While the rate of new-business formation has been declining in recent years, buying a business has never been more popular. But if you think it's easier or safer to buy than to start, you should take a look at this month's cover story ("The Insider's Guide," [Article link], October 1991). Just as important as finding the right company is finding the right seller, says Susan Pravda, a mergers-and-acquisitions specialist with the Boston law firm of Milgrim Thomajan & Lee. "I want a seller who's 75 years old," she says. "I want him to have children who are artists and doctors and lawyers and who have no interest in the business. I want a guy who has no idea what his business is really worth and who doesn't even know what an investment banker is. If he does know, I want someone who hates investment bankers because he hates everyone associated with Wall Street. And I want to walk in there and get him to tell me about his business, take me to lunch, bring me home to meet his wife. I want someone who's selling something more important to him than his wife, his children, his home. This isn't his business, this is his baby. He created it. And I want him to look at me and say, 'I want you to own my business.' Because once you've made this connection, money is no longer the most important thing to him. He's not going to turn around in the middle of the negotiations and sell his baby for a better price to some jerk from Wall Street."

What Does B-R-O-K-E Spell?
"It appears that Chelsea [Mass.] has a chronic structural gap between revenue and expenditures." -- From The Boston Globe