Look at Business Financials… for Free

May 24th, 2017 – A big piece of achieving my targets is to stay open and educate myself on as many opportunities as possible. I have looked at buying real estate, existing businesses, franchises, joined network marketing firms, read books on online businesses, created business plans for restaurants, and many more.

I find that through these different lenses there are success stories that each touts as an example to hook you in, but each has it’s negatives also. I’ve learned a lot signing NDAs (non-disclosure agreements) & CAs (confidentiality agreements) that have given me insights into the actual or pro forma (a sunny side view) of how well different businesses for sale operate.

What it has taught me is that there are a lot of small businesses out there for sale who are not very profitable. There are a lot of real estate deals that don’t make sense. The ones that are easiest to find are often the least desirable opportunities. In order to find the real opportunities you have to dig deeper.

I am getting better at analyzing deals and seeing how different businesses and companies report financials. It is great at starting to see trends in why one business is valued higher than another.

There are a lot of opportunities for people to become business owners and there are serial entrepreneurs who fly under the radar because the companies they create are not your behemoth Black Swans like a Facebook or an Apple. They are strong companies with good fundamentals, just very scaled down. Their upside is limited (a single restaurant can only serve so many patrons a day), yet they can be more stable as everyone must eat to survive. Assuming the location, quality, etc. are up to par that restaurant can be just as valuable of an asset on the road to financial freedom.

I’ve also noticed on these sites that Visas are listed as available through ownership, which leads me to believe that many resident non-US citizens purchase these smaller companies for Visa purposes. I wonder how and if this law affects the proportion of US citizens who are business owners versus those who are non-US Citizen business owners.

I digress, as this post is about staying educated and exploring the options that exist currently. It is a key piece that I am incorporating into my routine to ensure that I can see the financials for as many businesses as I can in order to better understand how various businesses function. The more I look at now the better I’ll be able to spot differences and separate the bad deals from the great deals.

Websites I utilize to stay up to date include:

  • Bizbuysell.com
  • LoopNet.com
  • the MLS (multiple listing service) for Real Estate
  • Zillow.com
  • Realtor.com

Once you check out these websites above and find a property or business you are interested, fill out the attached or required NDA/CA. Then the broker will send you information and you can educate yourself on opportunities and businesses you may be interested in starting…

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