Finding a going concern is relatively easy nowadays thanks to
the internet. Finding the right business is down to you, though.
Make sure you have a good idea of the kind of business you want to buy. Considerations include: sector, size, turnover, location, and so on. It's a good idea to search through businesses advertised on the internet: try sites such as http://www.businessesforsale.com/ Trade journals and newspapers are also worth a look.
Alternatively, you could place an advertisement. Include
the specifics of what you’re looking for in the appropriate trade publications or websites. Contact business brokers and agents to see if they have something suitable on their books. If you do use an agent, make sure they’re a member of the National Association of Estate Agents.
If you do find a business, there are a few ways to determine whether it’s the right one for you.
Think: Is the buyer in a hurry to sell? If so find out why. There may be hidden problems such as debt or a large fall in profits.
Check the finances. Look closely at turnover, profits, and accounts.
Have a look at the customer base, too. How big is it? What’s repeat custom like? Is the location convenient for a sufficient number of customers?
The employee question is very important: a strong team is invaluable. If you’re getting experienced employees who can help you learn about the market, it’s a huge benefit. Make sure to check their salaries though. And you would be wise to enquire whether they’re likely to stay once you’ve bought the business.
You should really find out what the competition is like too. How else can you determine how your chosen business compares?
Obviously, the most important thing to look at when deciding whether a business is the for you is what you’re likely to pay for it. You'll need to know what kind of return you'll get on your investment. A fair amount of research is essential to confirm whether you can actually afford it, and whether the business is really worth its price.
Doing this kind of basic research will help you work out whether your chosen business ticks all your boxes.