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BusinessThe Do’s and Don’t’s of Buying a Business for Sale

December 6, 2018

It isn’t always necessary to start a business up from scratch. Often times, the best way to go about building a business is to start with a previously established business. There are numerous advantages to this, including the ability to instantly make money from the business instead of waiting years to finally turn a profit. However, before purchasing a business for sale it is of critical importance to consider all the pros and cons of a currently available business. Although moving into an established company does provide a number of advantages, there are also possible pitfalls if you have not done your homework on the business for sale. That is why you need to take into consideration the following do’s and don’ts of buying a business for sale.

How to Buy a Business for Sale

The process of buying a business isn’t all too different from buying any other large object (such as a house or a car). The business is inspected, the price is negotiated, the details are arranged, and once both parties agree, the transfer of funds and the final signing of all documentation is performed.

Buying a business for sale does have a considerable amount of additional paperwork and investigatory stages. It is important for you to spend the necessary time, money and resources into investigating the current business for sale. The business should also have all of its paperwork, financial information and client data readily available for you to look through. Buying a business for sale is a financial investment and you’re doing this in order to make money. In this way, it is different from other investments you might make. Because the entire purchase of buying a business for sale is to make money and to turn a profit sooner rather than later, you need to spend the time required to identify the advantages and the disadvantages of the business. This is where considering both the do’s and the don’ts of buying a business for sale comes into play.

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The Do’s

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Buying a business is not cheap. Even if you buy a small local restaurant, you are likely to end up paying a good amount of money for it. If you’re interested in moving into the world of business, you need to have a general understanding of what you’re willing and able to spend. So before you look at any kind of business, make sure you set a price in mind prior to considering the business. From there, do not look at any other business outside of your comfort range and budget.

When buying a business, you’ll discover that you’re not just buying the rights to the company, its current accounts, and its customers. You’ll also be taking over its tax liabilities, debt, and lawsuits (if there are any pending). So make sure you do all the necessary background investigating. This way, you’ll avoid buying a business only to find it is in serious debt. Of course, there are times when buying such a business is a benefit as you are able to purchase the business for far less than what it would normally sell for. As long as you know of all the financial variables at play and are not caught off guard, it may be something viable to consider. Just make sure you put in all the energy and effort into looking up the background of the business.

Take as much information and learn as much as you can from the seller. They know the business and they know the location. Even if they failed on a number of attempts (which is why they are selling their business), you can learn from these mistakes. You’ll want to execute your own research so you can run the business as you see fit, but it’s still very important to do what you can in order to learn from the seller. It may prevent you from carrying out the same mistakes they did, saving you both time and money along the way.

If the business you’re buying has anything to do with the manufacture of goods, you need to keep warranties in mind. When the company sells a product to a consumer, it likely comes with a warranty. This means if the customer comes back and the warranty is not expired, you’ll be held accountable to replace the product. If the previous owner of the business ended up selling an inferior product, this may end up costing you hundreds of thousands of dollars (if not more) in repairs you had nothing to do with. So while it is important for you to focus on selling quality goods, know the quality of previous goods and know what the warranty is on previously sold items. If there is a warranty issue currently going on (such as a product recall), make sure to learn all of this ahead of time. The last thing you want is to buy a business for sale and discover there is a multi-million dollar recall on a product. This alone right off the bat might be enough to force you into bankruptcy.

On the other hand, if you’re buying a company that doesn’t produce products but instead is a service based business, you’re not buying the hardware, manufacturing or other aspects of the company. You’re actually working with people and buying what these employees are able to do. Because of this, you need to invest in your new employees. The better you treat them, the better they will treat you and the company. You can also learn from these employees, which in the end will help you improve upon what the previous owner had done with the business. It’s a fresh start and employees are going to be worried. They are already wondering what they should expect from you and whether they should begin looking for new work. By focusing on improving the quality of their work environment while listening to them and their recommendations, you’ll not only improve the quality of their productivity but also the quality of the business as well.

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The Don’ts

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Before ever moving forward with any possible purchase, it is very important for you to avoid buying a business you are not familiar with and do not understand. Even if you believe it can make money if you are unable to manage it you’ll just run the business into the ground. If you have the financial resources to put someone else in charge who does know the industry and who has an established track record within the business, then you may be better off with the investment. However, unless you have this kind of viable option at your disposal, it won’t do you much good and you’ll want to avoid buying the business for sale.

Don’t ever just take the current owner/seller by their word and leave the rest up to chance. They are going to tell you all the advantages and upsides of running the company and buying it. However, they are not going to tell you about all the downsides. Even if they provide you with all the paperwork and information you require for the purchase, there will still be information they do not disclose openly to you. That is why it is extremely important to put in the necessary time and investigate the business. The better educated you are on it and what is going on behind the scenes, the better off you’ll be at determining whether it is the best buy for you.

Never force yourself into buying a business. Yes, you might want a business and you may have an itchy trigger finger in buying a company. However, you’ll avoid major financial blunders by spending time researching a business and moving past a business that doesn’t fit exactly what you’re looking for. You don’t need to buy the business right now if the business for sale doesn’t fit what you’re looking for in a business. Never settle when buying a business. Only go with what feels right.

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There are a number of financial advantages involved with buying a business for sale. If you find the right business, do your homework and identify one that is one you understand and know the market for, it is possible to turn a profit quickly and to get on the ground running with your company instead of spending years trying to build the company up. However, there are also disadvantages to buying a business for sale. It is up to you to avoid these disadvantages. The best way to do this is to do your homework and look into every aspect of the business. Do not leave a stone unturned. The more research and the more information you have on the business the more prepared you will be to make the right decision. So make sure to follow through with these tips for buying a business for sale. As long as you do, you’ll have everything you need to identify a business that works for you and one that will turn a profit.


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