Questions to Ask Before Buying a Business

If you believe you have come across the perfect business and it’s for sale, it can be impossible to resist the urge to start taking steps towards purchasing it. As you can probably imagine, though, this is also a great way to end up with a very serious burden on your hands. Before making a hasty decision, then, slow down for a moment and ask yourself the following questions.

First, does it make sense for you to buy a business right now? If you just stumbled across this business and that gave you the idea to buy one, then the answer is most likely no. On the other hand, if you’ve been searching for the right business to buy and have always intended on purchasing one, then this may very well be a perfect opportunity for you.

Secondly, will your spouse be onboard? Owning a business couldn’t be more different than simply working for one. Amongst other things, it will absolutely affect your day-to-day life (yes, even on the weekends). Buying and running a business is enough of a challenge by itself. You don’t need one more waiting for you when you get home at the end of the day (which, yes, probably won’t be until night).

Third, who will run the business for you when you can’t? Even if you’re dedicated to making it through the whole first year with no vacation time—and that will take a lot of discipline—some things are simply out of your hands. What about if you get sick?There’s a family emergency? A funeral out of state? The list goes on. Are you willing to close down shop during days like those? Or are you up to the task of hiring, training and managing people as well as making sure one of them can run things when you’re not around?

Fourth, how much can you realistically expect to make? Just because the current owner is living well doesn’t mean you will. For one thing, buying a business isn’t a turnkey solution. If it was profitable for the former owner, it probably wasn’t without quite the learning curve, something you’re going to have to go through as well. This will definitely mean long hours, too, so your hourly salary will probably be far less than what the old owner was pulling in.

Don’t let these questions kill your dreams of buying a business if now’s not the right time. Instead, if it turns out you’re not ready, use your answers as guides for what you need to do in order to be ready the next time.