If you’re thinking about buying a business … and are wanting to buy a business that’s both sexy and exciting – the kind of business you can brag about at all the parties – then please listen very carefully. Doing so can save you a lot of time, money and energy.
Listen: People are always asking me about the most exciting businesses I’ve bought over the past 50 years.
Thing is, I don’t buy “exciting” businesses.
Because they simply aren’t as profitable and stable as the “boring” ones. In fact, if you took all of the businesses I have owned … and if you were to tell me any one of them was in any way, shape or form “exciting” … I would laugh.
What normally happens when somebody comes up and asks me what I’ve been buying lately and I tell them about the latest toilet seat manufacturer business or some other boring manufacturing business, they usually give me this, “Oh that’s nice” look, and you can almost see in their eyes they want to sort of start patting me on the head out of pity.
Think I’m joking?
Then listen to this: A few years ago I was in the import business and I’d run into people at trade shows all the time. And here’s how a typical conversation would go:
They’d ask, “What are you importing now?”
“I’m in the glass business.”
“Glass? You mean you sell the kind of glass they use in the big city high rises?”
And I’d say, “No, the kind of glass people use for drinking glasses and canning jars.”
And every time I’d tell them this, they’d shuffle off as fast as they could while muttering something like, “God, that’s nice.” under their breath.
What’s my point?
This: No matter what you see on TV or hear in the business schools, the best businesses to buy – that pay you hundreds of thousands (even millions, in some cases) of dollars consistently and for a long time – are simply not the exciting ones, the sexy ones or the so-called prestigious ones.
No, the best businesses to buy – and I think I’ve proven this over the past 50 years – are the deadly boring ones. The ones that put you to sleep thinking about them.