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          "The most complete program on buying a business that I have ever read."
                    Peter Shea- Chairman and CEO - Entrepreneur Magazine 
 

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OVERVIEW OF THE INTERNET INDUSTRY 

The online world is truly an ever-changing industry. It is important that you understand the industry as a whole in order to translate the information into a good personal decision.

In this section, you will learn:

  • Key industry trends.
  • Industry statistics that are critically important to consider when evaluating an opportunity.
  • The core skills that successful online business owners possess.
  • Resources to leverage to help track and hone in on the particular business you are considering.
  • How advertising is shifting away from traditional mediums and how this trend can significantly impact any online venture.

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THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE UGLY

This section discusses some of the pros and cons to consider and some major issues you need to be aware of when buying and/or owning a web-based business.

There are numerous favorable factors include potential ease of operation, flexibility, global growth potential and of course the potential avoidance of lease obligations, employees, inventory, accounts receivables and the list of positives goes on for pure Internet businesses.

At the same time, the opposite can hold true and there are some very real and threatening factors that you face which need to be addressed, analyzed and researched before you buy an online business.

In this part of the materials, we will dissect of the good, bad and ugly issues you must consider.

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WHAT MAKES A GOOD ONLINE BUSINESS

Although the Internet is really still in its infancy, there has been enough history that tells us what types of business models work, and which ones don't. The fallout in 2000 was, in many ways, very helpful.

The Internet is loaded with business for sale websites. Unfortunately, many of these databases are not applicable to the Internet industry. Quite often the best businesses are not even listed for sale.

In this section, you will learn:

  • The best resources to use in the search including both online and offline options.
  • What to look for specifically in website for sale listings.
  • How to approach online businesses that may not be actively "on the market" to be sold.
  • Trade publications and local resources that can be a major source of prospect.

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THE RIGHT INTERNET BUSINESS FOR YOU

It is far too difficult too explain in one paragraph specifically what it is that will direct you to the right online business. Clearly, it is a combination of all of the areas that are covered in this lesson. However, if we were forced to reduce our entire course down to one sentence, it would be this:

"Whatever it is that you do best must be the single most important factor that drives the revenue and profit of any business that you may consider purchasing". End of story!

Many buyers fail to recognize what business is right for them. Only you know what it is; nobody can tell you what's right. You know your talents, your strengths, and weaknesses. Be honest with yourself. Don't be delusional. Don't pretend you're something that you're not. The really successful people are those who realize that they don't know it all. Focus your search on businesses that will grow from your strengths and not suffer from your weaknesses.

As long as you match your greatest strengths to the right business, you can't help but be successful.

In this section you will learn:

  • A complete review and evaluation of the knowledge you already own.
  • Identifying potential businesses that can benefit from your strengths and not suffer from your weaknesses.
  • Discussion of your areas of familiarity.
  • Identifying the industry you know best.
  • Exploiting a niche within your job or industry.
  • Targeting businesses that you've always liked.
  • Establishing expectations that are realistic and achievable.
  • The sacrifices you must be willing to make.
  • Clearly identifying what "drives" you (Money, the need to build something, control of your own destiny, independence?)
  • Understanding, dealing and overcoming restrictions you may have.
  • Identifying the job functions that you like to do (we tend to be better at the things we enjoy)
  • Recognizing specific tasks that you don't enjoy.
  • Discussion of your individual strengths
  • Honestly identifying weaknesses, how to deal with them and understanding their role.
  • Income expectations
  • Turning a hobby into a business (NOT A GOOD IDEA)
  • Your fears or comfort level in a sales role
  • We will discuss how anyone regardless of experience, can perform in a sales role. All great salespeople possess seven distinct characteristics which can be easily learned by anyone-we'll show you how.

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WHERE TO LOOK FOR INTERNET BUSINESSES FOR SALE

If you don't know what to look for precisely, it's difficult, if not impossible, to find the real good businesses. The longer you look, the greater the chances you'll never buy. Remember, this is a buying process, not a looking process!

By the end of this section, you'll know precisely how to identify good potential online businesses.

This is a full examination of all the resources available to you. You’ll learn how to properly review every media where Internet businesses are listed for sale. You'll understand what to look for specifically in the local newspaper and online and in the individual broker listings.

