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So my advice to potential vendors is to incorporate long before they decide to sell.

AB: Would you do anything differently if you bought another business? There was one particular assumption we made about our ability to sell dating services to the over-55s that turned out to be flawed.

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Go in there with a clear view of what you think the business is worth and why. The vendor probably thought it was cheeky of us to ask for a vendor loan - but they agreed to it. Test any assumptions, ideally by asking your marketplace.

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If you're a vendor it can help with your tax bill and provide other benefits.

Also, we were buying a sole tradership, which means you can't do things like transfer the bank account and contracts because they're personal to the sole trader.

A lot of customers and suppliers don't want to know when you turn it into a new company, whereas if you just buy shares in something they wouldn't even notice that it's changed hands.

Secondly, our experience allowed us to explore innovative ways of putting the deal together. The previous owner had lots of things designed by different designers so it was a bit of a hodge podge.

We also invested heavily in technology, in a new network and new membership system.

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