The old adage you have to spend money to make money is absolutely true. Business owners have to invest in things like marketing and improvements in order to keep a business thriving and growing.
There is a far more important adage, however, that a new business owner needs to abide by.
That adage? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
What do we mean by that?
When you envisioned your life as a business owner, you likely saw your business as something uniquely your own. Your own designs, ideas, concepts.
If you’ve decided to take the entrepreneurial plunge by buying an existing business, you have made a very smart choice because you don’t have to start from the ground up – you get a fully operational business with a proven location on day one. This removes the issues a start-up business would bring – like finding a location, build-outs, buying equipment and furnishings, getting permits, hiring a staff, creating operating procedures, painting, designing a sign – the list is enormous.
Getting your hands on an existing business means that while all of that initial work is finished, all of those initial decisions have been made by someone else – the previous owner. This can cause a business buyer to have issues with the aesthetic and/or operational aspects of their new business because it doesn’t exactly match the business they envisioned.
As a new business owner, you need to consider this part of buying a business. There will be some things that you don’t like about your new business and some things that you personally would have done differently.
Maybe you hate the paint colors. Maybe you think the ordering system is wildly archaic. Maybe you think the layout needs to be completely changed.
If you are having these thoughts about your new business – STOP. You bought an existing, operating business that generates cash flow. Every business is inherently complicated, so it would be very difficult – if not impossible – to ascertain what parts of the business work and what parts you can change on day one.
You might hate the paint colors, but maybe the rustic charm of the decor is what keeps the regulars coming back. You might not like the ordering system, but it is based on the vendors your business needs to survive. You might hate the layout, but it is the layout that creates the efficiency that keeps the business alive.
New business owners who are hung up on their own vision of what their business should be walk in on day one and immediately embark on a very expensive major renovation, rewrite the operating procedures and change all of the vendors and staff without taking the time to figure out why the business is successful. This always, always ends in complete disaster.
We aren’t saying you can’t change things. What we are saying is patience is the name of the game. Give yourself a few months to decide what works and what doesn’t, why the previous owner did things the way they did. Once you really understand the business as a whole, you can make small changes to slowly guide the business toward your vision.
Don’t fix what isn’t broken!
Are you thinking about buying a business, but haven’t seen anything that matches the vision you have for business ownership? Would you like to know more about how buying a business can be a better choice than starting from scratch? Please leave us any comments or questions and we would be happy to help.