FOUND: An alternative business career using online search skills

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  • Author Dennis Lowery
  • Published October 28, 2006
  • Word count 2,080

If you are getting tired of working for someone else or would like to explore how to make more money and develop an alternative career that can free you from your current job ... then please give this article a thorough read. It discusses how to take skills you may already possess and interest you may already have to help you start a brand new career or explore alternatives to what you are doing now.

Chances are that you are reading this article online or found it online and printed it out to read later. The internet has become a powerful and essential tool for many people for information, entertainment and education. But did you know that you can use a simple a tool as your web browser and internet access to make money from what you find online?

Yes, you can and this article will tell you how you can do it.

There are many industries that the concept we are going to discuss could be applied to but we are going to focus specifically on one: the Mergers & Acquisitions Industry (M&A).

The M&A business for many years was predominantly limited to ‘insiders’ who had connections with each other (it was called, the ‘old boys’ network). These ‘insiders’ made millions of dollars by sharing information between themselves as to which companies were for sale and who wanted to buy them. As mergers and acquisitions “matchmakers” (also called “finders’’), they brought the “seller” and “buyer” together and made their huge finder’s fees.

Now all that has changed; the Internet makes it possible for anyone using a computer to research and access business information that was previously hard to find and often available only to the ol’ boy ‘insiders’. And you can earn a finder or referral fee for introducing business buyers and sellers that result in a closed transaction.

Let’s approach our discussion on this in the form of a Question & Answer session:

Is the Mergers and Acquisitions business really that profitable?

Absolutely. And being a finder for M&A deals can be a very lucrative home-based profession.

You can think of it like being a real estate broker, only you match buyers and sellers of businesses, instead of homes. As a real estate broker you can sell a house for $100,000 or you can sell a house for $1 million. The more expensive the house, the more commission you earn. M&A finder or referral fees can be a lot more, since businesses transactions can be quite larger than a residential real-estate transaction.

M&A Deal Finders do matchmaking with businesses that have at least $1 million in sales and go all the way up to $100 million in sales, on that basis alone; being a matchmaker in acquisitions and mergers is a much more profitable business than being a real estate broker.

You are an intelligent person, but you don’t have an MBA degree or a law degree; will you be able to do Mergers and Acquisitions matchmaking?

To answer this question, let’s take our example of being a real estate broker. You show a home for sale, the buyer either likes the home or they don’t. If they don’t like it, you take them to another home until they find the one they want. Mergers and Acquisitions works exactly the same way, only you use the power and information found on the internet to find what business buyers and investors are looking for and then find business owners and sellers that match what the buyers/investors are looking for … and all of the research is done on the computer using the internet to find businesses. Obviously having specialized learning, education or training will be of help to you in any business but you do not have to be a lawyer, CPA or have an MBA in order to be a successful Finder.

One thing to keep in mind; being a Finder does not mean you are a broker. As a Finder you do not take on any fiduciary role or act as an agent on behalf of the buyer or seller; you are merely a matchmaker bringing the two parties together and for that you can earn a finder or referral fee.

Can I do this part-time and do I need to travel or have a fancy office for this type of business?

In the mergers and acquisition finder business you can search for and research businesses and buyers online and send and receive emails day or night, anywhere in the world. This way you can live in Oregon and be working on your computer at night (instead of watching TV) to sell a private business in Arizona to a public company located in Florida. The Florida Company will be closed when your email arrives that evening, but they can reply to you the next day. You can use email all over the world to send and receive business documents and it’s 100% free. Being a professional finder is perfectly suited for a home office. You can start out part-time spending as little as one hour per evening on your computer (the Internet is ‘open’ 24 hours-a-day, 7 days-a-week, so you can set your own hours).

To demonstrate what is possible, I worked on selling a private telecommunications company in Brazil to a public company located in California, and most of the communication for the deal (specifically all of mine to the buyer and seller) was done by email. I will never meet in person the buyer, the seller, the executives of the business or ever see the actual company.

Best of all you don’t have to know very much about the different businesses being sold. I don’t know a lot about telecommunications, but the public company that is the buyer knows that business very well. I just forward the selling company’s information by email to the buying company. The buying company evaluates the business deal and tells me if they want to proceed.

Why is the Mergers and Acquisitions finder business so much in demand?

