As you’re doing your research about a business you’re considering purchasing, you’re inevitably going to get some time to sit down with the owner. Before you buy a business, it’s important that you ask the right questions so that you’re able to get a clear picture of the state of the business and of what your life will look like if you purchase.
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To help you ask the right questions, we’re going to share a few great ones.
Question: Is there anything I should be worried about?
Sometimes, it helps to be direct. And, you should be direct, considering the capital outlay that you’re going to make. While the business owner may not readily divulge any skeletons hiding in the business’ closet, you’ll be able to, at the very least, gain some insight into whether or not there might be.
Question: How often do you go on vacation?
We know! You’re going to buy a business, so you should be prepared to work. But this is an important question to ask for the following reason. You want to understand how much of a time commitment running the business actually takes. If the business owner has never taken a vacation, or hasn’t taken one in a long time, this could be an indication that running the business is much more time-intensive than you’ve been giving it credit for.
Question: Why have you decided to sell?
This is another question that can give you invaluable insight into the nature of the business that you’re considering purchasing. Also, you’ll be gaining valuable information about the seller him or herself, which can then be used if you ultimately get to the stage of negotiating a purchase price. Of course, the seller knows this is what you’re up to, so you may not get much in the way of a detailed answer. Still, it’s worth asking!
Question: What’s the biggest problem facing the business right now?
Once the keys are handed over, whatever problem or problems the business is facing will become your problems. Therefore, it’s important to know what to expect. For one, this can help you determine whether the investment is worth it, and, if it is, it can give you valuable time for planning how you’re going to meet and solve those problems.
Question: What’s made you successful at running this business?
Every business is different, and every business owner is different. Some people are particularly suited to some kinds of businesses and not to others. By asking this question, you can gain an understanding of what personal qualities are essential for finding success with the business you’re considering purchasing. Is it an ability to coach employees? Is it sales acumen? Is it something else? Whatever the case, you need to know.
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Get All of Your Questions Answered
The biggest mistake you can make when you buy a business is not going into the purchase with your eyes wide open. You want to have as much information as possible in order to ensure that you’re making the right decision. And, without a doubt, learning more about the current owner is a crucial component of that. So make sure you do your due diligence!