Detailed Course Outline

Click the links below to read the complete list of topics covered in each section 

14. VISITING THE BUSINESS - THE 36 Key Questions To Ask Every Seller
20. DUE DILIGENCE - A 200-Point Checklist & Strategy Guide

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In this section we'll review all of the considerations to be made: the upsides, the downsides, and all of the personal, professional and family considerations that must be factored into your decision.

There is only one reason "why" you should buy a business: because you want something better than whatever it is that you are presently doing. Most people spend their whole life making a living and completely forget to make any money!

There is absolutely no better investment vehicle than owning a good business.  Whatever it is that you can possibly want in life from a financial and lifestyle perspective can be gained from owning your own business.

In this section, you will learn:

  • Understanding and outlining your reasons for buying.
  • Why business ownership is the quickest route to riches.
  • How to form the right attitude to buy that will immediately set your head straight for this project.
  • Why looking to "buy a job" is the wrong approach.
  • Learn to buy the benefits and the future lifestyle business ownership will bring.
  • Discussion of the potential financial rewards.
  • Controlling your own destiny and the challenges to consider.
  • How to creatively attack any potential business purchase.
  • Financial considerations you must make.
  • Learn the 12 things you must do today to get your finances in order to make a purchase.
  • Why you must realize that there is no such thing as a secure job unless you own the company!
  • How your past professional career has already prepared you for the risks you may face.
  • What are the downside possibilities?
  • How to overcome all obstacles if you've never been in business before.
  • A three-step system that will overcome any lack of experience you may have.
  • Understanding the objections and situations you will face with family members and how to include, not exclude them.
  • The attitude you need if this process is new to you.
  • Deciding if you are window-shopping or committed to buying.
  • Why 90% never buy and how their "looking" paralyzes them to make any decisions.
  • The reasons why your best chances of success are in buying an existing business.
  • The tax benefits of business ownership.
  • The pros and cons of looking for something specific and why you must keep an open mind.
  • How long will it take to buy the "perfect" business? (By the way, there's no such thing. We'll explain why.)
  • Ready! Aim, Aim, Aim! Learn why others can't make that final leap and how you will avoid their dismal fate.
  • Preparation and completion of your Personal Financial Statement (interactive worksheet).

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Fundamental to your purchase is determining the most basic of factors: is this a good business? This section outlines the ten rules that cannot be bent, avoided or broken. Any business that you buy must subscribe to all ten.

For example: Commandment # 2 - Buy A Good Business and Make It Great! Don't look to buy a cheap business; it's like a bad used car. You'll spend all of your time trying to patch 'leaks" and you'll have little or no time left for building the business. Buy a good business, a solid one, that through your talents, can grow and flourish. Start off with a strong foundation and build from there!

In this section you will learn:

Commandment # 1 - Pay For The Past, Consider The Present, But Buy It For The Future!

  • The past financials will help determine the purchase price, but they do NOT guarantee what the business will look like in the future.
  • You must evaluate the business for what it can expect to provide you with after you buy it.

Commandment # 2 - Buy A Good Business and Make It Great!

  • All good businesses possess certain common features; you'll learn how to determine whether the one you're considering already has these in place.

Commandment # 3 - Ingredients Are NOTHING Without A Recipe.

  • After the purchase, can you put all parts of the business together into one cohesive unit poised for growth, and at what cost?

Commandment # 4 - Fall In Love With the Profit, NOT the Product!

  • You'll learn how this traps so many others when they get emotional about the business before they buy it and their judgment is forever clouded. You must remain objective!

Commandment # 5 - Do What You Do Best and You'll Manage The Rest.

  • Making certain that you already possess what the business really needs.

Commandment # 6 - Autopilot - (can the business be put on "cruise control"?)

  • In order to grow any business, you must take advantage of technology - can this business improve its systems and run on its own so you can focus your attention on driving the profits?
  • Where can you access the technology and what are the costs?

Commandment # 7 - Determining What Holds "The Gold".

  • Nearly all businesses possess certain components that the current seller has not exploited.
  • You'll learn how to identify these sometimes "hidden" values.

Commandment # 8 - The Three Personal Things That Every Business Must Possess.

  • You MUST be able to explain it in simple terms to others.
  • You MUST be able to explain it with great enthusiasm.
  • It MUST be a business that makes you very proud.

Commandment # 9 - Evaluating and Identifying What's Not Perfect Yet.

