Buying a business can be stressful, here are some questions to consider
When it comes to the prospect of purchasing a business, it can indeed pose challenges. There's a multitude of questions to ask when buying a business, ranging from the requisite licenses to the potential for transforming the business into a prominent brand, among many others. However, with a diligent approach and an eye for warning signs, you can position yourself for a favorable deal.
When you encounter a business for sale, it's important to note that most sellers tend to emphasize their weekly income rather than their annual gross revenue. This emphasis is to help you better gauge potential weekly profits. Nevertheless, before taking the plunge into business ownership, there are numerous other crucial factors to weigh.
If you find yourself standing at the crossroads of contemplating a business purchase, it's imperative to adopt a strategic approach. The significance of asking pertinent questions cannot be overstated, as they serve as the key to unlocking essential information that will shape your decision-making process. Through thorough inquiry, you not only equip yourself with vital insights but also expose any potential red flags that may arise during the acquisition journey.
To ensure you embark on this path with clarity and prudence, we've assembled an extensive list of thought-provoking questions. These questions are meticulously crafted to serve as your compass, guiding you through the complexities of the business acquisition process. They provide you with a robust foundation upon which to base your decision, enabling you to make an informed and calculated choice.
Why is it important to ask questions when buying a business?
Many entrepreneurs can be easily captivated by a business's gross sales and profits, which might lead them to overlook crucial aspects, such as the potential for growth and the assessment of the business's online presence. While these details may seem minor, they can often determine the difference between a successful venture and a failed one.
Certainly, financial figures are important, but there's more to consider when purchasing a business and a lot of questions to ask when buying a business. Here are a few examples:
To Gather relevant information: By asking questions, you gain access to vital information about the business, its operations, financial performance, market conditions, and potential risks. This information is essential for evaluating the feasibility and profitability of the acquisition.
To Help Identify Red Flags: Thoughtful questioning helps uncover any potential red flags or hidden issues associated with the business. This could include financial liabilities, legal obligations, pending lawsuits, or operational challenges that may impact its future prospects.
To Assess motivation for selling: Understanding the reasons behind the owner's desire to sell provides valuable insights. It allows you to gauge if the business is being sold due to underlying problems or if it presents a genuine opportunity for growth and improvement.
To Evaluate business performance: By asking about the business's history and financial track record, you can assess its stability, profitability, and growth potential. This information enables you to make a realistic evaluation of the business's value and potential return on investment.
To Determine competitive advantage: Asking questions about the business's unique selling proposition, market positioning, and competitive landscape helps you understand its advantages over competitors. This knowledge is crucial for formulating effective strategies and differentiating the business in the market.
To Assess dependencies: Inquiring about the business's reliance on key customers, suppliers, or employees allows you to evaluate potential risks and vulnerabilities. Understanding these dependencies helps mitigate future disruptions and develop contingency plans.
To Evaluate growth opportunities: By asking questions about expansion possibilities, industry trends, and market conditions, you can assess the business's growth potential. This insight is essential for formulating long-term strategies and identifying opportunities for expansion or diversification.
To Understand legal and financial obligations: Inquiring about existing contracts, licenses, permits, or any outstanding legal or financial obligations provides a comprehensive understanding of the business's compliance status. This information helps you avoid unforeseen liabilities and ensures a smooth transition.
To Assess cultural fit: Asking questions about the existing management team, employees, and company culture allows you to gauge if there will be a smooth integration and if the existing workforce can be retained during the transition. Cultural alignment is vital for a successful post-acquisition integration process.
Overall, asking the right questions during the business-buying process empowers you with the knowledge and insights necessary to make an informed decision, mitigate risks, and seize opportunities. It helps you ensure that the business aligns with your goals, capabilities, and vision for the future.
How to determine the questions to ask when buying a business
Every business has its own unique characteristics, challenges, and opportunities. That's why it's crucial to understand that when you're in the process of buying a business, the kind of research you need to do can vary greatly. Whether you're thinking about purchasing a cozy corner cafe or a cutting-edge tech startup, the industry, market conditions, and the specific situation of the business can all influence how you should approach your research.
During this process, having a clear grasp of the questions you need to ask becomes essential. These questions act as your guiding compass, helping you navigate through the complexities of due diligence and uncovering vital information that shapes your decision-making. Without a doubt, asking the right questions is a foundational step in reducing risks and ensuring a successful business acquisition.
