I would like to go into business, but I dont know what kind of business I might like and be able to do well at.
It may sound strange to hear that from a SCORE client, but it happens frequently. There are various ways for someone to explore a host of business opportunities.
BUYING AN EXISTING BUSINESS
SCORE maintains a relationship with three business brokerage companies in the Treasure Valley. They are Arthur Berry & Co., Laska Co. and Murphy Business & Financial Corp. Each of these companies willingly meets with clients referred by SCORE and will provide an assessment of the clients strengths, shortcomings, experience, commitment and financial resources. If the assessment is positive, the business broker will identify and review the history and the financial details of the available businesses in the brokers portfolio.
Buyers must be aware that the brokers represent the owners of those businesses. Buyer Beware needs to be in the forefront of your mind. But it should be noted that the brokers listed above have been in business in the Treasure Valley for many years. As with homes, todays buyers are tomorrows sellers. The brokers pride themselves on their reputations and are careful to achieve win/win transactions.
We urge our clients to develop a business plan so the businesss status and its potential will become clearer. The business plan will also help to evaluate a realistic purchase price.
Purchasing a franchise is very similar to buying a local business. The brokers identified above include existing franchises in their portfolios. SCORE also maintains a relationship with two companies that specialize in franchises: FranNet (www.FranNet.com) and FranChoice (www.FranChoice.com). These companies also provide a no-cost assessment for clients referred by SCORE.
There are considerable benefits in acquiring a franchise. Typically the businesses are successful and operating. Financial procedures are documented, training is provided, marketing assistance is available, and a network of franchisees is available for benchmarking. But we still urge our clients to prepare a business plan before committing to the purchase.
Speak with successful owners of any franchise you are considering. I also suggest you contact two or three former owners within the franchise group and ask why they no longer own their businesses.
There are many listings of current businesses you might be interested in. The Better Business Bureau, area chambers of commerce and trade associations have listings of their members. The Idaho Statesman annually publishes the Idaho Private 75 list of large privately held businesses in the state. The Boise Public Library can help you develop lists of current businesses by county, size and business category. This information may give you ideas about a business to start yourself or businesses to explore for purchase.
Expand your networking contacts. Let them know you are interested in acquiring a business.
Consider joining a company where a buyout may be possible. Many owners will consider selling to a hard-working employee.
C. Norman Beckert, Idaho district director for SCORE, the Service Corps of Retired Executives. email@example.com