How to buy a distressed business

How to Buy a Distressed Business

Are you considering buying a distressed business? Perhaps you see the potential to turn things around and make a profit, or maybe you’re simply looking for a new challenge. Whatever your reasons may be, buying a distressed business can be a smart move – if you know what you’re doing. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the steps you need to take to buy a distressed business and turn it into a success.

Understanding What a Distressed Business Is

Before you begin your search for a distressed business, it’s important to understand what this term means. A distressed business is one that is facing financial difficulties and is struggling to stay afloat. These difficulties may be caused by a range of factors, including poor management, a decline in demand for the business’s products or services, or an economic downturn.

It’s important to note that not all distressed businesses are a good investment opportunity. Some businesses may be beyond saving, while others may require significant financial investment and time to turn around. Therefore, before you start your search, it’s important to conduct thorough due diligence to ensure you’re not wasting your time and money.

Finding Distressed Businesses for Sale

Now that you understand what a distressed business is, the next step is to find businesses that are for sale. There are several ways to do this:

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  • Business brokers: Business brokers are professionals who specialize in helping buyers and sellers connect. They can help you find distressed businesses that are for sale and guide you through the buying process.
  • Online marketplaces: There are several online marketplaces where distressed businesses are listed for sale. These marketplaces often provide detailed information about the business, its financials, and its assets.
  • Word of mouth: You may also hear about distressed businesses for sale through your personal or professional network. Don’t be afraid to ask around – you never know what opportunities may arise.

Conducting Due Diligence

Once you’ve found a distressed business that you’re interested in, the next step is to conduct due diligence. Due diligence involves thoroughly examining the business’s financials, assets, and liabilities to ensure that you’re making an informed decision. Here are some of the key things you should look at during due diligence:

  • Financial statements: Review the business’s financial statements to understand its revenue, expenses, and profits. Look for any patterns or trends that may indicate why the business is struggling.
  • Assets: Examine the business’s assets to understand what it owns and what its value is. This will help you understand what you’re buying and what you may be able to sell in the future.
  • Liabilities: Review the business’s liabilities to understand what debts it owes and to whom. This will help you understand the risks associated with buying the business.
  • Legal issues: Look for any legal issues that the business may be facing, such as pending lawsuits or regulatory violations. These issues can impact the business’s value and your ability to turn it around.

Negotiating the Deal

Once you’ve completed due diligence and are satisfied that the distressed business is a good investment opportunity, the next step is to negotiate the deal. This involves agreeing on a purchase price, financing terms, and any other conditions of the sale.

This is where having a trusted advisor, like HedgeStone Business Advisors, can be invaluable. With over 150 years of combined experience in business sales, HedgeStone understands the challenges of buying a distressed business and can help you negotiate the best deal possible.

Financing the Purchase

Financing the purchase of a distressed business can be challenging, especially if the business has significant liabilities or has been losing money. Here are some financing options to consider:

  • Cash: If you have the cash on hand, paying for the business outright can be the easiest option
  • Seller financing: In some cases, the seller may be willing to finance the purchase themselves. This can be a good option if you don’t have the cash to pay for the business outright or if you’re having trouble securing financing from other sources.
  • Bank loans: You may be able to secure a loan from a bank or other financial institution. However, keep in mind that banks are often hesitant to lend money for distressed business purchases.
  • SBA loans: The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers loans to help entrepreneurs buy and grow small businesses. These loans can be a good option for buying a distressed business, as the SBA may be more willing to lend money than traditional banks.

Turning Around the Business

Once you’ve purchased a distressed business, the real work begins. Turning around a distressed business can be challenging, but with the right strategy and mindset, it can be done. Here are some steps to take:

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  • Assess the situation: Take a deep dive into the business’s operations, finances, and market position to understand what’s working and what’s not.
  • Identify areas for improvement: Based on your assessment, identify areas where you can make changes to improve the business’s performance. This may include cutting costs, increasing sales, or investing in new products or services.
  • Develop a plan: Develop a detailed plan for how you’ll turn the business around. This plan should include specific goals, timelines, and actions to take.
  • Execute the plan: Put your plan into action and track your progress regularly. Be prepared to make adjustments as needed.

How HedgeStone Can Help

At HedgeStone, our mission is to help entrepreneurs find and acquire the perfect business. With our trusted team of experts, comprehensive approach, and wealth of experience, we can help you navigate the process of buying a distressed business and turn it into a success.

Our team of professional business brokers, in-house attorneys, accountants, and marketers has over 150 combined years of business sales experience. We understand the challenges of buying a distressed business and can help you every step of the way, from conducting due diligence to negotiating the best deal possible.

Whether you’re looking for a small, main street business or a multi-billion dollar international brand, we have the expertise to help you find the perfect business to acquire. Contact us today at (561) 593-3711 for a free consultation and to learn more about how we can help you achieve your business goals.


Buying a distressed business can be a smart move if you know what you’re doing. It’s important to conduct thorough due diligence, negotiate the best deal possible, and have a solid plan for turning the business around. With the help of a trusted advisor like HedgeStone Business Advisors, you can navigate the process with confidence and turn a distressed business into a success.

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