Buying an established business 

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If you plan to buy an existing business, carefully analyse both the advantages and disadvantages. One advantage is that a good business history can increase the likelihood of a successful operation and ensure that finance is easier to obtain. Potential disadvantages can be overestimating the goodwill figure and a poor public image inherited from the previous owner.

As a prospective business owner you should determine the current worth of the business and its future prospects. Some important considerations are:

  • Vendor - reason for sale of business
  • Sales - patterns, trends, customer base, current suppliers
  • Costs - fixed and variable costs, staff costs
  • Profits - analyse financial records, future cash flow and profitability
  • Assets - identify and check all assets, including intellectual property and leasing arrangements
  • Liabilities - outstanding debts, refunds and warranties
  • Purchase agreement - review carefully
  • Tax - GST, Capital Gains Tax, stamp duty implications
  • Legal issues - leases, business structure.

For advice and protection in buying a business we suggest that you seek the services of a solicitor, accountant or business adviser.

What to do...