How do you find small businesses for sale in Canada?

If you decide buying an existing business is the best option for you, how are you going to find the very best business that’s for sale?

The “Business Opportunities” section in the classifieds section of our local paper is where many people start, but you might not find what you’re looking for there. The good news is there are plenty of other resources you can use to find the perfect “used business” opportunity for you.

Where to find small businesses for sale

First, some tips:

  • Keep in mind the company’s health, which will take some further investigation, but also consider industry health and current market trends associated with the company
  • Watch out for vague descriptions, flashy wording and misleading or unclear explanations
  • Take your time, ask questions and be patient in order to find the best business to match what you’re looking for


Sure, check out the classifieds. Sometimes there are viable, genuine businesses for sale. Just be careful. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Trade Publications

Look through relevant trade publications for business listings. These are especially helpful for those looking for business in specific trade industries.

Word of Mouth

This can be an incredibly valuable method of searching for businesses. Let people in your network know what you’re looking for and ask if they have any suggestions. Ask business professionals such as lawyers and accountants if they know of any companies that might be for sale. Networking and business events can be a great source for new business opportunities.

Investment Magazines/ Newsletters

There are lots of business-related publications available, and many of them can be a great source for viable business opportunities.


There are loads of online sources for buying businesses. Do a quick search on Google and you will find pages and pages of sources. You can turn to dedicated websites like and to get you started. You can also check out online classified websites like Kijiji to find business opportunities in your local area, but once again you have to be very careful when sifting through ads that may be phony.

Business Brokers

When hiring a business broker, you’ll be paying a commission. However, if the broker is effective, it may save you a lot of time and researching. Talk to people within your network and see if anyone can suggest a trustworthy and effective business broker. An internet search of “business broker” and [your area] will give you a starting point.

Want more tips on buying an existing business in Canada?

Check out our post on the pros & cons of buying an existing business to see if it’s right for you. And our Canadian online small business training is a great place for overall small business advice too.

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Will your business add value for your customers?

You’re starting a small business so that you can exchange a product or service you create with a customer who wants what you’re selling – you’re exchanging value with one another. But creating value is really the essence of business.

Sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of what “value” really means to us or to our customers. We can turn it into an abstract concept – and when we do, we lose that tangible sense of what actually creates value in our small business. The truth is, value is something quite real and quite concrete.

How can you create value for your customers?

If you want to understand how to create value in your business, think about being of service. All products of real value are embedded with specific ways of serving customers. Through that service, value is created. That which serves, creates value.

Let’s try a little exercise. Stop for a moment and think of something you own that you really value. Take off your business hat and see yourself as someone else’s customer. It may be a great pen that fits perfectly in your hand and doesn’t smudge, the satisfaction you get from your latest piece of tech, or the joy you get from your mountain bike. It doesn’t matter what it is, just so long as it’s something you would be really sorry to lose. Without it, there would be a small hole in your life – nothing like the loss of a friend or loved one, of course – but still, you would feel its absence. Now, in just a few words, write out exactly what you’d miss most about that possession.

We want your customers to feel that way about your products or services if they weren’t available to them. We’d want them to be a little sad without them. Perhaps there would be a little hole in their lives where your products or services once were. That’s value. And that’s the magic we’re trying to create for your customers.

For more about creating value for your customers, read about the elements of a value proposition.

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Are you ready to start a small business? Here’s how to find out

Starting a small business is an exciting prospect, and something that many Canadians dream of doing. You have a great idea, but are you actually ready for all that goes into entrepreneurship?

We’re here to help! We’ve created a free self-assessment package that you can use to help you identify the areas where you’re good to go, and the areas where you might need more help or business skills training. You can fill it out online or download it as a PDF to work on when you’re ready. This comprehensive document will help you decide if the pathway of entrepreneurship is for you.

Download GoForth Institute’s “Am I An Entrepreneur? Self-Assessment Package” for free here!

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Organizational & productivity tips from experienced business owners

In creating our small business education for Canadians, experienced entrepreneurs expressed to us how quickly they figured out the importance of being well-organized. Here are some of their tips to help make sure everything gets taken care of.

Organizational & productivity tips from experienced business owners

  • Schedule some time to be productive. Set up some time once per week – let’s say every Thursday from 10am to noon – where you don’t accept calls, emails or any other distractions. You’ll be surprised how much you can accomplish in these few hours without any interruptions.
  • Organize your office and desk area at least once per week. Set a specific, scheduled time for this – such as Friday afternoons before leaving for the weekend, or Monday mornings as soon as you get in. If there’s a certain time when business is slow – say Wednesday afternoons between 1 and 2, choose that time to get yourself organized. Clear your desk, send your mail, get rid of your flyers and junk mail, shred the documents in your recycle bin, file the pile of papers on your desk – you’ll be able to think much more clearly with all of this stuff out of the way.
  • Know your weekly tasks that are vital. You’ll soon learn which tasks are absolutely necessary to keep up with and have completed by the end of each week. Realize how much time these things will take you to get through, and schedule your coffee dates and meetings around them.
  • Constantly back up your hard work. Get an external hard drive and set it up with your computer so that your files are automatically backed up overnight or over the weekends. This should be done once a week.
  • Plan a time period each day to return calls and emails. It would probably be best to schedule this sometime during your afternoons if possible, so that you’re able to catch all of the emails and calls from that day. This way, you won’t forget to return any important or urgent messages. If you set aside a specific time each day, you’ll have more brain space for other tasks that you have to accomplish without being interrupted. Don’t be afraid to let your voicemail or email inbox do its job!
  • Get a handle on your regular financial tasks. If you don’t have an administrative assistant or someone who handles your bills and finances, make sure that you set up a routine time for this task as well.
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