Becoming your own boss - buying a company as an alternative to founding one

Plenty of people have ideas about how to become their own boss. The real challenge of entrepreneurship, however, is achieving success with an entrepreneurial concept in the long term. Here it can be helpful if you can draw on existing company values and can take over a company that has already implemented a business idea successfully.

Becoming your own boss

Many people share the dream of professional independence and few entrepreneurs complain about their status, whilst employees of big companies are frequently dissatisfied. It can therefore be worth at least investigating the option of buying one's own company. What does it take to become your own boss?

Honest answers to the following questions will form a healthy basis for your decision:

  • Why do I want to be my own boss?
  • What goals do I want to achieve through independence?
  • Do I have all the necessary skills to build up a business and establish it in the market?
  • Is my past experience sufficient to enable me to generate trust among potential customers?
  • Do I have a winning entrepreneurial personality?
  • Am I willing to pursue my goals even in the face of resistance?
  • Am I able to manage resources effectively?
  • Am I able to maintain an overview in turbulent situations?
  • Am I able to motivate myself and deal confidently with setbacks?
  • How great is my financial capacity?
  • What do the important people in my life (partner, family, friends) think about my plans?

Clarity regarding these crucial questions is the best form of preparation for buying a company and moving towards successful independence.

Download "Guideline for the buyer"

Buying instead of launching a company

The following statistics demonstrate that buying a new company instead of launching one can be an exciting option that minimises entrepreneurial risks:

Company launches
In Switzerland in 2016 around 41,336 new companies were registered in the Swiss trade register. Of these, 11,878 are based in the Romandie.
Survival rates of young companies
The average survival rate of newly founded companies in Switzerland is around 80% one year after their foundation and a little less than 50% after five years, as shown by the federal establishment census carried out by the Federal Statistical Office (BFS) in 2008.
Company bankruptcies
In 2016 4,540 Swiss companies went into administration. This represents an 3% increase year-on-year.
Size of companies
99% of all companies in Switzerland are SMEs with fewer than 250 employees. They represent two thirds of all jobs in Switzerland. The Federal Statistical Office (BFS) recorded the following figures for 2014:
  • Micro-companies (1-9 employees): 518,795 companies.
  • Small companies (10-49 employees): 48,858 companies.
  • Medium-sized companies (50-249 employees): 8,906 companies.
  • Large companies (250 +): 1,281 companies.
Legal forms of companies
The one-man company is the most common form of enterprise in Switzerland with around 332,000 companies.

We find ourselves in an environment in which the chances of survival for young companies are clearly overestimated. This shocking statistic is based on three factors that founders of new companies often overlook: poor positioning and/or poor product with low capital cover and personal overextension. Hence serious preparation and planning is crucially important.

Unlike with a start-up, when buying a company the chances of success are many times higher: The buyer of an existing company can assume that the owner has selected the right location and incorporated the appropriate products into his portfolio, otherwise the company would have ceased to exist long before.

Whilst the financial means required to start a company are often underestimated, this is rarely the case with a purchase. The liquidity requirements can be estimated far more accurately here. What's more, the buyer can expect to enjoy the first takings as soon as he or she takes over the company and can draw on experience values from the past.

With a purchase, there is still a degree of entrepreneurial risk, but a purchase is a promising alternative to launching a start-up company.

Request our no-obligation information package