Business For Sale by Owner – Tips and Traps

When a business is put up for sale by its owner, he or she may have their reasons for relinquishing the business. It could be the result of a crushing financial condition or it could be something as mundane as the need for a change of pace. Whatever their reasons, it is you, the buyer, who has to decide whether the business put up for sale by the owner is worth your while.A business is worth buying only if it is congruent with your existing skill set and if it gels well with your personal interests, expertise and experience. For example, you may be a foodie who knows the name of every kind of exotic food, but that does not mean that you will make an excellent hotelier or restaurant owner. So, your first concern is to spot a business for sale that suits you the most. That way, the risk and potential of failure is greatly reduced.When you have decided to buy a particular business that has been put up for sale by its owner, it is essential that you dig a little into their reasons for selling, even though the digging does not sit well with you. Understand this, businesses are put up for sale by their owners because the owners want out. The reasons could be many:
- Health problems
- Personal problems
- Emotional crises (like a divorce or death of a partner)
- Financial crises
- Personal financial troubles
- Climbing costs
- Obsolete product or technology
- Lack of experienced staff
- Desire for quick profitsThe best way to find out the exact reasons for selling is straight from the horse’s mouth: ask the owner. For this, you will have to take the time to build a relationship with the owner, either through direct contact or through emails. At times, you may also have to depend on other sources for information. Make sure that there are no ugly surprises waiting for you after you take over the business.When a business is put up for sale, it is only natural for the owner to expect a quick settlement. But, there is no need to hurry up. Take your time with the paper work. Expect to spend at least 30-60 days to study the current business position, to draw up a cogent agreement and to get things moving in the right direction. Make use of the services of a qualified accountant and solicitor. Do not skimp on these expenses as the future of the business may depend on something they unearth.Before you sign on the doted line, make sure that you have considered all aspects of the new business. Look into the competitive factors involved like the price, delivery, change etc. Find out if you will be doing business in a mature industry or an emerging one. Both have their own advantages and risks. Have some clear ideas about your operational costs, advertising charges, monthly running costs etc. Find out whether you will be inheriting the staff along with the business, and if so, whether they are competent enough to handle their jobs.Ultimately, buying a business put up for sale by the owner could be remarkably profitable. There are people who specialize in the selling and buying of businesses, and they make a killing doing it. It all depends on the amount of effort and discretion you put into the process.

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