Why Your Broker’s Referral Rate Is A BIG Deal

If you are looking at businesses to buy or are thinking about selling the business you own, you should really, really care about referrals.

 

Buying and selling businesses can be a tough and messy thing to do, so there are professionals out there called business brokers who help buyers and sellers reach a closing table.

 

Like any industry, there are business brokers who are fantastic and there are business brokers who are terrible at their job. How can you as a buyer or seller figure out if the broker you are considering working with is at the top of the game? Ask them a very simple question.

 

How much of your business comes from referrals?

 

 

Referrals happen when previous clients or industry professionals like accountants, real estate agents or attorneys find out that someone is looking to buy or sell a business. They refer that person to a business broker they have previously worked with or know on a professional basis.

 

No one is going to give someone the name of a business broker they hate, so if you are working with a broker who gets the bulk of their business from referrals – it can tell you as a potential client a great deal about how this person conducts themselves in a business transaction.

 

We, for instance, get a great deal of our business through the referral process. Like 80% or more. Does this mean that we’ve made every client absolutely happy? Nope. But it does mean that we work very hard to get our clients to their goal. We do more than is expected and our past clients see that – especially when the other broker in the transaction does little to nothing to help the deal along. The difference between what we do and what some other brokers don’t do is the reason people send their friends our way.

 

The same goes for the professionals we work with throughout the transaction process, like attorneys and accountants. They’ve typically worked with other brokers who make big mistakes and expect everyone else to do the work for them – and after working with us they send any potential business our way instead.  

 

If you want the best help on your journey to buy or sell a business, your best bet is to ask any broker about their referral rate. The good ones will be happy to tell you that they get a good chunk of their business from past clients and business associates. The bad ones will probably change the subject – and that’s a big red flag. 

 

Would you like to know more about what business brokers can do to help buyers and sellers in a business transaction? Do you have questions about our referral rate? Ask us! Feel free to leave any questions or comments here and we would be happy to help.

 

 

 

Michael Monnot

941.518.7138
Mike@InfinityBusinessBrokers.com
12995 South Cleveland Avenue, Suite 249
Fort Myers, FL 33907

www.InfinityBusinessBrokers.com

 

No Comments »




Opportunity Is Knocking – Grow An Entrepreneur, Not Just A Business

It can be an excruciatingly tough decision. You’ve created a successful business and are generally happy with where it’s headed. You spend every waking hour working on growth and you are reaping the benefits of all that labor. Selling your business and an exit strategy are probably something you’ve considered down the line – but times are good so you’re definitely not going to sell now. Right?

 

 

Here’s the thing. Your business is currently successful. The economy is booming. You have solid numbers for the last few years. Your business is probably worth a lot right now. How much are you willing to bet that this upswing is going to last? If you wait too long to sell, then the answer could be everything.

 

No one knows how long the economy will boom, but we all know it can’t be forever. If we have another crash like the one in 2008, could your business survive? You and your family might currently be in good health, but that could change and pull your focus away from the business to the point where the business falters.

 

The calculation of how long to hang on to a business while the going is good can be tough, but here’s a few things in the tea leaves that might make you consider selling sooner rather than later.

 

The Baby Boomers are retiring in record numbers. A lot of these Boomers are small business owners and as such will be looking to sell  in the near future so they can retire. That means a glut of stable, long-term small businesses with good numbers will be hitting the market. All of these great businesses will be your competition, and too many businesses for sale will absolutely push prices down.

 

The economy is great, and there’s a rush of new construction happening everywhere – in both the residential and commercial sectors. Real estate prices are soaring. Sounds like life in 2006 and 2007, right?

 

So what’s a business owner to do? You may not want to sell because you are essentially selling yourself out of a job – but here’s another way to look at your business investment. You can only grow your current business so far, and if this article is resonating with you then you’re probably nearing or have already reached the peak. Selling and moving on to new ventures can grow you as an entrepreneur instead of just growing one business. Here’s another thought – if the economy does crash and you were able to sell before it happened, you will be uniquely positioned to invest in a new business venture when no one else has any capital and the prices for businesses are way down.

