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Buying a Business guide

A Guide to Buying a Business in Australia

Buying a business in Australia can be a great adventure that can bring a lot of satisfaction to a new business owner. However, it requires careful planning and a good understanding of business law. This helpful guide will simplify the process and equip you with the necessary knowledge to make informed decisions along the way.

Deciding on the industry

There are key considerations you need to take when buying a business in Australia. One of the crucial first steps is deciding on the industry that aligns with your passions, skills and financial considerations.

While following your passion is essential, it's equally important to evaluate the financial aspects of the industry. Understand the cash flow dynamics and assess the value of tangible and intangible assets, such as goodwill and intellectual property. Additionally, carefully consider the risks associated with the industry and ask yourself if you are prepared to handle them.

what industry

Opting for an industry you have a genuine passion for while being able to ensure financial stability sets the stage for a thriving business venture. Approach this vital first step with patience and thoughtfulness. Remember, alongside your skills, it's also essential to consider market trends and future growth potential in your chosen field of business. With a well-rounded approach, you are setting yourself up for a remarkable and satisfying experience as a business owner.

Finding the right business

There are important factors to consider when it comes to finding the right business. Once you have narrowed down the industry, consider the size of a business, its location and sale price. It's crucial to ensure that these align with your budget and lifestyle.

To discover businesses for sale, utilise online platforms that provide search filters to help you narrow down your options. Set filters based on your preferred price range, geographical location and other criteria that are important to you. This will help you refine your search and focus on businesses that meet your specific requirements.

Review key financials such as the business's cash flow and profitability. Look for businesses with stable financial performance and growth potential. Consider the reputation of the existing business, including customer reviews and industry rankings, to gauge its market standing.

finding the right business

As you evaluate potential businesses, also consider the assets that come with each opportunity. These could include tangible assets such as property, equipment or inventory, as well as intangible assets like a loyal customer base, intellectual property or established brand recognition. Assessing the value and potential of these assets will contribute to making an informed decision.

This process can be overwhelming, so don't hesitate to enlist professional help. A business broker can assist you in finding the right business, negotiating terms, and closing the deal.

Find out more: Looking for funding? Read our loans to buy a business guide for helpful tips and funding options.

Making online enquiries on a business for sale

Once you have identified potential businesses to buy, it's time to make enquiries. Approach the current owner or their business broker with your interest.

When communicating your enthusiasm, showcase your understanding of the sector. Ask relevant questions about the business model, financial statements, the reason for the sale and any potential legal issues. This not only provides you with crucial information but also demonstrates your seriousness as a buyer.

Ensure you show your financial capability too. Outline your financing plans, whether it's through personal savings, a business loan or equity financing.

Online inquiries can give you a wealth of information about the business. However, remember that they're only the starting point. Before proceeding further, you'll want to delve deeper into the business's operations, finances and employment contracts.

Throughout this process, keep in mind that knowledge is power. By conducting thorough research and making careful considerations, you can ensure you're making a sound investment when buying a business.

Understanding financing options

Buying a business is a significant financial commitment. Before taking the plunge, you must fully understand your financing options, such as business loans and grants.

Most business purchases involve some degree of debt financing. This could be through commercial loans from banks or credit unions. You'll probably also have to consider leveraging your personal savings. It's essential to fully comprehend the terms of any business loan, as it could affect your cash flow for years to come.

raising finance

Alternatively, you might consider equity financing. This involves securing investment from venture capital firms or angel investors. Keep in mind, this often involves shared ownership, so you're giving away a part of your business.

An often overlooked but viable option is friends and family financing. This involves borrowing or receiving investments from close ones. But remember, this can risk personal relationships if the business doesn't go as planned.

No matter which path you choose, don't forget to seek financial advice. It's crucial to familiarise yourself with the business's financial history and ensure you have clear financial management plans.

Find out more: Want to know more about the buy-side of M&A? Understand the buyer’s perspective in mergers and acquisitions.

Understanding negotiation dynamics

Negotiation is a vital aspect of buying a business. It involves a compromise, not a competition. Establishing trust and mutual understanding with the current owner is key.

Start by defining your negotiation goals. What's your ideal purchase price? What terms of sale are you comfortable with? What are your "red lines"? Being prepared with answers to these questions can give you confidence during negotiations.


At times, negotiations can be challenging. If the seller is unreasonable, don't be afraid to walk away. Show the seller your willingness to abandon the deal if it doesn't benefit you.

Also, It might be beneficial to have a business broker involved. They can assist in negotiations, bringing their experience and expertise to the table. Remember, it's always okay to ask for help!

Introduction to due diligence

Once negotiations are over and you've agreed on the terms of the sale, it's time for due diligence. This is the process of thoroughly checking the business before finalising the purchase.

  • Commercial due diligence involves understanding the business's day-to-day operations and market position. This includes a deep dive into the business model, financial records, employment contracts and potential business assets.
  • Financial due diligence is equally important. Here, you check financial transactions, cash flow and financial statements. This helps ensure that you are paying a fair price for the business.
  • Legal due diligence is where a business lawyer comes in. They help navigate through the complexities of business law and employment law, ensuring that all legal aspects of the business are in order.

Lastly, don't forget about the business’s tax situation. Engage a tax professional to understand the current and potential future tax implications.

due dilligence

Due diligence is all about caution. It's your opportunity to uncover any problems before they become yours. So, take your time, and be thorough!

Essential considerations in closing the deal

Closing the deal, the final step of buying an existing business, brings along its set of challenges. It's where your diligence, negotiation skills and financial planning all come together. Here are some considerations to keep in mind:

  • Set a firm timeline. Inject urgency by setting a deadline for finalising the deal. This helps keep things moving forward and prevents the process from stalling.
  • Always maintain trust. The trust you've built with the seller throughout the process shouldn't dwindle at this stage. Instead, make efforts to nurture it further.
  • Stay professional and cautious. Think before you speak or share information with the seller. Remember, you're on the verge of owning a business, and each word matters.
  • Don't hold back your doubts. If there are questions that need to be answered or details that need to be clarified, now is the time. You want to ensure that you're stepping into the business on a clear note.

Another important step is to review the business agreement and other contracts meticulously. If you spot inconsistencies in financials, unwarranted unwillingness of the seller to renegotiate or something intuitively seems off, don't ignore these warning signs.

closing the deal

A business broker or solicitor can be of immense help at this stage, assisting in finalising and signing the sale agreement. Make sure to understand the nature of the sale — whether it's an asset sale or a share sale.

Getting started as a new business owner

Once the agreement is signed, the legal ownership is transferred. The business you've been eyeing, evaluating and negotiating for is now yours. Remember, owning a business comes with its fair share of responsibilities. The employees, the business premises, the existing customers, the goodwill — they all are a part of your journey now. Embrace it and embark on this exciting new phase of being a business owner. 

Start searching for the right business or contact our team for further assistance; we are here to help.

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