Buying a business in the United States isn't as cut and dry as it seems.
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There are a lot ways to approach the process of buying an American company – and each has its own advantages and pitfalls.
Right out of the gate you will need to decide whether or not you are comfortable handling the details of locating a U.S. business for sale, evaluating its worth, and negotiating the deal yourself. If not, you will have to pursue other resources that are designed to assist buyers with the purchasing process.
Buying a Business in the United States On Your Own
As a foreign entrepreneur, buying a U.S. business on your own is an especially risky venture. American business buyers often avoid buying on their own because they lack the skills, connections, and objectivity to successfully represent their interests during the process.
If you're still determined to do it yourself, you need to know where to start your search. One of the most common places to find American businesses for sale is through online listings like BizBuySell.com (the largest online business-for-sale marketplace in the U.S.). Business owners and their representatives use online listings to maximize their marketing exposure. For international buyers, online listings make it easy to conduct preliminary research half a world away.
But for confidentiality reasons, some businesses for sale in the United States are never listed. Learning about these business opportunities requires connections – and that's where many international buyers fall short. As much as possible, network with U.S.-based contacts and leverage business relationships to dig up unlisted opportunities.
Buying an American Business with Assistance
In the U.S., many business buyers prefer to enlist the services of a business broker to guide them through the purchasing process. For a price, your business broker will work with you to identify qualified companies that are ripe for purchase. He will also work closely with you to determine a reasonable offer, negotiate the deal, and handle post-acquisition details.
It can be difficult to achieve a successful international sale without the services of a good business broker. The details that are involved in even a simple purchase transaction are mind-boggling. Without a business broker, the long distance nature of an international business acquisition inevitably leads to missed opportunities that you can't afford to pass up.