 

The tried and true notion of buy low, sell high absolutely rings true in the small business market. If you haven’t considered selling because everything seems great – maybe you should. Selling your business while it’s still worth a lot will give you choices and capital that you won’t have if you hang on through the wave of retiring Boomers and the next economic meltdown. Consider growing yourself as an entrepreneur and get on the path to sell today.

 

Are you a small business owner who hasn’t considered selling? Would you like to know what businesses like yours are currently getting in the market? Please ask us! Leave any questions or comments and we would be happy to help.

 

 

 

Michael Monnot

941.518.7138
Mike@InfinityBusinessBrokers.com
12995 South Cleveland Avenue, Suite 249
Fort Myers, FL 33907

www.InfinityBusinessBrokers.com

 

 

No Comments »




How A Haircut Can Undermine Your Business Sale – A Cautionary Tale For Business Sellers

You’ve made the decision to sell your business. You found a good broker who spent a lot of time talking to you about the vital nature of confidentiality in business sales, and as such you haven’t told your staff, your clients or your vendors about your plans to sell and move on to the next phase of your life. You’ve been careful not to talk about your business sale in front of your kids or your neighbors. You’ve only allowed buyers with signed NDAs access to your business. There’s a good bit of interest and everything seems to be going well.

 

Then one afternoon you get a panicked call from one of your staff. The word is out and your manager just quit.

 

Everyone knows the business is for sale and now you’re trying to keep the rest of the staff from quitting and your biggest client from walking on next year’s contract.

 

You call your broker, and they look through all of the NDA’s and all of the buyers who have considered your business – but the breach isn’t from them.

 

What happened? It was you.

 

You got a haircut.

 

 

Barbers, hairdressers and bartenders. What do these people have in common? You probably tell them way more than you would tell any other relative stranger. It seems harmless. They aren’t in your social circle and what you tell them seems like a private and confidential conversation. Guess what? Its not.

 

It is the very nature of their job to have these kinds of conversations with lots and lots of people. People who you didn’t know are friends with your staff. People who are the wife of your biggest client. People you may not have considered as people who could blow the confidentiality of your business sale apart.

 

These seemingly innocent conversations can have a huge impact on your ability to sell your business – or even your ability to keep the doors open. Confidentiality means everyone, not just those who you consider the most likely to spill the beans. To drive the point home – we’ve even seen a conversation between strangers on an airplane lead to a breach, so talking about selling your business with the guy cutting your hair down the street from said business is probably a colossally bad idea.

 

If you want to keep your business sale under wraps, the best idea is to keep that information to yourself and to the select few who need to know. Otherwise, a simple haircut can lead to a complete disaster.

 

Are you thinking about selling your business and want to know more about why confidentiality is so important? Do you have a cautionary tale to share with other sellers? Leave any questions or comments and we would be happy to help.

 

 

 

Michael Monnot

941.518.7138
Mike@InfinityBusinessBrokers.com
12995 South Cleveland Avenue, Suite 249
Fort Myers, FL 33907

www.InfinityBusinessBrokers.com

 

 

 

No Comments »




How A Business Seller Can Combat Bad Advice

 

If you are selling your business, it isn’t just the opinions of business buyers you need to contend with.

 

Business buyers typically come with an entourage – an entourage with very strong feelings about the sale of small businesses.

 

Who’s in this entourage?

 

There are spouses and in-laws who are very interested in how much money is going to be spent on a new business venture. There is a severely inexperienced real estate agent friend who wants the commission for helping with the purchase of the business – and as this is the friend’s first foray into business transactions they have no idea what they’re doing. There’s an uncle who’s a CPA for a school district who knows absolutely nothing about business transaction accounting – and this uncle will happily advise your buyer that your very fairly priced business should only be listed for a third of what it is. There’s a buddy from the gym who read an article about earn-outs and now thinks every small business sale should be done that way. The list can go on and on, but you get the drift.

 

This well-meaning but ill-informed entourage can play havoc in a business transaction. They can undermine negotiations and cause rewrites of contracts. They can even kill a deal. While they will always be there – there are things you can do as a seller to combat their terrible advice.