To support you in this endeavor, we've provided some examples below. These questions can serve as a starting point, helping you build a framework for your research. They are crafted to assist you in thoroughly evaluating a business and making a well-informed decision that aligns with your goals and vision. Plus, having a comprehensive list of questions to ask when buying a business is a crucial asset in your journey.
Questions to ask when buying a route-based business
Starting a new business journey often begins with a big decision, and for many, the idea of acquiring a route-based business can be pretty intriguing. These businesses, like delivery services, vending routes, or food trucks, have their unique appeal, but they also come with their own set of quirks that you'll want to understand.
Route-based businesses work in a distinct way – they follow predefined routes and serve specific customers. Whether you're thinking about taking over a food delivery route, managing vending machines, or handling a fleet of service vehicles, each type of route-based business has its own special challenges and opportunities.
In this adventure, it's crucial to grasp the importance of the right questions to ask when buying a business. It's not just about getting the keys to an existing route; it's about really getting the ins and outs of a dependable system, understanding what your customers along the route want, making sure your logistics are spot on, and taking good care of the equipment or vehicles you'll use. Because of these unique aspects, it's smart to have a tailored approach to your research.
To help you get started on the right foot, we're going to explore the art of understanding what questions to ask when acquiring a business. Specifically, we'll be focusing on route-based businesses. These questions will be your helpful guide, steering you through the twists and turns of this entrepreneurial journey. By recognizing the importance of asking these questions and doing your homework thoroughly, you can set yourself up for a successful ride in the world of route-based businesses.
1. How Much Will the Route Cost?
The cost of purchasing a business varies greatly depending on several factors specific to each individual business. Factors such as the brand name, territory, number of stops, number of trucks, and other operational considerations all influence the price range, which can range from $20,000 to several million dollars. Negotiation skills also come into play, allowing you to potentially secure the route at a competitive price. Furthermore, if you choose to buy the route directly from the company without involving a brokerage firm, you can avoid paying a commission to the broker. This can potentially result in cost savings and a more streamlined acquisition process.
2. Does the route offered for sale offer territorial protection?
The decision between buying a protected route or an independent route for a business is subjective and depends on various factors. Professional buyers often consider this question to safeguard their investment and to address essential questions to ask when buying a business.
A protected route typically comes with pre-determined stops or points, providing a sense of security and fewer hassles. However, purchasing a protected route often entails adherence to specific brand rules and regulations, as the route is associated with a particular brand. Brand owners are vigilant about selecting route buyers to maintain the brand's reputation.
Alternatively, opting for an independent route is also a viable option. Independent routes encompass a range of products such as bread, meat, dairy, vending, and more. They offer the advantage of greater flexibility and potentially higher profits compared to protected routes. With independent routes, you have the freedom to establish your own rules and build your own brand. Additionally, independent routes generally require less upfront capital compared to brand-name routes. However, it is essential to carefully evaluate the customer base and order history when considering an independent route, as there may be more competition in the market.
3. Is the niche you are considering buying experiencing a decline or diminishing market demand?
When you're contemplating the purchase of a business, it's essential to assess the market dynamics and trends within the niche you're interested in. One crucial question to ask when buying a business is whether the niche you're considering is experiencing a decline or diminishing market demand.
Declining market demand can be a significant red flag. It suggests that the products or services offered by the business may be losing relevance or facing increased competition. This can have a direct impact on the business's revenue and profitability.
To assess this, you can look into market research reports, industry publications, and trends over the past few years. Analyze factors such as consumer preferences, technological advancements, and changes in regulations that might affect the demand for the business's offerings. Additionally, consider seeking insights from current customers and competitors.
Understanding the market conditions and demand trends in the niche you're interested in is crucial because it directly influences the potential for the business's future success. If you find that the niche is experiencing a decline, it's essential to carefully evaluate whether the business has a strategy in place to adapt, innovate, or diversify its offerings to address these challenges. This assessment will help you make an informed decision about whether to proceed with the purchase or explore other opportunities that align better with your long-term goals
Exploring the best routes to buy allows you to focus your investment on industries with high demand and growth potential. Conduct thorough research, consider market trends, and evaluate your personal interests and strengths to find the route that aligns best with your goals and aspirations, check out more best routes to buy here
4. Do you have the right sales skills and background for the route you are buying?
Usually, a route business does not require any prior business or sales knowledge. There are various investment opportunities available for route businesses in the USA. You can choose a route business that aligns with your interests while keeping your financial situation in mind. Many brokers ensure that the seller provides initial assistance for a few days to familiarize you with the functioning of route-based businesses.
