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The general manager, who ran the business day to day for the previous owner, volunteered to stay on and has been really helpful. RS: We invested about 20% of our own cash and the rest was debt-funded. It's a technique that I'd seen used mainly in MBOs [management buy-outs] at big companies.It's a mixture of bank loans and loans from the vendor. There isn't much in the way of assets with RSVP; the value is in the 15,000 lifetime members.RS: The level of security required by the banks is pretty daunting - having to do personal guarantees, having to execute all the documents.Also, we were buying a sole tradership, which means you can't do things like transfer the bank account and contracts because they're personal to the sole trader.A lot of customers and suppliers don't want to know when you turn it into a new company, whereas if you just buy shares in something they wouldn't even notice that it's changed hands.So my advice to potential vendors is to incorporate long before they decide to sell.We also invested heavily in technology, in a new network and new membership system.
Although that deal was done two years ago, vendor loans would be even more effective in today's market, where sellers have to lower their expectations of what the buyer can afford.It's therefore quite hard to raise money on, and secondly, we wanted to retain the vendor's support.We stay in touch with the vendor and all payments have been met on time.If you enjoyed this article, sign up for a *free* Businesses For account to receive the latest small business advice, features, videos and listings directly to your inbox!You know the old saying about first impressions, and how you only get one chance to make them? You can have the most handsome, photogenic dating photo in the world, but tacking a horrible username on it has roughly the same effect as that iceberg had on the Titanic.
AB: Would you do anything differently if you bought another business? There was one particular assumption we made about our ability to sell dating services to the over-55s that turned out to be flawed.