Steps to Success
Buying or selling a business is a complex process that requires careful planning and analysis. It will probably involve one or more outside professionals -- an accountant, attorney, real estate agent, lender, or others.
If buying a business will be your first experience as a business owner you will face most of the same feasibility questions that arise if you want to start a business. After answering those questions you may then be ready to consider buying a business.
The SBA resource "Buying Existing Businesses" in the sidebar provides a lengthy but essential list of steps involved in determining your own qualifications and requirements, conducting proper due diligence, determining value, and finally closing the purchase.
Choosing to exit your business should ideally involve thorough planning that begins several years before the desired exit in order to maximize the value of your business. (About 55% of all business exits are unexpected and you should have plans in place for this as well.) An outright sale of your business may be one of several options that could also include a transfer of ownership, merger, lease agreement or sale of assets. If you're transferring ownership, for example, a succession plan that addresses training, tax implications and maintaining business stability will increase the chances for a smooth transition. If you are in the position to plan your business exit you should do so carefully with the help of professionals. A financial advisor with experience in exit planning will be an extremely valuable resource. (You can find Certified Exit Planning Advisors who have been trained specifically for this role.
A 2015 study reported, "78 percent of small-business-owner clients plan to sell their businesses to fund their retirement. The proceeds are needed to fund 60 percent to 100 percent of their retirement needs. Yet, less than 30 percent of clients actually have a written succession plan."
More Business Transaction Resources
The videos below from the SBA Learning Center provide valuable information about buying or selling a business.