Once you have narrowed down your top choices for a purchase, you will want to learn more. At this point you understand the business at a high level, and you are serious enough about purchasing that you are ready to see the business and meet the owner. This is an important step before you submit an offer on the business. Meeting the owner and building rapport with them will clarify your confidence in moving forward. Here are some tips for a productive meeting:
- The Business Broker will be there to facilitate the flow of information. Prior to the meeting tell the Broker the information you are hoping to gain so that it is a productive visit.
- As much as the seller needs to “sell” you on the opportunity that their business presents, you also need to sell them on you and your ability to keep their business moving forward. Be ready to put your best foot forward.
This meeting is a chance for you to learn about the operations of the business, how involved the owner is in the day-to-day, the employees, growth opportunities, and to get a feel for what it is like from an owner’s point of view.
- You will be going in to this meeting with an understanding of price range and the listing price of the business but this is not the meeting to jump into negotiations. You are probably not the only person looking at this business and this meeting should be used to build your relationship with the seller and gain more intimate knowledge of operating the business. The Business Broker will facilitate negotiations at a later time if you decide to make an offer.
- Meetings are often facilitated after business hours to maintain confidentiality with regards to the employees. The seller still owns and runs the business and wants to control the narrative with the employees – the seller is in control of how and when to inform the employees of a potential sale.
Buyer – Seller meetings happen all the time and they are not meant to be high intensity or a risky endeavor. The seller shows off the business and answers questions that the buyer asks. It is a facilitated conversation in order to promote the relationship between a potential buyer and the current owner of a business. There is no obligation to buy or sell at this point and this is an opportunity for both parties to evaluate each other.