Recently, we conducted an interesting project: We spent 90 minutes on the Internet, bought three local Sunday papers and reviewed four popular magazines. We wanted to get a real feel for what the average buyer would face if they decided to look for a business that particular week. We found over 150,000 businesses available for sale.

If you do not know where to look, what to look for, and how to tear apart listings, well good luck; because you'll spend the rest of your days looking!

In this section you will learn:

  • Examination of all the resources available to you.
  • The best places for you to find what you are looking for.
  • What to look for in the classified section.
  • How to interpret the broker listings in the paper.
  • Which ones to keep, what to toss aside.
  • How to get more information than is published.
  • How to identify key "for sale by owner" listings.
  • Understand that "attitude" of every for sale by owner seller.
  • Learn why you must wait before calling the seller.
  • Tear apart buyer-listing sheets and focus solely on what's right for you.
  • Identifying and avoiding "Get Rich Quick" Schemes.
  • Publications to use and ones to avoid.
  • Who to contact at the various publications and get them to give you great industry information and potential available businesses.
  • The Internet- a complete review.
  • Listing of the best websites for online business for sale listings.
  • How to avoid hours of useless searching.
  • Utilizing the networks of Lawyers and Accountants.
  • Getting them to solicit businesses for you at no cost.
  • Networking Banks and other lenders.
  • Using The Chamber of Commerce as a tool and how to get in even if you don't qualify for membership.
  • Friends, family and business contacts

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WHY EVERY BUSINESS IS FOR SALE AND HOW TO APPROACH THE ONES THAT AREN'T

Every single business is for sale; even those that aren't currently listed. This is especially true for Internet businesses. Under the right conditions every owner would sell. Wouldn't you? The right online business for you may in fact be a company that is not currently on the market. Once you determine the specific type, which you will, why limit yourself to what is listed?

You’ll learn how to creatively approach every business, even those they may not be “on the market” currently. You'll know how to present yourself properly to the seller without being overly eager and you'll be equipped with the skills you need to convince someone to sell you their business even though they may say that it's not for sale.

In this section you will learn:

  • Understanding why every business owner will sell.
  • The six conditions by which sellers choose to sell.
  • Identifying under valued and potential candidates.
  • Learn how to tune in to every business you come across and see their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Proven strategies to approach and solicit a business that is not currently for sale.
  • The ideal business may be staring you in the face.
  • Pursuing a business that has always intrigued you.

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GETTING ORGANIZED

Buying a business is a project combining several individual tasks. No single part is more important than another, somewhat like the spokes on a wheel. Do a great job with everything but neglect the Due Diligence for example, and you won't make the right decision. Put all the pieces together but overlook preparing for the financing and again, you will fall short.

START RIGHT: Begin right and set the proper foundation. To do so, you must be organized. If you do not properly sort, record, review and file Listings for example, you won't have the luxury of reviewing comparative listings as you narrow the search. Get off to the right start. Organize yourself from the very beginning so that each stage can build upon the last one. This lesson will show you how to get set up, the files you need, how to log the mountains of information, and how to successfully retrieve what you need in a moment's notice.

In this section you will learn:

  • Making organization a priority.
  • A complete list of all of the items that you will need to begin the search.
  • Specific file folders to set up.
  • The system to use to manage all of the paper.
  • Keeping the paper under control and at your fingertips.
  • Organizing the Listing Sheets.
  • What to highlight and identify on Individual Business Listings.
  • Discussion of Non Disclosure Forms and what you should and should not sign.
  • Dissecting the financial information.
  • How to catalog individual businesses.
  • Gathering the banking information you'll need.
  • Individual files that need to be set up once you decide to check out a specific business
  • Creating "Post Purchase" files.
  • A system to organize all of the thoughts that will come into your head.
  • Review of the money required for the search.

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THE TEN COMMANDMENTS

Fundamental to your purchase is determining the most basic of factors: is this a good online business? This section outlines the ten rules that cannot be bent, avoided or broken. Any business that you buy must subscribe to all ten.

For example: Commandment # 2-Buy A Good Business and Make It Great! Don't look to buy a cheap business; it's like a bad used car. You'll spend all of your time trying to patch 'leaks" and you'll have little or no time left for building the business. Buy a good business, a solid one that through your talents can grow and flourish. Start off with a strong foundation and build from there!

In this section you will learn:

Commandment #1 - Pay For The Past, Consider The Present, But Buy It For The Future!

