BusinessesForSale.com's top tips when buying a business:
Think about your own strengths and weaknesses, and focus on the business for sale that is right for you and your needs. For example, do you need to live on the premises?
Research your sector using the trade press, the internet and even word-of-mouth. This will help you to ask the necessary questions should you decide to proceed.
Make sure you have a reputable solicitor and accountant, and consider enlisting the help of a commercial surveyor and business broker. They will oversee local searches, check legal implications and analyse the accounts.
Be prepared to pay for an independent, professional business valuation.
Visit the prospective business in person. Be discreet as the owner may not wish staff or clients to know the business is for sale.
Examine the client and customer bases closely. If the business is doing very well, you may wish to run it in exactly the same way in order to retain customer loyalty.
Look for areas that the current seller has not exploited, giving you 'hidden' value. This could range from automating administrative procedures to executing more effective marketing.
Shop around for the best deal to finance your purchase - your local bank may not be the most competitive. A finance broker in this regard.