If you’ve found a business you really like, and you are ready for the next step, congratulations!
The next stage in the business transaction process is the initial offer, sometimes called a “purchase contract” or an “offer to purchase”.
Once a buyer makes an offer, the seller decides if they are willing to accept the offer. If they are, then the business transaction heads into a period called due diligence. Just like you can’t do an inspection on a house until you’ve had an accepted offer – in business sales an accepted offer will give a business buyer a chance to look over every aspect of the business and decide if they want to go ahead with the sale.
What goes into an offer?
This document will contain the terms, conditions, non-compete conditions, financing, inventory, transition details like training, warranties and any other aspects of the purchase.
Should I write my own offer?
In most cases, you will want to have a business broker put together an offer to purchase for you, although there are some standardized versions you may be able to use in the most simple of transactions. Business transactions are inherently complex, so having someone who writes these types of contracts all the time to help you will keep you from having issues (like if you unknowingly leave out what could be a crucial part of the contract) down the road. If you really want to write your own, just make sure you have your broker look it over before it gets handed over to the seller.
Is an offer set in stone?
Absolutely not! Your initial offer is contingent upon what you discover in due diligence. If what you uncover during this period makes you unwilling to go ahead with the purchase, you will have the opportunity to back out. If what you find during due diligence isn’t enough to kill the deal, but you discover, for instance, that the business is earning 15% less than was initially stated , you will be able to adjust your offer accordingly.
The moral of the story? An offer is an important part of the business transaction process, so use the experience of your business broker to guide you through this step.
Are you a buyer with your eye on a particular business but you aren’t sure what will need to go into the initial offer? Was your initial offer rejected by the seller and you need to know what to do next? Please leave us a comment or question and we would be happy to help you.