Questions Buyers Should Ask Owners

Could you please tell me about your business?

What skills are require for ownership?

What is your business background, expertise, and educational background?

What is the history of the business and how has it evolved?

What products/services have been sold over the years?

What types of licenses are required?

What is the reason you are selling?

What is the break down of the revenue and profits regarding various products/services?

What would your customers say about the business and why do they buy from you?

What would your competitors say about the business?

What things about the business “keep you up at night”?

What process or condition is vital for the continued success and growth of the business? Please identify these business drivers.

How do you maximize these business drivers that are under your control?

Are there any family members involved in the business who would not stay after the sale?

Are there any employees who would not stay on after the sale?

How much salary do you take?

What other financial benefits/perks do you take?

How much vacation do you take?

Are you willing to stay on and train me longer than indicated on the listing sheet?

Can I hire you as a part-time consultant after the training period?

To what level can the business be built?

Why haven’t you expanded the business?

Describe for me the ideal candidate to takeover and build this business?

What do you like the most and what do you like the least about this business?

Regarding the industry, what are the key trade publications, reference materials, websites, trade shows to attend?

Do you have a Business Plan and a Marketing Plan?

Can you provide and outline of your chain of command, and employee duties?

Are there any obligations, contractual or verbal, with any employees regarding raises, profit sharing, and benefits?

What money would it take to aggressively market this business, and what would you do?

Do any of your customers represent more than 10% of the business revenue?

What percentage of the revenue does your top five accounts represent?

In the future, what are the challenges you see facing the business?