Having prior knowledge of route businesses does not make a significant difference. Once you acquire a route, you study the market, get to know the customers, and master the operations. The goal is to grow and expand the business further. Initially, it is advisable not to take on too much and focus on keeping the original customers satisfied, gradually building a customer base around them. Many entrepreneurs invest in routes as a supplemental source of income, often running the business as an absentee owner.
5. Does the route for sale require a specific type of license?
Yes, certain routes for sale may require a special license, particularly if the route involves deliveries and includes a vehicle. In most cases, routes for sale come with a vehicle, making a license a necessity. For regular routes such as bread, chip, or cookie routes, a regular driver's license is usually sufficient. However, if the vehicle is heavy, you may need a specialized license, such as a CDL Class "B" or non-CDL Class "C" license, depending on the vehicle's specifications. Obtaining special licenses can involve costs of up to $1000. It is advisable to inquire with the broker representing the route or the owner themselves to determine the specific license requirements. Additionally, contacting local agencies is recommended to ensure compliance with any regional regulations.
It's important to note that different businesses may have distinct licensing requirements. For instance, waste removal businesses may require specific licenses as well. When seeking advice from experienced buyers of routes, they emphasize the significance of inquiring about licensing. One buyer shared an instance where they acquired a business that necessitated a particular license, resulting in a lengthy seven-month approval process. Therefore, it is crucial to obtain a comprehensive list of all the required licenses for the specific business you are considering. Understanding the process and timeframe for obtaining these licenses is essential. Some businesses may only require basic permits, while others may involve hazmat licenses. Hence, it is crucial to inquire about the necessary licenses and permits before finalizing any purchase.
6. How many customers and are they in agreement?
In order to make an informed decision about a route business for sale, it is important to delve into the details of its customer base. Begin by asking for information regarding the number of customers currently served by the route. Understanding the size and scope of the customer base allows you to gauge the potential reach and revenue of the business.
Additionally, inquire about the nature of the customer relationships. Are there any existing agreements or contracts in place with these customers? Discovering the presence of agreements can provide valuable insights into the stability and predictability of the business. Contracts may indicate long-term commitments or exclusive arrangements, which can have a significant impact on the sustainability and profitability of the route business.
By examining the customer base and associated agreements, you gain a deeper understanding of the existing customer relationships and their potential impact on future revenue. This knowledge allows you to assess the growth potential of the business and make a more informed decision regarding its suitability for your entrepreneurial goals.
7. How long have the customers been with the previous owner?
Imagine stumbling upon an enticing route opportunity with over 400 existing customers, impressive weekly sales, and a higher net income than expected. However, the price seems too good to be true. To verify the authenticity of the customer base, there is a crucial step you can take: requesting at least a year's worth of invoices from the customers.
By reviewing customer invoices, you can gain insights into their purchasing patterns and service history. This information will help you determine the longevity of the customer relationships. If the customers have been consistently patronizing the business for an extended period, it indicates a level of trust and satisfaction, making the business a more legitimate and reliable investment.
On the other hand, if the customers have only been associated with the business for a few months or less, it raises questions about the owner's pricing strategies. A sudden price reduction might be an attempt to secure a quick sale, which could potentially indicate underlying issues or a lack of customer loyalty.
Requesting a substantial timeframe of invoices allows you to assess customer loyalty, gauge the stability of the business, and make a more informed decision. It provides valuable insights into the customer base's reliability, which is a crucial factor in evaluating the overall value and potential of the route business.
Remember, due diligence is key when buying a business. Carefully scrutinize the provided invoices, cross-reference them with other available data, and consider reaching out to some customers directly if possible. This thorough examination will help you make a well-informed decision based on the actual customer history and the potential risks or opportunities associated with the route business.
