Dig Deep: Decisions For Business Buyers

If entrepreneurship is your goal, there are more decisions to make than just picking a business off a list of listings. Figuring out the RIGHT business to buy is crucial to success. Here’s how you do it:

 

 

Dig deep.

 

What do we mean by that?

 

You need to figure out what you want. When you buy a business, you are buying yourself a life-encompassing job – a job where the buck stops with you. What do you want your future life to look like? Figuring out what really means the most to you, as well as what tools you have to help yourself be successful can mean the difference between buying yourself a successful new business and buying yourself a nightmare.

 

What factors should you consider?

 

Your background.

Why is your background so important? Owning and operating your own business is tough. It can sometimes mean long hours, tough decisions and navigating lots of issues. Your background matters because the steep learning curve that happens whenever someone buys a new business will become impossibly steep if you add learning an entirely new industry to the mix. Don’t do that to yourself. Pick a business that compliments the practical experience you already have. If you’ve spent the last 15 years in the manufacturing industry, and have never worked a single day of your life in the restaurant industry – buying a huge bar on the beach isn’t going to end well. Talk to your business broker about your experience and strengths – they can help you find business choices that will compliment your background and set you up for success.

 

Where you want to live vs. what type of business is actually possible in that area.

It should go without saying that some types of businesses can only be successful in certain areas. For instance, service-type industries (think restaurants, landscaping, housekeeping) do really well in places like southwest Florida where people are coming to second homes for vacation – and probably don’t want to be doing a ton of housework or cooking while they’re here. The same type of service business probably isn’t going to be as successful in a very rural part of Montana, for example. Take a look at the area where you’d like to live. What works there? What doesn’t? Talk to your broker about what businesses do better – and worse – in the area you’d like to end up.

 

What is your ultimate goal for business ownership?

Are you looking for a goal of making a certain amount of money in the next 5 years? Are you looking for a challenge and are willing to push the envelope with a business that will require more work on your part for a potentially bigger return? Or would you prefer a nice, safe and steady shop without a ton of room for growth – where you won’t have to push as hard but returns won’t be as big either? Your ultimate goal for business ownership will obviously have a big impact on your search. Talk to your broker about your income goals as well as about how much of a challenge you are willing to take on. 

 

Can you realistically get the licenses required?

Red tape can be very strange. There are certain industries in certain states that require a business owner to have prerequisite requirements for an operating license that might be hard to get. Think requirements to have x amount of years doing a specific type of work before you can even apply for a license. Some licenses require background checks, fingerprinting and the like. Ask your business broker about the industries you are interested in. The licensing requirements for an industry might preclude you from owning the business you think you want, so figuring out licensing limitations will be important early on in your search.  

 

The message here is buying yourself a new life needs more than a cursory search through listings. You need to dig deep and decide what you want your life to look like, then have a discussion with your broker about what type of businesses will fit with those goals.

 

Are you considering buying a particular type of business and have questions about whether or not it will meet your goals? Do you have questions about licensing requirements? Would you like to know more about the business search process? Ask us! Leave questions or comments and we would be happy to help.

 

 

 

Michael Monnot

941.518.7138
Mike@InfinityBusinessBrokers.com
5111 Ocean Boulevard, Suite E
Siesta Key, FL 34242

www.InfinityBusinessBrokers.com

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Are You A No-Offer Business Buyer? How To Be Taken Seriously

If you’ve been looking for a business to buy for a while, you may have run into a problem that some buyers encounter – no one will take you seriously.

 

Maybe it’s your broker or the seller’s brokers that you have come across, maybe it’s the sellers themselves. Whoever it is, they don’t look at you as someone who is serious about buying a business. What they see is someone who is on an eternal search, and therefore someone who isn’t worth their time and energy.

 

How can you prove them wrong and show that you are a serious buyer? Make an offer.

 

 

“I don’t want to make an offer on every business I look at.”

 

Of course you don’t, and you shouldn’t. What we mean here is if you are seriously considering a business, the only way to know for sure if the business is going to fit your goals is to get to the due diligence process. In this process, you are allowed an in-depth look at all aspects of the business, from financial statements to contracts – then you can decide if it really is the right business for you.

 

“If I make an offer, I’m stuck with that business whether I like it or not, right?”

 

Absolutely not. If, during the due diligence phase you come across a reason why you don’t want the business – you will have the opportunity to back out of the deal before anyone reaches the closing table. The system is designed this way because businesses are inherently complex, so your ability to get a good look at what you’re purchasing is part of the process. Then and only then do you have to make a final decision about buying.

 

If you’ve been looking at businesses for an extended period of time without even entertaining the idea of making an offer, then don’t be surprised if brokers don’t take you seriously.