Let’s say there is a public company that distributes computer software to retail stores like CompUSA. The public company has sales of $5 million and they want to grow. The public company can hire more salesmen and try to get into additional stores. But this can take a long time. What is the solution? They work with an M&A “matchmaker” to find them a company in the same business they can buy or merge with. You find a private company in the software distribution business with $5 million in sales (using Internet search engines and online industry directories) and you contact them to see if they are interested to work with you to be introduced to the public company buyer. If they are, you send the public company a blind profile on the business and the public company will tell you if they want to proceed with interest in the business.

Finding suitable acquisitions to make is how a public company can double its sales very quickly. That is why this service is in such high demand.

The M&A business is worldwide and so huge you will have not hundreds, not thousands, but millions of business owners, buyers and sellers. This opportunity is almost unlimited because each year more than 2 million businesses are up for sale in the USA alone, internationally the opportunity is even greater and all you need is a computer and Internet access.

How would I get started at this business?

Buyers can be found online by using a search engine and entering “business buyers” and then looking to see what the buyers have posted online for businesses wanted. This is an important step to take first because you want to start your “seller searches” with a buyer in mind. When you find an active buyer, create a document in your word processing program that details what the buyer is looking for. That becomes the buyers “profile” for you to use when searching for businesses and sellers for them. Here are the important things to make note of:

  1. What industry (type of business are they looking to buy or invest in)?

  2. What size (does the buyer need the business to meet a minimum revenue or sales level before they would consider buying or investing in them)?

  3. What level of profitability (does the buyer need the business to meet a minimum earnings or net income level before they would consider buying or investing in them)?

  4. What location(s) is the buyer interested in (are they looking everywhere or just in a specific city/state/region)?

In our own network we have over two hundred business buyers, with their full acquisition criteria, we are currently working with and every month others contact us to assist them in finding business owners and sellers that would be interesting investments or acquisitions for them.

Here is an example: Recently, a public company CEO sent me an email and asked me to help him find a private business that he could acquire for his public company. I researched "businesses for sale" using a search engine and found a business seller that would be of interest to the public company. For my efforts the business seller and the buyer both agreed to pay me a Finder's Fee. My email box is almost always full with requests from business buyers and sellers who want to be 'matched up'.

Finding business owners and sellers is very easy. Through your own experience and contacts you may even know the owner of a business who might be interested in selling and if you do not directly know any business owners, then thousands of businesses can be found online. For example, use any search engine and enter “business for sale”. You will find thousands of web sites that list different businesses for sale. When you find the business you think will be of interest to a specific buyer, you contact the seller or business owner to see if they are interested to work with you and are willing to pay you a finder or referral fee to be introduced to buyer prospects.

When they reply with interest, you get your fee agreement in place with them and then fill-out a simple form describing the business for sale that shows the business matches what the buyer says they are looking for. You then forward that information to the buyer in what is called a ‘blind profile’ so the buyer cannot contact the seller without getting back in touch with you. If the buyer doesn’t like the deal, then just send them another business for sale that matches their criteria until they find what they are looking for.

When the buyer and seller each finds what they want, the deal goes into escrow. Before escrow closes the buyer (not you) makes a trip to inspect the business. The buyer meets with management and inspects their facility. If everything is acceptable, they present their offer, their professionals prepare the paperwork, set a closing date for the transaction and the buyer and seller tell the escrow company to proceed with the closing and your Finder’s Fee check is mailed to you or your fee is wired to you at the time of the closing of their transaction.

Does it really work?

We cannot make any earnings claims to you because success is up to an individuals effort, discipline and capabilities but many of the people we know in the M&A matchmaker business earn between $500,000 to over $3 million dollars each year. Again that does not mean that you will earn this much, or anything at all, since it all depends on your motivation, work habits and follow-up. Also keep in mind that this is not a “get rich quick” business, it takes time and effort on your part just like it does with any ‘real’ business. This business takes research on your part to find the right seller and contact them to see if they are interested, for the business to be presented to buyers the seller matches to, for the lawyers to prepare the 'buy-sell agreements' and for escrow to close before you get your check.

But if you are looking for a great home-based business in an established industry with large income potential, then this is the best opportunity I know and certainly merits further study if you find it appealing to you as well.

Gerald Newman, attorney and businessman, has spent over 30 years buying/selling businesses and helping others to do so. Visit for more information about his program. Dennis Lowery is a business consultant, has helped private & public companies grow through strategic acquisition. He writes on a number of business topics sharing his broad experience with business people around the world.

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