SEO: Why It Matters For Business Buyers And Business Sellers

Confused computer engineer looking at camera with laptop

You’ve probably heard the term SEO, and you probably know that it has something to do with the internet and websites – but if that is as far as your knowledge goes, then you are in serious need of a crash course.


SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is an incredibly important tool in the world of business. We are in a digital and technology driven age, and businesses who embrace the tech wave and use tools like SEO to their advantage will quickly surpass the competition who doesn’t.


Want the quick and dirty version of what SEO is and what it can do for your business? Check out the next three links.


This article from Forbes is a good first introduction to the basics of SEO.


This next article gives great pointers on making the most of SEO for your website and your business.


The first on the list from this last article, “Become an SEO Expert” can be accomplished with this next link. This takes you to the Moz “Beginners Guide To SEO”. This is an extensive explanation of what SEO is and what it can do for your presence on the web. There are lots of places to find this information, but the reason why we love this one is unlike the majority of SEO information out there – Moz writes this guide in non-techie speak that anyone can understand.


Now that you know a bit more about SEO, do you want to know why SEO is important to you?


If you are selling your business, then you might feel like all this tech stuff should be the next owner’s problem and not yours. Nothing could be farther from the truth. A business with a good online presence in the form of a great website is going to be worth far more to a buyer than a business who has nothing more than a rarely-utilized business Facebook page.


If you don’t have a website yet, today is as as good a day as any to get one. There are lots of places to build your own site, and many of them are free or a minimal charge if you want to remove ads from your site. Long gone are the days when you needed to know how to write code to build a site. Templates and drag-and-drop editors make it easier than ever to create an online presence.


If you are  a business buyer, then SEO will be important on two fronts. First, when looking at businesses, you should examine their current online presence and then evaluate changes you could implement right away to build an online presence if the business is lacking in some way.


Second, you can use SEO to your advantage when you take over the business to grow your online marketing presence and find new customers.


If you don’t know much about SEO – now is the time to learn! It will help sellers increase the value of their business and allow buyers to grow their new customer base.


Do you have questions about how an online presence can help your business sell? Would you like to know more about taking your new business to the next level by utilizing SEO? Please feel free to leave us a comment or question here and we would be happy to help.


Michael Monnot

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

Buying Or Selling The Family Business – Part 2: The Written Agreement

With the holiday season fully upon us, we may look forward to all of the upcoming family time (or maybe not). Regardless of your love or apathy for dinner with your parents and siblings, this time of year is the perfect time for having those discussions that are best had face-to-face. If you have a family business or if your family is considering business ownership – then there are some very important conversations you need to have. This is part two of a two part series that will highlight what your family needs to be talking about.

Couple in meeting with a financial planner

Are you thinking about buying a business with a family member or a business the whole family can run together?


If you are thinking about buying a family business, you should be talking about written agreements.


First and foremost, the business has to be right for everyone. There is nothing worse than having a member of a family business who hates what they do. They take that resentment home with them everyday. As such, your initial discussions need to be open and honest – and everyone who will be involved needs to be heard. You don’t want to end up with the ultimate disgruntled employee.


Also, figure out who is the boss of who from day one. Clarification of each family member’s role within the business is critical if you want to keep bickering at bay and morale up. Once you have this decision in place, it needs to become part of the written agreements between the family members involved.


The second and also very important part of the written agreement needs to answer the question “Who owns what part of the business?”. It is rarely the case that each member of the family brings the same amount of initial capital for the purchase of the  business, and this uneven ownership can get very hairy if one member of the family decides they want to sell their portion and move on. You absolutely must have agreements in place that determine how you would value the business if some kind of split or buyout has to happen in the future, as well as determining the percentage owned by each family partner.


Family businesses can be an amazing opportunity, but the mixing of family, money and business can be a dangerous cocktail. It is absolutely critical to the survival of family relationships that agreements are in place long before the decisions need to be made and that every family member is truly on board.


Are you considering buying a family business and want to know more about what types of agreements need to be in place? Have you already put agreements together and have advice for those just starting out? Please feel feee to leave a comment or question here.


Want to read part 1: Buying Or Selling The Family Business – Part 1: The Exit Strategy? Click here. 


Michael Monnot

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



Buying Or Selling The Family Business – Part 1: The Exit Strategy

With the holiday season fully upon us, we may look forward to all of the upcoming family time (or maybe not). Regardless of your love or apathy for dinner with your parents and siblings, this time of year is the perfect time for having those discussions that are best had face-to-face. If you have a family business or if your family is considering business ownership – then there are some very important conversations you need to have. This is part one of a two part series that will highlight what your family needs to be talking about.

mature man with family dinner table


If you own a family business, you should be talking about exit strategy.


