Like all other states in the U.S., Florida has its own unique culture, people, and economic landscape. Consistently named to the Top 10 States for Business, Florida enjoys a low tax rate for business owners. Additionally, Florida’s warm weather, sandy beaches, and laid-back lifestyle make it a great place to live and work.
Florida’s economy is strong too, with unemployment continuing to trend downward. In fact, 3.1 million Florida residents are employed by small businesses. With a large pool of available talent, it should be no problem finding good employees to help you successfully run your business.
There are many different types of businesses available to buy in Florida as well, making it an attractive place to do business for many different types of people. Here are some things to look for when buying a business in Florida.
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Once you’ve decided on the type of business you’d like to own, there are some things to take into consideration. Where is your ideal location? Is it accessible enough that you’ll easily generate traffic? Are there other things nearby that will help drive new business when you don’t have marketing resources, such as large chain restaurants or shopping malls? Will the type of business you’re looking for thrive in the area where you’d like to locate it? All of these are key considerations when buying a business to ensure you’re starting off on a successful foot.
It’s also important to choose a shop that has an established customer base in its community, is in a good location, and has earning potential that matches your goals. Furthermore, if you find a Florida business for sale that meets your criteria, you may be in a better position for a small business loan. Banks and other lenders prefer to give these types of loans to established businesses with a proven record of success.
For many businesses, if not all, location plays a major role in success. It would be difficult for a boat dealer to survive in the middle of the Nevada desert, and would likewise be difficult for an RV park to survive next to a neighborhood of estate homes. (It would be better suited for a vacation area). Make sure when assessing several different business options, you’re accounting for the location of each, as this critical factor is one of the only ones you’re unable to change.
When thinking about the type of business you might buy, consider how many of the same types of business already exist in the area you’re considering. For example, if you’re looking to buy a beauty salon, and the area is already fairly saturated with them, you may want to consider another type of business, or another location.
Buying into an environment with heavy competition can make marketing your products and services much more difficult. Furthermore, you’ll have a harder time acquiring customers and creating long-standing relationships with them if they’re already loyal to a competing business in the area.
Once you’ve settled on a few businesses that meet your initial criteria, it’s time to get some professional help and start digging into the details of these particular shops. You may want to bring in an attorney, accountant and a commercial real estate agent to assist you. All of these professionals can make the entire process of choosing the right business far easier, faster, and more likely to end in success.
You’ll need to do this with any business you buy, but it’s always worth stating: make sure you look at the “books” of the business before you make a serious offer. You need to be certain that the current owners are being truthful about the business they run and that they’re really experiencing the level of financial success they claim. If there have been lulls in business or profits, you need to know why in order to make an informed decision as to whether or not you’ll move forward with the purchase. You’ll want to see bank statements, financial records, vendor lists, tax returns, insurance policies, and more.
Reviewing the business’s financial records is a vital step in the process, as no amount of charisma or smooth talking on the part of the owner will be able to hide whether or not the business is a good investment once a qualified accountant begins poring over the books. Unless you can clearly identify the reasons behind financial issues andyou’re confident you can reverse them, it’s unwise to invest in an operation that’s slowly going out of business.
It’s important to review legal records as well. Many businesses are going to be subject to various regulations, usually at the local municipal or county level. Verify that the business’s licenses and insurance are up-to-date and that its staff has the necessary training and (in some cases) certifications to be doing the job in that location.
No matter what type of business you decide to buy in Florida, it should be the right choice for you. Don’t get pressured into buying a business you don’t feel passionate about, because you should always love what you do, especially as a business owner.
By Bruce Hakutizwi, USA and International Accounts Manager for BusinessesForSale.com, the world’s largest online marketplace for buying and selling small and medium size businesses. Bruce has over 7 years’ experience working within the US business transfer marketplace connecting buyers and sellers.