The seller says that you cannot go by what the tax return shows but the business is making a lot of money, and he can prove it. Your inspection of the profit and loss statement shows that sales have been increasing slightly in the last few years. Most important, and the best news of all is; the price is right! Does it sound too good to be true? I am sorry to tell you this, it probably is.
I think it was Benjamin Franklin who said, “A fool and his money are soon parted.” Mr. Franklin must have known a lot of business buyers. When buying appliances that break in a month, it costs you a few dollars. When you go to a swap meet and are cheated because the solid gold watch is really gold plated, it costs you a few hundred bucks. When a used car salesman cheats you, by selling you a lemon, where the speedometer has been turned back 100,000 miles, it costs you a few thousand dollars. Getting cheated buying a business can cost you many thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars. The only investment or purchase that I know of where you can be cheated out of more money is in the area of real estate. Real Estate fraud can runs into the hundreds t4 online of millions of dollars and does. You would be shocked at all the people between 1875 and 1950 who saw ads for prime real estate in Florida and bought swamp land. What about prime Louisiana beach front with Alligators living outside your front door? I have written a series of articles on fraud and it keeps getting bigger and bigger.
I hope that the point is made. Never buy a business on someone’s word. Actually, you should never buy anything on someone’s word. Confirm everything, believe nothing and understand that you are still going to find out things, after the close of escrow, which is going to surprise you. A similar example is one known by every employer. A staff worked for a company for 4 months and complained to the personal officer that the job was just too difficult. He kept complaining that he needed more training and lower quotas. You feel sorry for him. You talk to him and talk to him about it. You listen and believe all the excuses he gives you for poor production. Finally he quit, blaming you for something that you did, this just before you were going to give up and fire him. Then you started to take over the work of finishing his incomplete projects. You are shocked, as you always re, at what he did wrong and what he had covered up, that he was not doing. This is what happens when you buy a business. You find out all the actions that the seller, not his staff, had stopped doing, from the day that he decided to sell the company.
Many businesses are doing well. Sometimes the owners have personal things going on in their home life. Sometimes they have medical problems. Many times the business is not doing well and the seller is frustrated. It is very common for a seller to work hard to build his business, but because of many reasons, it doesn’t produce what the seller wants. He gets frustrated and one day he gives up. That is usually the day he calls that business broker he met and asks the big question. How long will it take you to get me out of this place? In his mind, he is gone. He just counts the days until he physically walks out.