 

There are plenty of “tire-kicker” buyers out there who inquire about countless businesses – over enormous amounts of time – without ever making the move to buy one. On the other hand, serious entrepreneurs come on the scene with goals in mind, do a targeted search of available businesses, then make offers.

 

If you were working in the business market or trying to sell your own business, who would you take more seriously?

 

Are you a buyer who has trouble getting sellers to take you seriously? Do you have additional questions about why it is a good idea to put an offer on the table? Please leave us a comment or question here, and we will be happy to help.

 

 

 

Michael Monnot

941.518.7138
Mike@InfinityBusinessBrokers.com
5111 Ocean Boulevard, Suite E
Siesta Key, FL 34242

www.InfinityBusinessBrokers.com

 

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Do You Have Enough Capital? The Big Question For Buyers

When the dream is owning your own business, you have a lot of questions.

 

A big one is “how much money do I need to buy a business?

 

There’s an issue with this question. The issue is the answer – it depends.

 

 

It depends on what type of business would be right for you. 

Many new business owners walk into the business market under the mistaken assumption that anyone can own and run any type of business. Nothing could ever be farther from the truth. To keep your new business profitable, you will need to be able to both navigate and compete in the market you are in. If you have little to no relevant experience in your business, there is likely no way for you to stay competitive. To avoid this pitfall you should look for businesses in industries where you have practical experience. By staying with what you know you will avoid the potentially catastrophic learning curve that comes with learning a new business and a new industry at the same time. 

Every industry is going to have options in terms of price. There will be some larger, well-established – and thus highly priced businesses as wells as smaller, more affordable businesses with room for growth. Focus first on the type of business, then look at price.

 

It depends on how much capital you have available, and how you allocate that capital.

Do you have enough money ready and available to buy and run a business? You should really have at least 50% of a purchase price if a seller is offering seller financing, and all cash or third-party financing already in place if seller financing is off the table. You need to allow for not only the purchase price, but all of the other costs involved in a business sale – like fees for licensing and money available to keep the business running until you are able to start turning a profit at the helm.

Be honest with your business broker about how much capital you have available for your new venture and then listen to their advice about what you can reasonably afford.

 

It depends on what your goal for business ownership is.

Are you looking to invest almost all of your capital in order to buy a well-established, highly profitable business – or are you looking to hang onto more of your funds and buy a business that has lots of room for growth? You will likely have to work a bit harder in the second scenario, but you will have the benefit of having enough funds to ride out any issues that you come across.

You will have to decide what you want your day to day life to look like, and discuss those desires with you business broker.

 

The message here is there’s more to look at than just the price of a business. You need to figure out your goals, look for industries where you can be successful and then decide how you’d like to allocate the money you have available.

 

Are you thinking about buying a business? Do you have questions about seller financing and the best type of business for you? Ask us! Leave us a comment or question here, and we will be happy to help you on your business ownership journey.

 

 

 

Michael Monnot

941.518.7138
Mike@InfinityBusinessBrokers.com
5111 Ocean Boulevard, Suite E
Siesta Key, FL 34242

www.InfinityBusinessBrokers.com

 

 

 

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Metrics Of Health – Why Buyers Should Consider More Than Price

If you are a prospective entrepreneur looking to buy your own business, you may have already noticed the unique nature of business listing prices – they seem to be all over the place.

 

How do you as a buyer interpret the listing price of a business as it relates to its fiscal health?

 

Listing prices are typically based on the cash flow the business generates, but there are other aspects that will speak to the overall health of a business which buyers should pay attention to. Here’s a few to consider:

 

 

Consistent Numbers

If a business has very consistent numbers, it might mean less risk for a buyer. Remember that the value of a business to you is the earnings it will have in the future. Consistency year over year is what you are looking for. Many businesses will have seasonal fluctuations that have everything to do with the local economy and seasonal shifts and nothing to do with the health of the business. If you are seeing large annual fluctuations, ask your business broker if those fluctuations are merely seasonal or something more problematic.

 

Operating Profits

In order for you to pay yourself and pay back any debt you incurred with the purchase of the business the business will need to be generating operating profits. A business with numbers that consistently show operating profits will be a better bet than a business that is only breaking even. A caveat here – a business that isn’t doing so well but has easily remedied issues (like staffing changes, adding a marketing plan where none exists, etc.) might be a good deal if you can get it for a great price. 

 

Diverse Customer Base

In a business that has a diverse customer base the loss of a single customer will not be as catastrophic as it would be for a business with only a small handful of clients. Look for both a large number of clients and clients across a diverse spectrum. 

 

Reputation and Brand

A business with a great reputation or a very well established brand will have a more loyal clientele, meaning less work for you as the new owner. Instead of having to spend your time rebuilding a poor reputation you will be able to focus your marketing time on acquiring new customers.

