If you’re into business shows as much as I am, then by now you’ve probably seen (or at least heard of) CNBC’s hit show Shark Tank. It’s a fantastic show where entrepreneurs pitch their businesses to a group of wealthy investors in hopes of receiving an investment they can use to fuel growth. The show has become extremely popular among the business crowd and has stirred a nationwide conversation about investing into already established businesses.
The initial groundwork, laying the foundation of a business, is sometimes the hardest part. You have to have the initial capital to get started, you have to file dozens of legal documents to officially register and become a business, you have to purchase or lease the building for your first location, you have to build a staff… needless to say, there’s a lot of steps involved before the money starts coming in. This is one of the many reasons investing in, or outright purchasing, an already established business makes sense for a lot of people.
I started watching Shark Tank about 6 years ago and my interest for investing in businesses grew from there. The first few years I just looked around a little online and locally to see if there was anywhere I could find businesses like the ones I saw on Shark Tank. I learned the hard way that it wasn’t such an easy task. Most of the websites I went to seemed suspect at best and locally it was hard to find anyone selling their business at all. As discouraging as it was for the first couple of years, I continued searching and searching. About a year ago I discovered a place called
About a year ago I discovered a place called BizON that piqued my interest from their positive reviews and user-friendly platform. BizON is a marketplace where anyone can join and either find businesses or franchises to purchase or sell their own businesses or franchises. It was the first website I found that had all the things I was looking for – a safe and secure platform, well established with REAL businesses to purchase and easy to use. If you’re interested in investing into established businesses and/or franchises, or if you have your own that you want to sell, then read ahead and I’ll breakdown BizON for you so you can get started.
The first thing that caught my attention (in a positive way) is that getting started with BizON is extremely easy. A lot of the websites I’ve tried over the previous years had multiple pages of information to fill out so you could sign up, you had to input credit card information and frequently make a payment before you were even allowed access to the business listings. With BizON, you have a short form to fill out, an activation link to click on and that’s it! There’s no credit card entry, there’s no divulging of personal or private information, there’s no payment – just a quick and easy sign-up and you’re ready to go.
Once you’ve signed up and activated your account, you’ll be able to login and check out the dashboard. There’s some interesting information you’ll see from the start. The first four blocks (Analyze & Manage, History Is Great, What You Looking At?, and The Party Happens Here) won’t be much use to you yet since you just signed up, but all of the ones below have useful information you should take the time to look over.
The first one is pretty self-explanatory – Top 5 Most Listed Industries. Here you’ll see the type of businesses or franchises that are most frequently listed on the marketplace for sale. This is helpful to see how a particular industry is fairing in the economy right now, as well as to see which industries may be oversaturating the marketplace. Both of these factors can be used as leverage if negotiations begin to purchase the business.
The next block shows the average listing price for those top 5 most listed industries. Personally, I take these numbers with a grain of salt because there are so many factors that come into play when you decide on a price to sell your business. Some of these businesses will cost a lot more than others just because of their location alone, and that’s just one of a million variables that can affect the value of a company. It’s great to have a very rough idea of what those industries are listing their businesses for, but you’ll really need to compare businesses in the same area and in the same industry to get a more accurate idea of what the price should be.
The last block (Fresh on the Market) has been invaluable to me because it shows you the most recent businesses to be listed on the marketplace. Whenever there’s an unbelievably good deal, which are obviously the ones you can make the most money on, it’s not going to stay on the market for long. Someone will snag that deal up faster than you can blink! That’s why this small block has become vital for me – I’ll take a look at it frequently and see the latest deals pop up as soon as they’re posted, no matter what industry they’re in. I don’t invest into the restaurant industry as much as I do other industries, for example, so I rarely search for it. This means the Fresh on the Market block is often the only way I see listings from that industry. I don’t waste my time searching through an endless amount of restaurant listings, I just glance over the latest ones posted and take a look only if it looks like a fantastic deal.
Check Out the Listings
Now that you’ve spent a little bit of time analyzing the items in your dashboard, it’s time to move on to checking out the listings available. If you’re only interested in selling a business or franchise, you can skip over this section for now and come back to it when you’re interested in investing. Simply scroll to the top of the page and click on “Buy” (highlighted below) and the listings will load right up.
