Deciding to buy a business

Before you think about buying a business, it's important to know what's involved and whether you're the right person for the job.

Running a business is demanding, so take some time out for self-assessment. You need to be sure you have the necessary finances, skill and ambition to succeed. Once you've decided you're ready to be in business, you then need to find a business that suits your abilities, finances and goals. Consider:

  • a preferred industry (one that matches your experience and meets your goals)
  • a preferred business model (retail, wholesale, national distributor, on-line supplier, etc.)
  • a favourable geographic location (ideal customer exposure, potential for growth, distance to travel to and from work, etc.)
  • opening hours (e.g. most retailers trade 7 days, restaurants often trade nights, some businesses are on call 24/7)
  • how much money you have available to fund the purchase and working capital of the business.

Where to find businesses for sale

There are many ways to find businesses for sale. Businesses are often advertised through:

  • newspapers
  • business broker websites—business brokers act as intermediaries between sellers and buyers
  • real estate agency listings
  • trade journals and industry magazines
  • the Franchising and Business Opportunities Expo
  • commercial websites.

Your accountant may also have a list of clients who are looking to sell their business.

Remember, some 'fire sale' offers may seem too good to be true, so always be sure to conduct due diligence with help from your solicitor and accountant.

Also consider...