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(Peter Power)
(Peter Power)

Exit: John Warrillow

An eBay for businesses Add to ...

The Internet has changed the way we sell music, houses, and now businesses. Bizbuysell.com is the world's largest online database of companies for sale. It's a little bit like eBay for businesses.

The site lists just about every kind of firm you can imagine, from tattoo parlours to pet stores. It's a great site if you're curious about what other people are asking for a business like yours. I recently read about a gas station/motel operation in Chase, B.C., whose owner was asking $1.2 million for it. The station generated $1,876,627 in revenue last year, which means the asking price (which includes the land) is roughly 64 per cent of revenue. This is interesting if you're looking to cash out of a gas station you own in a rural area.

Bizbuysell.com allows you to refine your search based on your industry and region — two big swing factors in terms of valuation. For an extra $60, the site will run a valuation report for you so you can see examples of closed sales that meet your criteria. This allows you to see not only what people are asking for their businesses but also what they actually sell for.

You (or your business broker) can also list your company on the site, which attracted 269,889 unique users one recent month.

Other alternatives include bizquest.com and businessforsale.com.

Special to the Globe and Mail

John Warrillow is the author of Built To Sell: Turn Your Business Into One You Can Sell . Throughout his career as an entrepreneur, Mr. Warrillow has started and exited four companies. Most recently he transformed Warrillow & Co. from a boutique consultancy into a recurring revenue model subscription business, which he sold to The Corporate Executive Board in 2008. He is the author of Drilling for Gold and in 2008 was recognized by BtoB Magazine's “Who's Who” list as one of America's most influential business-to-business marketers.

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Follow on Twitter: @JohnWarrillow

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