How to Buy a Business in 2018

By Andy Kocemba

If you are looking to buy a business by the end of 2018, there are some things you should be doing right now to make sure you are successful in reaching your goals.  If you pay attention to the news, you might hear that there are many baby-boomer business owners who are looking to sell their companies and retire.  The market will be flooded with opportunities.

However, I want to tell you that for now, that just isn’t the case.  The market has yet to be flooded with high-quality businesses for sale, so if that is the type of business you are looking for, you need to be prepared to act quickly.  Here are the steps you should take to ensure you are ready to buy the best business for you.

  1. Know What You Want: When looking at businesses, you need to know what you want and be able to recognize your ideal business when you see it. Some of this will come through the process of looking at many businesses until you find the right one, but the ability to recognize the right fit also stems from having a firm understanding of your needs and wants.  Consider industry preferences, geographic location, your skill-set and experience, your cash flow requirements, and your available investment capital when making a decision.
  2. Prep Your Team: As you buy a business, the team of experts you rely on will play a large role in protecting your interests and making sure you put together a good deal.  Your business broker will help you source deals. Your accountant will help you analyze financials and perform due diligence. Your financial planner will help you get your finances in line. Finally, your attorney will help you properly document and structure your acquisition.  As you determine what you are looking for in an acquisition, make sure you keep your team up to date as well.  When the time comes, you’ll need them to all be on the same page and ready to act quickly on your behalf.
  3. Have Your Cash Ready: Like the first two steps, speed is the name of the game.  If you are making a move to buy a profitable and strong business, there will be other buyers trying to do the same thing. Having your investment capital at the ready will help you to move faster than competing buyers.  In either bank or seller financed scenarios, you will need to show proof of funds, so having your investment funds in one location for a period of time will show sellers and lenders you are serious and ready to move.

Andy Kocemba is president and co-owner of Calhoun Cos., a top business brokerage firm in the Upper Midwest. Calhoun Cos. has been connecting buyers and sellers since 1908, working with small- to medium-sized businesses across all industries. A graduate from Bethel University, Kocemba joined Calhoun Cos. in 2003 as a sales agent before buying the business in 2011. He is a member of the International Business Brokers Association, Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, and Better Business Bureau.