Buying a Business: Major Milestones in the Process

Buying a business is a process.  It’s important to have a plan and the right people to help before you start that journey.  As your Broker, we are an invaluable guide along the way. We know where you are headed and how to avoid the pitfalls that can keep you from achieving your goal. The right guidance will get you from desire to close without unnecessary delays. Best of all, BB&C does not charge any up-front fees.

Milestone #1

Understand your goals and what you expect from business ownership.

Milestone #2

Make an appointment to speak with one of our brokers.

Milestone #3

Identify your resources and skills. Our Brokers will help you. We are not just talking about financial resources, although guidance in this area is invaluable. We are talking about your personal strengths, technical, and managerial skills.

Milestone #4

Identify the type of businesses that match your resources & skills. Our brokers will talk to you about the type of businesses that may be a good fit for your skill set.

Milestone #5

Sign a Non-disclosure Agreement. This agreement outlines the relationships and agreements between potential buyer, seller, and broker. In it you agree that you will not disclose information you receive about the businesses we discuss. Most importantly, this includes the business name or location since doing so can disrupt their day to day operations.

Milestone #6

Receive and Review One or More Business Profiles. As Brokers, we consolidate the most vital information about the businesses we list in detailed Profiles. The Profile gives you a complete picture of the business’ history, financial performance, property, employee structure and much more. Once you have reviewed this information, you will already know a lot about the business, including whether or not you would like to visit it in person.

Milestone #7

Schedule a tour of the business and speak with it’s owner. You should prepare any additional questions you may have, so that the business owner can answer them directly.

Milestone #8

Prepare a Purchase Agreement. If you like the business, you should prepare a Purchase Agreement with the help of your broker. A Purchase Agreement is not an unconditional promise to buy the business. It is a vehicle to move the process forward. It tells the seller you are operating in good-faith and want to move towards a closing. It outlines the exact price, terms, and contingencies that you would require in order to buy the business. Typically, these contingencies include things like review of company books and records, terms of financing, training, and your ability to obtain financing.

Milestone #9

Perform Due Diligence. Once both parties agree to the terms of the purchase agreement, due diligence begins. This is a time period where all the contingencies laid out in the Purchase Agreement must be satisfied. Your Broker will help streamline the process by coordinating with you, the seller, outside advisors, lenders, and closing attorneys.

Milestone #10

Obtain financing. Typically, buyers rely on an SBA backed loan to finance part of their purchase. Obtaining approval for an SBA loan is a process in itself, but don’t worry. We work with SBA lenders every day. We are very familiar with the process and loan requirements. In fact, we often have the entire business-side of the SBA paperwork completed and pre-qualified by lenders before you ever see the business. Our Brokers will help you complete the financing process within the time-frame provided for due diligence.

Milestone #11

Closing: Once all contingencies are removed from the Purchase Agreement, you will go to a closing. The Seller hands over the keys, and you become the new owner.

Milestone #12

Training. The Seller will train and assist you for an agreed period of time.  Their goal is to facilitate a smooth transition. Typically, this training period is included in the sale price of the business. They will familiarize you with the ins and outs of the business.  After the formal training period ends, you can also agree to compensate the seller for consulting services from time to time as needed.  The best time to negotiate that consultation fee is in your Purchase Agreement.