Never too old to buy a business

As a business broker, I meet a large number of people who is wanting to buy a business and hear many stories and life experiences not limited to business experiences during the course of the day.

I have recently had an interesting conversation with a man (Tom not his real name) in his mid fifties who thought he was too old to buy a business  and had worked in a particular industry for the better part of his adult life and had suddenly found himself out of work.

This came about when his employer sold the business to a buyer who wanted to change the way things were done and this led to Tom’s retrenchment.

Having a wealth of experience behind him, Tom was not overly concerned with his plight, as he believed that with his track record and the fact that the employment figures are still great in Victoria, he would not have a problem in finding another job.

Two years after his last day as an employee, Tom is still unemployed.

He told me in harrowing detail of the disappointments and rejections that he has had in his attempts to find employment in a profession that he worked in for over 30 years.

After the first year, he no longer applied only for jobs in his previous profession, but was so desperate for work that he applied for anything including jobs in cleaning and factories. His household budget had taken a blow since they had to rely solely on his wife’s income to make ends meet.

This situation led him to a spiral of self-doubt and depression that was threatening not only his health but also of his personal relationships with his wife and children.

After listening to what he had to say, I asked him if he had ever thought of being self-employed and running his own business

He told me that he always worked for someone else as an employee and never as an employer and did not think that at this stage in his life should try something that he had never done before.

The more we talked the more I thought that Tom would do a better job at running some of the businesses that I had on the market for sale, than the people running them there at the moment.

I told him that there were many businesses on the market in the industry that he came from, that would actually be doing very well or a lot better if only they were managed or run by someone like him.

I pointed out to him that there were a lot of people out there that had invested in themselves, in their own potential and capabilities and profited from that investment.

With Tom’s experience and commitment, why should he work for someone else and not for himself? If he did, he would be master of his own destiny and not subjected to the whims and decision making of others. I told him that in fact he had probably contributed more than he realised to his previous employer’s business. His efforts had helped make it such a success that his employer was able to sell for a considerable profit.

I told Tom that there were many people that were buying small businesses for the first time with out having any previous experience in their respective industry and still managed to make them successful.

In fact, if you don’t expect to become a millionaire overnight and choose the right business, you can enjoy a steady income and be your own boss with relatively low start up capital.

Banks and landlords also look favourably on your experience in the industry you are looking to buy into and would prefer people to have worked in similar businesses to the ones that they are looking to buy.

For example if you have worked as a baker all your life but have never actually owned your own bakery you would be a perfect prospective buyer for the many bakeries for sale in Victoria at the moment.

To get started, all you need to do is decide what sort of industry, whether it be hospitality, automotive, hair and beauty etc…The amount of capital you can afford to invest in paying for it and what area or location you would prefer.

Business brokers are an invaluable source of information and a good business broker would be able to discern your needs and find the right business to suit those needs.

You can also do your own research on the internet by looking through all the business for sale adds and sites that deal with business sales and look at what is available at the moment on the market.

This exercise will give you a good indication of what is on offer and what you can expect to pay for it.

You also need to remember that just because a business is advertised at a certain price it doesn’t mean that there is no room for negotiation.

NOW is a very good time to buy, as there are some real bargains to be had and someone such as Tom with his wealth of experience and maturity, is a prime candidate and a recipe for success in a small business venture.

So the moral of this story is never give up and look outside the square.

As long as there is life, there is opportunity!


Chris Panagiotidis

Senior Business Broker
Absolute Business Brokers

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