Get Out In Front Of The Wave: Why Now Is The Time To Sell Your Business

Many business owners have watched with hopeful optimism the return of the economy to near pre-recession levels and have reaped the benefits of the return of customers and clients who are able to afford the extras that were cut from many budgets a few years ago.


For many business owners who survived the tough economic times, the question of when to sell may have entered the conversation.


When is the best time to sell your business? Now that there are buyers with money and customers to boost your numbers, you may have wondered how long you should keep your business. If you wait another 6 months, two years or longer, will the economy and your numbers continue to improve thereby giving you a better return when you sell?

Businessman with cash

The decision of when to sell can be a tough one. There are many things an owner must weigh when deciding when to list, like years until retirement, health and personal issues, the strength of the economy – the list goes on.


If you think you may want to sell sooner than later, then a new statistic may help give you the push you need to get your business listed sooner. In recent months more than half of all new businesses that were listed on the market were owned by baby boomers. With the greatest generation poised for retirement, there are going to be many business owners looking to sell.


If you want to catch the wave early, thereby entering the market in a better position – where there are more buyers than sellers, now is the time.


Talk with your business broker about the state of the market for your particular industry. They will be able to tell you what comparable businesses have sold for recently, they will know if there are buyers currently searching for a business like yours and they will be able to help you decide if now would be a good time to get your business out there in front of buyers.


If you’ve thought about selling, but have questions about timing – now is the time to ask! Please feel free to leave us a comment or question here, and we will be happy to assist you with selling your business.


Michael Monnot

1910 Park Meadows Drive, Suite 202
Fort Myers, FL 33907


What’s In A Name? Business Name Advice For Buyers And Sellers

We’ve all had the experience of driving by a business, looking at the name and saying to yourself “why on earth did they name it that?” Your business name is very much tied to the reputation of your brand, so choosing a name and building that brand can be very important.


Business Sellers:

If you are looking to sell your business, then choosing a name is something you have already done. Your focus on the business name needs to involve building your brand in the time leading up to the sale of your business. By building your brand you can get the best return on your investment of all the time, energy and money that you put into your business.


One of the first things a prospective buyer will do is pop your business name into an internet search engine and see what comes up. If you are thinking about selling your business, then this is something you should do for yourself long before you sign a listing agreement. What does your reputation look like? What does the community at large think of your business? Do you even exist online?


If your reputation isn’t the greatest, or if you have no online presence to speak of, then you need to work on changing that perception of your business. Take reviews and comments from former customers and try to make the changes that would turn any bad reviews into good ones. Many review sites will let you respond to reviews, and you should – to both the good and the bad. Customers want to know that their thoughts are being heard, so acknowledge anyone who took the time to review your business.


Business Buyers:

If you are a buyer, then you have to decide whether or not your will keep the business name when you take over. If the business has a good reputation within the community and you won’t be making any major changes (like turning a pizza place into a fine dining seafood restaurant), then you really should consider keeping the name so you can continue the brand presence within the community.


If the business isn’t well liked, then a name change is a great way to let the community at large know that big changes have taken place and create some curiosity that may bring customers back in the door. Just be careful with the name you choose. Your business name should make it clear what the business does, as well as give a good impression of the business at first glance.


Are you a business seller who wants advice about improving the reputation of your brand before you sell? Are you a buyer who wants to change the name of a business you are considering? Please feel free to leave us a comment or question here, and we would be happy to help.


Michael Monnot

1910 Park Meadows Drive, Suite 202
Fort Myers, FL 33907

Weeding Through The Possibilities – What Small Business Is Right For You?

If you are new to the world of buying a business, or even if you’re a seasoned entrepreneurial veteran, one of the first decisions you will need to make is what type of business you want to buy.


Notice that we used the word “want” here. Many budding entrepreneurs have a dream business in their minds, but that dream business might be in an industry that would mean a slim chance of success.


What do we mean by that? We’ll use the classic bar example.

 Foam on Glass of Beer

An accountant always dreamed of owning their own bar – but since our accountant has never worked so much as a day in the restaurant industry, buying that bar would be a gigantic mistake. Anyone who has work history knows that each industry and each business require their own unique set of skills in order to be successful. Making such a big change without the practical knowledge of what’s ahead can only lead massive issues.