 

What can you do? Be prepared.

 

You can hire an experienced and professional business broker who will be your buffer with this entourage. They can keep inexperienced pseudo-brokers out of the deal, help you hire the right professionals to get your business ready to sell and they can use their experience to negotiate on your behalf with whatever entourage member is currently causing issues.

 

The buyer’s inexperienced CPA uncle won’t be necessary if you’ve had a CPA who is familiar with business transactions and valuations set up your books so any buyer can clearly see where the cash flow is coming from.

 

You can have your business records in order, with everything from receipts to contracts neatly organized and all of your financial data inputted to accounting software that will allow any buyer to see the day-to-day, month-to-month and yearly numbers.

 

You can also mentally prepare for this inevitable part of selling your business. If you know that ridiculous advice is inundating the buyer’s side you are less likely to be offended past the point of no return when some of that ridiculous advice starts to mess with your deal. By staying patient and staying the course you are much more likely to have a successful closing.

 

The point here is your best course of action when dealing with a buyer’s entourage is patience and preparedness.

 

Do you have more questions about how to prepare your business for sale? Would you like to know more about what a business broker can help you with? Ask us! Leave any questions or comments here and we would be happy to help.  

 

 

 

Michael Monnot

941.518.7138
Mike@InfinityBusinessBrokers.com
12995 South Cleveland Avenue, Suite 249
Fort Myers, FL 33907

www.InfinityBusinessBrokers.com

No Comments »




Buying Or Selling? Why A Broker Is A Must

Buying or selling a business? Are you ready to negotiate

 

No one has ever bought or sold a business without a great deal of back and forth between the parties involved – and many, many deals have died over the negotiating table. Nothing is more frustrating for buyers and sellers than the death of a perfectly good deal. If you are thinking about buying or selling a business, how do you keep your deal alive?

 

Use an experienced and qualified business broker. A good business broker is essential for success.

 

Of course you would say that you’re business brokers. Yes, you have us there – but we would advise you to use the services of a business broker whether that’s what we did for a living or not.

 

Why? The business selling process and the businesses themselves are both complicated, messy animals.  No where does that inherent messiness come out more boldly than during negotiations.

 

 

What needs to be negotiated? Essentially everything. The purchase price, the length of the due diligence phase, seller financing agreements, a non-compete clause, a new lease, the value of the inventory, the length of the training period, the value of the equipment and furnishings, the continued employment of certain staff, the closing date – the list goes on and on.

 

With such a monumental list of things that need to be agreed upon by two parties with vastly different goals it’s no wonder that many deals fall apart. A seller is dealing with handing over a business with which they have strong emotional ties as it has been a very big part of their life. Sellers are also nervous about selling themselves out of a job, essentially becoming unemployed the moment the deal is signed. They want to get as much as they can out of the sale of their business. Buyers, on the other hand, are dealing with writing a huge check to a complete stranger for a risky new entrepreneurial adventure. They want to spend as little as possible so they can keep working capital available. 

 

How do you meet in the middle of such vastly different goals? An intermediary like a business broker.

 

A broker’s responsibility is to keep the deal together and help it get to the closing table. Your broker acts not only as an experienced advisor who ensures everything that needs to be done gets done, they also act as an all-important buffer between the two parties. Business sellers and business buyers are entrepreneurs at heart – and to be a successful entrepreneur you need a strong and driven personality. If you’ve ever tried to argue with someone who has this personality type – you should understand why a buffer is needed. Too many perfectly good deals have fallen apart because someone asked the wrong question, made the wrong request – and the other side was offended to the point of no return.

 

Don’t try to go-it alone. If you are serious about selling or buying a business, you need a business broker to help you negotiate your way to closing table success.

 

Are you thinking about selling your business and want to know more about how a business broker can help you? Do you want to buy a business and want to know more about the negotiation process? Ask us! Please feel free to leave any questions or comments and we would be happy to help.

