One area you need to think about when purchasing of any business is the different types of personalities you will encounter as the owner. You must ask yourself if you will be able to get along with the different people you will interact with on a daily basis.
For example, a recent client of ours had a successful career as a mid-level manager at a major chemical company. He possessed all the attributes I believe to be a successful business owner, at least from an operational perspective. In his prior career, all of his dealings were with higher level co-workers and suppliers.
As smart as he was professionally, his resume included a few blemishes in prior jobs where he worked with more manual-type and lesser educated people. He admittedly struggled in those environments and he also struck me a bit of a “know-it-all” type person and not someone who listens very well.
Nevertheless, he was looking at a particular home-service business in which the employees were predominantly blue collar types. These were not however what one would term to be “grunt” workers. In fact, it was just the opposite. While manual in nature, each worker had to either possess a specific working license or be in an apprenticeship program to meet the work requirements. The challenge in these situations is that a new owner who does not have the same experience as a skilled workforce may be perceived as an “outsider”. In these situations, a buyer has to decide whether they can eventually integrate with their employees and gain their respect. Plus, one must also consider if they can even be an effective boss to this employee base.
The same holds true for any business. I have seen situations for example where a male buyer purchases a business in a predominantly female industry and thereafter has trouble integrating. Or, it could be a case in a simple business like a Subway franchise where the owner deems it “below them” to be making sandwiches because they want to be an entrepreneur. While their goal is admirable, make no mistake, they are in the sandwich business. First, they have to be able to make sandwiches in order to train others and there will be times when employees don’t show up and second, there will be times when the store gets very busy and they will have to jump in and help.
In nearly every business, an owner will be dealing with a wide range of people including employees, customers and suppliers.