a service) platform provides library patrons access to accurate and complete business and consumer data from hundreds of thousands of public information sources.
Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA)
Useful if you want to know more about industry OSHA risks.
Such as: Top 10 most frequently cited OSHA standards violated in FY 2020.
Contact the economic development officials who can provide first-hand information on local market trends.
U.S. Census Bureau Economic Indicators
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
State & Local Business, Finance, & Government Resources
Guides and links to financial and other resources in every state to start, run, or improve a business.
Address & Street Data • Everything ZIP Codes • Business & Professional • Federal Resources • Etc.
IRS Tax Stats — Statistics of Income (SOI)
Each year SOI produces studies that provide statistics on income, deductions, taxes, credits, and more reported by businesses. Select from numerous subject areas.
Here’s some of what I can bring to your side of the dealmaking table if you include me on your advisory team:
I’m The Original Business Buyer Advocate ®. I’m not a business broker; never have been.
For more than 30-years, over 100,000 entrepreneurs and advisors, worldwide, have relied upon my books and trainings to creatively finance, buy, or sell small and midsize businesses. I’ve privately coached more than 1,000 clients. And, I’ve trained 298 independent advisors, so they can better-serve people buying and selling businesses.
- But I can’t unscramble eggs, so let’s collaborate before things get messy for you.
This is the first valuable deliverable I provide for people wanting to find and buy the right businesses the right ways: Targeting the best opportunities and then finding them.
It comes down to this: How good or bad do you want your experience to be when buying or selling a business (or when you advise your clients)?
- To know (enough) or not to know? That is the question.
Read my book: How to Buy the Right Business the Right Way—Dos, Don’ts & Profit Strategies.
More Insights & Help
Besides hourly consultations, Ted J. Leverette, The Original Business Buyer Advocate ®, is also available to you on the basis of one or more projects, such as helping you prepare and expedite your successful progress through deciding upon your acquisition criteria, search, due diligence, financing, valuation, negotiations, and post-completion transition.
His books detail the scope of what needs to be done for all phases of search and dealmaking:
How to Prepare Yourself and Find the Right Business to Buy
How to Buy the Right Business the Right Way—Dos, Don’ts & Profit Strategies
How to Get ALL the Money You Want For Your Business Without Stealing It
(USA and Canadian versions.)
Never forget your lost income opportunity.
Irrationally deferring an M&A transaction presents at least two kinds of (avoidable) potential losses. (1) Missing out on buying the best opportunity that you’re going to find. (2) Lost income opportunity, which is what you would have earned every month longer it takes to complete your deal.
Tip: Search more effectively to find and complete better deals sooner.
Improve your search and dealmaking:
Schedule an hour of coaching with Ted Leverette, The Original Business Buyer Advocate ®
Acknowledgment and disclaimer:
- “Partner” On-Call Network, LLC and Ted J. Leverette are NOT recommending or endorsing any of the resources identified in this document. We did not source all the information you see in this report.
- Various people shared their links to the kinds of informational resources they use to help people owning or wanting to buy, sell, or invest in SMBs. We have simply aggregated the information shared with us by numerous people on the business valuation and dealmaking playing field.
- It’s solely up to you to validate the reliability and usefulness of what you see anywhere.