1. WHY is the current business owner selling the business? Is the current business owner retiring because of legitimate health problems? Is it because they were not successful with the business? Or you can ask how successful were you with the business? Are they moving on to another business? Whatever the response, it should be an answer that you are comfortable with.
2. WHO were the customers? Ask for all of the customer contact information. And then contact them explaining that you are soon to be the current owner. You can say “I would appreciate any feedback you can give me about the services rendered to your company. And also do you see a need in the future to continue doing business with our company?”
3. HOW long was the current business owner in business? Months? Years? If months is the answer, this may be your answer to the first question! They may not want to persevere to make it become successful – which is a positive. Or they realize that it is not going to be successful and they want to be rid of it – for a profit. If years is the answer, then they may have a web presence already. BUT whether it is a positive or negative web presence brings me to my next point.
4. CAN you research the business by contacting others in the industry? For example, if you type in Real Estate Virtual Assistants, you will receive a number of responses. Contact some of them and let them know what you are doing and if they can give you an objective viewpoint about the business you are thinking about buying. Ask them to be very honest and frank because this is a big decision that you are about to embark on!
5. WHAT are the pros and cons of purchasing this business? If you start from scratch will you put more money into marketing than you would from an established business? If the customers decide to continue with you as the new business owner, does that outweigh the time, money and effort to obtain new customers? Does the business have a good looking website? And has it been entered into the major search engines? That would be a great pro!
Now these are not all of the questions, but they are important ones. The main point is to do your RESEARCH. Be proactive, and be patient. Don’t make a snap decision. GATHER all the facts that you can, and you will be SUCCESSFUL when purchasing a business.