9 Essential Questions To Ask When Buying A Business

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9 Essential Questions To Ask When Buying A Business

9 Essential Questions To Ask When Buying A Business

So you’re thinking of buying a business or investing in a stock? First you need to learn the 9 most essential questions to ask when buying a business.

These questions are adapted from the book Buffettology: The Previously Unexplained Techniques That Have Made Warren Buffett The World’s Most Famous Investor by Mary Buffett and David Clark. Mary Buffett is actually Warren Buffett’s former-daughter-in-law. She says that Warren uses a similar line of questioning when he is thinking of buying a business.

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9 Essential Questions To Ask When Buying A Business

#1 Does the Business Have an Identifiable Monopoly?

#2 Are the Earnings of the Company Strong and Showing an Upward Trend?

#3 Is the Company Conservatively Financed?

#4 Does the Business Consistently Earn a High Rate of Return on Shareholders’ Equity?

#5 Does the Business Get to Retain its Earnings?

#6 How Much Does the Business Have to Spend on Maintaining Current Operations?

#7 Is the Company Free to Reinvest Retained Earnings in New Business Opportunities, Expansion of Operations, or Share Repurchases? How Good a Job Does the Management Do at This?

#8 Is the Company Free to Adjust Prices to Inflation?

#9 Will the Value Added by Retained Earnings Increase the Market Value of the Company?


To how to invest like Warren Buffett, be sure to read Buffettology by Mary Buffett and David Clark:

Buffettology - Description

Buffettology: The Previously Unexplained Techniques That Have Made Warren Buffett the World's Most Famous Investor by Mary Buffett & David Clark

"Buffettology" is the first book from someone who, thanks to personal and professional access to Warren Buffett, has been uniquely positioned to learn from the master. Mary Buffett had the privilege-- during her twelve years as his daughter-in-law-- of sharing some of this very private genius's informal discussions of his investing philosophy, and now she shares some of her invaluable observations with us. This breakthrough book offers a full-blown explanation of how Buffett uses "Business Perspective Investing" as a wealth-building tool. His strategy is not so much to "pick stock" but to search for and invest in excellent companies whose intrinsic value and potential earnings he can reasonably predict through a series of steps we learn about throughout the book. Citing many fascinating case histories and examples, "Buffettology" shows us what kinds of companies Buffett looks for and why, and which he avoids and why. The authors show us the mathematical models and equations Buffett uses to determine the basic value and earnings potential of his final choices (and the right price to pay, for which he is willing to wait). We also learn how with the aid of an inexpensive, widely available handheld calculator, anyone can do similar equations. In addition to providing such in-depth analysis, this book offers two more firsts. One is a chapter on Buffett's rarely discussed and extremely successful arbitrage operations. The book gives us the arbitrage equation he uses to determine the positions he should take. The other is a comprehensive list and brief analysis of fifty-four companies in which Buffett has invested and the authors believe he continues to follow, many of which have never before been publicly identified as "Buffett companies".

Buffettology - Review

Americans are infatuated with the stock market. The number of households that own stock has increased from around 20 percent in the early 1980s to over 40 percent today. The market offers the hope of quick wealth and early retirement, and just about everyone who is in the market is looking for an edge, from sources such as CNBC and Wall Street Week to the Beardstown Ladies and "The Motley Fool." So it should be no surprise the most successful investor of our time--Warren Buffett--has been the subject of dozens of books and magazine articles. The value of Buffett's company, Berkshire Hathaway, has increased from $18 per share in 1965 to over $70,000 per share today. The interest in Buffett has spawned an approach to investing called "Buffettology," which is the subject of a book by the same name written by Buffett's former daughter-in-law, Mary Buffett.

In Buffettology, Mary Buffett, with the help of David Clark, details Warren Buffett's approach to investing. It's a style of investing based on the work of Benjamin Graham and one that requires a quality that most investors lack--discipline. Mary Buffett writes, "As you read through this book you will come to see that having a business perspective on investing is more about discipline than philosophy.... In short, other people's follies, brought on by fear and greed, will offer you, the investor, the opportunity to take advantage of their mistakes and benefit from the discipline of committing capital to investment only when it makes sense from a business perspective.... You will find that almost everything that relates to business perspective investing is alien to Wall Street folklore.

