How to buy a business

Professional (Lawdit) help is always of value in major transactions in your life. The stresses, monies and life factors at stake in buying a business are comparable to (and may even exceed) buying a house. And few amongst us would set sail on that ship without an experienced hand at the tiller.

You may employ professional (Lawdit) help from the outset. Regardless, you need to do certain things to be sure of getting the best out of the situation. Research is a key factor, and nowadays with t’internet you can spend a long time researching most things. This could be research into the sector, if you’re lucky even research into the business. Perhaps you are thinking of a purchasing a limited or even listed company. If the former, try the Companies House website or Datacheck or the like, which can provide anything from Abbreviated Accounts to full Credit Ratings. A listed company will have far more details available.

You might also wish to investigate the geographical area if you are looking at something more prosaic. Sit in a nearby cafe and count the footfall. Speak carefully to people in the neighbourhood shops or businesses. Be aware that any direct or too obvious snooping may be unwelcome and ill-advised, especially if staff are unaware of the owner’s intentions.

Arranging finance will typically require accounts for the last three years, financial projections particularly if no accounts are available and details of your personal assets and liabilities. Alternative sources of finance may come from friends and family and savings. Alternatively consider giving some of your equity away for up-front financial help from venture capitalists or business angels.

It is the next stages where legal (Lawdit) help is most required – due diligence, offer, negotiation of price, and completion.

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