Most small-business owners would rather go it alone than hire a consultant to make their business more attractive to potential buyers, according to, a San Francisco-based online listing of businesses for sale.

In a recent survey of owners who had posted businesses on the site, 74 percent of respondents said they felt more qualified to improve their businesses than an outside specialist, and 68 percent said they had never hired a consultant for the task. Of those that did, only 45 percent said they were "moderately satisfied" with the results, while 24 percent said it was a waste of time and money.

Better customer service and marketing strategies were seen as the most effective ways to make a business more attractive to a buyer, the survey found. "Small-business owners are used to taking charge of nearly all aspects of the business -- from human resources to maintenance -- so many regard outside help as unnecessary or inadequate," Mike Handelsman, the site's general manager, said in a statement.

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Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that was based in Chicago.

Published on: May 23, 2007