It may sound obvious, but not every business is right for every buyer. Before even starting your search, it’s wise to think through the personal and market factors involved as this will automatically narrow down the types of business you’ll want to evaluate and you can instantly rule out the ones that definitely don’t appeal.
It’s all about you – mostly!
For many, the dream is to build a business from a personal passion – becoming a florist, dog trainer or writer, for instance. While it’s important that your dreams don’t blind you to the realities of commercial trade, it’s no bad thing to base a career on something that really fires you up, as long as you conduct due diligence with the same care and attention as you would any other business transaction.
Be honest about your skills and expertise. If you’ve never worked in hospitality, you may struggle to understand what’s involved in managing a pub or running a restaurant. Consider acquiring some experience if it’s a radical shift. Choose a business that is going to make the most of your personal qualities and one that fits with your lifestyle – if you’re not comfortable meeting new people every day, a B&B may not be the business for you.
Some business sectors require higher levels of investment than others. Any operation that needs large commercial premises, expensive equipment and high staffing levels is going to demand a significant financial investment. High street restaurants, manufacturing operations and large distribution businesses are all going to have higher overheads than internet-based companies, especially if they provide services rather than goods.
Evaluate your financial position honestly before you begin your search and you’ll quickly be able to calculate the types of business you can and can’t afford.
Know your market
Research the market you’re interested in and look for signs of economic resilience. While no business is truly recession-proof, some are less likely than others to be affected by the dips and rises of the economy. You’ll want a business that has the potential to weather the storms, not one that will founder on the rocks at the appearance of the first dark cloud. Even big investors get this wrong from time to time.
If your business has a local market, make sure there’s room for any growth you’re planning and that the local economy is on the up – consult a professional adviser if you’re not sure of the area.
Getting it right
The right business for sale is one that fits your budget, is in the best place to ensure optimum conditions for success and leverages your personal and professional strengths to consolidate and grow profitability. You’ll be spending a lot of time working in it, so there has to be an element of pleasure – even if it’s the joy of a job well done. You don’t have to be good at everything – you can buy in expertise in marketing, accounting or design, for example – but you will need to love your business if you want it to succeed!