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Why buying a business can be the wrong decision

Look at the big picture before buying a going concern

If you're passionate about running your own business, the first decision to make is whether to buyor to start from scratch. If you have a very specific idea about a product or a new service you can offer and you want to build up something unique based on these ideas, it's best to consider starting a business. This allows you to instil your own ideas into every stage of a business' growth. Buying a business, on the other hand, often involves inheriting a general way of doing things, as well as a customer base which knows what it wants.

Of course, you can phase this out. And you might be able to find a business that's perfect for you. But if buying a business means you compromise on what makes your business idea unique, it might not be the best route.

You have to be very honest with yourself when buying a business. Do you have the right skills and strengths? Think very carefully about the duties and roles you will need to perform. Consider whether you have the right skill-set for them. You'll always be weaker in some areas than others: can you make provision for this?

And remember: if you have a passion for cooking, being a restaurant owner will likely not allow you to indulge this very often. Dealing with staff, negotiating with suppliers and gaining customer service skills will be your day-to-day reality.

The biggest potential problem with buying a business is that it is very charged, emotionally. Buying a business is something many people dream of for years. It's understandable if you jump in feet first, and if you're less than 100% rational. But if you can't find the right business, or it's not the right time, you really will regret rushing into something as big as a business.

Most importantly, you have to love what you do. If you're not going to enjoy the day-to-day running of your business and all the hard graft it involves, then think again. Find something that you're passionate about — even if it's not running your own firm — and run with it.


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