The Challenges of Buying a Business

Sometimes it makes sense to purchase an existing company rather than starting your own.

Simon Watson, a former RAF Wing Commander who runs ET Cleaning Services and Swift Cleaners, discussed his own experiences during a recent webinar.

Getting started
Find an appropriate company to buy, search online or through word of mouth. Dalton Business is a good place to start, as the leading website for buying and selling businesses and franchises. Once you have found a potential business to buy you need to test its commercial viability by doing your due diligence. Remember, you alone are responsible for checking the viability of the business before making the purchase.

The challenges
Researching a small company can be difficult as many lack accurate and comprehensive record-keeping, particularly where cash payments are involved. In addition, the company may have a complex relationship with a bank, which can cause further difficulties. Unlike the Armed Forces, the chain of command is short, and you will need to work closely with people at all levels for the business to prosper.

What you will need
An excellent lawyer is essential, especially for the contractual side of buying a business.. An accountant who can make VAT and payroll less of a headache is vital. Most importantly, you must be prepared to get involved with every aspect of the business when necessary.

Businesses need paying customers, so effective marketing and sales is crucial. A good reason for purchasing a going concern rather than starting a new one, is that it already has an existing customer base to build on. Identify the best marketing channels for your audience, use social media, website, mail drops, e-newsletters, networking and word of mouth.

Watch the webinar