Drastically changing industries without understanding a new industry can be very problematic. Our accountant is used to working the typical 9 to 5, Monday through Friday gig – so they might have big problems switching to the long hours and long nights required to operate a bar. There are many nuances in each industry. If you don’t have the experience to understand those nuances, like the long hours, you are setting yourself up for failure.


Another big road block for new buyers trying to enter an industry with no experience comes from the landlord. If you have zero restaurant experience, then a landlord is not going to rent you a space where a working restaurant is bringing them revenue. If the restaurant fails due to your lack of experience, they won’t get any rent. You will have to prove to any landlord that you have the practical knowledge necessary to sustain the business.


But I want to buy my own business because I want to get out of a rut and try something new!


This motivation for purchasing a business is fine, you just need to focus your search on businesses where you have some chance of success. No one wants to buy a business just to drive it into the ground.


But I’ve only ever had just one career!


Practical experience doesn’t necessarily have to come from previous jobs. If you are an accountant who has spent the last 20 years taking art classes and volunteering to help with gallery openings in your spare time, then purchasing an art gallery wouldn’t necessarily be a bad idea.


The point here is to have a serious talk with your business broker about what industries will and won’t work for your goals of entrepreneurial successand then listen to their advice. If they tell you buying a bar is a terrible idea, then it probably is.


Your broker wants you to be successful because they hope you will use them again when the time comes to sell, and because a very large part of a good broker’s business comes from referrals from happy clients. You will not be a happy client if your broker doesn’t help you find a business that is going to help you meet your goals.


Think about what you are passionate about, what your goals are and also what types of practical experience you would bring to the table. Then find businesses that fit that mold, and you will be well on your way to entrepreneurial success.

Do you have an “I bought a business I knew nothing about.” horror story? Do you have questions about what industries would be right for you? Share your stories and questions here, and we would be happy to help you find the right business.


Michael Monnot

1910 Park Meadows Drive, Suite 202
Fort Myers, FL 33907


Why Didn’t It Sell? The Business Seller’s Guide To Transaction Success

negotiations at the desk

If you have been on the market a while and your business hasn’t sold, you aren’t alone. Not all businesses that list on the market sell the first time around (within the first listing agreement timeline). Most listing agreements are for one year, and the average time it takes to sell a business is in the neighborhood of 9 to 12 months. Just as there are things that will definitely hurt your chances of selling, there are a few things that can help you if your ultimate goal is the closing table.


Have the right broker.

Like any industry, there are great brokers and there are brokers who are not so great. Having an experienced and qualified professional selling your business will definitely help you on your way to a closing table. A good broker should answer your phone calls and emails in a timely fashion, should recast your financials to make them easy for buyers to understand, should bring you buyers who are appropriate for your business, should have a comprehensive marketing package to distribute to those buyers, should hold the confidentiality of your business sale to the highest priority and should have your business listed in all the places buyers (and the brokers for buyers) will look. Some businesses are tough to sell, whether it’s because the business is very niche or the market isn’t bringing the right kind of buyer, so if your broker is doing all of the things we listed and your business still hasn’t sold in the first year – it might just be a matter of time and patience until the right buyer comes along.


Be realistic.

Sure, everyone would love to get millions and millions for their corner cafe, but the reality is your business is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it. We see businesses languish on the market indefinitely because sellers (or bad brokers) forced the listing price too high, and it scared any potential buyers off. The pricing conversation you have with your broker is very important, as you want to get the biggest return on your investment while still pricing it to sell. A big dose of reality will help you actually achieve those goals.


Be forthcoming with records.

A good recast of your financial records is essential to show buyers what benefits they will get by buying your business, but a good recast only happens when you give your broker and prospective buyers complete access to the information they need. We see deals fall apart because sellers refused to provide information, or because requests for information went unanswered or took too long. No one is going to pay for a business they haven’t been able to see, so be prepared to be forthcoming with documentation like tax returns and leases. Buyers will also have questions, lots of them. Sellers who seem unwilling to answer questions give the impression that there is something to hide, so answer questions truthfully and in a timely fashion.


Don’t lie.

You will get caught. You will also get caught trying to withhold information that you think may be damaging to the image of the business, so just don’t do it. There is no such thing as a perfect business, and most buyers are willing to overlook even moderate issues so long as they know about them from the start. We have seen deals fall apart over dishonesty too many times. Lying about profits, about taxes that are due, about the motivation for selling – during due diligence the truth will come out and it will more than likely kill your deal.


