20 Important Questions To Ask When Buying A Business 2023

Please understand that purchasing a company is a stressful process. You’re ready to spend significant money on a business in an industry you might not be familiar with. Despite this, investing in a business should never include a risk. You should feel comfortable investing money in your new company if you conduct adequate research, exercise due diligence, and pay close attention to detail.
One of the most important aspects of becoming an acquisition entrepreneur is knowing what questions to ask. A lot of times, transactions look lovely on the surface, but when you look a bit closer, you notice that the company has one or more characteristics that make it a poor target. In many respects, asking crucial questions is more about weeding out bad offers than finding a good one. It aids in identifying potential areas for improvement, identifying potential holes in your employment structure, and determining whether the company is nothing more than a lemon. So without further ado, here is a list of 20 crucial questions before investing in a question.

Also check – Questions to ask when starting small business

Questions To Ask When Buying A Business

1. Why specifically do I need to purchase this company?

It would help if you made certain that you’re buying the company for the correct motives. Are you looking to purchase it simply because you are interested in the market? Do you have prior ownership experience in this industry and believe you can make this venture operate similarly? Do you think it’s a great financial investment?

2. Why am I deciding to buy this company instead of beginning my own?

Maybe the company is well-established, but you think you’d like to follow the path of the former owner. Perhaps you’re convinced you’ve got what it takes to take over the business and improve it. It could be a fantastic option to add to your business. It would be more beneficial to start fresh and start your own company.

3. Who else should I talk to following my meeting with the seller?

Suppose you have met the owner and are satisfied with the result. In that case, you might consider contacting employees, customers, suppliers, and contract customers to confirm the data you’ve gathered and get a second opinion.

Personal Questions To Ask Owner When Buying A Business

There’s no need to ask the owner of the business. However, there are specific personal questions that you’ll need to ask before delving into the business issues.

4. Why do you plan to sell your company?

Use your senses to determine the authenticity and rationality of the answer. Perhaps they’re moving to an opportunity that is better for their specific situation, or they’ve constructed the business to the best possible within their capabilities. Now is the time to leave. It is possible to get an idea of the current issues that the company is facing, but that’s not necessarily bad as you’re given a fair and honest assessment of the current situation.

5. How many years have you been in the company?

The time the current owner is in charge of the business will tell you many things about the business. The time they have owned the business is an excellent indicator of the company’s future performance, mainly when they didn’t hold the company in the first place. It is worth asking about the previous owner of the business is a good idea as well.

6. How are you able to dedicate to the business every week?

Request their timesheets and their typical monthly and weekly activities within the business to get more insight into what your job will entail in your new position as the company’s owner.

7. How much of your business’s success can you attribute to your loyalty rather than loyalty to the company?

Are the retention of customers good due to the personality of the proprietor or the products? This is a critical issue to consider when purchasing a family-owned company. Of course, many businesses enjoy loyal patrons who are used to things happening exactly as they are. However, it’s challenging to duplicate that experience with a new owner in the event of a change.

8. How are you currently paying yourself? Pay yourself currently?

As an entrepreneur who is a friend, the business owner will know that you’ll want to see what you’ll earn.

9. What is the annual gross profit margin and revenue?

A trustworthy seller will provide you with the exact numbers concerning the profits of their business. It is essential to know what you could earn from this venture as well as what are the current costs of operating.

10. How is the book’s health?

Together with your financial advisor or accountant, In conjunction with a financial advisor or accountant, review the last 3 to 5 years’ financial statements. Examine taxes, cash flow statements, and balance sheets, contracts, payroll, and investments to ensure that everything is financially sound.

11. Has the price you are offering been evaluated by an outside auditor?

The owner may have his appraisal and an assessment done with an independent auditor. If these numbers are vastly divergent, it could indicate that something is going on underneath the surface. You can decide to trust the report prepared by their auditor, or you may have an audit performed by someone you trust. However, the cost of the auditor is the most reliable number for you to start discussions about how much the company is worth. In addition, do a thorough market study to determine what similar businesses have sold for.

12. What is the nature of the liabilities that are attached to the company?

If there are pending obligations relating to the company, the business owner must disclose the debts now. Also, it would help if you inquired about the interest rate for the business’s premises, the equipment purchased through Hire Purchase (buy now, pay later), and long-term agreements with clients already in the industry. You’re entitled to negotiate with the business owner willing to take care of any outstanding debts before taking this business.

13. What assets do you have in the company?

This covers tangible (items such as delivery trucks or other equipment) and intangible (goodwill generated or the social media profiles) items of a current company. It is essential to have a complete list of all the things you’ll receive when you sell the business. Another asset worth asking about is the list of successful customers.

14. What is the value of your goodwill to the company?

The value of goodwill is the value a buyer will be willing to pay for a business over and beyond its assets. This might include the strength of a business’s brand, reputation, employee expertise, customer databases, and any other aspects of a company that adds value to a buyer.
Concerns about commercial operations or legal obligations: It is now clear what the cost of this venture will be and how much revenue it will make. Now is the time to shift your focus to what you’ll be able to achieve when you become the business’s new proprietor.

15. Does the company have prior or pending lawsuits?

If the business being sold has a track record of legal troubles, it will send alarms. If you inherit a company with an unpopular reputation or a history of wrongdoings is challenging to come back financially and may impact your future ventures in business.

16. What licenses and permits do I need to renew?

Most businesses have some form of license specifically for their field of work. Inquiring the business owner about this can make a massive difference in the amount of time and legal issues down the road when you fail to follow the correct licenses and permits.

17. What does your current business plan look like?

The seller could allow you to view the current company plan which will give you an idea of expected business growth and expansion that hasn’t been revealed. It could also show more about why the owner has decided to leave.

18. Who are the essential employees?

Competent employees can bring tremendous value to any business. If you’re considering replacing certain employees, keep in mind that they’re likely to possess years of expertise within the company you do not have. Therefore their expertise and understanding of the business should not be underestimated.

19. Do you have a strategy for how you’d like this sale funded?

Most small-sized lenders require sellers to maintain the standby position for two years. This is the time when the buyer gets loans to pay for the period of settling in for the business. In certain situations, the seller can take on the financing of the loan by themselves, referred to in the industry as seller financing. It is essential to consider whether a cash-only or deal funding is best for you.

20. Do you have tips on how to run this company?

Maybe the previous owner made a few costly marketing mistakes or was a victim of a shoddy vendor at some point in time. Be honest and seek advice on managing this business, and also advice about how to make it more successful soon.


Buying a business is a fun and challenging thing to do. But we can’t say enough about how important it is to do your research before signing a contract to sell a business. By going through the 20 questions to ask before buying a business that we’ve listed above, you can make sure you do all the necessary due diligence. Take your time and put in the work to make sure the handover goes well.