  • The past financials will help determine the purchase price but, they do NOT guarantee what the business will look like in the future.
  • You must evaluate the business for what it can expect to provide you with after you buy it.

Commandment # 2- Buy A Good Business and Make It Great!

  • All good businesses posses certain common features; you'll learn how to determine whether the one you're considering already has these in place.

Commandment # 3- Ingredients Are NOTHING Without A Recipe.

  • Can you put all parts of the business together after the purchase into one cohesive unit poised for growth, and at what cost?

Commandment # 4- Fall In Love With the Profit NOT the Product!

  • You'll learn how this traps so many others when they get emotional about the business before they buy it and their judgment is forever clouded. You must remain objective!

Commandment # 5- Do What You Do Best and You'll Manage The Rest

  • Making certain that you already posses what the business really needs.

Commandment # 6- Autopilot- (can the business be put on "cruise control"?)

  • In order to grow any business, you must take advantage of technology-can this business improve it's systems and run on its own so you can focus your attention on driving the profits?
  • Where can you access the technology and what are the costs?

Commandment # 7- Determining What Holds "The Gold"

  • Nearly all businesses posses certain components that the current seller has not exploited.
  • You'll learn how to identify these sometimes "hidden" values.

Commandment # 8- The Three Personal Things That Every Business Must Possess

  • You MUST be able to explain it in simple terms to others.
  • You MUST be able to explain it with great enthusiasm.
  • It MUST be a business that makes you very proud.

Commandment # 9- Evaluating and Identifying What's Not Perfect Yet

  • No business is perfect and every business needs attention. Sometimes the smallest improvements yield the greatest results. You'll learn how to pinpoint all of them.

Commandment # 10- What's It Worth To YOU?

  • Only you can truly evaluate the benefits of any venture. You'll understand how to take a realistic approach to this crucial exercise.

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BUSINESS BROKERS

Most inexperienced buyers make the terrible assumption that all they must do is find a business broker and presto; the right business will come to them. Nothing is further from the truth! A good broker can help you but the wrong one will prove to be a monumental waste of your time!

Further, when it comes to buying an online business, there are very few brokers who specialize in this segment and so their role may be even less significant. Many of the listings you will see will be for sale directly by sellers but when a broker is involved, a good one can help you but they cannot, and will not, do your work!

Remember, a business broker represents the seller - ALWAYS! The seller pays their commission even if it's not their listing and so they're immediately in a conflict of interest. Their goal is to sell you ANY business not necessarily the right one!

We recommend that you "use" a business broker to help you in three specific areas:

  • Providing access to available businesses for sale through their database of listings.
  • Delivering bad news to the seller.
  • Keeping the deal moving along between the parties.
  • Assembling all of the necessary documentation to evaluate the business and ultimately close a deal.

In this section you will learn:

  • Should you use one? (Yes you should but you must "use" the right one).
  • Understanding why you must show them you're a serious buyer (because they probably won't even return your emails/phone calls until then)
  • How can brokers help you.
  • What's in it for them.
  • Who pays their commission and why this is important.
  • Is their commission negotiable and how to get them to reduce it to help you pay for a business?
  • The obligations you have to the broker.
  • How to find a good broker.
  • Websites to use to locate local brokers.
  • Your strategy on your first call to the broker.
  • Setting up a meeting with a potential broker
  • Learn one great technique that will immediately identify how effective they will be.
  • 18 Questions to ask each broker when you interview them.
  • Checking out their references with former buyers and sellers.
  • The 17 Questions to ask their current clients.
  • Calling former business sellers for references and The 10 Questions to ask each.
  • Getting the broker to show you ALL of the listings and the ones that may be "reserved" for someone else.
  • Understand how the brokers negotiate with the seller.
  • Should you use the broker's contacts (professionals, banks, etc.).
  • How to handle businesses that you may find on your own (getting your broker to acquire additional information for you).
  • Sample letters to send out to potential businesses.
  • Review and case study of the Broker Listings, Non Disclosure Forms and Multiple Listing Sheets.
  • Exhibits and forms they will want you to sign (understand why you can't agree to some of them).

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FRANCHISES-ARE THEY FOR YOU?

Under the right conditions and for certain buyers, a franchise provides a wonderful option that is well worth investigating. There are a number of franchise/business opportunity type Internet based businesses that you will come across and you may find some interesting. We see these companies spending a tremendous amount of money to recruit new franchisees.

