Buying a business isn’t all about facts and figures. While you’ll want to make sure that any investment you make is a sound one, it’s also important to consider your own skills and experience before launching into a search. Not every business is right for every buyer and it makes sense to consider the many personal and professional factors involved in your decision – not least because it will sensibly narrow down your options right from the start.
If you pick a business that suits your skill set and your personality, you could turn a modest business into a big success but set your sights on a business that’s a poor fit and you could be setting yourself up to fail.
1. Play to your strengths
If you’re really good at something – making cakes, taking photographs, repairing computers – you might very well be able to make a business out of it. Obviously, you still have to consider the practical realities of running a profitable company, including working out whether or not you can make money out of it, but it’s no bad thing to base your business on something you really enjoy and have a talent for.
2. Make sure you have the right stuff
Do be honest about your skills and expertise. If you’d love to run a day nursery, your path will be much easier if you already have experience of child care and early years education, for instance. Consider acquiring some new skills should you really fancy taking a new career path. It’s just as important to choose a business that makes the most of your personal, as well as professional, qualities and with your lifestyle expectations. If you don’t want to work evenings and weekends, running a convenience store may not be the business for you, whereas providing internet-based design services might be just the ticket.
3. Evaluate your options
You have to have a good dollop of common sense, practicality and resilience to run any business but be aware that the choice you make should capitalise on your natural strengths, rather than work against them. If you’re drawn to a retail, hospitality or other customer-facing business, it will help if your personal qualities include the ability to make swift decisions and to manage your time and resources effectively, to be ready to serve others, and to take a pragmatic approach to problem-solving. You also need to interact well with the public and to be prepared to work unsociable hours. If you’re happier working alone at your laptop, an online service-based business may be a better option.
4. Match your skills to the business and the business to your skills!
There are probably hundreds of businesses that could match your personal and professional profile. The right business is one that fits your budget and makes the most of your skills, strengths and experience to consolidate and grow profitability. It’s all well and good looking at the balance sheet but if you’re going to be spending a lot of time working in your news business, there has to be an element of job satisfaction. You can’t be good at everything – and you can outsource jobs like accounting, marketing and design – but there has to be a good fit if you want to succeed.