For Sale: Navigating the Process of Buying a Business for Sale

August 14, 2023
7
minutes to read
by
Ben Winford
Contents

Buying an existing business for sale can be a smart decision for entrepreneurs who want to skip the hassle of starting a new business from scratch. However, purchasing an existing business involves risks and requires careful consideration. In this blog, we'll provide a comprehensive guide on buying a business for sale, including how to value a small business, run an existing business, and work with business brokers. By the end of this post, you'll have all the information you need to decide whether buying a business for sale is right for you.

Why buy an existing business?

Starting a new business from scratch can be daunting. While there are advantages to starting a business from the ground up, such as complete control over the direction of the business and the ability to create a unique brand identity, buying an existing business has its own set of benefits that can make it a more attractive option for some entrepreneurs. 

Firstly, buying an existing business means acquiring a pre-established customer base, saving you time and money that would otherwise be spent on marketing and customer acquisition. Additionally, an existing business already has established relationships with suppliers, employees, and industry partners, which can help to facilitate a smooth transition of ownership and reduce the risk of disruptions in operations. 

Another advantage of buying an existing business is that you have access to historical financial data, which can help you to make informed decisions about the potential profitability of the business. By analysing financial statements and historical performance, you can gain insights into the revenue and profit potential of the business and identify areas for improvement and growth opportunities. 

Overall, buying an existing business can be an intelligent decision for entrepreneurs who want to reduce the risks associated with starting a new business and take advantage of the benefits of an established customer base, supplier relationships, and historical financial data. 

 

How to buy a business for sale 

There are several ways to find businesses for sale, including online marketplaces, classified ads, and working with a business broker. 

  • Online marketplaces offer a wide selection of businesses for sale, ranging from small local businesses to large franchises. These marketplaces allow you to search for businesses by location, industry, and price range and provide detailed information on the businesses for sale, including financial statements and business history.¬†
  • Classified ads, such as those found in local newspapers and business publications, can also be a source for finding businesses for sale. However, these ads can be limited regarding the information provided, and you will need to do additional research and due diligence.¬†
  • Working with a business broker can also be a valuable option for those looking to buy a business for sale. Business brokers are professionals who specialise in helping buyers and sellers of businesses navigate the process. They can give you access to a broader range of businesses for sale and valuable insights into the local business market and the purchasing process.¬†

Regardless of your chosen method, you must conduct thorough market research and due diligence before purchasing. This includes researching the industry, analysing financial statements, and identifying potential growth opportunities and risks. Doing so can ensure that you are making an informed decision and minimise the risks associated with buying a business for sale. 

 

How to value a business for sale 

Valuing a business for sale is a complex process that requires a thorough understanding of the business's financials, market position, and growth potential. There are several methods for valuing a business, including the asset, income, and market approaches. 

Asset Approach 

The asset approach values a business based on its assets, such as real estate, equipment, and inventory. This approach is commonly used for businesses with significant tangible assets, such as manufacturing companies. However, it may not accurately reflect the true value of businesses that rely heavily on intangible assets, such as service-based businesses. 

Income Approach 

The income approach values a business's ability to generate future cash flow. This approach works well when a business has a track record of consistent revenue and profit. It involves calculating the net present value of the business's expected future cash flows, which considers the time value of money and the risk associated with the investment. 

Market Approach 

The market approach values a business based on the prices of similar businesses. This approach is useful when valuing businesses that are part of a larger industry or franchise system, as there is a well-established market for these businesses. It involves analysing comparable sales and identifying relevant multiples, such as price-to-earnings or price-to-sales ratios. 

Regardless of the method used, it's important to value the business correctly so you are paying a fair price. 

 

How to run an existing business 

Running an existing business requires a combination of business acumen, leadership, and a deep understanding of the industry and market. Here are some critical steps to help you successfully run an existing business:

  1. Develop a business plan: A well-crafted business plan is essential for setting goals, establishing strategies, and identifying key metrics for success. It should include a detailed market analysis, competition, and financial projections. 
  2. Build a strong team: Hire skilled, motivated employees who share your vision for the business. Provide ongoing training and development opportunities to help them grow and succeed. 
  3. Manage finances effectively: Track revenue, expenses, and cash flow closely. Make sure to have robust accounting software like Thriday in place and regularly review financial statements to identify areas for improvement. 
  4. Focus on customer service: Customer satisfaction is vital to building a loyal customer base and driving repeat business. Train employees to provide exceptional customer service and regularly gather customer feedback to identify improvement areas. 
  5. Adapt to changing market conditions: Keep up with industry trends and be prepared to adjust your business strategies as needed. This may include expanding into new markets, diversifying your product or service offerings, or investing in new technology. 

By following these steps and continually striving to improve and innovate, you can successfully run an existing business and position it for long-term success. 

 

How to buy a franchise for sale 

Buying a franchise for sale can be an excellent way to become a business owner while benefiting from the support and resources of an established brand. Here are some key steps to help you successfully buy a franchise: 

  • Research franchises:¬†Do your due diligence and research different franchise opportunities to identify the best fit for your skills, interests, and budget. Consider the franchise's track record, support and training programs, and ongoing fees and royalties.¬†
  • Meet with franchisors:¬†Once you have identified a franchise that interests you, schedule a meeting with the franchisor to learn more about the business model, support services, and financial requirements. This is also an opportunity to ask questions and determine whether the franchise fits your goals and values.¬†
  • Conduct due diligence:¬†Conduct thorough due diligence before signing a franchise agreement to ensure the franchise is financially stable and has a good reputation. This may include reviewing financial statements, speaking with existing franchisees, and seeking legal and financial advice.¬†
  • Secure financing:¬†Determine the¬†funding¬†needed to purchase the franchise and explore financing options such as bank loans or crowdfunding.¬†
  • Sign the franchise agreement:¬†Once you have completed due diligence and secured financing, sign the franchise agreement and prepare to open your franchise. Follow all the franchisor's guidelines and take advantage of support and training programs to set your business up for success.¬†