 

 

 

Michael Monnot

941.518.7138
Mike@InfinityBusinessBrokers.com
12995 South Cleveland Avenue, Suite 249
Fort Myers, FL 33907

www.InfinityBusinessBrokers.com

 

No Comments »




What The 1st Half Of 2018 Might Say About The 1st Half Of 2019

2018 was a banner year in the business-for-sale marketplace, and as the first two quarters of the year are typically stronger than the last two – it may be helpful to use the first half of 2018 to see where 2019 might end up.

 

 

BizBuySell’s 2nd Quarter 2018 Insight Report once again showed record highs in the business marketplace, with small business transactions up 6.7% over the previously record-breaking numbers in the same quarter of 2017. The market has been steadily growing since the recovery for small businesses began in 2013, but the second quarter of 2018 marked the largest number of businesses changing hands since data collection began in 2007.

 

That trend continued for the rest of 2018, rounding out a record-breaking year overall. 2018 saw 10,312 businesses sold – the highest number yet. This was a 4% increase from 2017 and a very large 31% increase over 2016.

 

Why are so many businesses changing hands?

 

Baby Boomers. This large demographic group currently owns a whopping 53% of small businesses, but they are very quickly approaching retirement. Close to 60% of Baby Boomer business owners plan to sell in the next two years, so the market is primed for an influx – if not a tidal wave – of businesses for sale.

 

What does that mean for the market?

 

It means a large selection of good businesses for buyers to choose from and more competition between listings for the seller’s side of the transaction.

 

Median revenues in 2018, up 7.4% from 2017, showed small businesses were healthy. Also, the continued growth of the economy meant sellers were reaping the rewards of high sales prices – as the median sale price of the first two quarters of 2018 was up 4.4% over the same quarters of 2017. Numbers this strong will likely continue, if not increase, as we move further into 2019 – but those who survived the meltdown of 2008 may be worried about another bubble.

 

Other economic factors, like ever-changing immigration policy, tariffs, government shut-downs and trade wars could also drive the small business market – although it remains to be seen what those effects might be.

 

The smart move?

 

If you own a business and were planning on selling in the foreseeable future, now is the time. The market is booming, with active listings up 5.1%. This trend may continue to climb or we may be quickly approaching the peak. There are buyers with money and your business is in the black, so the safest bet is to sell while the selling is good. This is also true if you were considering selling so you could reinvest in a different business. The businesses on the market today are healthy, so a serial entrepreneur would be smart to take the large profit from a sale today and jump into a new opportunity now.

 

Want to know what the market looks like for your industry in particular? Do you have questions about when you should sell? Contact us today.

 

 

 

Michael Monnot

941.518.7138
Mike@InfinityBusinessBrokers.com
12995 South Cleveland Avenue, Suite 249
Fort Myers, FL 33907

www.InfinityBusinessBrokers.com

No Comments »




Market Confidence Drops While Prices Rise – What’s In The Tea Leaves?

 

Buyers and sellers aren’t sure what the future of the business market holds, so what does 2019 mean for those who are thinking about buying or selling a business?

 

While 2018 numbers have yet to be released, the results of the 2017 BizBuySell Buyer-Seller Confidence Index might give insight to those in the business marketplace.

 

The BizBuySell Buyer-Seller Confidence Index analyzes the survey responses of 2000 entrepreneurs. The Index is based on a score from 0 to 100, where 100 is the perfect market for buying or selling a business and 50 is a neutral response.

 

The 2017 Seller Index was down from 59 in 2016 to a score of 58 – meaning sellers are still confident that the market is in their favor, but that the positive vibes might not continue as many sellers are concerned that we are reaching a peak. Anyone who owned a business before the 2008 financial crisis remembers the boom before the bust – and with business prices inching higher and higher it’s hard to know when the market will top out.

 

Buyer confidence is down as well, from 49 to 46, but this drop is likely linked to rising business prices. Buyers have been lucky in recent years, with the 2008 recession driving business prices to bargain basement levels. In 2013 the small business market began to show signs of life, and prices steadily grew as the economy improved. Growing small business revenues have meant higher sales prices for buyers, leading to a drop in confidence that there are good deals for low capital investment. The drop may also be linked to high listing prices, as many prospective business buyers feel that many businesses are overpriced.