8. What are the conditions of the vehicles and equipment you are taking over?
Asking about the conditions of the vehicles and equipment being included in the purchase of the route business holds significant importance. It allows you to evaluate the operational efficiency of the business, as well as potential maintenance and repair costs. By understanding the condition of the vehicles and equipment, you can assess their reliability and performance, ensuring smooth operations and minimizing disruptions. Furthermore, the appearance and functionality of these assets play a role in shaping the overall image and reputation of the route business. Well-maintained vehicles and equipment not only contribute to customer satisfaction but also convey professionalism and reliability. Additionally, considering the condition of the vehicles and equipment helps you plan for their longevity and potential replacements, ensuring the sustainability of the business in the long run.
Questions to Ask When Buying a Service-based Business
Stepping into the world of service-based businesses opens up a world of possibilities and decisions. In this journey, understanding the right questions to ask when buying a business becomes your trusted companion. These questions hold the key to making an informed choice, whether you're eyeing a consulting firm, a marketing agency, or any other service-oriented venture. So, let's embark on this exploration together and discover the essential questions to ask when buying a service-based business.
Q1: What is the current client retention rate and customer satisfaction level?
Understanding the business's client retention rate provides insights into the loyalty and satisfaction of existing customers. Inquiring about customer satisfaction surveys or feedback can reveal the quality of service provided and the likelihood of retaining clients post-acquisition. A high client retention rate and positive customer feedback indicate a strong foundation for future growth.
Q2: What is the composition and expertise of the existing workforce?
Assessing the skills and experience of the current workforce is crucial for evaluating the business's ability to continue delivering high-quality services. Inquire about the qualifications, certifications, and years of experience of key employees. Understanding the depth of expertise within the team can help determine if they possess the necessary skills to meet client demands and drive future growth.
Q3: What is the competitive landscape and market potential?
Gaining insights into the competitive landscape and market potential is essential for assessing the business's growth prospects. Research the market trends, competition, and potential opportunities for expansion. Understanding the business's unique value proposition and how it differentiates itself from competitors can provide a clearer picture of its growth potential. Additionally, analyzing the target market's size, demographics, and potential for future demand will help assess the scalability and sustainability of the business.
By asking these three important questions, you can gain valuable information about the business's customer base, workforce, and market dynamics, enabling you to make a more informed decision about acquiring the service-based business.
Questions to Ask When Buying a Transportation Business
Now, as we venture into the realm of acquiring a transportation business, we're embarking on a significant journey, much like charting a course through complex roadways. This journey presents substantial opportunities and challenges that demand careful consideration. To navigate this path effectively, having a well-structured list of questions to ask when buying a business serves as your reliable GPS system. These questions function as your guiding beacons, directing your way whether you're contemplating a trucking company, a logistics provider, or any other transportation-focused enterprise. Let's commence this journey by exploring the practical aspects of the questions to ask when buying a transportation business. This expedition is characterized by diligence and seriousness, equipping you with the insights and confidence necessary for a successful venture in the transportation industry.
Q1: What is the revenue breakdown by client type and contract duration?
Answer: This question aims to understand the distribution of revenue across different client types, such as individuals, businesses, and government contracts. Additionally, it helps assess the stability of the business by inquiring about the duration of contracts or agreements with clients. Knowing the diversity of clients and the presence of long-term contracts provides insight into the revenue streams and potential risks associated with client turnover.
Q2: What is the maintenance and repair history of the vehicles?
Answer: Inquiring about the maintenance and repair history of the vehicles in the fleet provides valuable information about their overall condition and potential costs. Understanding the frequency of maintenance, major repairs performed, and any recurring issues can help assess the fleet's reliability and potential future expenses. This question also demonstrates the owner's commitment to proper maintenance and can highlight any potential red flags.
Q3: How do you acquire loads or clients for your transportation business?
Answer: This question focuses on understanding the business's strategies for acquiring loads or clients. Inquire about the channels and methods they use to attract customers and generate business. This could include referrals, partnerships with logistics companies, online platforms, advertising and marketing efforts, or any other means of securing loads or clients. Understanding their client acquisition process will provide insights into the effectiveness of their marketing and sales strategies and help evaluate the business's ability to maintain a steady flow of work.
Questions to ask when buying a distribution business
Stepping into the world of acquiring a distribution business is a significant decision, akin to embarking on a challenging journey. This path is rife with substantial opportunities and notable challenges. As you navigate through the intricacies, having a well-structured list of questions to ask when buying a business is like having a dependable roadmap. These questions serve as your signposts, guiding your way whether you're considering a logistics company, a wholesale distributor, or any other distribution-focused enterprise. Let's explore the practical side of things, examining the essential questions to ask when buying a distribution business.
