Business Perspectives…
from the desk of 
Denis J. Burke, MBA

Senior Business Broker

What is a Good Business?

One of the most common statements I hear from potential Business Buyers around the globe regardless of whether they are based in Atlanta, Chicago, Miami or New York, Quebec, Hong Kong, Munich, Germany or Barcelona, Spain it’s always the same “I want to buy a good business.” Once I probe them some more, most prospects still don’t have anything definitive to say other than “a business that makes a lot of money.” So I realize I’m no better informed about this possible business these individuals want to buy. I think to myself. A lot of money for me may not be a lot of money for them. Still perplexed and unclear about what these buyers want, I ask more questions. Can you please tell me more about the type of business you want to buy? A typical response may be I want a Motel, Laundromat, Restaurant or Gas Station. In my own mind, I have wondered why nobody ever asks about a Funeral Parlor, a City Sewer Line Repair Service or a High-Rise Window Washing Business (All 3 are extremely profitable). I concluded that those businesses are not at the forefront of people’s mind and besides the potential Buyers don’t know that those business are VERY GOOD BUSINESSES.

It has taken me some time but what I figured out is that the majority of people DON’T KNOW for CERTAIN what they WANT when it comes to BUYING a BUSINESS. Furthermore, after hundreds of meetings and discussions with prospective Buyers I have come to the conclusion, that most people perceive as a GOOD BUSINESS as following:

  • They can Buy the Business for $50,000-100,000 with 20% to $30% down with Seller Finance
  • They will hire a Manager or it will already have a Manager running it.
  • They rarely have to show up to work, but are willing to breeze in and breeze out a few times a week.
  • They want to make $100,000 to $150,000 a year.
  • They want to be at a Sunset Beach Bar under a Tiki Hut drinking cocktails and marguerites every evening after 5pm.
  • They all want to become millionaires.

Realistic, Unrealistic or Just Naive? …What do you think a GOOD BUSINESS is?  


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