Frustration trying to find a small business to buy.

I've looked off and on for more than a couple years looking for a good business to buy. The past few months I've put a lot of time and energy into looking seriously, but have had a frustrating experience. Here is what has me most frustrated:

1). Franchises seem to be a total waste of time and money, unless you enjoy minimum wage with more responsibility;

2). Sellers are either completely full of shit or are grossly inflating their numbers so much so that it would take you more than 5 years of full-time work and no personal wages to pay the business off.

Case in point, I've signed several NDA's – one is for the supply/install of a home building product, however, the seller's equipment is nearing end of life and the housing market is in a down cycle, yet he thinks it warrants 3.5x cash flow based on pre-crash numbers.

Another case in point, an electronics wholesaler was for sale. A couple of hours of research shows that he has 2-3 businesses selling related products and the business for sale has inventory that will be entirely obsolete in the next 2 years. Worth 2.5x cashflow.

Am I missing something or just discovering the sheer number of lemons out there?


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