If you think you might be ready to take the entrepreneurial leap, but don’t have a genius start-up idea you can work on in your garage – you don’t need one! Existing businesses get bought and sold everyday, some 500,000+ a year (a number that is on the rise as baby boomer owners enter retirement and list their businesses for sale). These existing businesses can instantly turn you into an entrepreneur, no start-up required.
If you’ve always wanted to be your own boss and think buying an existing business might be for you – the process is fairly straightforward.
Here’s step one: Figure out what type of business would be right for you.
This one might seem obvious, but lots of buyers come to the market without a clear idea of what they want out of owning a business – and then what type of business is going to meet that set of goals. They either have their heart set on a business that will probably meet none of their goals or they don’t really know yet what they’re looking for. Both of these scenarios are going to be counterproductive. In the first, you end up with a nightmare business you hate. In the second scenario you never buy a business at all.
Don’t start the process like that. Instead, start by figuring out what your goals are.
This one is probably the most important. Sometimes people want to own their own business because they feel like becoming their own boss will solve the problems created by working for someone else. Here’s the thing – business ownership is just as tough as the job you want to leave, it’s just tough for different reasons. Being your own boss isn’t (and shouldn’t be) your only goal. Instead, think about why the idea of business ownership appeals to you. Do you hate your current job because you wish you had more schedule flexibility? Do you wish you could change career paths more frequently because you work hard but get bored easily? Are you hoping to have more time at home to spend with your kids? Would you like to work really hard and make as much money as possible in the shortest amount of time? Are you using the move to entrepreneurship as a way to move to a new area or country? These types of introspective questions will help you come up with well defined goals for business ownership. With goals in hand, you can then look at businesses that will meet those goals – saving yourself a ton of time and effort chasing a daydream business that would end up making you miserable.
Next, pick something you already know.
If the only thing you’ve done for the last 20 years is work on cars, but you’ve always dreamed about owning your own restaurant – buying a huge waterfront restaurant is probably going to be a colossal mistake. You really need to enter the world of business ownership in an industry where you have some practical experience. The leap to entrepreneurship carries with it a steep learning curve – you absolutely do not want to add learning a whole new industry to that mix.
Third, be open minded about the types of businesses that might work for you when you begin your search.
This one can be tough for people because it can be hard to let go of a daydream – even when in reality that daydream would more than likely end up a nightmare. We regularly talk people out of buying certain types of businesses because the goal is successful business ownership – not stressful failure. Talk to an experienced and qualified business broker about what your goals are for business ownership and about your education and experience. You might be surprised by the types of businesses and industries where your goals and experience would help you thrive.
Ready to take the first step towards business ownership? Do you have questions about what types of businesses would fit your goals and experience? Ask us! Please leave us questions and comments, we would be happy to help.
Want to read step two? Click here for “Buying A Business? Step 2: Search For Businesses”
Want to read “Buying A Business? Step 3: Make Some Choices” (click here!)
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