Well as hard as it is I figure the only practical way to educate readers is through an examine my screw-ups. In keeping with the theme of the blog I want to make sure it means something to you and I guess that means its information that you can use to act upon. So to start lets start off with the notion of understanding the market in which your business exists. If you are looking to buy a dry cleaner, workout gym, manufacturer of bearings, logistics company or whatever — never underestimate the possible effect on the future potential of the business of a changing business landscape. You must ask the following questions – 1) What is the competitive landscape 2) How is technology changing the business model 3) How is the macro-economy likely to effect the business 4) What is REALLY going on for all companies in this market space 5) Is there growth for companies in this space (is the market growing) 6) How proprietary is the process or products and 7) How can the company be affected by imports. This is only a start – really a means of getting you to think about the reality of invisible cross currents. Next up I will spell out some of my mistakes in the context of the items listed 1 thru 7 an ugly primer on what not to do.