Purchasing a Small Business
I. Deciding to buy
A. Why buy a small business?
B. Starting out-the nine steps
C. Initial details to consider
1. Are partners needed?
2. Economic factors
3. Is the location acceptable?
4. Tax strategy
II. Where to start
A. How much income is needed?
B. The "Thirteen Steps" to acquiring a business
III. Locating a potential purchase
A. The Acquisition Plan
B. Beginning the search-who can help?
III. Negotiating a purchase price
A. Valuation of a small business
1. Why do a valuation?
2. Choosing the method that is best for your situation
3. Some different methods of valuing a business
a. Ability-To-Pay Method
b. Discounted Cash Flow Method
c. Excess Earnings Method
B. Calculating goodwill
C. Setting the purchase price
D. The letter of intent
IV. Finding the initial capital
A. Sources of financing
1. Traditional sources
2. Nontraditional sources
B. Guaranteed loan programs
V. Closing the deal
1. Get a lawyer
2. Audit review
3. The closing
VI. The rewards of working for yourself

The decision to purchase a business of your own is not an easy task. There are many things to consider before the final decision is made. First of all, exactly what do you want to accomplish? To make millions of dollars, right? Or is it to have the freedom of being your own boss? Whatever the reason, you must be sure that it is something that you are ready to devote an exorbitant amount of time and energy into and that it is something that you really want. Otherwise, you might be stuck doing something that you hate. If you are ready to commit then you must ask yourself just how far will that commitment extend. How much of your own time, energy, and money are you willing to sacrifice?
After the decision is made, the acquisition of a small business can be summed-up into nine steps, in which most will be elaborated upon later. "These are the nine steps to any business acquisition, regardless of its size or industry:
1. The search, locating a business available for sale.
2. Identifying alternative candidates.
3. Valuing the business.
4. Negotiating a price and terms.
5. Investigating the company.
6. Preparing the business plan.
7. Sourcing the financing.
8. Preparing the closing documents.
9. Managing the transition period." (Tuller, 10)
Some considerations that cannot be avoided when purchasing a small business
include: the question of needing a partner, the current economic factors, considering alternate locations, and developing a tax strategy. When debating whether or not a partner is needed or wanted, you need to know if you\'re going to need additional equity as well as sharing the risk of failure. For these reasons, a partnership seems to be a great idea, but there are also many cons that should be recognized. Having too many partners can alter the ease of decision-making, shared liability can cause obvious problems, and sharing profits means less for you. Added to this, getting out of a partnership can be very difficult.
Evaluating the current economic factors simply means to know what you are getting into. Be sure to have some knowledge about the business itself and it\'s market. Know how to make and sell the product efficiently and in a service industry, be sure to know the current and correct way things are done-sometimes they are not one in the same.
Location is key. "Location of the target can be a major determinate in both the financing of the deal and probable success in managing the business after closing.There\'s no sense spending time, effort, and money on a target located in the wrong place." (Tuller, 12) Along with this, the personal strife of having to travel a great distance to get to work can be very frustrating. So, be sure that the location of your potential business is profitable in every way.
One the greatest minds of the 20th century, Albert Einstein, once said, "tax is the most difficult thing in the world to understand". Unfortunately, with the ever-changing laws, that problem gets worse every year. This means that you should have knowledge of the current tax laws. "\'You will have a unique opportunity to make decisions on exactly how much money will change hands, and how I will allocated on the payment schedule."(Smorgenburg, 112) Maximizing profit for both you and the seller can only be done through proper knowledge of tax law, if you are not comfortable handling this alone, a consultant might not bad a bad idea.
After all of the above is settled, the next thing