Many people dream of starting their own business and being their own boss. Running your own business can open up a new financial opportunity and provide you with a sense of freedom and control over your own destiny. An excellent alternative to starting a business from scratch is buying an existing, well established one. However, it is important to be selective in your search for a business and not just look at how much money a business is making. The business you buy should be something you have an interest in or enjoy, or it will eventually become a burden and no more enjoyable than a job you don’t like going to.

The first thing to consider in the process of purchasing a business is to decide what type of business you want to buy. Think of some alternative options in case it you have trouble finding what you are looking for and check out online business for sale listings like ours. Business listings are usually confidential, because making knowledge of a sale public can hurt the company, so the listings you find will provide you only with basic information to start.

Inquire about a particular business listing with a business broker to get more information about it. Business brokers are a valuable resource for matching you with businesses that meet your specific criteria. They work with businesses from all types of industries and can guide you in getting financing for your purchase as well as negotiations. As a buyer, there is no downside to using a business broker, as you do not need to pay for their services. A broker is paid only by the seller, when the business sells, so use them in your quest to own a business.

Standard procedures for business brokers include having all prospective buyers sign a Non-disclosure Agreement. This helps to legally protect the business for sale from information about the sale or private financials from becoming public before they are disclosed to the buyer. Once you have this agreement in place, you will be able to get the details you need from the business to help make your decision.

Other than a business broker, it’s a good idea to consult with an accountant and an attorney for advice about purchasing a prospective business. Their advisory services can be valuable throughout the buying process. Before you make an offer on a business, contact your business broker to arrange a meeting with the seller to see the business in person. Prepare a list of questions, but do not plan on negotiating directly with the business owner in this meeting, or interacting with their employees. Use it more as a Q & A session to do your due diligence and collect as much information about the business as possible.

If you have found the type of business you have been looking for, make an offer through the business broker. The broker will handle the negotiations between you and the business owner. Once you have agreed on a purchase price, finalize your investigation into the business. A business broker will provide you with a list of everything to review which will include financial statements and tax returns for the past three years. If the business is run out of a leased space, now is also the time to meet with the landlord and go over the lease agreement. Review the business’s income and expenses in detail, as well as assets such as equipment and fixtures. Plan on writing a business plan, especially if you are going to be financing the purchase. In the plan, explain how you will be running the business and what you project income and expenses to be in the first few years of operation.

Leading up to the closing, open a checking account for the business and prepare to have the utilities transferred to you on the day you take possession. You will also agree with the seller on the amount of inventory before closing. You’ll start your ownership by meeting the staff and beginning an initial training period with the previous owner, which will be set up and agreed upon during negotiations. After that it’s time to start your new adventure as a business owner.

If you have been thinking about buying an existing business you don’t have to do it alone. Remember that a business broker is an experienced advisor that can help and guide you through every step of the process. Take a look at the current Southwest Florida business listings and start the journey of finding your next passion. Corporate Investment Business Brokers is here to help you when you’re ready to take the next step. Just send us a message or call us at (239) 936-1718 and we’ll help you find a business that’s right for you.