 

Good Managers

If a business is well managed by the staff without the owner having to be present 100% of the time – and if those managers/staff are willing to stay on if the business changes hands, it can be a good sign for a potential buyer. It will mean less disruption when the business changes hands and less of a learning curve for you as a new owner because there will be staff present to help with many aspects of day-to-day operations.

 

If you need help determining if the listing price of a business really reflects reality, talk to your business broker. They know the current market, what recent comparable businesses have actually sold for and what aspects of a business can bring the most to a new owner.

 

Are you a future business buyer who has questions about the value of businesses you have seen for sale? Have you come across businesses that seem over or under priced? Leave us a comment or question and we will be happy to assist you with your business search.

 

 

 

Michael Monnot

941.518.7138
Mike@InfinityBusinessBrokers.com
5111 Ocean Boulevard, Suite E
Siesta Key, FL 34242

www.InfinityBusinessBrokers.com

 

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Advice About Your Business Deal – The Good, The Bad And The Unhelpful

In the business transaction world, it happens all the time. A deal between a buyer and seller seems to be headed to a happy closing table and then suddenly the deal is dead. What happened to kill the deal? More often than not, someone got some bad advice.

 

 

What kind of advice is bad advice?

 

When you are trying to buy or trying to sell a business, advice from anyone who has little to no experience with the process of buying and selling businesses is probably not going to be very productive. Here are a few examples:

 

A listing agreement (which gets your business listed on the market) includes protections for both the seller of the business and the business broker who makes the transaction happen. These agreements are fairly standard, and if you as a seller refuse to sign one, you are going to have a hard time trying to find a decent business broker to help you with your sale. These agreements are a legal document, so some sellers give the agreement to their lawyer (who has no business transaction experience) to look over before they sign it.

 

Another standard document (geared toward buyers) is the non-disclosure agreement (NDA). NDAs exist to protect the business itself during the transaction process as buyers are privy to the for-sale status of a business, confidential financial documentation and potentially proprietary information. The NDA is something you are going to have to sign if you want access to information about businesses on the market, and you’re going to have to sign one for each business you inquire about. Like the listing agreement, the NDA is fairly standard across the industry and is a legal document that some buyers will hand off to their lawyer before they sign it.

 

There is something essential about lawyers to point out here. Your attorney’s job is to make sure you are legally covered and completely free of any risk. As a business owner (or future business owner) you should already know that any business deal is going to come with a bit of risk – it’s the nature of the beast. So how do you reconcile the opinion of someone you have hired to protect you from any and all risk with a business transaction that may carry some risk on your part? The short answer is you don’t. If you give your attorney who helped you with your divorce or the one who helped you sue a contractor for negligence a business listing agreement, a NDA or for that matter any agreement you may become a party to during a business sale, they will likely tell you not to sign it, or only to sign it if they are allowed to make a lot of changes (which is likely out of the question).

 

What should you do then? Hire a business transaction attorney instead. A business-specific attorney will be able to advise you during your business sale because they have done it before and know what they are doing. They are already familiar with typical agreements, they know the ins and outs of the process, and will be a far better legal guide.

 

Another example of advice that can be counter-productive is advice from the CPA who usually does your taxes. Unless they have been a part of business transactions in the past, they are going to be a problem for the same reason that your regular attorney is – it is their job to cover you and you alone. The issue that arises with a CPA who is unfamiliar with business transactions is they may not understand the way businesses are evaluated and how they are priced. With many types of businesses, the value comes from more than just what shows up as black and white on a profit and loss statement. When you ask your regular CPA to take a look at the business you may end up with inaccurate advice. Instead, hire an accountant familiar with business transactions because their advice will be far more valuable.

 

What about advice from your friend’s brother-in-law who used to be a commercial real estate agent, from your neighbor who owned and sold a business 25 years ago, or from your good friend who’s a dentist? Listen to all of the advice you get, but remember to filter what you hear because professionals who do business transaction work for a living are probably best qualified to answer your questions. If unsolicited advice leaves you second guessing your choices in the transaction, by all means talk to your business broker, transaction attorney, and transaction CPA before you decide to back out of a deal. You don’t want to miss a great opportunity because you got terrible advice!

 

Have you been in a deal that fell apart because of bad advice? Share your experience here! Do you have more questions about the roles of business brokers, transaction attorneys or transaction CPAs? Please feel free to leave us any questions or comments – we would be happy to help.

 

 

 

Michael Monnot

941.518.7138
Mike@InfinityBusinessBrokers.com
5111 Ocean Boulevard, Suite E
Siesta Key, FL 34242

www.InfinityBusinessBrokers.com

 

 

 

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Michael Monnot

941.518.7138
Mike@InfinityBusinessBrokers.com

5111-E Ocean Blvd
Siesta Key, FL 34242




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