 

Although some sellers are definitely trying to take advantage of a market in their favor, most businesses are listing high because they are reporting very strong numbers. Buyers looking for a steal probably aren’t going to find one, but those buyers with the financial means to grab a business today will be getting a healthy business instead of a project on the brink.

 

What’s in the tea leaves for 2019 and beyond? Who knows. This booming market can only last so long, and with the slight drop in confidence on both transaction sides it may be coming sooner rather than later. The best advice is to sell now if you’re thinking about selling, and buy now if you want a business in the black.

 

Do you have more questions about the current state and possible future of the small business market? Contact us today and we would be happy to help.

 

 

 

Michael Monnot

941.518.7138
Mike@InfinityBusinessBrokers.com
12995 South Cleveland Avenue, Suite 249
Fort Myers, FL 33907

www.InfinityBusinessBrokers.com

No Comments »




Amazon And The Evolution Of Small Business – Local, Community, Online

Small businesses, in particular those in the retail sector, seem under attack. The retail giants – Amazon, Walmart and the like devour market share daily.

 

What’s a business owner to do?

 

Evolve with the times.

 

Sure, you have a successful business and have been doing things the same way for the last 10 or 20 years, but the world around you is shifting quickly – and smart business owners will find a way to ride the tsunami of change instead of holding their ground.

 

What can you do?

 

 

Become a community business.

 

The global economy has seen push back in recent years from a young and growing demographic of consumers who would rather buy local than from a retail giant. Your business can survive the changing market by embracing this demographic and giving them what only you can. Amazon doesn’t know what your community needs or wants, and they certainly aren’t going to open a stall at the local farmer’s market – but you can. Offer yourself as a business who is focused on building the community. Partner with other small business ventures by offering retail space to artisan products or to those manufactured locally. Join farmer’s markets, get a booth at local festivals, offer donations to local schools and charities. You will not only be forming strong local business partnerships, you will be attracting consumers because money spent with you goes right back into the community.

 

Embrace the digital world.

 

You can make the necessary changes to become a community business, but without an effort to market those changes all of your hard work will do you no good. Promote your community business with a great website, complete with some kind of online shopping experience. Let people see what you offer, check out your prices and hear your story. Highlight your local partnerships and how your dedication to the community puts your business in a unique place where shoppers can support the place where they live and work.

 

Use social media to promote what you offer, to tell the community about the events you’ll be attending and to share how you give back. Use a blog on your website to not only improve your search ranking with continually updated content but to talk about how your business partnerships can help the community grow. If booking appointments is a necessary part of your business, use an appointment booking app that allows potential customers to book appointments with you 24-7 from their mobile devices. Offer cashless payment options and advertise that you do. Ask your clientele to rate and review your business online. Research your options to see what technology is available and continually upgrade to make your business more efficient and user friendly. Do anything and everything you can within the digital world to tell your community about your local business.

 

What if you’re about ready to sell or retire, should you bother making these types of changes? Absolutely. The new generation of business buyers aren’t looking for the same type of business their parents did. They want a business that is relevant and meaningful to both the local community and the digital world at large.

 

Have questions about how you can turn your business into a community business to attract both customers and business buyers? Ask us now.

 

 

 

Michael Monnot

941.518.7138
Mike@InfinityBusinessBrokers.com
12995 South Cleveland Avenue, Suite 249
Fort Myers, FL 33907

www.InfinityBusinessBrokers.com

No Comments »




Business Debt? Why You Should Consider Paying It Off

Debt happens, especially in the day to day operation of a small business.

 

You might owe money to your vendors, you might owe your landlord – small business debt comes in many forms. Here’s the thing:

 

While most of the time debt is a perfectly acceptable thing to have on the books – the perception of that debt by buyers might hurt your chances of selling.

 

Why? New business buyers will probably be freaked out by debt. They just will. They don’t yet understand how debt is used to run a business, and they will also be looking at businesses other than yours who have no debt at all.

