You have the capital ready, you’ve found a business you like and you are ready to write the check. The seller finds out who you are and then suddenly the deal is dead. What happened?
They Googled you.
When you buy a small business, you are buying something that the former owner spent their blood, sweat and tears for. You are getting the employees they care about, the business reputation they built. Who you are as a person, what you bring to the table in terms of stability and the ability to cement the future of the business they care about matters. It matters more than you may have considered.
While you and a business seller don’t have to be best friends or even agree on most things that occur outside the realm of running the business, what your online reputation says about you absolutely has the potential to sink a deal.
Try this. Look yourself up. What’s out there with your name attached?
Most people don’t have the celebrity-esque issue of having negative news articles all over the internet. That isn’t the problem. What most people have is their social media life. Your Facebook page. Your YouTube channel. Your Twitter account. Your blog. While this realm of your social life was probably intended to be for personal use only, it will absolutely impact the way a business seller thinks about you. It might even make them decide they don’t want you to buy their business.
But my LinkedIn page is very professional. Isn’t that the one that matters?
Not really. While most people aren’t posting long political rants or inappropriate memes on their “professional” online profiles – many people do on “personal” sites. The problem? Those personal thoughts, jokes and comments can be just as easy to find as your carefully curated professional page.
What can you do about it? Google yourself long before a prospective business seller does. See what’s public and make it private. Find what, in retrospect, wouldn’t be considered appropriate for a professional reputation and delete it. Clean up your online presence – immediately.
You would do a similar purge of your online presence before applying for a new job, as it is common knowledge that employers absolutely look people up – and there are many, many stories of poorly thought out posts sinking employment opportunities. The same protocol should be in place when you buy a business because you are essentially buying yourself a job. Do the work ahead of time and curate your entire public online presence before it’s too late.
Have you considered your online reputation s a business buyer? Would you like to know more about what business sellers are looking for in a prospective buyer? Ask us! Leave any questions or comments and we would be happy to help.
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