If entrepreneurship is your goal, there are more decisions to make than just picking a business off a list of listings. Figuring out the RIGHT business to buy is crucial to success. Here’s how you do it:
What do we mean by that?
You need to figure out what you want. When you buy a business, you are buying yourself a life-encompassing job – a job where the buck stops with you. What do you want your future life to look like? Figuring out what really means the most to you, as well as what tools you have to help yourself be successful can mean the difference between buying yourself a successful new business and buying yourself a nightmare.
What factors should you consider?
Why is your background so important? Owning and operating your own business is tough. It can sometimes mean long hours, tough decisions and navigating lots of issues. Your background matters because the steep learning curve that happens whenever someone buys a new business will become impossibly steep if you add learning an entirely new industry to the mix. Don’t do that to yourself. Pick a business that compliments the practical experience you already have. If you’ve spent the last 15 years in the manufacturing industry, and have never worked a single day of your life in the restaurant industry – buying a huge bar on the beach isn’t going to end well. Talk to your business broker about your experience and strengths – they can help you find business choices that will compliment your background and set you up for success.
Where you want to live vs. what type of business is actually possible in that area.
It should go without saying that some types of businesses can only be successful in certain areas. For instance, service-type industries (think restaurants, landscaping, housekeeping) do really well in places like southwest Florida where people are coming to second homes for vacation – and probably don’t want to be doing a ton of housework or cooking while they’re here. The same type of service business probably isn’t going to be as successful in a very rural part of Montana, for example. Take a look at the area where you’d like to live. What works there? What doesn’t? Talk to your broker about what businesses do better – and worse – in the area you’d like to end up.
What is your ultimate goal for business ownership?
Are you looking for a goal of making a certain amount of money in the next 5 years? Are you looking for a challenge and are willing to push the envelope with a business that will require more work on your part for a potentially bigger return? Or would you prefer a nice, safe and steady shop without a ton of room for growth – where you won’t have to push as hard but returns won’t be as big either? Your ultimate goal for business ownership will obviously have a big impact on your search. Talk to your broker about your income goals as well as about how much of a challenge you are willing to take on.
Can you realistically get the licenses required?
Red tape can be very strange. There are certain industries in certain states that require a business owner to have prerequisite requirements for an operating license that might be hard to get. Think requirements to have x amount of years doing a specific type of work before you can even apply for a license. Some licenses require background checks, fingerprinting and the like. Ask your business broker about the industries you are interested in. The licensing requirements for an industry might preclude you from owning the business you think you want, so figuring out licensing limitations will be important early on in your search.
The message here is buying yourself a new life needs more than a cursory search through listings. You need to dig deep and decide what you want your life to look like, then have a discussion with your broker about what type of businesses will fit with those goals.
Are you considering buying a particular type of business and have questions about whether or not it will meet your goals? Do you have questions about licensing requirements? Would you like to know more about the business search process? Ask us! Leave questions or comments and we would be happy to help.
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