Have you had the exit strategy discussion with your family? Many family businesses haven’t. If not, then now is as good a time as any. This discussion should include decisions about selling versus handing the business down, decisions about what will be done with the money gained from selling the business, time frames for selling or retirement of the current ownership, etc.


A very big question? Do your kids even want to take over? Many parents just assume that their children want to and will take over when mom and dad decide to retire, but oftentimes this is not the case. Are your children capable of bringing the same passion and drive to the business you’ve had all these years? If not, then a very serious discussion needs to take place. See My Kids Are My Staff: Considerations For Business Sellers With A Family-Run Business for more.


Family run businesses need to look at payroll costs if the family members work only for tips or are otherwise “off the books”, as this skirting of payroll costs will affect the amount of money you will be able to get for your business. If you are discussing exit strategy, then you also need to discuss these types of payroll issues. Read Making the Kids Work For Free: Why the Family Business Looking To Sell Needs To Think Ahead if this is an issue your business will have when the time comes to sell.


If you are the younger generation in this discussion, then you need to do some reflection of your own. Do you really want to follow the same career path as your folks? Do you have other dreams but are agreeing to take over ownership out of a sense of duty or guilt? These questions and their answers will be critically important to the success of the business – as a business with an owner who has no desire to be there will surely fail. Read Should You Stay In The Family Business, Or Follow Your Own Path? to help you get the discussion with your parents started.


No one stays the owner of the family business forever, so having open and honest discussions about the exit strategy are crucial for determining the future of the business and the future of your family.


Do you own a family business, but aren’t sure your kids want to take over? Would you like pointers for getting the discussion started? Have you already had the exit strategy talk and have advice for those who haven’t? Please feel free to leave a comment or question here.


Want to read part 2: Buying Or Selling The Family Business – Part 2: The Written Agreement? Click here. 


Michael Monnot

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


Beware The Not-So-Great Broker: What A Great Broker Doesn’t Make You Pay For

Like any industry, there are great business brokers and there are those who are not so great. Determining if the broker you’ve chosen falls into the “great” category might seem tough, but one way you can decide is by looking at the things your broker is willing to do without you having to pay extra for that service.


Businessman with devil or angel



Most brokers earn a commission at closing, and the amount is based on a percentage of the sale price. If you are a seller, this percentage will be negotiated at the time of listing and will be a part of the listing agreement.


Beware the broker who will forgo the listing agreement or who will drastically cut their commission percentage just to get your listing. A great broker will stand firm of their typical percentage because they know how much work they are putting into selling your business. A desperate broker who can’t get and keep regular business will be willing to do anything to get you to sign on the bottom line. Also beware of a broker who charges extra fees for something as basic as your marketing package or advertising costs. These basic elements necessary to sell your business come out of the commission your broker makes at the time of the sale, not before.


For buyers, your broker gets a chunk of the money you pay for the business, so technically you are paying them even though you don’t have an agreement. Beware the broker who forces you to pay up front for their services. This shows a lack of confidence in their ability to find you a business and get you all the way through to closing. A great broker is not going to demand a retainer, nor are they going to charge you extra for help with the things every buyer needs – like assistance with licensing. If you are getting billed for basic services, then you probably need a different broker.


The key here is to watch for those brokers who put the amount of money they make in front of the reason they do what they do for a living. A great broker likes their job. They like helping the small business community grow, and they live for the chase and the thrill of negotiations. They don’t live to nickel and dime their clients. They get the vast majority of their listings through the referrals by former clients and members of their local small business community. They go to bat for their clients and are willing to help.


If the things we’ve named for a great broker don’t sound anything like the broker you are currently working with – it might be time for a change. When you initially interview brokers – ask about their referral rate, what kinds of fees they charge (there shouldn’t be any besides the commission) and what kind of percentage they take for commissions. The answers to these questions will speak volumes about the motivations of your broker and give you a good idea of where they fall on the great vs. not-so-great broker divide.


Have you had a not-so-great broker experience? Do you have questions about our referral rates and typical commission percentages? Ask us! Leave a comment or question, and we would be happy to help.



Michael Monnot

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

Why Small Business Ownership Is Better Than Zuckerberg Dreams

Many cubicle-bound professionals daydream of one day becoming their own boss and launching themselves into fame and fortune – the likes of Zuckerberg or Gates – but notions and ideas that lofty can actually prevent you from having a profitable and satisfying career as the owner of a small business.


