Buying a business for as little as one dollar may sound too good to be true.
You maybe even never have thought about buying a business at all and there are guys out there who do this with almost no money down.
Many folks struggle to build a business from scratch and they hardly ever break even. You’re maybe one of them.
But when I heard about Carl’s story and how he buys businesses to skyrocket his business success, it opened up my eyes.
Carl Taylor literally hacked his way to financial success. Whereas everyone else goes through trial and error to start a business from nothing, he bought one and improved it to increase its value.
Who is Carl Taylor?
Despite his young age, he already bought and built multiple businesses in different industries and across various business models. The first business he invested in was a gift basket business near his home, which was run by two ladies completely offline.
He acquired it, transformed it into a 100% ecommerce business and sold it 18 months later for a decent ROI.
After that, he repeated this strategy a couple times with offline as well as online businesses.
That’s pretty cool, so I decided I need to talk to Carl to share this on the Finance Hackers blog.
Here are the steps you need to take in order to buy a business with almost no money down:
3 Steps to Buy A Business (…For a Dollar)
Before we tap into the secrets of buying and selling a business for profit, you might question yourself why you should buy a business in the first place.
According to Carl, buying a business is a way smarter and even cheaper way to become an entrepreneur than to start from scratch.
You may not be aware of it, but most of the top entrepreneurs like Richard Branson and Bill Gates reached their level of success through acquiring other businesses, not only organic growth.
The secret of the top 2% of entrepreneurs is this…
Organic growth is the slowest and hardest way to build a business. Instead, you should acquire businesses to leverage other people’s hard work and assets
There are a couple reasons for that claim, which you will discover in this post.
So let’s get started.
1. Find the Perfect Deal
The first thing you need to do is finding a business which is not even worth buying, but also suitable for you.
Quite frankly, not every business is a good fit for everyone, even if it is a good deal.
You must be honest with yourself when it comes to business experience and market knowledge.
Carl advises that not everybody should buy a business for a dollar.
Because these are mostly businesses with good potential but not steady revenue. The buyer must be experienced enough to turn a business around and use proven strategies to bring the business back on track.
Sometimes this can be very easy as the former owner overlooked some opportunities, like in Carl’s example the transformation into an ecommerce business.
If you are not confident enough to do so, you should get some capital and invest into a solid business with sustainable revenue and positive cash flow.
Where to Find a Business to Buy
But you should also have a look into your local newspaper. You will probably find more ads there from older business owners who need to get out of business because of their high age.
2. Know How to Value a Business
The most important part of the process is the validation of the business.
If you don’t do proper due diligence, you are at risk of either paying too much or even buying a venture you would otherwise never buy in the first place.
So what are the key factors which determine the value of a business?
There are basically 5 areas you need to be aware of:
“The money is in the list!”
A database of customers and potential customers is one of the most valuable assets of every business. Why?
Because it is almost 10 times more expensive to acquire new customers than it is to sell to existing ones.
A database determines future revenue potential and that’s why it is so valuable.
What I mean are systems to generate leads and sales, a process for customer service and a system to manage staff.
You need to make sure that you don’t buy yourself a job, but an asset you can increase in value.
That’s the reason why Carl doesn’t recommend buying a franchise. Even though you buy a proven system that will very likely bring you income, in most cases you will just buy a job for yourself.
But to have the time and resources to increase the value of your acquired business, you need to work on the business instead of in the business.
A business which can be operated in 4 hours a week is more valuable than one that demands your full attention 24/7.
This could be the commercial property the business operates from or the inventory inside of it.
However, this can also be a domain name which is very valuable.
The reason why it is so important to know the value of the assets a business owns, is because sometimes these assets are worth even more than the business owner’s asking price for the business.
Hedge fund managers love these kinds of deals because they can buy a company and liquidate it straight after they bought it for a decent profit.
I don’t say that it is good or bad, but it should help you to see a business’ worth from different angles.
The brand is the public perception of the business. Companies like Virgin or Apple concentrate a big amount of their value in their brand.
These companies sell more products and services because people believe in the quality of their purchase and sometimes share the same values.
It takes time to build a brand and that’s why it is so valuable if you can just skip the step of brand building and buy one.
- Cash flow
In most cases the value of a business will be determined by the cash flow it generates on average. A business can make millions in revenue a year, but can be cash flow negative.
“Cash flow is more important than your mother” – Anonymous
You not only look for profit, but also how much money actually comes in. Some businesses deal with clients with very relaxed payment practices. That can be a huge risk if your overhead costs are high.
3. Finance the Deal
At this point you might still be thinking, how is it possible to get a valuable business for a dollar?
The cause is that sometimes business owners need to get out of a business because of private issues like a divorce or high age.
It is not that you take advantage of it without scruple, but it gives you a better position to arrange a decent deal.
And it doesn’t mean that you get a business for free, but you just don’t give the owner all the money up front.
There are many ways to buy a business with as little of your own money as possible to use leverage for a better ROI.
But the most common strategy is called “vendor finance” and is also as old as business itself.
You basically agree to a selling price and arrange to pay it off over time with future profits.
Even though this is a great way to get into business with almost no money, be aware that in most cases you still need to have some working capital to keep the business going.
Buying a business is a great way to start or expand your entrepreneurial journey with a strong foundation. You can acquire a business to run it full-time or an additional one building up your cash flow.
However, if you are interested in learning how to buy a business, you should do it with an experienced mentor who can guide you through the process and makes you aware of all the pitfalls along the way.