The Profit

The 5 keys to a successful business deal: Marcus Lemonis

Don't underestimate the importance of character

Marcus Lemonis knows how to separate doomed businesses from struggling businesses that with the right help can again become profitable.

Simply put: Don't overcomplicate dealmaking. The entrepreneur and host of "The Profit" offers five keys from his no-nonsense approach to investing in business deals that will pay off.

1. Don’t underestimate the importance of character

Lemonis says the first sign of good character is someone who is willing to say, "I don't have it figured out and I need your help." Having the guts to step forward and ask for help speaks volumes for Lemonis.

2. See through the other side of the deal

Transparency is huge. If you don't get the feeling that those on the other side of the deal will tell you everything, walk away.

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3. Bring your passion, or don’t bother coming

Lemonis says that you should bring your passion to investing

"If you invest in a product or business you really like, you really enjoy it, then if you take care of the product, take care of the business, in the end it's going to take care of you."

(Lemonis is chairman and CEO of Camping World and Good Sam Enterprises.)

4. A handshake matters as much as anything

Marcus Lemonis: A handshake is as good as a contract

"I liken a handshake deal to the preview of a movie, " Lemonis said. "If you can't honor a deal on a handshake, then what's the movie going to be like?"

It's an old fashioned gut check that makes a lot of sense.

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"Yes, you can get a lawyer, go to court, sue somebody. You want to do business that way? I don't want to do business with people I'm already anticipating I have to take to court," Lemonis said. "If a handshake is not good enough why does a person think that a piece of paper will be that much better?"

5. Be prepared to give a lot more than your money

Once you've decided to invest in a business, the secret isn't the size of the check you write—it's your determination to remain an active part of the building process.

"You have to be willing to give a piece of yourself and not just a piece of your pocketbook," Lemonis said. "If you don't build a rapport, and you don't establish a relationship, and you don't earn their trust … then I'm not sure why it is that you're doing business with them? Why not just buy a stock on the stock market?"