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Things to Consider Before Buying an Existing Business

Lisett Comai-Legrand

Lisett Comai-Legrand About The Author

Jun 5, 2017 11:21:17 AM

If you want to become a business owner, then an investment that is worth considering is purchasing an established business. There are several factors to consider when deciding to buy an existing business.

Not making assessments of the business prior to a business acquisition is starting off on the wrong foot. A hasty decision won’t lead to success. It is wise to plan when purchasing an existing business. The following considerations can help a person to reach a conclusion about whether buying an existing business is the best option or not.

The Seller’s Motive

The buyer should ask the seller of the existing business about actual reasons that compelled him to sell the business. Make sure that the reasons are genuine and they have nothing to do with the integrity and productiveness of the business. For example, are they selling because it's not as profitable as they had anticipated, or are they just looking to retire from business ownership?

The Sales Blueprint
Businessmen in a meeting

Make an assessment on the periodic sales of the business so far and contemplate the rise and fall over time. The patterns pertaining to the rise and fall of sales can signify the efficiency of the business. It also helps to predict the output of business in the future. 

Financial Mileage

One of the attributes of a successful business lies in its profitability. A constantly increasing profit suggests that a business is showcasing a product or service that is out of the ordinary. Therefore, an exploration of the past profit records of a business can be helpful. 

Legal Agreements

The legal contracts signed between the customers and suppliers, along with all other legal documents must be analyzed carefully. The legal documents such as employment agreements and insurance policies must be thoroughly screened to avoid inconvenience in the future. 

Standing Liabilities

Make sure to find out if the business has any debts to pay. Any outstanding debts or nonpayment might be indicative of an unstable business structure. Also, check for any refunds and warranties that are still available.

Business Framework

An evaluation of the business structure can give an idea on how well the things have been working within that business setup lately. This is an important factor to know because an unstable business setup can cause difficulties in handling the business later.

Business Alliances

Find out if the business has been solely owned by one person or if it’s running as a result of a partnership. In the case of a partnership, make it clear whether the partners are exiting the deal or continuing. All these details should be discussed thoroughly and signed transparently in a case of business purchase.

Buyer’s Interest

The buyer should find out what interests them the most when it comes to a business and then make their decision according to that. The purchase of even a well-established business can prove to be a bad decision if the buyer doesn’t have the required skills to handle it effectively. 

Businessman writing graphs on wallThe Staff

Know who the employees are, find out about their working relationships, and go through the contracts they have signed with the business to be acquired. This may help you decide either to keep the existing employees or hire new personnel. 

Tax Implications

There will obviously be a few tax implications on the business you want to buy. The buyer must make themselves well-versed with the taxes that are applied to that business.


Discuss with the seller about the inventory and related details. Make it clear in advance who will be keeping inventory and the practices being followed by the business currently to manage and organize inventory.

Business Assets

Ask for the complete list of assets possessed by the business. This should be researched carefully since you might have to invest significantly into the reinvigoration of the business that is to be purchased.

The Customer’s Stance

Assess the customer’s feedback on the products or services provided by the business. The number of unhappy customers can tell you that the business is not working efficiently and where it can improve.

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Knowledge of all the aspects of an established business can help a person decide whether the decision to buy that business is going to be worthwhile or not. A little bit of research can save someone the trouble of getting involved in a non-advantageous business and help them make the best decisions to bring them success.

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We do our best to provide helpful information but we cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information presented in the article, under no circumstance does the information provided constitute legal advice. You are responsible for independently verifying the information if you intend to use it in any way. Additionally, the content is not intended to be reflective of First Alliance Credit Union’s products or services, for accurate and complete details about our product and service information you must speak to an advisor at First Alliance Credit Union.