As an attorney who has also personally grown, sold, and purchased businesses, one of the first things I tell my clients is that sometimes the best deal you will ever make is the one you don't make.
Depending on your requirements and location it's very possible that you could be a serious business buyer with the right strategies and expectations and simply not find the "right" business within a year. If you're looking for a specific type of business and are in an area where there just aren't that many of those businesses within the radius you can realistically consider, it could easily take longer than a year.
In my experience as someone who has grown, built, and sold businesses both personally and in working with my clients, the most important strategy is not to settle on a business that isn't right for you. A year is an arbitrary period of time, and there's no magic rule that you're always going to find a great business that meets your criteria within a year.
Without knowing why you have rejected the businesses you've looked at over the past year I can offer some general advice:
1. You're generally better off buying a great business at a somewhat higher price/multiple than a mediocre business at a great price. If you're rejecting great businesses that have solid cash flow because you feel they're priced too high, you may want to reconsider your price parameters. Even at a relatively high multiple it's going to be hard to find another investment that can pay you as well as a great business with a strong track record and proven, consistent cash flow.
2. If you have spent significant time on due diligence with multiple businesses over the past year and are finding reasons to kill the deal only after extensive review, you may want to rethink how you're selecting businesses and going through the pre-diligence process. Asking the right questions before getting too far a long can save you a lot of time and allow you to look at many more businesses over the course of a year.
3. On the other hand, if you have not wanted to get into due diligence on a particular business (or more than one), it's a good time to ask yourself why not. There's no right or wrong answer, but if the reasons are personal to you rather than based on the numbers, operations, reputation, etc. of the business then you may want to reevaluate why you're looking to buy a business in the first place.
4. Be open minded: There's no harm in exploring a few industries you might not have considered from the start. When I purchased one of the businesses I've owned I had no intention of getting into that industry at the start. But when I looked at the people, operations, and numbers behind the business I immediately knew it was a winner. If you're locked into very specific areas it's at least worth considering a few other options. You never know what you'll find.
Finally, whether you're working with a buyer's broker, an attorney with business purchase experience, or an accountant/financial advisor, it's good to have someone who can give you honest, unbiased feedback on your goals, search criteria, and the businesses you do find.