Bill LaPoint is a principal investor in Boston based Aly Holdings and an adjunct professor at Babson College where he has taught “buying a small business”. LaPoint's firm has been an investment partner when business managers want to buyout existing owners. He says one reason a qualified buyer may not find a business is because the listed businesses are not actually for sale. Owners will often list their businesses in order to gauge what people are willing to pay or the market value of the business. Another problem is that the leading listing websites are loaded with convenience stores, laundry mats, and other ‘mom and pop’ businesses that are heavily dependent on the existing owner working long weeks, a schedule out of sync with lifestyle goals of some buyers.
When owners retire, it’s a life or death decision for the business