  • No business is perfect and every business needs attention. Sometimes the smallest improvements yield the greatest results. You'll learn how to pinpoint all of them.

Commandment # 10 - What's It Worth To YOU?

  • Only you can truly evaluate the benefits of any venture. You'll understand how to take a realistic approach to this crucial exercise.

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It is far too difficult too explain in one paragraph specifically what it is that will direct you to the right business. Clearly, it is a combination of all of the areas that are covered in this lesson. However, if we were forced to reduce our entire course down to one sentence, it would be this:

"Whatever it is that you do best must be the single most important factor that drives the revenue and profit of any business that you may consider purchasing". End of story!

So many buyers fail to recognize what business is right for them. Only you know what it is; no one else can tell you what's right for you. You know your talents, your strengths and weaknesses. Be honest with yourself. Don't be delusional. Don't pretend you're something that you're not. The most successful people are those who realize that they don't know it all. Focus your search on businesses that will grow from your strengths and not suffer from your weaknesses.

As long as you match your greatest strengths to the right business, you can't help but be successful.

In this section you will learn:

You will work through a series of very pointed questions which will allow you to very quickly identify the types of businesses that you should be focusing your attention upon.

  • A complete review and evaluation of the knowledge you already own.
  • Identifying potential businesses that can benefit from your strengths and not suffer from your weaknesses.
  • Discussion of your areas of familiarity.
  • Identifying the industry you know best .
  • Exploiting a niche within your job or industry.
  • Targeting businesses that you've always liked.
  • Establishing expectations that are realistic and achievable.
  • The sacrifices you must be willing to make.
  • Clearly identifying what "drives" you (Money, the need to build something, control of your own destiny, independence?)
  • Understanding, dealing and overcoming restrictions you may have.
  • Identifying the job functions that you like to do (we tend to be better at the things we enjoy)
  • Recognizing specific tasks that you don't enjoy.
  • Discussion of your individual strengths
  • Honestly identifying weaknesses, how to deal with them and understanding their role.
  • Income expectations
  • Turning a hobby into a business (NOT A GOOD IDEA)
  • Your fears or comfort level in a sales role
  • We will discuss how anyone regardless of experience, can perform in a sales role. All great salespeople possess seven distinct characteristics which can be easily learned by anyone-we'll show you how.

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This lesson will set your schedule for buying a business in a fraction of the time it takes others. You will learn what time you must devote to each stage of the buying process and how to avoid wasting time like so many others. Your search will be focused; your attention will be on businesses that make sense for you.

The average "buyer" spends over a year looking for a business and then there's a ninety percent chance that they will drop out. The longer you look, the greater the chances you'll never buy!

In this section you will learn:

  • The theory behind time management, its importance, and learning how to control your time.
  • Buying process timeline and schedules to be met from beginning (course study completion) to the end (your purchase of a business).
  • Learn what traps most people into becoming chronic lookers.
  • The rationale and strategy you need to follow to get this done quickly and right!
  • The specific steps to take to cut the average buying time by 70%.
  • How to get all of the information you need quickly and easily on any business without spending a dime.
  • Use interactive worksheets that will prepare you for any possible situation that you will encounter.
  • How to get the seller and broker to work on your timelines
  • Why all other parties will procrastinate at every chance and what you must do to keep things moving.
  • Learn the key areas that cause most to waste their time.
  • Outlining your buying schedule and the tasks to be completed for each stage.
  • 7 things to do at once so you won't get delayed later on.

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This is a full examination all of the resources available to you and a clear direction for the best places for you to find what you are looking for. You’ll learn how to properly review every media where businesses are listed for sale. You’ll understand what to look for specifically in the local newspaper and online and in the individual broker listings. By the end of this section you’ll know specifically how to identify good potential businesses.

In this section you will learn:

  • Examination of all the resources available to you.
  • The best places for you to find what you are looking for.
  • What to look for in the classified section (yes they still list businesses in the paper and many buyers forget to look at them).
  • How to interpret the broker listings in the paper.
  • Which ones to keep, what to toss aside.
  • How to get more information than is published.
  • How to identify key "for sale by owner" listings.
  • Understand that "attitude" of every for sale by owner seller.
  • Learn why you must wait before calling the seller.
  • Tear apart buyer-listing sheets and focus solely on what's right for you.
  • Identifying and avoiding "Get Rich Quick" Schemes.
  • Publications to use and ones to avoid.
  • Who to contact at the various publications and get them to give you great industry information and potential available businesses.
  • The Internet- a complete review .
  • Listing of the best websites for business for sale listings.
  • How to avoid hours of useless searching.
  • Utilizing the networks of Lawyers and Accountants.
  • Getting them to solicit businesses for you at no cost.
  • Networking Banks and other lenders.
  • Using The Chamber of Commerce as a tool and how to get in even if you don't qualify for membership.
  • Friends, family and business contacts

