You may decide to acquire a business. How can you go about finding one?
Various possibilities are available to you:
Banks, accountants, lawyers, notaries...
Those that work closely with SMEs are often the best informed of the difficulties a business owner may be having in selling their business, or are well placed to observe that a very promising company is suffering from disastrous management... These professionals thus constitute an excellent source of information, which is unfortunately relatively informal and not particularly organised when it comes to identifying acquisition opportunities.
Professional associations and trade organisations
Professional federations, which are in direct contact with their members, can sometimes be a very useful source of information. If you have identified a sector whose interests are defended by a well-organised professional association, do not hesitate to contact them.
Many of these associations are members of the Federation of Belgian Enterprises.
The same is true of trade organisations. As a general rule, these organisations are members of the Economic and Social Council of the Brussels-Capital Region.
In the Walloon region, the www.affairesasuivre.be platform set up by Sowaccess makes it possible to find companies to take over in Wallonia.
In the meantime the Brussels version of the "affaireasuivre" platform has been launched: www.affairesasuivre.brussels. This platform will give more visibility to Brussels companies that you can take over. They belong to one of the following categories: shops, catering establishments, liberal professions, self-employed and activities generating an annual turnover of less than €500,000.
There are other platforms in Belgium that allow potential buyers to have access to companies to sell: www.sowaccess.be , www.overnamemarkt.be / plateformedetransmission.be, Overnameweb.be, Bedrijventekoop.be,...
Some service providers specialise in the negotiation of business acquisitions. Their services can be useful.
Do not forget that, in some cases, you can also benefit from public assistance if you use an external consultant.
Specialist and non-specialist press
In Belgium, as elsewhere, there is a specialised press that publishes information about businesses for sale. While this source of specialised information does not claim to be exhaustive and does not offer any guarantees regarding the quality of the businesses offered, it can still be worth exploring.
All this does not of course exclude contacting businesses yourself. This may enable you to find that rare gem, whose availability has yet to be advertised.
Obviously, such searches are very much a matter of luck, whether you are looking for a traditional business or a more specific activity.