Tips for Searchers and Searches

Buying a business?

It’s all about search.

And being best.

And first.

And beating buyer competition.

Please use the COMMENT feature below to ask questions and share ideas.

Search is about buyers getting competitive advantages over other buyers attracted to the same opportunities.

It’s not simply having the advantage; it’s getting to the opportunities before other buyers.

The most successful buyers “sell” themselves. They motivate owners/sellers to prefer interacting with them instead of their buyer competition.

But time is of the essence. Sellers of worthwhile businesses won’t wait for laggard buyers.


It’s like fishing with dynamite, thanks to your evaluation and suggestions to refocus and improve my search methodologies.

— Robert Connelly

Ted, thank you for conducting the Searcher and Search Evaluation on my current efforts. You delivered both strategic and tactical value that will change my search process. Strategically, your explanation of the need to ensure congruity of all parts of my search process was invaluable. I now understand that my search is a multi-targeted marketing campaign. Further, that each tool in my search process and every contact with owners either builds upon the next success or tears down the effort.

Tactically, you delivered practical, but blunt feedback on each of the search steps where I provided information and I appreciate your delivery. I now know what aspects won’t work and can make the appropriate changes to match the strategy. Finally, at each step today, you provided insightful commentary that has served as seasoned advice to help me become better informed. Thanks Ted! 

— Terry Morehouse


  • Brokers and savvy sellers invite buyer competition. Do you want to try to outbid the dumbest buyer?
  • Buyers operating from a comprehensive marketing plan get better results, sooner, from their search.
  • You can’t buy the right business if you can’t find it.
  • Searching is nice. Finding is nicer.

And that’s what distinguishes the people setting out to buy a business from the buyers who actually achieve done deals.

Here’s an outline for the marketing plan my clients use:

Marketing Plan to Prepare & Find Opportunities

  • Market Research
  • Acquisition Criteria
  • Your Credentials
  • Design Search Process
  • Q&A for Interviews
  • Assemble Advisory Team

Searchers seeking investors or businesses for sale must know what works (and doesn’t). Preferably without too many errors on the playing field.

Come back often to this webpage.

I will elaborate on each of the elements of the basic marketing plan above.

You’ll see facts, tips, strategies and warnings.

Don’t have time to wait for the tips?

Cut to the chase here: Searcher and Search Evaluation ™

You can also email your questions and comments to Ted Leverette, The Original Business Buyer Advocate ®

How incongruity stifles searchers’ opportunity.

#1 The problem begins for people who do not realistically assess their capability to buy a business or attract investors to help them fund their deal.

  • It’s not what searchers believe; it’s what their targets perceive and believe.

#2 The problem worsens for searchers whose acquisition criteria is not consistent with marketplace realities.

  • Get this wrong and it’s like rowing a boat with one oar. It takes a lot of effort and you don’t get far.

There are several more things misguided buyers do, upfront, that go against their self-interest.

Consider: To what degree in your various efforts to market yourself while searching for opportunities will what you deploy be perceived as ill-timed or absurd in relation to everything they see you doing? (What about your behavior, materials and scripts?)

  • Over the next few months I will elaborate on this webpage.


The deal you want won’t exist if you what you bring to the table cannot coexist with marketplace realities.

Is it time for you? Searcher and Search Evaluation ™

“Show me your money!”

[More than half of the searchers asking for Ted Leverette’s Searcher and Search Evaluation learn that they’ve misallocated their dealmaking funds and/or they must adjust their investment objective to more realistically fit marketplace realities. Discovering this early is better than getting blowback from brokers, sellers, investors and sources of financing.]

Other than your management credentials and the quality of your acquisition advisory team, your cash is what brokers, sellers and sources of deal financing want to know about you.

  • Pass the cash test, upfront: Doors open.

The plan you use to market yourself to sellers (plus your acquisition criteria) is dependent upon your financial capacity to achieve a reasonable done deal.

Don’t enter the buy/sell playing field until you can answer these questions. With certainty.

What is the minimum and maximum amount of cash (from your funds) you intend to inject into the business as buyer’s equity at closing?

Break it down:  

What amount is in your budget for your search?

Advisory team?

Down payment?

Working capital?

Contingency fund you hold back and have outside the business to be available if necessary to exploit an opportunity or fund a problem?

Get ahead of other buyers competing with you: Searcher and Search Evaluation ™

Hire Business Buyer Advocate Ted Leverette to educate and guide you through our Street-Smart 22-Step Acquisition Sequence ™. It integrates five services essential to buyers: Search, due diligence, financing, valuation and dealmaking. We are not a business brokerage. We do not sell franchises or any kind of business.

Email Ted J. Leverette, The Original Business Buyer Advocate ® Since the 1970s. “Partner” On-Call Network, LLC


9 thoughts on “Tips for Searchers and Searches

  1. M. Williams says:

    Can you provide insight into what “proprietary deal flow” means for buyers of small and midsize companies?

  2. Robert Connelly says:

    It’s like fishing with dynamite, thanks to your evaluation and suggestions to refocus and improve my search methodologies.

  3. A. Felker says:

    Ted Leverette: I discovered your website (and this webpage) today on LinkedIn.
    (I sent you an invitation to connect on LinkedIn.)

    What group(s) do you recommend on LinkedIn for business buyers?

    (I’ve seen the business brokerage groups, and the posts by people pitching get-rich-quick nonsense. Doesn’t interest me.)

  4. Ken Lewis says:

    Good stuff on your website. Hoping people will comment.
    My question: What’s your opinion about business brokers?
    Soon I will begin my search for opportunities.

    • Ken Lewis says:

      Okay, I’ve found my answer. And it may be useful to other people.
      This revealing article refers to “investment bankers.” Think “avoid business broker” if you want to make the best deal.

      Excerpt (read the article for context): “There is one source that was always problematic for me — intros from investment bankers. But as a source of deal flow it is last on my list.” Referring to brokers: “. . . goal is to find investors who pay the highest price and to help make sure that investors can’t tell whether they’re getting a good deal or a bad deal.” And, “If you don’t know who the sucker at the table is, it’s you.

      • Ted Leverette says:

        Ken Lewis: Your comment is thought-provoking and so is the link you share to an online article.
        I’m, here, responding to this in your comment: Think “avoid business broker” if you want to make the best deal.

        You and anyone can gain realistic insight by reading my webpage: What about business brokers?

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