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    Useful links on buying a business:

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    How To Buy a Business

    You want to be in business but most new businesses fail. Fact. If you've realised that the best way of reducing the risk is to buy a going concern with a history demonstrating profits, you're already ahead of the game.

    Buying does involve a larger capital investment, that's true, but there are several ways to skin the financing cat. Not having adequate funds to make the purchase is rarely a deal breaker (sellers often finance the purchase by taking a "note" or deferred payment).

    The tricky part is finding the right enterprise, doing the due diligence, valuing the business, negotiating with the seller, navigating around all the hurdles such an exercise usually presents and completing the transaction in a safe and satisfactory manner.

    To that end you can be guided by a business broker or your government's local small business advisor. There is no substitute, however, for being fully informed yourself as no business transfer agent, advisor or other party will take ultimate responsibility for the safety of your investment.

    There are several good books on the subject but, as regular readers of this site will know, I'm a great believer in free information. We've got a lot of material on due diligence, valuations, choosing an escrow company and even on finding business brokers.

    So in that spirit of free, I've picked out the books I most recommend and... provided links for you to read them gratis. For those of you who must have a printed copy, click on the affiliate buy now link but, when you get to Amazon don't forget to read the small print. See the image to the right here? Yes, this $111.02 book is available for $0.01. You can't get much closer to free than that.


    Recommended Books

    The top recommendation is Richard Parker's Guide:

    How to Buy A Good Business At a Great Price

    How To Buy A Good Business At A Great PriceRichard has a huge wealth of experience at the coal-face buying businesses. He writes in an easy to understand style and provides invaluable advice and many unique insights into business buying. He writes for and advises various organisations including one of the world's biggest business-for-sale listing companies, Bizquest; actively buys businesses himself; is a faculty at the Donald Trump university and a general all-round great guy. He has consulted with me on some of his content ... and that's good enough reason to trust him :-)

    This book is available in print format, downloadable pdf and CD-ROM, and the best part is that he provides a lot of free information in the extracts and articles on his site. Every purchase also comes with unlimited free consulting with the man himself!

    Guide to Buying an Internet BusinessThis is the only business buying guide that has a companion product specialising in the buying of on-line businesses.

    | Read extracts and contents


    How to value, buy or sell a businessThe Upstart Guide to Buying, Valuing and Selling Your Business (Scott Gabehart, Dearborn Financial Publishing): An excellent book on the "how to" of valuation, due diligence, financing and the whole ins and outs of business buying. Amusing and informative. Not too much of information and not too little, very user-friendly. Definitely the place to start (and finish... unless you're looking at very large, multi-million dollar businesses). Includes a detailed glossary and various reference material. You can buy the book at Amazon for about $110 but what we like best is that you can read it for free at Google books before you decide whether it's worth the money. We think it is.
     Read it for free |


    Guide to Buying BusinessesThe Complete Guide to Buying a Business (with CD ROM) (Fred Steingold Attorney, NOLO), is a pretty good read for beginners and comes complete with a CDROM, forms, spreadsheets to analyse the financials, sample documentation like sales and security agreements, confidentiality letters (NDAs) etc. But it's a bit weak on business valuation and financing and often refers you to other works by the same publisher. F.S. Attorney is the author of several other books on running small businesses.
    | Read preview for free

    Guide to Buying and Selling BusinessesComplete Idiot's Guide to Buying and Selling a Business (Ed Paulson, Alpha Books): As with other Idiot's Guides, it starts by acknowledging that you're no idiot and then goes on to explain in excruciating detail everything from timing the buy to choosing a business to reading financial statements, raising capital and minimising taxes. It tries to be all things to both buyer and seller so provides a useful perspective from "the other side" and also spends a fair bit of space on the actual running of businesses. A good buy for the first time business buyer.
    Read preview for free |

    How to buy or sell a businessStrategies for Successfully Buying or Selling a Business (Russell L. Brown, Business Book Press) is one of several business buying and selling related books and tools available from this publisher. What's interesting is that their site provides several articles and extracts from the books that are really worth reading such as their 12 Laws of the Business Buying and Selling Jungle, Financing the Business Acquisition, So You Think You Want To Buy A Business, Finding the Right Business to Buy and others. You don't need to make a purchase to benefit from a lot of good information.

    Business Valuation: How to value businessesValuing a Business (Shannon P Pratt, Robert F Reilly and Robert P Schweihs; McGraw Hill): A heavy hardback of over 1,000 pages that's the definitive book on the valuation of businesses - a reference book that has become a bible for valuers. It's not for the faint hearted - nor, at $70, for cheapskates - but over the last quarter century has passed the test of time and is now in its 4th edition. It's used by lawyers, by private equity firms, by M&A experts and is even the recommended text for most advanced accounting classes. There is nothing about valuing businesses that this book doesn't cover in great and thorough detail. Various theories, principles and approaches on a myriad of tangible and intangible assets and securities are examined in valuation situations ranging from tax disputes to probate. At time of writing the cheapest used copy at Amazon is selling for $8.50.
    | Read preview for free