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4 Advantages of Purchasing a Business as a Going Concern

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The landscape of business acquisition is diverse, offering various opportunities for investors and entrepreneurs. One attractive option that has gained significant attention is purchasing an existing business as a going concern. This approach involves acquiring a business that is already operational and functioning in the market. Purchasing an existing business as a going concern has proven advantageous in the UK for several reasons. This article will explore four key advantages of purchasing a UK business as a going concern.

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What Does it Mean to Purchase a Business as a Going Concern?

Most buyers expect to purchase a target business as a going concern. The exception is for distressed businesses that are bought with the intention of dividing up their assets and selling them off. From the buyer’s perspective, a going concern business indicates that it:

  • has the finances to continue trading for at least 12 months;
  • is unlikely to face any insolvency proceedings in the near future; and
  • has the financial records demonstrating its solvency over the next year.

1. Established Market Presence and Reputation

One of the primary advantages of acquiring a UK business as a going concern is instant access to an established market presence and a reputable brand. Starting a business from scratch requires time, effort, and considerable resources to build brand recognition and customer trust. Buyers can bypass the challenges associated with establishing themselves in the market by purchasing a business already operating successfully.

An existing customer base and a recognised brand provide a solid foundation for growth and expansion. Customers are more likely to choose a brand with a history of reliability and quality, giving the new owner a head start in the competitive business environment.

There is a massive value to involvement with a business that has already achieved success, has enjoyed previously advertised campaigns, and has an active customer base.

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2. Operational Efficiency and Streamlined Processes 

When acquiring a UK business as a going concern, the new owner inherits not only the physical business assets but also the:

This can significantly reduce the learning curve and challenges of setting up efficient systems. The business already has:

  • a working structure;
  • experienced existing employees; and 
  • established workflows.

By leveraging existing operational efficiency, the new business owner can focus on strategic improvements rather than dealing with the day-to-day struggles of getting a business off the ground. This advantage is precious for investors looking for a quicker return on investment and want to minimise the potential risks associated with the initial stages of business ownership. Additionally, it allows for a smoother transition, as the existing staff and management are already familiar with the business operations.

3. Financial Stability and Predictable Cash Flow

Acquiring a UK business as a going concern often comes with the benefit of a proven financial track record. Prospective buyers can:

  • review historical financial statements; 
  • assess cash flow patterns; and 
  • evaluate the business’s overall financial health before deciding.  

This transparency provides a level of predictability that is often unavailable in startups or enterprises undergoing significant restructuring.

A business with a stable financial foundation reduces the risk for the new owner, as they can make more informed decisions based on historical performance. This financial stability mainly attracts investors seeking a reliable and steady cash flow. It allows for better financial planning and the ability to implement growth strategies without concerns of economic instability within the foreseeable future.

4. Existing Supplier and Customer Relationships 

Purchasing a UK business as a going concern comes with the added advantage of inheriting existing contracts and relationships with suppliers and customers. Established businesses and companies typically have reliable suppliers and a network of loyal customers. These relationships are built over time and can be challenging to replicate, making them a valuable asset for the new owner.

Maintaining strong supplier relationships ensures a smooth supply chain, often leading to better terms, discounts, and reliability. On the customer side, retaining existing clients is generally more cost-effective than acquiring new ones. The trust and loyalty developed by the previous owner can be leveraged to foster long-term customer relationships, providing a solid foundation for business growth.

Key Takeaways

Purchasing a business as a going concern offers several advantages that can make it an appealing option. From an established market presence to operational efficiency and financial stability, these advantages can significantly contribute to the success and sustainability of the acquired business. Acquiring a business as a going concern positions buyers on a smoother path to profitability and growth.

If you need legal assistance purchasing a business as a going concern, our experienced business sale lawyers can assist as part of our LegalVision membership. For a low monthly fee, you will have unlimited access to lawyers to answer your questions and draft and review your documents. Call us today on 0808 196 8584 or visit our membership page.

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