Sunday, August 14, 2016

Why do some business sellers make you WAIT so long for info? How to Buy a Business - David C Barnett

Why does the seller make me WAIT so long for information?

I got a call from a client the other day.  He’s been trying to decide if he wants to pursue a business that is rumoured to be for sale.

I say ‘rumoured’ because it certainly doesn’t seem like it’s for sale.  The owner says he wants to sell, he speaks highly of the business and its potential, but he just won’t hand over the information the buyer is asking for; the latest financial statements.

What on Earth is going on? I explain the possibilities in this video:

The first thing that is obvious is that this seller hasn’t read my best-selling book; How to Sell MyOwn Business. If he had, he would know that you never go out looking for buyers and talk with them before you’re completely prepared to answer all their questions and you’ve got your ‘package’ together. 

Putting together Confidential Business Profiles is part of what I do for my clients.

From the seller’s perspective here’s what may be going on:
  1. There may have been a pressing emotional or personal need which pushed the owner to decide to sell and this need may no longer be so aggravating.
  2. If the business is profitable, then the longer the seller delays the sale, the more money they make in the interim.
  3. There may be some pressing business needs that require their attention in the present, selling the business may actually be a ‘side project’ and doesn’t get the proper attention.
  4. Outside advisors or service providers like accountants may not be available because of workloads or vacations.
Let’s be clear, any delays caused by the seller are not good for the deal. They upset the buyer and buyers can be hard to find.

One of the hazards of this scenario is that the more a buyer follows up and ‘chases’ the seller, the more the seller may begin to think that the buyer is in love with the business.

This can cause them to believe they can get more money for the business.  As a buyer, this is bad.
So stop it.  Stop following up, emailing and calling the seller continuously.  Slow down. Look at other businesses.

One of the problems from a buyer’s point of view is that they may be imagining themselves as the owner.  They start to get excited and REALLY want to buy the business NOW. 

This is called Buyer Fever and it’s a very dangerous illness.  It can cost people hundreds of thousands of dollars in over-payments when it leads them to make bad deals and not do proper due-diligence.

If you’d like help to buy or sell a business, call me at (506) 381-8416 or visit or

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Do you live in Toronto or the Maritimes?  I’ve got workshops coming up for Toronto in September on buying and selling businesses and in October-December in the Maritimes.  Book now

If you’d like to learn how to create high returns by making local private lending deals, check out The Local Investing Academy starts in September. 
Thanks and I’ll see you next time.

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