The Streetwise Guide to Buying and Selling Your Business
“Why Buying AND Selling?” I hear you ask. If you are buying a business, you need to know all the tricks and angles that sellers use to get rid of lemons. If you are selling a business, you also need to know them to ensure you receive the best price. Tricks and angles make all the difference! This Streetwise Guide will give you both. More
Everyone dreams of owning their own business at some time or other during their life, usually just after a job application has been turned down, or they have received their redundancy cheque, or that bastard of a boss has given them a particularly bad day.
But few people end up owning one.
Why is this? There are thousands of businesses for sale. Many of them do not require much money and most of them take many months if not years to sell.
The reason so few people do not realise their dream of buying a business is the existence of a number of myths that have grown up over the decades about buying a business. These myths state that:
1. Buying a business is complicated
2. Buying a business needs lots of cash
3. Buying a business needs lots of experience
4. Buying a business needs lots of professional advice
5. Buying a business is very risky
This book will explode those myths. It will show you how buying a business can be simple, safe and lots of fun, and that it is not restricted to consenting adults with bevies of advisers. But, when you have a business, it is important that you always keep in mind the sale of it. Running a business is fun, but hard work. Most of your focus will be on the financial rewards from the day to day running of the business, but often the greatest financial reward comes from selling the business.
Too often a business sale is a last minute decision. Sometimes brought on by financial reasons. Sometimes for personal reasons. More often because you just do not plan ahead. Those are the times when bargains can be bought. If you want to get the best price for selling your business then you need to plan at least 2 years ahead. That gives you time to get all the ducks lined up so that buyers just cannot resist your offer.
To try to ensure that you don't become too confused by a two-pronged approach, you will find that the body of this book is written primarily from the point of view of the buyer. A seller's story, cunningly disguised as a blockbuster of sex, intrigue, deviousness and desperation, finishes the book.
This book is not a ‘belts and braces’ (For ‘belts and braces’ read ‘accountants and lawyers’) approach to buying or selling businesses. This is a Streetwise Guide. The focus is on doing as much of the deal yourself as possible. For three reasons:
1. You learn – not just about the business you are looking at, but business in general.
2. It is cheaper up front – you don’t pay for accountants and lawyers until you really have to.
3. It is more fun.
The last is most important. You need to have fun when buying a business, and fun when running it. That is why I stress the importance of buying a business that is involved in something you enjoy.
This is also a ‘cheeky’ book. Valuing a business is a mixture of art and science, emotion and facts. Your emotional state and the emotional state of your seller or buyer. The interpretation of the facts that are used to draw up the financial information. The book will talk about how to control your and other’s emotional state when buying or selling and how to ensure the financial facts are interpreted to your best advantage.
Finally, The Streetwise Guides and its publishers offer all care but no responsibility if you follow advice from this book and it does not work out. Very little in business is black and white. Just many shades of grey. You have to decide on the decisions you make. In particular as to how much professional advice you receive. People do regularly run businesses without receiving any professional advice from either lawyers or accountants. I would encourage you to use them as little as possible but, at the end of the day, it is your family’s finances that are at stake. You have to decide whether you want full belts and braces or just a bit of string to stop your pants falling down.
So read on, learn, make money and have fun!