The decision to go into business on your own is fraught with many risks, but it is also filled with potential rewards. Many people try to minimize their risks by purchasing an already established business rather than building a new business themselves from scratch. But the path from idea to business purchase is not necessarily a simple one. The first step in buying a business is locating the business that you would like to purchase. This can be accomplished in two ways. The first is to employ a business broker, a professional who works with buyers and sellers of businesses. A good broker can help you locate businesses that you might not have been able to find otherwise and can also offer valuable advice during the entire process. The second way is to try to find the business yourself.
If you do decide to use a business broker, you should ask friends or relatives for recommendations. If you cannot obtain a personal referral, check the California Association of Business Brokers or a local association of commercial real estate brokers.
Once you have found a broker, you should check to make sure that he or she is licensed with the Department of Real Estate. In California, it is illegal for any unlicensed individual to earn a fee related to the buying or selling of a business property with a connection to real estate, including any lease. Since almost all businesses, except perhaps online businesses, have a physical location, you need to make sure that the broker has a real estate license. Of course all brokers charge a fee. Most often, a buying broker's commission will be paid by the seller of the business. But since the seller can pass on the cost to the buyer, if you are buying the business you will likely be paying the fee in the end. The fees are entirely negotiable and there is no set standard, so come prepared to bargain.
If you decide that you have the experience and knowledge necessary to locate a business to purchase on your own, the first place to start is with existing contacts. Business contacts can be particularly helpful, especially if they are in the industry you are interested in. The internet has made it easier for people to find businesses themselves without using a buyer's broker. Many websites list businesses for sale. These include: bizbuysell.com, loopnet.com, Bizhunter.com, and even eBay.com. But, like any deal, make sure that you thoroughly investigate the claims about the business before investing too much time and Attorneys can also help with this process, though they serve a different role than business brokers. You can also obtain additional information from several books, including "Nolo's Complete Guide to Buying a Business." Many of the websites mentioned also have additional information articles for those interested in buying or selling a business.
For more information, contact a business broker or a local attorney. You can contact the author, Attorney Todd Gallinger on his website, http://www.GallingerLaw.com, or at (949) 862-0010.
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