While you may find some of these attractive, you are far better off buy an existing location, one that's already operating successfully, rather than trying to find, buy and build a new one.

When you approach a Master Franchiser regarding a new location they will bombard you with market studies. They will tell you that if their study proves correct and if the passing traffic trends continue and if the area continues to grow at the same pace and if the industry continues to thrive and if you follow their steps exactly and if you buy all of their promotions then you should do well.

And if you were born into the royal family, you wouldn't have to work for a living!

Franchises can be great business models for some people but BUY A RESALE! There are a number available and we'll show you where and how to find the right one.

Franchises require a different set of investigative strategies and we'll outline them all for you in a step-by-step approach. You'll also learn how to approach the Master Franchisers so that that they will divulge available resales as opposed to trying to sell you a new, unproven location.

In this section you will learn:

  • How to make money in franchising.
  • Learn the three big advantages that a franchise can offer,
  • Understand why franchises are not for everyone.
  • The exact steps to find available resales.
  • Why franchisers cannot guarantee your success.
  • Getting the Master Franchiser to cooperate.
  • Find resales that aren't "officially" for sale.
  • Evaluation of new versus existing franchises.
  • Why some Franchisers won't tell you about resales.
  • When to get in to a franchised concept.
  • Contracts, their importance, the details, and what you must be on guard for.
  • The 25 things you absolutely must know about the franchise contract.
  • How to avoid doing a deal and having it vetoed by the Franchiser.
  • How your partner (The Master Franchiser) may be your competitor.
  • Getting the owner to pay the transfer fee.
  • Conducting the Due Diligence and why it's so different from a non franchised business.
  • 17 critical areas to be investigated.
  • How you can "test drive" a franchise.
  • Key questions to ask other franchisees.
  • 15 crucial questions to ask the franchiser to ensure that they are the right group to be with.
  • Resources to find available franchises.

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PERSONAL ISSUES TO CONSIDER

There's a lot involved when buying any business but far more if you're going to venture into the online world. Operating an Internet business is different; the structure, the skills needed to be successful, the employees, the fast paced and ever changing technology, a global business environment, and operating a business that is always "open", are just a few issues to consider.

In this section, you will learn:

  • Identifying the key skills needed to successfully operate an online business.
  • Restrictions you may have that can hinder the growth.
  • Understand the characteristics that make good Internet business owners.
  • The pitfalls that trap most online business owners.

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BASIC ACCOUNTING

A fear or lack of knowledge in accounting must not, will not and cannot prevent you from buying a business. The beauty of accounting is that it's based on numbers and numbers don't lie. Sellers may lie, but not numbers.

All Financial Statements follow a similar pattern from one business to the next so the format will become familiar to you quickly and our approach will have you feeling confident and comfortable within an hour. It's really is very easy to gain a grasp on this area quickly and effectively.

Don't get crazy about the financials. You want to view them to get an idea of what to expect but they reflect the past, not the future. You don't buy a business for the past unless you're planning on going backwards.

In this section you will learn:

  • A complete overview of accounting in simple terms.
  • Defining accounting for the most inexperienced buyer.
  • Understand why a lack of accounting cannot prevent you from purchasing.
  • Why accounting is overrated.
  • Learn what aspects of accounting can give you a glimpse of the future.
  • A case study that will clearly define the accounting basics.
  • If you can add, subtract multiply and divide you've got most of it covered.
  • Matching debits and credits.
  • Understanding time and its relationship within accounting.
  • The basis for accounting.
  • Understanding Cash and Accrual Accounting.
  • You will learn how to properly interpret Financial Statements in one hour!
  • What to look for on financial statements.
  • What many people fail to overlook.
  • How to determine if they are true and accurate.
  • Learn all the buzz words so sellers will know you're an expert.
  • Real life examples, worksheets and case studies.
  • The different periods in the life of a business.
  • The Balance Sheet (interactive worksheet).
  • Defining Net Worth.
  • Valuing Assets.
  • Understanding Liabilities.
  • Determining Owner's Equity.
  • The Income Statement (interactive worksheet).
  • Understanding Revenues, Expenses and their meaning and impact.
  • Learn how to uncover the hidden meanings.
  • Learning all of the ways that a seller can manipulate the financials to make them look better than they are.
  • Perform an interactive exercise that can save you thousands not to mention a lot of aggravation.

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