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Buying an Existing Business

Many find the idea of running a small business appealing, but lose their motivation after dealing with business plans, investors, and legal issues associated with new startups. For those disheartened by such risky undertakings, buying an existing business is often a simpler and safer alternative.

Advantages

The main reason to buy an existing business is the drastic reduction in startup costs of time, money, and energy.  In addition, cash flow may start immediately thanks to existing inventory and receivables.  Other benefits include preexisting customer goodwill and easier financing opportunities, if the business has a positive track record.

Disadvantages

The biggest block to buying a small business outright is the initial purchasing cost.  As the business concept, customer base, brands, and other fundamental work have already been done, the financial costs of acquiring an existing business is usually greater then starting one from nothing.  Other possible disadvantages include hidden problems associated with the business and receivables that are valued at the time of purchase, but later turn out to be non-collectable.  Good research is the key to avoiding these problems.

Additional Resource
SBA - Buying A Business

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