Recently I offered an article on how to “Buy Your American Dream” by buying a business from someone else. Let’s continue that theme with a few more principles to employ when considering this ownership option. Thanks to my friend, Russell Brown, and his book, Laws of the Business Buying and Selling Jungle for the inspiration.
Buyer beware – of himself.
In the securities industry, full disclosure is the coin of the realm. But in the marketplace, caveat emptor — let the buyer beware — is the fair warning standard. If a seller misleads or misrepresents something, legal redress may be available. But business purchases that don’t work out are born more from inept buyers than from seller malfeasance.
What’s a business worth?
Many metrics and factors are used to divine the value of a business, including strategic elements outside of the empirical. But primarily, you should focus on the business’s ability to generate earnings — net profits. With the exception of strategic factors, if the prospective business isn’t creating acceptable earnings and you don’t know how to change that, don’t buy the business. [Continue Reading]