If you want to start your own business, the number of choices available are almost infinite: starting from zero, buying a franchise, partnering. If you don't have previous business experience, however, it may make sense to consider buying an existing business, which can put you ahead of the competition by throwing you directly into the business world. Before you make the final decision, though, here are some of the pros and cons of previously established businesses and how to deal with them.
Some advantages include the following:
- The main benefit of buying an existing business is the fact that all legwork has already been done for you. Getting a business off the ground is often the hardest part, so you are guaranteeing a head start by skipping the first stage. No need to file paperwork, obtain permits, and consult with lawyers.
- It gives you the advantage of an established customer base. People will already know the place, so the costs of advertising will be less. You will also avoid the uncertain initial period, where attracting customers to the business can turn into a full-time job in itself.
- When you buy an existing business, you may get employees who are already working there to stay and work for you. This will allow you to employ their expertise rather than having to train new people to take over the work.
Some disadvantages include the following:
- You will inherit all problems that run with the business. If the previous owner had trouble attracting new customers, paying the lease, or running new campaigns, you will have to deal with everything to set things right before you can even start to think about moving forward. If the business has a history of disappointing customers, you may also have a hard time convincing people that things will change under your direction.
- The purchase will probably mean a large initial investment, usually much higher than it will require to start a business from scratch. The investment will also have to be in a lump sum, and you won't have the chance to go through the process in phases.