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Approaching existing business owners about selling

Question
Is there a way to approach a business owners to see if the business might be for sale? 
Answer
Yes. Here are a few ways to consider:

1. Use a professional intermediary such as an business broker or your CPA to contact and "feel out" the business owner's interest in selling.

2. Find a mutual friend or acquaintance to approach the business owners on your behalf.

3. Directly contact the owner by mail with a sincere expression of interest in the business and full disclosure of who you are and why you're interested.

4. Never just walk into the business out of the blue and try to discuss their selling it! If they don't know you, their answer will most likely be an emphatic no. 
Brain Trust contributor: Author of Strategies for Successfully Buying and Selling a Business and Preparing Your Business for Sale
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