 

How to buy an online business for sale 

Buying an online business can offer many benefits, including the flexibility to work from anywhere and the potential for low overhead costs. Here are some key steps to help you successfully buy an online business: 

  • Identify your niche:¬†Determine your skills, interests, and experience to identify potential online business opportunities that align with your strengths and goals.¬†
  • Research online business opportunities:¬†Use online marketplaces like¬†Flippa, industry associations, and social media to identify potential online businesses for sale. Research the business's financials, traffic, and reputation to determine its potential profitability.¬†
  • Conduct due diligence:¬†Before making an offer on an online business, conduct thorough due diligence to verify the business's financials, traffic, and reputation. This may include reviewing financial statements, traffic data, and customer feedback.¬†
  • Determine the purchase price:¬†Based on your due diligence, determine the purchase price of the online business. Consider factors such as the business's revenue, expenses, and potential for growth.¬†
  • Negotiate the deal:¬†Once you have determined the purchase price, negotiate the deal with the seller. This may involve negotiating the purchase price, terms of the sale, and any contingencies.¬†
  • Close the deal:¬†Once the purchase price and terms have been agreed upon, close the deal by signing a purchase agreement and transferring ownership of the business.¬†


What does a business broker do? 

A business broker is a professional who specialises in buying and selling businesses. Here are some key roles that a business broker plays: 

  • Valuing a business:¬†A business broker can help sellers determine the value of their business by conducting a business valuation. This involves analysing the business's financials, market conditions, and other factors to determine a fair asking price.¬†
  • Marketing a business:¬†Business brokers can help sellers promote their business to potential buyers by creating marketing materials, identifying potential buyers, and facilitating communication between the buyer and seller.¬†
  • Qualifying buyers:¬†Business brokers can help sellers identify qualified buyers with the financial means and expertise to run the business successfully.¬†
  • Negotiating the deal:¬†Business brokers can help both the buyer and seller negotiate the terms of the sale, including purchase price, financing terms, and contingencies.¬†
  • Facilitating the sale:¬†Business brokers can help facilitate the sale by managing the due diligence process, coordinating with attorneys and accountants, and ensuring all necessary documentation is completed.¬†
  • Maintaining confidentiality:¬†Business brokers can help sellers maintain confidentiality throughout the selling process to protect their business's reputation and prevent employees or competitors from finding out about the sale.¬†

Business brokers can be a valuable resource for buyers and sellers in business transactions. They can provide expertise and guidance on the complex legal and financial issues involved in buying or selling a business and help facilitate a successful sale. 

 

How Thriday helps after buying a business 

After buying a business, it is crucial to have a clear understanding of the financial aspects of the company. Accounting software like Thriday can help you track expenses, revenue, cash flow, and profits. It can also help you generate financial reports, such as balance sheets and income statements, giving insight into the business's financial health.   

Thriday also offers features like invoicing, payments, and receipt management, which can streamline your financial operations and save you time and money. A next-generation accounting platform like Thriday after buying a business can help you make informed financial decisions, stay on top of your finances, and save time and resources. 

 

Business Buying FAQs 

What are some things to consider before buying a business? 

You should consider the industry, location, financial history, legal compliance, and future potential of the business. You should also evaluate your skills, experience, and financial resources. 

How do I find a business to buy in Australia? 

You can search online marketplaces, business brokers, classified ads, or industry associations. You can also network with other business owners, lawyers, accountants, or bankers. 

How much does it cost to buy a business in Australia? 

The cost of buying a business in Australia varies widely depending on the size, type, location, and market conditions of the business. It can range from a few thousand dollars for a small home-based business to millions for a large corporation. 

What are the financing options for buying a business in Australia? 

The financing options for buying a business in Australia include personal savings, bank loans, asset-based financing, seller financing, venture capital, and crowdfunding. You should consult with a financial advisor or accountant to determine the best option for your situation. 

What due diligence should I do before buying a business in Australia? 

You should conduct a thorough investigation of the business's financial, legal, and operational aspects, including financial statements, tax returns, contracts, leases, licenses, permits, intellectual property, employees, customers, suppliers, and competitors. 

Do I need a lawyer and an accountant when buying a business in Australia? 

It is highly recommended to hire a lawyer and an accountant to assist you with the legal and financial aspects of buying a business in Australia. They can help you with contract negotiations, legal compliance, tax planning, and risk management. 

What legal documents are involved in buying a business in Australia? 

The legal documents involved in buying a business in Australia typically include a purchase agreement, a bill of sale, a transfer of ownership, a lease or rental agreement, and any other contracts or agreements related to the business. 

How long does it take to complete a business purchase in Australia? 

The time it takes to complete a business purchase in Australia depends on several factors, such as the complexity of the transaction, the availability of financing, the due diligence process, and the negotiation of terms. It can range from a few weeks to several months. 

 

Buying a business for sale can be an excellent way to become a business owner and achieve your entrepreneurial goals. However, it's important to approach the process with a clear understanding of what you're looking for, how to value a business, and how to run and grow an existing business. Working with a business broker can also provide valuable expertise and guidance throughout buying or selling. 

By following the steps outlined in this article, you can be well on your way to successfully buying a business for sale that aligns with your goals and offers the potential for long-term success. Remember to conduct thorough research and due diligence, seek expert advice when needed, and approach the process with patience and determination. Buying a business can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience with the right mindset and approach. 

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