Building a business from scratch and growing it organically is painful – we all start businesses because we want time and money, and then your business takes away all your time and money. But I know a short cut to business success: buy existing businesses for no money down and then sell them for profit.
I am not going to be bold enough to say it’s a piece of cake, but here’s a quick overview of some of the key things to consider when buying a business for nothing:
- Find your target: Learn how to find motivated sellers before they are really in distress. The key to this is getting yourself out there and listening for opportunities at every turn. Avoid accountants or insolvency practitioners and find the owners looking to make a change.
- Sell yourself: Initiate the meeting and discussion with honesty, charm and strategic rouse. Find out the potential seller’s real pain points and align your capabilities or potential deal accordingly. Be bold, creative and likable.
- Protect yourself: You really can do this without legal or accountancy fees, or due diligence costs. Use simple contract law to draft plain English.
- Structure a win-win deal: This is truly where the entrepreneurial spirit should kick in. Tear up the standard business book templates and come up with a creative, compelling deal that gets you the business at no risk, and gives the seller the solution they didn’t know existed.
In summary, turn your focus to M&A, JVs and exit strategies, and reap the rewards you deserve. I, Jeremy Harbour, promise you that it’s a lot more fun than working for a living!