So you've got your heart set on a business that's up for sale, but there's a chance you're not the only one. Whether they've confirmed that you're battling an army of potential new owners or they're keeping their cards close to their chest, you need to make sure you're as attractive as possible to the current owner.
We've put together a list of five ways you can make yourself stand out from other potential business buyers, so you can beat the competition and secure your ideal business.
1. Do your research
Do your research and make sure you know all there is to know about the industry you're looking in and the specific business you'd like to buy. Not only will this show that you're serious about the purchase, but it will also help you evaluate your position and make sure you're making the right decision.
Try to find out about the reputation/popularity of the business as well as its major clients, area of operation and number of employees. These are all factors that will be key to the valuation and the transition of the company, so it's important that the owner knows you understand 'where the land lies'.
2. State your case
Whether you're going it alone or have a broker on your team, make sure the current owner is made aware of your position so they can assess your suitability.
This could include everything from your financial position, your experience in the industry or as a business owner and your reason for wanting to buy the business. If you already run a business, it's important to stress any brand loyalty or employee loyalty that you may have grown so they feel confident that you're a good boss and an effective business person.
3. Don't cut corners
One of the most effective ways of making an impact early on in a business sale is to choose the right advisers. Whether you're using a broker, accountant, solicitor or any other type of expert, you can put across the message that you're taking the potential purchase seriously if you choose wisely.
Try to choose advisers who are well-respected in the relevant industry, and have a track record of securing fair deals quickly and efficiently. By not cutting corners and investing in the right advisers, you'll demonstrate to your seller that you're committed to the sale, and hopefully enjoy the perks of their expertise yourself.
4. Use your contacts
If you're in the lucky position of knowing someone who has a positive connection with the business or owner in question, this is the time to use it. Get in touch with them and ask them to put in a good word for you, or even mention your connection to the seller themselves.
This approach may feel less 'business-like', but it provides the business owner with the answer to the most important question they will have: can I trust this person? If someone they already enjoy dealing with or have a personal connection to suggests that this is the case, you're already halfway there.
5. Get personal
There are many websites out there that can help you find the right business, and even more brokers who will ensure you make a good deal. However, all of this 'third parties' simply put more and more distance between you and the owner.
Many business owners selling the company they have carefully grown and nurtured want to ensure it's going into good hands, and while your credentials may look good on paper that doesn't mean you're the right person for the job. Get in touch with the owner if possible (and if they haven't expressed a desire for communication to take place via a broker) and allow them to get to know who you really are. If they can sense that you're passionate and dedicated, it may just secure you the position as front runner.