Buffettology examines Buffett's methods for valuing companies and selecting stocks--it even encourages you to buy a calculator and work through the valuation formulas that Buffett uses when researching companies to buy. The book not only serves as a useful guide to understanding how Buffett invests, it's an excellent primer to investing in stocks, whether you plan to become a Buffettologist or not. Highly recommended. --Harry C. Edwards, Business editor

Buffettology

Buffettology: The Previously Unexplained Techniques That Have Made Warren Buffett The World’s Most Famous Investor by Mary Buffett and David Clark

Mary Buffett, former daughter-in-law of this legendary financial genius and a successful businesswoman in her own right, has teamed up with noted Buffettologist David Clark to create Buffettology, a one-of-a-kind investment guide that explains the winning strategies of the master.

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Ben Graham, the father of value investing, wasn’t born in this century. Nor was he born in the last century. Benjamin Graham – born Benjamin Grossbaum – was born in London, England in 1894. He published the value investing bible Security Analysis in 1934, which was followed by the value investing New Testament The Intelligent Investor in 1949. Warren Buffett, the value investing messiah and Graham’s most famous and successful disciple, was born in 1930 and attended Graham’s classes at Columbia in 1950-51. And the not-so-prodigal son Charlie Munger even has Warren beat by six years – he was born in 1924. I’m not trying to give a history lesson here, but I find these dates very interesting. Value investing is an old strategy. It’s been around for a long time, long before the Capital Asset Pricing Model, long before the Black-Scholes Model, long before CLO’s, long before the founders of today’s hottest high-tech IPOs were even born. And yet people have very short term memories. Once a bull market gets some legs in it, the quest to get “the most money as quickly as possible” causes prices to get bid up. Human nature kicks in and dollar signs start appearing in people’s eyes. New methodologies are touted and fundamental principles are left in the rear view mirror. “Today is always the dawning of a new age. Things are different than they were yesterday. The world is changing and we must adapt.” Yes, all very true statements but the new and “fool-proof” methods and strategies and overleveraging and excess risk-taking only work when the economic environmental conditions allow them to work. Using the latest “fool-proof” investment strategy is like running around a thunderstorm with a lightning rod in your hand: if you’re unharmed after a while then it might seem like you’ve developed a method to avoid getting struck by lightning – but sooner or later you will get hit. And yet value investors are for the most part immune to the thunder and lightning. This isn’t at all to say that value investors never lose money, go bust, or suffer during recessions. However, by sticking to fundamentals and avoiding excessive risk-taking (i.e. dumb decisions), the collective value investor class seems to have much fewer examples of the spectacular crash-and-burn cases that often are found with investors’ who employ different strategies. As a result, value investors have historically outperformed other types of investors over the long term. And there is plenty of empirical evidence to back this up. Check this and this and this and this out. In fact, since 1926 value stocks have outperformed growth stocks by an average of four percentage points annually, according to the authoritative index compiled by finance professors Eugene Fama of the University of Chicago and Kenneth French of Dartmouth College. So, the value investing philosophy has endured for over 80 years and is the most consistently successful strategy that can be applied. And while hot stocks, over-leveraged portfolios, and the newest complicated financial strategies will come and go, making many wishful investors rich very quick and poor even quicker, value investing will quietly continue to help its adherents fatten their wallets. It will always endure and will always remain classically in fashion. In other words, value investing is vintage. Which explains half of this website’s name. As for the value part? The intention of this site is to explain, discuss, ask, learn, teach, and debate those topics and questions that I’ve always been most interested in, and hopefully that you’re most curious about, too. This includes: What is value investing? Value investing strategies Stock picks Company reviews Basic financial concepts Investor profiles Investment ideas Current events Economics Behavioral finance And, ultimately, ways to become a better investor I want to note the importance of the way I use value here. It’s not the simplistic definition of “low P/E” stocks that some financial services lazily use to classify investors, which the word “value” has recently morphed into meaning. To me, value investing equates to the term “Intelligent Investing,” as described by Ben Graham. Intelligent investing involves analyzing a company’s fundamentals and can be characterized by an intense focus on a stock’s price, it’s intrinsic value, and the very important ratio between the two. This is value investing as the term was originally meant to be used decades ago, and is the only way it should be used today. So without much further ado, it’s my very good honor to meet you and you may call me…

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