What specific lending options should I consider to purchase an established small business?
I have worked for a successful small gym for ~10 years. The founder has expressed interest in selling, and I'd like to take a real shot at acquiring it. I know the ins and outs of running the place, but I am unsure how to go about acquiring the funds I'd need to make a competitive offer. Are there specific lending options I should be looking at? Should I be asking investors for help?
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Hi, Daniel. There are several financing options out there but choosing the right one depends on your needs, budget, and qualifications. The obvious go-to is a business acquisition loan (learn about it here: https://www.lendio.com/business-loans/acquisition-loan/) but you could also use a term loan or SBA loan to finance your purchase.
Business acquisition loans are appealing because they typically offer low interest rates and let you finance up to $5 million. Term loans also offer low rates but you may be limited by a smaller loan amount. SBA 504 or 7(a) loans are great for purchasing an established business but the time to get approve and funded can often be significantly longer than it is with other loan products.
If you want to explore several different business loan options in one place, visit Lendio.com and browse the site. You'll see financing products from 75+ lenders in the US.
As for your note about investors, the main thing to ask yourself when considering an investor is this: are you willing to give up equity in your business? Most investors will fund your business in exchange for partial ownership or a share of the profits, which means you lose some level of independence and control. If you want to make sure you're completely in charge of your business, an investor may not be your best bet.
The type of funding you pursue is largely related to your own financial situation. A conventional loan from a bank or credit union, for example, could be more difficult to secure but also tends to be less expensive. Alternative lenders offer a wide range of options that are generally more flexible and easier to be approved for, but they also come at a higher cost. The option best for you will depend on a multitude of factors, such as your credit score, your cash on hand, the business's financial situation, your projected revenue and expenses, debt-to-income ratio, and more. Different lenders have different requirements, but you can expect these major considerations to influence their decision-making.
Here's a good place to start when considering your options for business loans: https://www.business.com/categories/small-business-loans-and-financing-options/?t=1513265256
Investors are a different ball game altogether. Before pursuing that avenue, ask yourself if you really want to sell equity in your business and what that could mean for how you run your business. In your case, since the business is already up and running, including all the equipment and the location you need, I'm not certain if investors would be necessary unless you really want to avoid taking out a loan.
I am a business writer with some experience in the finance space, but not a financial advisor. These are simply my own opinions. I strongly recommend doing some research on your own and, if possible, consulting with a professional financial advisor who has a fiduciary responsible to you.