Most individuals that consider buying a business take what I refer to as the “shopping cart approach.” They walk down the aisles of available listings, browse through the inventory and declare, “I’ll know what I want to buy when I see it.”
Very rarely does this approach result in the individual actually purchasing a business. Why? Because there is something wrong with every business. As soon as the potential buyer learns about the flaws they put the dented can back on the shelf and continue to meander down the aisle looking for something better.
Here’s the problem. The best business in the world could have been inside of that dented can! But, the buyer walked away because of the surface flaws. Had the buyer gone into the process with a shopping list, they would have known immediately if that can was worth picking up. If it was, they would have seen past the dent because everything else about the business (or can) was the perfect fit.
Before beginning your search for a business to buy, it is critical that you clearly define your buying criteria, including:
- Geographic preference,
- Skills you can add to the business,
- What hours you want to work,
- How much you’re willing to travel,
- What lifestyle you want to lead after the purchase: and
- The amount of money you have available for a down payment.
Once you define your criteria, you can easily identify whether or not there are existing businesses on the market that are potential opportunities for you. If not, your time is not wasted. You are in an even better position. You are ready to begin working with an intermediary that can bring you the business you desire.
Remember, the business that is the best fit for you and your family may not currently be available for purchase. That doesn’t mean that the owner is not willing to sell it. It just means that they have not yet taken the steps necessary to do so. Having representation allows you to easily approach this owner, demonstrate your capabilities as a potential buyer and position yourself as their exit strategy. This is a delicate situation that requires a difficult discussion. But that’s why you hired representation!
This is a life changing moment. Make sure you find the best business for you and your family and don’t go at it alone!