There are three major decisions most people have to make in their business ownership journey:

1. Do you take the plunge at all?
2. Exactly what type of business do you want to buy?
3. How will you sort out the basics, like finances and lifestyle, to make it a success?

While each decision comes with its challenges, it’s often the second one that can be the toughest to answer. Not every business is right for every buyer, so figuring out which one is the best fit for you often involves a bit of soul searching and a lot of research.

To help you avoid some of the common mistakes and find the right small business for you, here are some important steps to get you started…

Remember, it’s all about you. Choosing a business that makes the most of your personal qualities and one that fits with your lifestyle is important. So spend some time thinking about your strengths, passions and what type of business you can see yourself running. Basing your business on something that really fires you up can be a good thing, as long as you address it with the same diligence you would give to any other business transaction. Your dreams shouldn’t blind you to the realities of commercial trade or a truly good (or bad) opportunity. At the end of the day, you are going to be the boss and need to be happy – so be honest with yourself, and remember you’re the one that will have to live with whatever decision you make.

Money does matter. Not every business opportunity is the same. Some industry sectors require higher levels of initial investment than others. Think about what a business in the industry you’re interested in requires in terms of premises, equipment, staffing, and other ongoing costs – and factor these into your overall decision. Evaluate your financial position and consider all the factors before you start your search so you can go into it with a clear idea of what type of business you can afford.

Take your time. Whatever type of business you’re interested in, take the time required to make an informed and intelligent decision. Do your research. Read newspapers, pay attention to social developments, and talk to friends, family, and other small business owners about their experiences and advice. Look for trends in small business, and evaluate how these may affect your final decision. Is a particular industry on the rise? Is there room for growth in your location? While no business is truly recession-proof, some are less likely to be affected by the economy – so keep this in mind. Ultimately the decision is yours, but don’t disregard the value of thorough investigation and time, over a gut feeling.

Get it right. The right business for you is ultimately one that fits your budget, lifestyle, and leverages some of your strengths. You don’t have to be passionate about every task you do, and you don’t need to be good at everything, but you do need to love your business and be prepared to put in the effort if you want to succeed.

Minimise your risk by buying an existing business – click here to discover the Benefits of buying an existing small business.