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Step-by-step guide for buying a business

We at First Choice have created a simple guide throughout the entire buying process. This step-by-step walkthrough was designed from the ground up to deliver, in a clear way, what to expect when purchasing a business. Regardless if you have been purchasing businesses for years or if this your first time, this guide has something for you.

Getting Started

Congratulations on wanting to purchase a business!

If you are purchasing a business for the first time, then look no further. This Buying Process Guide has been designed to get you the overall picture and what actions go into buying a business. Simply follow this 5 step process to get up and running with your very own business.

The Buying Process

Most of the research that we have done when creating this Process boils down to people getting conflicting information from an array of different sources, leaving the reader just confused and irritated. Buying a business should be easy and straight-forward, not challenging or daunting. This is why we have created this guide that puts things in five simple, easy steps. These steps were designed with you, the buyer, in mind.

Here are the five steps from the Buying Process

  1. I Want To Buy, Where Do I Start?
  2. I Know What I Want, Now What?
  3. I Found What I Want, How Can I Pay For It?
  4. How To Finalize My Transaction?
  5. I've Purchased The Business, Now What?
These simple steps go from beginning to end on the entire buyer's journey.



There are plenty of Acronyms in the Broker world that we commonly use.

Common Acronyms (from FCBB admin guide)
APA – Asset Purchase Agreement
BLI – Business Listing Information sheet (no NDA required)
BSOC – Bulk Sale Opening Checklist
BS – Balance Sheets
CBP – Confidential Business Profile (CBP Level 1 has all business information without business name or address. CBP Level 2 has business name and address along with additional business details - CBP Level 2 is only provided after proof of funds)
CBQ – Confidential Business Questionnaire Clause Manager – Located in OMS left side menu bar, provides clause writing framework and common clauses used in APA’s and LA’s
CLI – Confidential Listing Information sheet (NDA required)
CRM - Customer Relationship Management (FCBB endorses Streak)
DD - Due Diligence
ELA – Exclusive Right to Sell Listing Agreement (more commonly referred to as LA)
FF&E – Furniture, Fixtures and Equipment
ICA – Independent Contractor Agreement
ILI – Internal Listing Information sheet (for listing agent/broker only)
NDA – Non-Disclosure Agreement (same as Buyer Confidentiality Agreement, also referred to as “Confid”)
NLIDS – New Listing Data Input Sheet (aka, Input sheet)
OMS – Office Management Suite (FCBB proprietary office management system)
P & L – Profit and Loss Statement (aka, financial statements or income statement)
PEG – Private Equity Group - referred to as PEGs
SBD – Sold Business Details
SDEWS – Seller’s Discretionary Earnings Worksheet (some refer to as SDE or SDEW)
SOS – Secretary of State List of Officers
TR – Tax Returns
YOY – Year Over Year (typically used on Add Back worksheet and income statements)

The First Choice Way

First Choice Business Brokers has been delivering quality businesses and assisting in the purchasing process for over 20 years. We have dedicated teams ready to help you find the perfect business to purchase in the best way possible. If you have any questions at all or just don't know where to start, you can simply continue with this process or give us a call at (208) 244-6440.