It’s a Brand New Ball Game
Unless you’ve bought or sold a business in the past, you’ll find that buying a business can be a confusing and even a trying experience for the unprepared.
Even if you have experience in the corporate world of mergers and acquisitions, you will still find yourself on unfamiliar ground when buying a small company. That’s why it’s important for you to take the time to read this explanation of the process.
And if you’re a veteran in business transfers, and you’ve bought and sold many small businesses, you’ll gain a valuable understanding of the VR process that will assist you in working with our firm.
Getting Started: Questions and More Questions
The search for a business opportunity almost always starts with a telephone call or a visit to a web site like the one we host at VR. Sometimes the prospective Buyer is a Corporation, Private Equity Group or a Private Investor who has a very definite idea of the type of business wanted. But, often the Buyer is a first time buyer and is still in the formative or exploratory phase of the search. Many times a Buyer’s first question is, “What kinds of businesses do you have?” Well, we have lots of businesses, so that’s a tough question to answer without some idea of the buyer’s resources, skills and needs. Maybe we just listed Ford Motor Company and you, our prospective buyer, just happen to have several billion dollars and a background in automobile manufacturing. There’s a match made in heaven, but it’s a match we can’t uncover without questioning you and learning more about you.
So the first and most important step is telling us about you. Be patient when we ask, “How many days per week are you comfortable working?” and “Do you like having employees?” and “How much cash do you have for a down payment?” and many other questions. We’re not just being nosy. We are narrowing your search and saving you time and aggravation. Our web site buyer registration offers a message block that is a great way to narrow your search and help us help you find the business of your dreams.
Defining the Search: Non-Confidential Summaries
After we’ve talked for a while, we can probably begin narrowing the search to a few appropriate business opportunities. At this point, we communicate non-confidential summaries of our exclusive opportunities to you in a number of ways. Since you are viewing our web site, you can see the non-confidential summaries of our exclusive listings by simply using the “Businesses For Sale” button. VR non-confidential summaries show our profile number, a description of the business, a summary of financial performance, the reasons why we think it may be a good opportunity and the asking price. We recommend that at this point you focus on the business and not on its financial performance or price. It is far more important now to find a business type you’d enjoy owning.
Focusing on a Few: Digging Deeper
At this point in your search, you’ll find yourself holding one or more non-confidential summary sheets for businesses you want to know more about. This “digging deeper” step takes your business opportunity search to a new level.
This new level is one of mutual trust and obligation between you, VR and the Seller(s) of the business(es) you are interested in. Now you’re being exposed to the specifics about the businesses you have been considering and your agreement to keep this information confidential is required. Before we send you confidential information, we require you to send us your buyer profile and we require you to sign a Non-Disclosure and Confidentiality Agreement. When you return these documents to us, we’ll divulge to you the name and address of the business you are interested in. You obtain a copy of these documents by selecting the Forms & Resources button and then printing the documents. Please note that when you sign the Non-Disclosure Agreement you are agreeing to keep all of the information that you receive from us strictly confidential. And, you are agreeing not to contact the owner of the business except through us and with our permission. We take any violation of this bond of trust between you and us very seriously, and we will not tolerate any breeches of this trust.
The Business Profile: The Facts & More
A big part of our job on behalf of the sellers we work with is to do the work of selling their business while affording them the time to run their business. This means that we will work with you to answer your questions about the business before we introduce you to the seller. We accomplish this in several ways.
The most important element in this process is the VR Business Profile. This report on the business you’re interested in is written to give you the information you need to decide whether or not the business is right for you. A typical business profile contains a detailed description of the business, summary financial data, additional business facts like lease information, number of employees and much more. After a thorough review of the business profile and discussions with your VR representative, you will have a good understanding of the business and its operations.
In addition to the business profile, we also often produce Digital Videotapes (DV) available to prospective buyers to be viewed in our offices. These tapes typically include a tour of the business and an interview with the business owner, and are produced to answer buyer questions and to give the buyer a feeling for the business and its management. For many of our client firms, these tapes replace the need for a working hours tour of the facility.