You have been in business for quite a while and maybe you can remember what it was like to be the buyer. Perhaps, you were never the buyer as you started your business from the ground up. Much to your dismay buyers aren’t folks that just wake up and decide they want to own a business, it comes from a series of events and each buyer is unique in their own right.
This is where the business broker comes in. There are key things to look for in a buyer, i.e., financial means and understanding the value of a business. I personally interview buyers so that my seller’s time is not wasted with the “lookers” of businesses. These are the “buyers” that are in love with the idea of owning a business but can’t make that leap of faith to actually buy a business.
To determine if I have a serious buyer I start with an interview. The answers they give me determine if they are serious and qualified to move forward. To give you an idea of what sort of questions are asked in my interview, I decided to share them with you:
- Why are you looking to buy a business? This is usually fueled by either a life changing event, i.e., layoff or series of events, retirement, children are grown, etc.
- Have you ever owned your own business? I love working with those that look to acquire businesses to increase an already existing company. For the record, just because they haven’t owned a business before, doesn’t disqualify them.
- How long have you been looking? If it is over six months, they tend to be a “looker” but not always.
- What is your financial status? Basically do you have the means to purchase a business.
- What kind of experience do you have? Do they match up with the kind of business they are looking to purchase? This is not a deal breaker as for many buyers this is a retirement adventure and the only way to try something new.
- Are you the sole buyer?
- Is your significant other on board with owning a business?
There are other questions that are usually sparked by the answers to these questions. It is not unusual for me to spend two hours with a prospective buyer finding out if they are a serious buyer or a “looker.” Finding the right buyer for your business is half the challenge. The other is to ensure you and your business are ready and to get the most money for your business as possible.