Transaction success is possible with the right help, realistic expectations, a cooperative attitude, complete honesty and a good dose of patience.


Has your business been listed for a while and doesn’t seem to be attracting buyers? Are you frustrated with what your broker is (or isn’t) doing to market your business? Please leave us a comment or question here, and we would be happy to help you with getting your business sold.


Michael Monnot

1910 Park Meadows Drive, Suite 202
Fort Myers, FL 33907

Business Buyers: Why Sellers Don’t Love You

If you have just entered the business market, you may have noticed that sellers are not falling all over themselves to court you and sell you on buying their business. Considering how much money you are about to spend, you may feel like sellers should be doing more to entice your purchase – but business sales don’t work that way.


It’s not like buying a really expensive car or a really nice watch where sales people fight over you and do everything they can to entice you into the deal.


When you own and run a business, it is a life-encompassing affair. Your business is your baby, so selling that business – handing over the keys and walking away – can be a very emotionally difficult thing to do.


Whether it’s productive or not, many sellers look at buyers in an antagonistic way, and they see any questions they think are inappropriate (or even too many questions) as offensive.


Why is this buyer trying to dig up dirt on my business?

What more information could they possibly need?


Business information is inherently private and proprietary, so it can be hard for a seller to hand over that information to what is essentially a complete stranger.


When sellers first list their business, they put together a package of information, and that information is probably all they are comfortable handing over. Trouble arises, when during due diligence, buyers want more.


As a buyer, you are entitled to all the information you need to make an educated decision, just try to see your requests from the other point of view. Would you be willing to answer a 90 question list after you had provided all of the necessary documentation? Would you want complete strangers digging around your financial records?


The key to working together with sellers is to have a bit of patience and to use your intermediaries (your brokers and attorneys) as a buffer between the two sides. A good broker, for example, will ask you to pare down that 90 question list so as not to offend the seller.


Working together with the seller is of utmost importance if you want your deal to reach a closing table – and keeping things amicable will keep the training and transition period (where both sides will be working together) from being an awkward disaster.


Are you a new buyer in the market who’s had trouble finding cooperative sellers? Do you have questions about what information you will be able to access and what kinds of questions are appropriate to ask a seller? Please feel free to leave a comment or question here, and we would be happy to help you on your road to business ownership.


Michael Monnot

1910 Park Meadows Drive, Suite 202
Fort Myers, FL 33907


The Gift Of Past Experience: What Veteran Business Sellers Know – You Need Reality

If you are thinking about selling your business, and this is the first time you will be entering the business marketplace, then you probably already know there will be a lot to learn before you get to a closing table. This is part four of a series that will let you in on the practical knowledge you would typically have to get by going through the process and making every mistake possible – only you have the benefit of our experience to help you navigate this complex road. Here are the things only experience can teach you about selling your business.

Businesswoman walking.

You Need Reality


When sellers put their businesses on the market, they tend to have a few preconceived notions about how the whole process should go. The problem is, these notions are usually far from reality – so these expectations can really cause problems.


Bidding wars don’t exist.

If you’ve ever bought a house in a hot market, you might be familiar with the concept of a bidding war. If several buyers really want a home, they might try to outbid one another to secure the property. In business sales, this almost never happens, so banish from your mind the idea that a whole hoard of buyers are going to fight over your business – thereby driving up the price to untold millions. For a good business, you might have multiple offers, but this is rarely the case. More commonly, you will get a decent offer, accept it and move to the due diligence phase. While in due diligence with one buyer, you might get a back-up offer from a second buyer, but since you accepted the first offer – no bidding war will happen – you just have another buyer in line if the first deal falls apart.


All-cash buyers are extremely uncommon.

We hear this one all the time. “I’m not accepting a penny less than asking and I only want all-cash buyers.” Wouldn’t it be great if this was a realistic expectation? Sure, but it’s not. Yes, all-cash buyers do exist and some businesses sell for their asking price, but it is far more common that the actual selling price falls somewhere below asking and the seller finances a part of the deal. Going into negotiations with buyers knowing and understanding these two facts will put you in a far better position.


You are not the only person in this transaction.

Yes, we know, your business is your baby – but sellers often forget that they are exchanging that baby for a very substantial amount of someone elses’ money. Emotions are going to run high on both sides of the negotiating table. Remembering this fact will help you understand why the other side balks at your refusal to lower the price or answer more questions. Try to keep in the back of your mind the day you bought (or started) the business and what it was like to write that big check.


