Don’t start a business (buy one)

Don’t start a business (buy one)

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Don’t start a business (buy one)

Wait but, aren’t dying businesses the only ones for sale?

Not at all! A business can be for sale for many reasons: some entrepreneurs are excited about the building/launching stage only and get bored with managing the day-to-day, others want to retire, or are simply looking to spend more time with their families.

It can take time, but out there there’s a business perfect for your budget, skills, and experience.

The goal is to find a business that is generating money but has lots of room for growth and where you can make a positive impact.

If you’re still not convinced, these are my favorite 5 reasons to become an entrepreneur by buying a business:

#1. Instant cash flow

It may be a small amount, but it makes a smoother entry into the business world. Not worrying about what if no one is interested in your business it’s a relief. Even without making any changes, it will generate some cash.

By comparison, starting a new business can take a long time to attract new customers and become cash positive. It may even never reach product-market fit!

Success case: This guy bought a Shopify app and grew it to $1M/year. Why was so successful? Joined a growing trend (Shopify was booming, still is) and he had an interest in the space: social proof.

#2. Existing customer base

Having a pool of existing customers available to ask how has been their experience so far and how it can be improved is super valuable. You don’t have to work with hypotheticals, these people have already spent money on the company.

Success case: This student left Standford, bought a website, and tripled its revenue in 6 months. How he made it happen? It went through all support tickets from the last months and analyzed which issues were mentioned the most. That generated a list of highly requested features to retain existing customers and attract new ones.

#3. Established supply chain

Traveling to China to deal with a manufacturer? Comparing several suppliers to find the best? One of the biggest pains of starting a business is having to source all this information. Having these set up will save you tons of headaches.

Later you’ll want to review all that, of course, but you already have the minimum to keep the business going.

Success case: This couple bought a business for $535K and grew it to $8.5M/year. They left six-figure jobs and took them years of work, but today they’re incredibly successful.

#4. Operations

Another valuable asset in a company is its systems. For first-time entrepreneurs, it’s an advantage to inherit a set of proven systems instead of trying to figure out everything by yourself.

Entrepreneurs will likely have all processes written down to make it easier to manage the business. If you’re thinking about acquiring a business, ask for those or ask enough questions so you can create them.

Success case: This guy bought his friend’s business for $2,5K and now makes $100K/year. He’s been able to grow into a six-figure business with just 1 employee thanks to having great systems in place.

#5. Greater chances of success

Around 20% of businesses close during their first year, and 45% do not celebrate their 5th anniversary. This means that any business achieving these milestones must be doing something right.

Success case: This guy made buying businesses a numbers game and has already acquired 40. With his grandfather passing on some major investment opportunities, including one in a new football team called the New England Patriots, this guy wanted to make sure that will never happen to him.

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Would you learn how to cook by creating your own recipes?

No, you wouldn't. You'd use the internet to find step-by-step guides and learn by copying from the best.

You can do the same to starting a business. There’s no need to figure out everything on your own. You can do the same others did before (and succeeded).

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Piggybacking your way to success

We call piggybacking to creating products around successful businesses and trends. To put it simply, it's cleverly jumping on the bandwagon of what’s already popular.

The main advantage of this strategy is how easily you can segment your market and target potential customers. A customer base that keeps growing.

How to successfully do it? Analyze a popular product/service and identify pains that its users may have (there’s always something).

A great example of how someone executed this perfectly is this simple tool for Airbnb managers that generates over $1M/year.

Want to see more? Learn how these successful businesses were built on top of popular products:

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Quick hitters

(1) This tool for online stores makes $900K/year. E-commerce is booming. Everybody knows that. And one great to make money besides selling products is building tools for these businesses.

Even what may seem simple tools can become very profitable businesses: $240K/year shipment tracking app, $350K/year Whatsapp plugin.

Bonus: Read this list of 100 one-person business ideas.

(2) This founder started an $18K/year virtual preschool. Online education is here to stay and even toddlers are going to hang out online. The whole education system is going to be disrupted, and that can only mean new business opportunities are going to arise.

See more examples: This platform for teachers has 2M users, this teacher went from part-time tutor to making $120K/year online.


Thanks for reading!

Pat Walls,  Founder of Starter Story
Want to start your own business?

Hey! 👋I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.

We interview successful business owners and share the stories behind their business. By sharing these stories, we want to help you get started.

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meet the author
David Bustos

Hey there! 👋 I'm David, and if you ever got an email from Starter Story, I probably wrote it. With a background in working with startups and writing, being part of this team is kind of a perfect fit for me.