Buying a new business can be a dream come true, but it can also quickly turn into your biggest nightmare if you rush the process. When you’re excited, it’s easy to want to jump ahead and get to your destination, rather than to focus on the journey. In all states of America all can be resolved by applicable law, under California law, a petition to challenge the validity of the belief.

To best avoid this, you’ll want to slow down, take your foot off the pedal, and be sure to really investigate the business before going full throttle. If you don’t slow down, you run the risk of missing key details along the way – some of which could prove invaluable. 

What does due diligence mean exactly?

You wouldn’t just jump off a tall bridge without checking your safety cord first, would you? Or getting to know the person holding the safety anchor as you climb up a huge mountain, held only by that person and the rope that binds you? Just like any other risk you ever plan to take, you’re going to want to make sure you’re best prepared when it comes time to take the leap. 

Simply put, due diligence just means that you do your research before entering into a new business, alone or with someone else, regardless of how well you think you already know the person or the business. It’s a standard practice, which if done correctly could save you from falling from grace. 

Should I get advice from a professional or do it myself? 

Realistically speaking, there will always be some risk involved when buying a new business, no matter how thoroughly you do your due diligence. Fortunately, getting advice from a trusted professional can help increase your chances of doing so successfully, possibly even resulting in a lower purchasing price and more. 

Due diligence is such a broad term, so where do I begin? 

There are three main types of due diligence when it comes to buying a business – legal, commercial and financial. To make sure that you can thoroughly explore them all, you’ll need to ask the business owner to give you approximately four weeks to do so. This period is often referred to as an exclusivity period. During this time, you might be able to ask the business owner to take their business off the market, in return for a down payment. 

You can usually start doing your homework on the company as soon as you have both agreed on the terms and price, all or some of which may be re-negotiated after the due diligence is complete.

What happens when my due diligence investigation is complete?

Even after you’ve done all you can to collect every ounce of information on your future business, you should make sure to get a guarantee from the current business owner that all the information is correct and complete. This way you can hold them accountable should you find anything afterwards that they were trying to hide or conveniently “leave out” of the picture. 

Last but not least, you’ll also want to make sure to get this guarantee signed and in writing. Chances are that if they were hiding anything, they might feel more pressed to let you know about it. 

In the end, it’s your business and your choice whether or not to seek assistance from professionals when doing your due diligence. However, it’s important to be aware of the increased risks involved going about this route. Spending less money on professional guidance early on may result in having to spend a lot more in the future, should something eventually go wrong.

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