Guide to buying a business

Buying a business is not something to rush into. Use these guidelines to help steer you in the right direction.

Here are our nine essential tips on purchasing a business.

1. Do not be tempted into paying too much to buy a ready-made business because you want your business life to get off to a flying start.

2. Clarify your thoughts about the market you want to enter, the size of business you want to run, the type of product or service you want to offer and how much you want to pay before you start searching for a business to buy. Summarize it in a business profile.

3. Consider seeking out a business which fits your profile as well as investigating all those currently advertised for sale.

4. Use advisers to help you investigate a partnership or business.

5. Adopt a sceptical approach to investigation; query and question everything about the business.

6. Be realistic about the effect of a change in ownership; there could be changes for the worse as well as the better.

7. Set two prices before you go into negotiation; the lower one with which you start the bidding, a higher price beyond which you will not go.

8. Negotiation is everything. There are no rules; there is no right price for any business. It is up to you to summon your facts and marshal your arguments to keep the price as low as possible.

9. Use the 7 essential checklist questions to ask when you’re buying a business.

Alan Dobie

Alan Dobie

Alan was assistant editor at Vitesse Media Plc (previous owner of before moving on to a content producer role at Reed Business Information. He has over 17 years of experience in the...

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