Gibson’s niche how-to guide makes the intricacies of acquiring an established company easy to understand and a little less daunting.
With 30 years of experience in business development and brokerage, Gibson has written a specialized book for prospective buyers who have a specific business in their sights. He discusses three reasons people buy businesses—the pursuits of autonomy, happiness and wealth—and gives plenty of advice for deciding when to buy based on business cycles, economic indicators and the buyer’s (and seller’s) motives. Primarily, though, he concentrates on the enigmatic minutia that might make the eyes of would-be entrepreneurs glaze over. Imagining a cabinet shop called Doozy Manufacturing Company (“Doozy”), Gibson provides helpful explanations of the role of business brokers, the lay definitions of “small business,” “fair market” and “ROI,” and how to decipher prospectuses and other financial statements. Gibson displays his knowledgeable, accessible style by illustrating how to determine the earnings capacity of a business—“What could Doozy earn in the future?” In discussing how to cautiously forecast Doozy’s annual and monthly expenses, he reminds entrepreneurs that “the owner gets paid last.” Mostly, Gibson serves as an excellent teacher, explaining that “not being had” means being able to understand “the elements of value” and “opinions of value,” particularly how both are calculated and interpreted. He provides case studies, a convenient glossary and a helpful appendix, complete with samples of promissory notes and a boilerplate for a purchase contract. For the nonfinancial aspects of determining the right business to buy, he asks potential buyers to consider such things as their complementary skills, desired work environment and location, which, even though these aspects may not be as critical as the financial characteristics, Gibson still advises that they “should be looked at in depth” before moving forward. Patience is key, he stresses; taking the time to study, negotiate and “perform more adequate due diligence” leads “to making a successful investment.”
Meticulously researched and crystal clear, a good investment for anyone in the business-buying business.