Whether you are buying a business or investing in a franchise here are some things to consider preparing as part of the process:

A self assessment:
Ask yourself why you want to buy a business. What types of work activities do you like and what kind of lifestyle do you want to pursue? It’s important to understand that there may be more work and longer hours for an owner in some industries. Be sure to include your family in the assessment.

Establish financial expectations:
Determine how much money you need and want to earn. Make sure your expectations are in line with the types of businesses you are targeting and the return they can produce.

Put together a personal financial statement:
Outline your assets and liabilities. Identify what you can use for your initial investment. The personal financial statement serves as proof of your financial wherewithal, so be prepared to share this document with a seller’s intermediary or franchise consultant.

Update your résumé:
If you are a first time business or franchise owner, having an updated resume is a good idea.  Sellers or franchisors want comfort that the business will be a success. Being able to highlight your experience could be helpful in that process.  Ultimately, you’re selling yourself to the current owner(s), franchisor, the lender, and the professionals representing them.

Outline your acquisition criteria:
Define the parameters of your search. Ideally it should include your targeted industries, geographic area, and transaction size. Your motivation, lifestyle, expectations, financial statement and résumé will help you develop your acquisition criteria.  The acquisition criteria may include existing businesses, existing franchise operations or opening up a new franchise.

Search multiple sources and enlist help:
Let your professional advisors (e.g. attorney, accountant, financial planner) know you are looking for a business. Most importantly, contact business brokers or franchise consultants who represent businesses within your targeted market. They will notify you of available companies that meet your criteria and qualifications. Most business brokers and franchise consultants work for the seller or franchisor, respectively, and are paid by the those parties, not the buyer or franchisee.  That means you can enjoy the luxury of their services at no cost.

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