At first you’ll seem inundated with listings, but these are all the listings across all the industries with any price range. Rather than go through page after page after page, your best bet will be to use the search filters found on the left side to customize your search. Set the price range that you’re willing to spend (sometimes you can set it for a little higher than you’re willing to spend and try to negotiate down as long as it’s within reason), choose if you’re looking for only businesses or only franchises or both, select the industry you’re most interested or knowledgeable in, and even choose the location. There’s no point in looking at businesses outside your price range or in an industry you’re not willing to be in, so utilize these search filters to find great deals right up your alley.
Another important thing to take note of is right below the area where you can input your search criteria. You’ll see a section titled “Search Alerts” which will allow you to receive email notifications when there’s a new listing that meets specific search criteria that you put in. This is especially great if you’re only interested in one particular industry, you can make sure you get all the notifications for businesses in that industry, within the price range you choose. Just setup the search filters the way you want, and then click on the green “Add Alert” button and that’s it! You’ve got the alert added! You’re able to add up to 5 alerts for different search criteria.
Once you find a particular listing that you’re interested in, go ahead and click on it and check out all the information they have. Most listings are going to have extremely valuable financial information that you’re going to need to take into account before taking further action. Here’s an example of one that I’ve pulled up so we can go over the relevant information needed to make an informed decision:
The first thing you’ll notice are the images provided by the seller. Sometimes these will be photos of the actual building that the business is in, images of the company logo or even photos of the inside of the company at work. Then on the right side we’ll see their asking price for the business, a short description of the business, and a table of all the juicy financial details below that.
Here we see the franchise condition is new, though the business itself has been running since 2012. As with any franchise, there’s a franchise fee involved and for this particular case it’s $30,000 (which is where they got the listing price). Unfortunately, that’s not the only costs associated with getting this franchise started. Below the franchise fee you’ll see the start-up capital required for this franchise, which is $235,000. Usually this numbers comes from the average amount that was needed for the other, previous franchises to get off the ground and get things running smoothly. So at this point you’re looking at $265,000 as the initial investment, and since it’s a franchise there isn’t any staff or building already in place. There’s also 4 weeks of training required and the franchise owner does not allow any sort of financing.
The bottom rows on the table (the ones without columns) are going to be specific details the business owner requires before you can become a franchise owner. In this particular case, the owner requires you have experience owning and operating a business and/or franchise, and that you have a net worth greater than $700,000. Where as you won’t be required to spend that much money, you will have to be able to prove you have that much in either money or assets before you can become a franchise owner.
The last two sections are really helpful as well. You’ll see in the bottom left corner reviews pulled directly from Yelp about the company or franchise you’re looking at. These reviews are extremely valuable because you want to make sure you have a strong, happy customer base when you take over. Then in the bottom right corner you’ll see how the asking price for this business compares to other businesses in the industry. This is another piece of information that I would take with a grain of salt, because you’re comparing ALL the different listings in that industry, no matter what size, location, revenue, etc.
Selling a Business or Franchise
Now if you have a company (or companies) that you’d like to sell, there are also great options for that found on BizON. At the top, right beside where you found the buy menu option previously, you’ll see the “Sell” button. Go ahead and click on that and we’ll jump into the two main options we have available for selling.
So the two main options we have (highlighted above) for selling are the “Self Serve” and “Full Serve” options. We’ll cover the “Full Serve” option first because it’s the most inclusive offered. With the “Full Serve” option, you’re going to receive professional advice and consultation on a range of different factors. Finding an appropriate price for your business, with loads of variables considered in the valuation, for one. Finding the best, most attractive way to list the business for sale and optional ways of advertising it are also included. You’re basically receiving a full brokerage service for your business listing. If you’re having questions about how much to price your business or if you’re unfamiliar with how to navigate through the process of selling your business, then you’d want to go this route. It’s going to be more expensive than the “Self Serve” option, but if you go with the “Self Serve” option and don’t know everything you need to already, then you’re basically just flushing that money down the toilet. You’ll end up listing the business for a ridiculous price, or have inaccurate information listed that will make any deal that’s offered fall apart in the end anyway. Save yourself the headache and go with “Full Serve” if you have any doubts at all.