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Buying a business is a project combining several individual tasks. No single part is more important than another, somewhat like the spokes on a wheel. Do a great job with everything but neglect the Due Diligence for example, and you won't make the right decision. Put all the pieces together but overlook financing preparation again, you will fall short.

In this section you will learn:

  • Making organization a priority.
  • A complete list of all of the items that you will need to begin the search.
  • Specific file folders to set up.
  • The system to use to manage all of the paper.
  • Keeping the paper under control and at your fingertips.
  • Organizing the Multiple Listing Sheets.
  • What to highlight and identify on Individual Business Listings.
  • Discussion of Non Disclosure Forms and what you should and should not sign.
  • Dissecting the financial information.
  • How to catalog individual businesses.
  • Gathering the banking information you'll need.
  • Individual files that need to be set up once you decide to check out a specific business
  • Creating "Post Purchase" files.
  • A system to organize all of the thoughts that will come into your head.
  • Review of the money required for the search.

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Most inexperienced buyers make the terrible assumption that all they must do is hire a business broker and presto; the right business will come to them. Nothing is further from the truth! A good broker can help you but the wrong one will prove to be a monumental waste of your time!

Remember, a business broker represents the seller - ALWAYS! The seller pays their commission even if it's not their listing and so they're immediately in a conflict of interest. Are they going to do everything in their power to ensure you get a good deal? No, they won't. Their goal is to sell you ANY business and your objective is to buy the right one!

We recommend that you "use" a business broker to help you in two specific areas:

  1. providing access to available businesses for sale through their database of multiple listings.
  2. delivering bad news to the seller.

In this section you will learn:

  • Should you use one? (Yes you should but you must use the right one ).
  • Understanding why you must show them you're a serious buyer (because they probably won't even return your emails/phone calls until then)
  • How can brokers help you.
  • What's in it for them.
  • Who pays their commission and why this is important.
  • Is their commission negotiable and how to get them to reduce it to help you pay for a business.
  • The obligations you have to the broker.
  • How to find a good broker.
  • Websites to use to locate local brokers.
  • Your strategy on your first call to the broker.
  • Setting up a meeting with a potential broker
  • Learn one great technique that will immediately identify how effective they will be.
  • 18 Questions to ask each broker when you interview them.
  • Checking out their references with former buyers and sellers.
  • The 17 Questions to ask their current clients.
  • Calling former business sellers for references and the 10 Questions to ask each.
  • Getting the broker to show you ALL of the listings and the ones that may be "reserved " for someone else.
  • Understand how the brokers negotiate with the seller.
  • Should you use the broker's contacts (professionals, banks, etc.).
  • How to handle businesses that you may find on your own (getting your broker to acquire additional information for you).
  • Sample letters to send out to potential businesses.
  • Review and case study of the Broker Listings, Non Disclosure Forms and Multiple Listing Sheets.
  • Exhibits and forms they will want you to sign (understand why you can't agree to some of them).

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Every single business is for sale; even those that aren't currently listed. Under the right conditions every owner would sell. Wouldn't you? Since we take a creative approach, you will quickly learn what kinds of businesses are right for you, it may in fact be a company that is not currently on the market. Once you determine the specific type, which you will, why limit yourself to what is listed? You’ll learn how to creatively approach every business, even those they may not be “on the market” currently.

In this section you will learn:

  • Understanding why every business owner will sell.
  • The 6 conditions by which sellers choose to sell.
  • Identifying under valued and potential candidates.
  • Learn to tune in to every business you come across and see their strengths and weaknesses.
  • A strategy to approach a business that is not currently for sale.
  • The ideal business may be staring you in the face.
  • Pursuing a business that has always intrigued you.

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Under the right conditions and for certain buyers, a franchise provides a wonderful option that is well worth investigating.

You are far better off to buy an existing location, one that's already operating successfully, rather than trying to find, buy and build a new one.

