Buying a business is not for the faint of heart, nor are all businesses alike! Before you dive in, make sure your ducks are lined up and everything is solid before starting negotiations.
Thinking about buying a business can feel overwhelming at times. There are so many things to consider that it can easily distract you from going into overdrive to find the right deal. To avoid this, here are some tips to help you buy a business, even if you have no experience doing so.
We will go through several types of businesses, what they typically cost, and how to assess if this is the right fit for you. This way you’ll know what kind of business owners you want to speak with, and what questions to ask them to determine if this company is worth investing in.
Business buyers come in all shapes and sizes. Some are investor groups looking to take control away from another party, while others are entrepreneurs who want to keep running their business. No matter which type of buyer you are, there are certain steps that should be taken consistently across all sellers.
This article will focus mostly on the first two stages of the buying process: assessing the business owner and determining the price. The next step would be transferring ownership, but unfortunately we cannot cover those here as that depends heavily on both parties involved.
Before you even consider buying a business, you must make sure that you have done all of your budgeting and saving tasks for what will be coming next. You should be fully prepared with how much money you have available to buy a business, as well as how much savings you have in place.
You want to make sure that you do not need too much capital at once when investing in a business. This is why it is important to create a budget for what costs can add up quickly, such as legal fees, monthly operating expenses, and more.
Also, remember that selling a business requires both formal procedures as well as going through the seller’s personal accounts. Make sure that you are ready for both by having enough money set aside!
Business owners typically keep good records, so looking through these documents and understanding who owns what can help you start organizing yourself. It also helps to know the basics about each owner, such as their employment status and whether they are trustworthy. All this information can be found via doing some background research.
Once you have gathered all the necessary information, you can move onto planning your investment.
Now that you have determined that the business is worth more than what it was sold for, your next step will be to determine if the business has enough money in the bank to run effectively. This is called net income or profit.
You can look at both the monthly reports as well as yearly reports when determining this information. You want to make sure that you do not hold off buying the business while you wait for these documents to come up.
Because most people do not own a business, there are many ways to learn about the business's finances. Some of the things that sellers will include with their business sale is an annual report. These are usually easy to access.
If they do not include one, you can ask to see one by contacting someone at the company. Also, looking through previous tax filings and receipts may also reveal some important numbers.
A great way to determine if this business is right for you is by looking at the other businesses in its category. If there are not many similar companies, that might be an indicator it isn’t quite ready to be marketed yet.
This could mean one of two things: The owner is still working on perfecting his or her business model, or they don’t want to invest more money into their site until they know it works.
There are several ways to approach buying a business including through private purchases, brokerages, online auction sites, etc.
But before jumping in with both feet, make sure your intentions are truly to help the owners and run a profitable company.
If this doesn’t feel like it’s the case then chances are good that you will be investing money in something that can’t necessarily pay off.
Now that you have determined that this is someone's business, it is very important to check out their website!
Visiting the site of your new business will tell you a lot about what kind of company this is and what they offer. It may also give you the opportunity to read reviews or speak with other customers.
By browsing through the pages, you will see if this is a casual way to dress or if there are formal events being held inside the facility. You can also find pictures and descriptions of the products and services offered.
If nothing seems quite right, go ahead and ask them some questions. This could mean calling or visiting the business in person!
Running into another customer or friend of the owner is always a great way to learn more about the business. We all know people who work for big companies so asking around is an easy way to get information.
The next thing you will want to do is check if the business is already registered with the state or federal government. This is very important as you cannot purchase an unregistered business!
Most states have a department that handles business registrations, so make sure to look there first before looking online or through a broker. Some of these departments offer a free service for one year, so it’s worth your time to see what they can help you find.
You should also search your business name in both Google and Facebook to see if someone has recently posted about owning the business or posting pictures of themselves with the owner.
Before you start looking at turn-key businesses, you will first want to make sure that you have all of your licenses in order! This includes buying or leasing the property where the business is located, obtaining the appropriate business licenses, and possibly even registering the business with state agencies.
Most importantly, you’ll need to make sure that you are able to prove ownership of the business before you can close it as an investor. You may also face additional fees for incorporating the company if needed.
Some states require shareholders to be residents which makes being an investor more difficult depending on your residency status. And although not technically illegal, hiring employees without proper licensing can hurt your investment case significantly.
As we mentioned, selling a business can be expensive, which is why most entrepreneurs hire professional help. That’s why you should look into getting some business-specific tax credits before putting in all that money.
The IRS offers several different types of tax breaks for business owners, and most require you to maintain close ties with your current company while establishing new ones.
These include credit lines for buying equipment, capitalized interest expenses, certain employee benefits, and more. The length of time for these depends on how long you own your current business — sometimes as little as six months!
There are also special rules for withdrawing profits from your business or converting it to another type (like a LLC instead of a S Corporation). And don’t forget to factor in any losses when figuring out your personal income tax liability.
Overall, this is an excellent way to reduce your taxes while starting off on solid ground.
Before you even consider buying a business, you must make sure that you have done all of the planning for yours! This includes making a business plan, figuring out what types of businesses you want to run, developing your skills, and choosing a location for your new company.
Having a solid business plan is one of the most important things when it comes to investing in a business. It can help you determine if this investment is right for you and give you an idea of how much money you should spend on your business.
A business plan does not need to be too long or complex, but it will take some time to write up. You do not have to use templates when writing your own, however there are many free template sites where you can get inspiration and tips.
Many people start off by listing what they know about their intended field before moving onto creating a more formal business plan. – Referencing experiences and knowledge of yourself as well as others in the field is good starting points.