You’ve decided you’d like to buy a business, so you start a cursory business search. Listings are purposefully vague (see why here), so after you’ve signed the appropriate NDA you’re finally given the name and address of a potential business.
What’s the first thing you do? That’s easy. You Google it.
In the digital age, this is a natural first step. You want to know everything about this potential business – the good, the bad and the ugly. The internet will absolutely provide all three.
Have you thought about this? If you like a business and want to move forward with conference calls and meetings with the seller (the next step) – they find out who you are too.
Guess what they’re going to do? Google you.
A seller doesn’t just see their business as a building and some inventory. It’s their energy and money, their passion and time spent, it’s employees and customers they consider friends. Simply put, their business is their baby – and they aren’t likely to hand over their baby to someone they don’t feel is up to the job. They want to know that the person who takes the reins is capable, mentally stable and likely to succeed. Does the you that exists online look like that?
Does your online persona appear professional, or do you exist on the internet as someone who you would think twice about hiring as an employee?
It’s easy to get sucked in to the darker side of social media by going on long political rants, engaging in heated comment arguments, by posting funny memes, pictures and videos that even on a good day are problematic. Engaging with friends and strangers through a screen tends to remove the socially acceptable filters that you would normally have during in-person interactions.
While it might be fun to be able to do and say things you normally wouldn’t – it can be a huge problem when people who are deciding if they’d like a professional relationship with you (think business sellers, commercial landlords and the like) find the pseudo-anonymous social media you.
Here’s how to keep your online persona from derailing your chances of buying a business. Look yourself up, before anyone else does.
Throw your name into a search engine and see what comes up. Scroll through your social media feeds and have a look. Pretend you’re an employer researching a potential employee.
If the online you is less than professional, take some time and clean up your feeds. Delete posts, comments or accounts. Remove problematic profile pictures. Add back in professional accounts that show your accomplishments.
You wouldn’t show up to a job interview in dirty pajamas yelling about the news. Treat your online existence the same way.
Are you considering buying a business and haven’t considered how you look on the other side of a Google search? Do you have questions about when and how business sellers find out who you are? Would you like to know more about the process to buy a business? Ask us! Please leave any questions or comments, we would be happy to help.
Leave a Reply