When you approach a Master Franchiser regarding a new location they will bombard you with market studies. They will tell you that IF their study proves correct and IF the passing traffic trends continue and IF the area continues to grow at the same pace and IF the industry continues to thrive and IF you follow their steps exactly and if you buy all of their promotions then you should do well.

And if you were born into the royal family, you wouldn't have to work for a living!

In this section you will learn:

  • How to make money in franchising.
  • Learn the three big advantages that a franchise can offer,
  • Understand why franchises are not for everyone.
  • The exact steps to find available resales.
  • Why franchisers cannot guarantee your success.
  • Getting the Master Franchiser to cooperate.
  • Find resales that aren't "officially" for sale.
  • Evaluation of new versus existing franchises.
  • Why some Franchisers won't tell you about resales.
  • When to get in to a franchised concept.
  • Contracts, their importance, the details, and what you must be on guard for.
  • The 25 things you absolutely must know about the franchise contract.
  • How to avoid doing a deal and having it vetoed by the Franchiser.
  • How your partner (The Master Franchiser) may be your competitor.
  • Getting the owner to pay the transfer fee.
  • Conducting the Due Diligence and why it's so different from a non franchised business.
  • 17 critical areas to be investigated.
  • How you can "test drive" a franchise.
  • Key questions to ask other franchisees.
  • 15 crucial questions to ask the franchiser to ensure that they are the right group to be with.
  • Resources to find available franchises.

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Regardless of what size business that you are looking to purchase, you'll need to use the services of both an accountant and lawyer. The smaller the business, the less you'll need them, but you'll need them. They will be a defense mechanism for you to be certain that anything that you agree to is legal and binding, and to ensure that you are well aware of any risk or exposure.

In this section you will learn:

  • Complete discussion on accountants and lawyers and the way they operate.
  • Understand why they can ruin every deal.
  • The protections they can offer.
  • Do you need them?
  • How they can help you.
  • Leveraging their contacts.
  • What role can they play in getting you a better deal.
  • How to avoid the traps that many fall into and pay a fortune for services you can easily do on your own.
  • How to choose them.
  • 9 key questions to ask them to be sure that they're right for you.
  • Checking their references.
  • Getting free information from them.
  • When will you need a specialist?
  • Setting the parameters of the relationship.
  • 20 key points to cover in your first meeting.
  • What are their costs.
  • Negotiating their fees (Everything is negotiable!).
  • Why you must ask certain questions first.
  • How to keep them focused on your work.
  • Why big fees don't necessarily mean that they're any good.
  • Making sure that they are interested in your business.
  • 11 Surefire Ways to save money on their fees (this is bulletproof!).

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A fear or lack of knowledge in accounting must not, will not and cannot prevent you from buying a business. The beauty of accounting is that it's based on numbers and numbers don't lie. Sellers may lie, but not numbers.

All Financial Statements follow a similar pattern from one business to the next so the format will become familiar to you quickly and our approach will have you feeling confident and comfortable within an hour. It's really is very easy to gain a grasp on this area quickly and effectively.

Don't get nuts about the financials. You want to view them to get an idea of what to expect but they reflect the past not the future. You don't buy a business for the past unless you're planning on going backwards.

In this section you will learn:

  • A complete overview of accounting in simple terms.
  • You will learn how to properly interpret Financial Statements in one hour!
  • Defining accounting for the most inexperienced buyer.
  • Understand why a lack of accounting cannot prevent you from purchasing.
  • Why accounting is overrated.
  • Learn what aspects of accounting can give you a glimpse of the future.
  • A case study that will clearly define the accounting basics.
  • If you can add, subtract multiply and divide you've got most of it covered.
  • Matching debits and credits.
  • Understanding time and its relationship within accounting.
  • The Basis for accounting.
  • Understanding Cash and Accrual Accounting.
  • What to look for on financial statements.
  • What many people fail to overlook.
  • How to determine if they are true and accurate.
  • Learn all the buzz words so sellers will know you're an expert.
  • Real life examples, worksheets and case studies.
  • The different periods in the life of a business.
  • The Balance Sheet (interactive worksheet).
  • Defining Net Worth.
  • Valuing Assets.
  • Understanding Liabilities.
  • Determining Owner's Equity.
  • The Income Statement (interactive worksheet).
  • Understanding Revenues, Expenses and their meaning and impact.
  • Learn how to uncover the hidden meanings.
  • Learning all of the ways that a seller can manipulate the financials to make them look better than they are.
  • Perform an interactive exercise that can save you thousands not to mention a lot of aggravation.


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