 

While it may not be possible to completely eliminate your business debt, if you are considering selling sometime soon you might want to consider paying down as much of it as possible. It will add money back into your books – money you can leverage for a higher sale price.

 

Another reason to pay off the debt before you try to sell? A buyer might insist you pay off the debt with the proceeds of your sale, so leaving it on the books will only decrease the amount you walk away with.

 

The message here is while it may leave you a bit strapped on the cash front, paying off any business debt before you list on the market will make your business more appealing to buyers and will help you negotiate for more money at the closing table.

 

Having to live a bit cash-strapped may also help you tighten up your budget by streamlining your spending. It can motivate you to implement your ideas for growth that bring more cash in the door – all things that will make your business stand out from others on the market.

 

Are you considering selling your business but have more debt on your books than you’d like? Would you like to know how a deal that involves debt might be structured? Please feel free to leave any questions or comments here and we would be happy to help.   

 

 

 

Michael Monnot

941.518.7138
Mike@InfinityBusinessBrokers.com
12995 South Cleveland Avenue, Suite 249
Fort Myers, FL 33907

www.InfinityBusinessBrokers.com

No Comments »




Selling Your Business? How Eye Rolling And “Obvious Solutions” Can Kill Your Deal

 

It can be really, really annoying when you sit across from a business buyer who thinks they know everything.

 

They have the fresh-faced optimism of someone new to the world of entrepreneurship – an optimism you once had until the grinding reality of business ownership taught you what it’s really like. Owning a business is tough, and growing that business is even tougher. You’ve spent years trying and failing (and trying again) to get your business to where it is today – and now that business is under the scrutiny of someone who knows little to nothing about it.

 

Most buyers are going to look at your business and see things that they feel are obvious solutions – to growth, to staffing issues, to costs – but for you those “obvious solutions” are non-starters because you’ve already tried them or because the nuances of your business would make them impossible. 

 

Here’s the thing – buyers are probably going to ask you why you haven’t implemented their “obvious solutions“. It’s going to be very, very annoying when they do. Your job in that moment is to resist the urge to roll your eyes or groan. Don’t be short or snarky either. Blowing off a buyer’s thoughts on your business will almost certainly turn them off. It can also discourage a buyer from considering your business because your terrible reaction just told them there isn’t any room for growth. 

 

So I’m just supposed to sit there and listen, even if their idea is awful?

 

Yes. When buyers ask about why you haven’t done one thing or another, you need to respond in a positive way – like this:

 

Sure, we tried something similar to that, but we didn’t have much success because (fill in the blank). Maybe the timing wasn’t right or perhaps we could have implemented the idea differently. If you try a different approach maybe it will work for you?

 

See how much better that sounds? Your answers to questions about “obvious solutions” should contain the details of what you tried and why you felt it didn’t work at that time. You should also give buyers who ask this question examples of ideas you’ve had that you were unable to implement because of financial or time constraints that may not be an issue for a new owner. By handling their questions this way, you are showing them that as the owner of the business you were open to new ideas and had an eye on growth – even if those new ideas didn’t pan out the way you’d hoped they would.

 

The message here is you don’t want your grumpy, negative response to a buyer’s idea to tank your deal. Every business has room for growth, and sometimes it’s the craziest ideas that get the biggest bang for the buck. Keep your answers to questions positive – and don’t roll those eyes.

 

Are you getting ready to sell your business and are wondering what else buyers might ask you? Would you like to know more about how buyer meetings typically go? Ask us! Leave any questions or comments and we would be happy to help.

 

 

 

Michael Monnot

941.518.7138
Mike@InfinityBusinessBrokers.com
12995 South Cleveland Avenue, Suite 249
Fort Myers, FL 33907

www.InfinityBusinessBrokers.com

 

 

 

 

 

No Comments »




Michael Monnot

941.518.7138
Mike@InfinityBusinessBrokers.com

12995 South Cleveland Avenue, Suite 249
Fort Myers, FL 33907




Search



Recent Posts

Categories

Archives

Tags