Q1: How long have customers been buying from the distribution business?
Answer: Inquire about the length of customer relationships and the average tenure of customer accounts. This will help you understand the loyalty and stability of the customer base. Longer customer relationships and a high average tenure indicate a strong reputation, customer satisfaction, and a track record of providing reliable and valued distribution services. Additionally, it demonstrates the potential for repeat business and a solid foundation for future growth.
Q2: What are the customer base and the geographic reach?
Answer: Ask about the customer base and geographic reach of the distribution business. Inquire about the types of customers served, their industries, and their distribution needs. Understand the business's reach in terms of local, regional, national, or international markets. This information will help assess the potential for expansion, diversification of customer segments, and opportunities for geographic expansion.
Q3: What is the existing supplier and vendor network?
Answer: Understanding the supplier and vendor network of the distribution business is crucial. Inquire about the relationships with suppliers, their reliability, and the terms of the contracts or agreements in place. Assess the diversity of suppliers and the level of dependence on any particular vendor. This information will help evaluate the stability of the supply chain and the potential risks associated with it.
3 Questions to ask when buying a bread delivery business
We all love bread, but even in our passion for this beloved staple, we can't overlook the importance of getting your questions answered when buying a business. Specifically, when considering a bakery or any business within the baking industry, understanding the critical details becomes paramount.
A bread route for sale, with its delectable creations and unique challenges, is a path that beckons many. To navigate this path successfully, having a well-structured list of questions to ask when buying a business is akin to kneading the perfect dough. These questions act as your baking recipe, guiding your way whether you're contemplating a traditional bakery, a specialty pastry shop, or any other business in the baking sector.
Let's embark on this journey through the world of bread and baking, exploring the practical aspects of the questions to ask when buying a bakery business. This endeavor is marked by thoroughness and dedication, providing you with the insights and confidence needed for a successful venture in the world of bread and pastries."
Q1: Are the shelving units for displaying bread products owned by the business or provided by the customers?
Answer: Inquire about the ownership and arrangement of shelving units used for displaying bread products. Determine whether the business provides and maintains its own shelving units or if it relies on customers to provide their own display fixtures. Understanding this arrangement is important as it can impact the business's operational costs, logistics, and overall customer experience. Additionally, it will help you assess the level of control the business has over its product presentation and the potential for upselling or cross-selling opportunities.
Q2: What is the reputation and relationship with bread suppliers?
Answer: Ask about the reputation and relationship with bread suppliers. Inquire about the current suppliers, the quality and variety of bread products they provide, and the terms of the supplier agreements. Assess the reliability of the suppliers, their ability to meet demand, and the potential for negotiating favorable pricing or exclusive supplier relationships. Understanding the strength of the supplier relationships is crucial for ensuring a consistent supply of high-quality bread products.
Q3: Is there any exclusivity or protection against competitors buying from your supplier and selling to your customers?
Answer: Inquire about any agreements or safeguards in place to protect the business against competitors buying from the same supplier and selling to its customers. Understand if there are any exclusive contracts or arrangements that prevent competitors from accessing the same supplier network. This is important to assess the level of competition in the market and the potential risks of losing customers to competitors who can offer similar bread products. Additionally, it will help evaluate the business's ability to maintain a competitive advantage and retain its customer base.
3 Questions to ask when buying a vending machine business
Have you considered a vending machine route? This venture presents intriguing opportunities and warrants careful exploration. A vending machine route, whether it involves snacks, beverages, or specialized products, is a business model that intrigues many prospective entrepreneurs.
The world of vending machines offers convenience and accessibility, but it's not without its complexities. To embark on this path with confidence, it's crucial to have a well-structured list of questions to ask when buying a business. These questions serve as your roadmap, guiding your way whether you're contemplating a vending route for snacks, healthy options, or even specialized items.
Let's delve into this journey, exploring the practical aspects of the questions to ask when buying a vending machine route. This expedition is marked by diligence and focus, providing you with the insights and confidence necessary for a successful venture in the vending machine business."
Q1: Are the vending machines owned or leased?
