Starting a Business Venture in a New Area

Many newcomers to a region look to a big city as a place to start a new business — or a new life. Toronto is by a wide margin the most popular destination in Canada for investors to start or purchase a small business.

This article will examine the process of buying a business for sale in Toronto, Ontario from the perspective of an out-of-towner. In other words, what is a good approach to take if you would like to invest in a Toronto business if you are not from the GTA.

Determine what you are interested in

The very first step is to determine what type of business you would be interested in purchasing. Buyers of small businesses take several different approaches to determine what might appeal to them:

- Determine a price range and look for businesses in that budget to see what is interesting
- Pick an industry and search along those lines
- Make a list of businesses or industries that you don’t want and be flexible for anything else

However you go about it, it is important to determine what type of company you want to look for. You will need this list for the next step, which is contacting a professional business intermediary in the GTA.

Find a local business broker to deal with

When you are fairly confident in the type of business in the Toronto area that you would like to buy, you will need to be in touch with a business brokerage practice in the city to assist you with your search. Not all business brokers in the Toronto region will conduct searches for buyers so you may have to keep checking back with them to see if any of their listings are of interest to you. Regardless, it is an important exercise to call the broker and formally introduce yourself.

Toronto business brokerages typically deal with dozens of buyer enquiries in a given day so be persistent and patient. Buying a business is a major commitment and most people are expecting a process that is similar to real estate, when in fact it is quite distinct.

When you do talk to a business broker in Toronto, it is critical to be as specific as possible when describing the type of venture you are interested in. Also, most brokerage websites have a section where prospective buyers can register. It is important to register with several different brokerages in order to be pulled into their respective databases.

Visit the city as often as you can

If you are serious about buying a business in Toronto it is important to try to visit the city frequently. There are many interested buyers in the GTA looking for profitable businesses for sale, of which there are a finite amount. Visiting Toronto is important since it will help you acclimatize to the marketplace. You should also try to network in the region as often as possible. Not all businesses in Toronto are listed for sale with business brokers. Sometimes they simply sell if a person is at the right place at the right time.

If you are serious about searching for a business for sale in Toronto that interests you and you are from out of town, be prepared for a rigorous search. Finding a profitable business with good growth prospects takes time under normal circumstances so if you live out of the area, be prepared for a time consuming search. Harness the internet for information and contact a few Toronto business brokers as a good starting point in your search.