Talk to your business broker about what your expectations should be for your transaction, then listen to their answers. Your broker is there to help you on your journey to the closing table, so take their advice and it will serve you far better than sticking with any unrealistic expectations.


Are you a business seller who’s concerned that the price you’d like to ask for might be unrealistic? Do you have questions about how to handle prospective buyers? Ask us! Please feel free to leave us a comment or question here, and we would be happy to help.


Want to read part 1 – You Need Help? Click here.

Want to read part 2 – You Need Time? Click here.

Want to read part 3 – You Need Organization? Click here.


Michael Monnot

1910 Park Meadows Drive, Suite 202
Fort Myers, FL 33907



The Gift Of Past Experience: What Veteran Business Sellers Know – You Need Organization

If you are thinking about selling your business, and this is the first time you will be entering the business marketplace, then you probably already know there will be a lot to learn before you get to a closing table. This is part three of a series that will let you in on the practical knowledge you would typically have to get by going through the process and making every mistake possible – only you have the benefit of our experience to help you navigate this complex road. Here are the things only experience can teach you about selling your business.


 Overworked businessman.


You Need Organization


Business owners work really hard, and one of the common issues we see when the time comes to sell is a complete lack of buyer-ready organization.


You need to be somewhat organized to run a business, but what works for one person (like horizontal filing a.k.a. a room full of stacks and stacks of paper, taking every business-related piece of paper and shoving it unceremoniously in a box on the office floor) probably won’t work for everyone.


If you are even considering selling your business, you will absolutely need to have someone look at your books and business records and get everything into a format that buyers will be able to read and understand.


Most business owners who try to sell their business on their own or those who enlist realtors or attorneys to help them sell will likely end up only giving buyers a quick and dirty P&L and a copy of tax returns.


Look at the numbers on the bottom of your tax returns. Do they really give a good picture of how your business did last year? The answer is probably not.


What you need before you sell is a recast of your financials. In a recast your numbers will be re-assessed (see this article about recasting) and the benefit you actually get from your business will be translated into a form that buyers can understand.


Recasting is an essential part of getting offers from buyers. A business with properly recasted financials will look far better on paper than a business with just tax returns.


Talk to your business broker about how to get better organized and how to get your records recasted so your business is presented to buyers in the best light possible.


Are you a business owner who is famous for horizontal filing or the box-o-receipts? Would you like to know more about how to make your business stand out from the crowd? Ask us! Please leave us a comment or question here, and we will be happy to help.


Want to read part 1 – You Need Help? Click here.

Want to read part 2 – You Need Time? Click here.

Want to read part 4 – You Need Reality? Click here.


Michael Monnot

1910 Park Meadows Drive, Suite 202
Fort Myers, FL 33907


Summary on E-2 Investor and L-1 Intercompany Transfer Visas

The E-2 Investor Visa requires a minimum investment of $100,000 which must be invested before the application can be filed with the Embassy. However, funds in escrow are considered an investment and qualify. Funds in escrow can be prepaid rent or the purchase price for an existing business.


Property management companies for long and short term rentals as well as “flipping” houses can qualify for an E-2 visa. In these cases, the applicant must prove that the home will not be a personal residence and that the investment creates direct employment. In the long term, the application must show at least four part-time W-2 employees or, as an alternative, two W-2 employees and four 1099s is also acceptable.


The purchase of commercial property or an established business also qualifies for an E-2 Investor Visa. To qualify, the business must be a profitable business that creates employment opportunities. The business is not required to have employees at the time of purchase, but it is beneficial to show current employees.


The E-2 will be issued between 2-5 years and can be renewed for 5 year intervals. Spouses of E-2 visa holders can apply for a general work authorization and receive a Social Security Number (SSN).


Children are included in the parent’s visa until they turn 21. It is extremely important to change their status before they turn 21. Otherwise, they will be illegal in the US. If they are in college, they can apply for an F-1 student visa which is the best option for them.


Children of E-2 visa holders who are over 21 and have completed an educational program relevant to the business can be hired and receive their own E-2 worker visa.


E-2 visa holders can bring in employees from their home country very easily.