Inquire about the ownership or leasing status of the vending machines. Understand if the business owns the machines outright or if there are lease agreements in place with a leasing company. If leased, inquire about the terms and duration of the lease agreements. Understanding the ownership or leasing status is important as it can impact the financial obligations, flexibility, and long-term viability of the vending machine business. Additionally, it will help evaluate the potential costs and obligations associated with machine ownership or leasing.
Q2: What is the current location portfolio and performance of the vending machines?
Inquire about the existing locations where the vending machines are placed. Assess factors such as foot traffic, demographics, and the overall performance of the machines in each location. Understand the lease agreements or contracts in place with the location owners. This information will help evaluate the profitability and potential growth opportunities associated with the existing vending machine locations.
Q3: What are the product inventory and supplier relationships?
Ask about the current product inventory and the relationships with suppliers. Inquire about the range of products offered in the vending machines and the sourcing arrangements with suppliers. Assess the reliability of the suppliers, the availability of popular products, and the potential for negotiating favorable pricing or exclusive supplier relationships. Understanding the strength of the supplier relationships is crucial for ensuring a consistent supply of products and maximizing profitability.
Bonus Questions: Are there any restrictions or non-compete clauses associated with the purchase of the route business?
Ah, the ever-crafty question of restrictions and non-compete clauses! When exploring the purchase of a route business, it's imperative to inquire about any potential limitations that may come along for the ride. Such restrictions could involve geographic boundaries, preventing you from venturing into the same market with a competing business. Non-compete clauses aim to safeguard the seller's interests and preserve the value of the route business. Understanding these restrictions is essential for evaluating your future growth opportunities and ensuring a smooth journey toward entrepreneurial success.
Choosing between a distribution-based Route or a Service-based Route?
When considering the type of route business to invest in, you have the option of distribution-based routes or service-based routes. Each type has its own unique considerations:
Distribution-Based Routes: Delivery routes encompass a wide range of products, from beverages to home heating oil. Delivery-based businesses do not typically require extensive specialized skills. The main focus is supplying in-demand products to customers, ensuring profitability by adding your profit margin to the wholesale cost and collecting payment. However, there are potential challenges that come with delivery businesses, such as dealing with returned damaged or expired goods, as well as handling returns due to changes in customer preferences. These are important factors to consider when evaluating the perks and drawbacks of owning a delivery-based route business.
Service-Based Routes: On the other hand, service-based routes involve providing specialized skills or expertise to customers. For example, landscaping routes may seem straightforward, but they require knowledge and experience in areas such as watering grass, soil application, tree selection based on sun exposure, and cold hardiness. If you have no prior knowledge or experience in the specific service industry, it is advisable to learn the business first before purchasing a route. Investing in a service-based route without the necessary skills or understanding can be a costly lesson.
In conclusion, embarking on the journey of buying a business can hold immense potential for entrepreneurial success. However, conducting thorough research and asking the right questions to ask when buying a business are vital steps to minimize risks and maximize the chances of a prosperous venture. By being diligent in your inquiries, you can avoid common traps and make informed decisions that align with your goals.
Consider the specific aspects that matter to you, such as the financial health of the business, the strength of its customer base, the condition of its assets, and any potential legal or regulatory requirements. By addressing these key areas, you can gain a comprehensive understanding of the business's potential and determine whether it aligns with your aspirations.
Remember, investing in a business involves calculated risks. It is crucial to evaluate the market, assess competition, and forecast potential growth opportunities. Additionally, seek advice from professionals, consult with experienced business owners, and explore industry trends to enhance your decision-making process.
Now, armed with the knowledge and insights gained from asking the right questions, you are better equipped to select the ideal business opportunity. Whether it's a well-established enterprise or an emerging niche, consider the business that aligns with your passion, expertise, and long-term goals. With careful consideration and a strategic approach, you can embark on a rewarding entrepreneurial journey and take your first steps toward business ownership.
So, what business are you going to buy? The choice is yours, and the possibilities are endless.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. The laws and regulations regarding business licenses may vary from state to state and are subject to change. It is important to contact your local state office to determine which licenses are required for any specific businesses. Additionally, please note that this article contains affiliate links and we may earn a commission from our affiliate partners or Amazon links. If you are considering starting a business, it is recommended that you seek the advice of a qualified lawyer, business broker, or professional in your area. The information provided in this article is not a substitute for professional advice and should not be relied upon as such.