If you do, however, have a great bit of knowledge on your business, including the revenue, a current valuation, franchise costs if applicable, etc, then you’d be much better off going with the “Self Serve” route. You’ll see the cost for the advertisements start at $150 for 3 months, which compared to most advertising avenues for selling a business, this is considerably cheaper. You’ll also get a Risk Free Guarantee, meaning that if for any reason you aren’t satisfied with the results within the first 30 days of your order, you can get all your money back no questions asked. This is nearly unheard of in the online advertising realm!
Once you click on the “Create” button to begin building your listing, you’ll select if it’s an independently owned business or a franchise. Then you simply fill out all the information we covered in the section “Check out the Listings” section (Company name, overview, established date, location, industry, revenue, if land passes with the sale, etc), add any photographs you have and any stipulations you might have for anyone wanting to purchase it. Overall it’s very straightforward and easy to use. Make sure you put an eye catching title and some great photographs; having those is a necessity to get someone to even click on your listing and take a deeper look.
Besides having great options for both buying and selling businesses/franchises, BizON also has some really cool tools and added support to help you along the way. By clicking on the “Grow” menu option at the top, you’ll be taken to a page that includes seven awesome tools and links.
The first tool is a quick valuation calculator. This is merely a rough estimate, but often times you’ll find that this rough estimate is far lower than you may have initially anticipated. A great tool to put you back in the ballpark of reality when trying to find the value of your business.
The next tool (Benchmark Your Listing) allows you to check out benchmarks on your listings specifically, as well as benchmarks on the various industries in general. Another great tool to let you know what the market is saying right now.
Next you’ll have the Professional Valuation link. I’ve found this to be useful for when you’re serious about selling your business and you’re just one or two steps away from listing it. Go ahead and get the professional valuation so you know how to intelligently price your business when you list it.
Business Support is the next title and here you’ll be able to directly connect with various industry professionals, such as lawyers, accountants, and bankers, for whatever professional services you desire.
Legal Forms is pretty self explanatory, here you’ll find tons of legal documents that come in handy when you’re handling any deal, buying or selling, on BizON.
Digital Leverage is a great platform you can use to promote your current listings on various social media platforms to increase exposure and brand awareness. In today’s age, this is an extremely useful tool for organic traffic to your listings.
Last you’ll find BizPERKS which are exclusive deals only for BizON members. Tons of business related promotions here that you won’t find anywhere else. I recommend checking it out at least a few times a month and see the new promotions posted and see if any of them are relevant to you.
Networking with other buyers and sellers in the industry you’re in is extremely important to the success of your ventures on BizON. You’re going to want to meet others who have similar interests and see what kind of useful knowledge you’re able to pull from them. Luckily, BizON has an option for this too. The last menu option at the top, BizCHATTER, offers a full forum based system that you can use to reach out to buyers and sellers across the marketplace. This is a great way to get solid advice and absorb knowledge from others’ years of experience.
After spending an extensive amount of time on BizON, I can honestly say this startup is something the business world has needed for a long time. A trustworthy place you can go to acquire new businesses or franchises, with everything you need under one roof. Whether it’s legal documents, legal advice, valuation estimates and so much more, it’s all there where you need it. You don’t have to go to a million different places just to complete one deal or one transaction. It’s literally all at your fingertips in one place. This is something we’ve not been able to find before in the business purchasing field.
With the way globalization has taken a strong hold in the 21st century, being able to reach out to businesses and franchises across the world at the click of a button is a necessity. No longer do you have to rely on finding local businesses that are for sale, you can find well established businesses across the country without ever leaving your chair. I’m absolutely amazed at how easy BizON is to use compared to other websites with a similar purpose.
I highly suggest anyone interested in acquiring businesses or franchises across North America take a look at BizON before you waste your time going anywhere else. The other places simply do not compare and do not have the options you’ll find here. Whether we’re talking ease of use, marketplace size, community or anything else, BizON reigns supreme. I wasted years of my own time looking for such a place, and now that I’ve found it I won’t waste anymore time looking anywhere else. After all, BizON is absolutely free to sign-up for (unlike 90% of the competitor websites), so you have nothing to lose by signing up and taking a look around. You have A LOT of opportunity to lose by not going there, though.
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