Another type of entrepreneur visa is the L-1 Intercompany Transfer Visa. This visa requires that a foreign company transfers a manager to the US to establish a new business. The manager can be the business owner. The applicant must have been employed for one year at the foreign company before transferring to the US.  Typically, successful applications require the foreign company to have at least eight or more employees.


There is no minimum investment; however, the US company must to be ready for business.


The L-1 visa for a new business is only issued for one year. However, it is a great opportunity for entrepreneurs who do not want to make the initial investment of $100,000. The L-1 visa allows the business one full year to strengthen its sales and profits. Then the applicant can present a much stronger E-2 visa application to the Embassy. It is highly likely L-1 visa applicants will need to switch to an E-2 Investor visa after one year. Requirements for a successful L-1 extension application are so stringent that is almost impossible for small and midsize companies to fulfill them.


As long as the foreign business exists and the US business is doing well with about 10 part-time or full-time employees, it is possible to apply for the multinational manager green card. It does not matter if the person is in L-1 or E-2 status in the US.  The key to this type of green card is that the foreign company still exists.


The L-1 spouse can also apply for work authorization. Children are included until age 21.



By Guest Contributor Sabine Weyergraf

Sabine Weyergraf is the founding partner and New York licensed attorney practicing solely immigration law with Weyergraf Immigration, PA in Sarasota, Florida.

Contact: 941-706-4102,


This article is provided for general informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice.


Michael Monnot

1910 Park Meadows Drive, Suite 202
Fort Myers, FL 33907





Of all the people I speak with on a daily basis, it goes without saying that investors are some of the most educated when it comes to being experts in their professions. Their entrepreneurial lust for knowledge expands far beyond what is necessary for them to carry out their endeavors on a daily basis. However, it does seem that most investors tend to have the same underlying outlook on insurance as every other member of society; give me enough protection without costing me a lot. Unfortunately the lack of information in this area may also cost you additional premiums over the year which may not apply to you particular investment. And when you’re dealing with multiple investments the compounding of these increased premiums may take a serious cut into the profits of your business model. This month I plan on giving a quick explanation of the two most commonly used forms of insurance when it comes to investment properties as well as provide a few examples that are encountered often in the insurance field.

Common policies to cover investment dwellings that can range up to a quad-plex with most carriers are the DP1 and DP3. DP stands for Dwelling Property but is sometimes also referred to as DF short for Dwelling Fire by some carriers. The DP1 or Basic form is typically the cheapest way to get properties covered against major losses. The Special form or DP3 provides more coverages with an as to be expected increased premium cost.

The DP1 provides the basic coverages that most would want on their properties: fire, lightning, internal explosion, and catastrophic ground cover collapse. Most companies will offer additional coverages for wind, smoke, as well as a few other additions through Extended Coverage. However, these are limited in actual coverage. For example, if an awning is blown away in a windstorm, it typically still will not be covered by a DP1 even with the Extended Coverage added onto the policy. This form would be good for someone trying to save money on a relatively new property that does not have many exterior features on the dwelling, while also not having many other trees on a mostly open piece of land.

The DP3 or Special form is slightly more expensive over a yearly basis. This typically costs anywhere from one-hundred fifty to three hundred dollars depending on the property location, square footage, etc. However, with this increased premium also comes a much larger net of perils covered. As a matter of fact, with a DP3, the coverages are not stated in what IS covered, but rather what IS NOT covered. That makes this form great for older houses despite many carriers limiting age on a DP3 covered property. A loss that is covered by DP3 that is quite typical would be some form of sewage backup or bursting of water pipes. This typically will not be covered under most DP1’s, however again if you have trees on your property that may be close to water and sewage lines, it would be a very good decision to go with a DP3 as opposed to a DP1.

As always, you should check with your specific carrier if you have a concern to ensure that the loss would be covered under your specific policy form before placing coverage. Every investment property is slightly different which will require each to be considered differently when looking at an insurance policy. The difference in these simple policy forms should be known by every investor in an effort to help protect you financially right now as well as going on into your future.


kileyPIctureinsurance group of west florida

By Guest Contributor Kiley Baldauf

Insurance Group of West Florida – 727.230.9804


Michael Monnot

1910 Park Meadows Drive, Suite 202
Fort Myers, FL 33907

Michael Monnot


5111-E Ocean Blvd
Siesta Key, FL 34242

Michael Monnot


9040 Town Center Parkway
Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202


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