Woman standing in front of coffee shop


The American economy was built with small businesses and the entrepreneurial spirit of main street, and although some small businesses do become mega-corporations, most don’t. This isn’t a bad thing – for most small business owners a profitable time can be had without exponential growth.


Why should you keep your business ownership dreams out of the clouds? If you are realistic about your expectations as a business owner, then you are more likely to find the happiness and success that can come from a sensible entrepreneurial vision. Still need convincing that you should keep your goals a bit lower than “the next Facebook”? Here’s a few reasons while a small business can be far better than a mega-business:


Too many cooks in the kitchen.

If you’ve ever worked for a large company or even sat in a large meeting, you will know that the more people involved, the slower the process will go and the more resistant to change they will be. Large businesses are like large ships at sea – they take an enormous amount of time and effort to change direction. As a small business, you will be better equipped to shift with market trends, pivot with your customer’s needs and be able to implement changes without the enormous task of getting the approval of a large number of people before anything can happen.


Sustainability isn’t just for farms.

A massive company also comes with massive infrastructure and expense. You might be racking up massive sales, but a large chunk of the money coming in will have to be allocated to keeping the bones of the company supported. A very large business needs a very large location, a location that likely comes with a very high lease payment. There are the bills to keep the lights on, to keep the wireless working, to provide benefits to employees, to buy office supplies – the list of expenses can go on and on. If a very large company isn’t able to keep profits growing, it can be incredibly hard to support that massive infrastructure. If you are a small business, on the other hand, you can easily maintain a small but functioning location with a low monthly cost in terms of lease and utilities. If you have a bad quarter, unlike your massive counterpart, you have a sensible and sustainable monthly expense that will give you the ability to stay in the game long enough to get the numbers back in the black.


Corporate life is not for control freaks.

If controlling your own destiny is something that is very important to you, then life on a mega-corporate ladder can be tough. You shouldn’t, however, aim for a small business and not a large company because you think small business ownership means no longer having someone else to answer to. The opposite is true. You might have a board of directors and tons of managers at your corporate gig, but a small business entrepreneur still has to answer to their customers, to their employees, to their vendors – the list goes on. If you still have so many to answer to, why become a small business owner at all? By owning your own business the responsibility and decisions are all yours, so any successes you achieve are that much more satisfying. You have complete control of where your professional life goes, and for some this alone is desirable enough to stay off the corporate ship.


The message here is if you are considering entrepreneurship, dream bigbut not so big that you talk yourself out of ever owning a business. Small business owners are driven and happy – so if you think this is a path you want for your life, make some realistic goals and then set them into action.


Have you thought about buying your own business, but aren’t sure entrepreneurship is for you? Do you have questions about how much money you could make by owning your own business? Ask us! Please feel free to leave a comment or question here, and we will be happy to help.


Michael Monnot

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


The 7 Biggest Things A Business Buyer MUST Do

If you are buying a business, there are a few things that are critically important if you have any hope of successfully getting to the closing table. Here are our top 7:


Don’t Be Greedy

Many buyers come to the market looking to buy a business for pennies on the dollar. This is both unrealistic and unfair to the business seller. You should expect to pay a fair price for a business, as that business wouldn’t be around for your to buy if the seller hadn’t worked hard to build it.


Know Why You Are Buying

Buying a business only because you want to be your own boss is a mistake. Entrepreneurship takes hard work, long hours and a great deal of responsibility. Take some time before trying to buy a business to decide if this really is the life for you.


Be Ready To Provide Background Info On Yourself

Many buyers come to the business market expecting sellers to disclose highly confidential business information like tax returns and financial statements but then refuse to provide any information on themselves. You will have to provide sellers with a financial statement and a resume, so be ready.


Realize The Perfect Business Does Not Exist

Yes, that’s right. Buyers who are looking for a perfect business will never find one. Look at businesses with an open mind. Most issues you find in small businesses can be overcome with some creativity and hard work by a new owner.


Offer A Decent Down Payment

Offering $10,000 as a down payment on a $750,000 business is insulting to a seller. It also shows a complete and total lack of commitment on your part to the negotiations and potential sale.


Don’t Take Forever

Once you enter into the due diligence phase, you take the business off the market for other buyers who might be interested. It is completely unfair to the seller for you to drag your feet during this phase. If you are serious about buying the business you will complete your due diligence and move forward with closing in a timely fashion.


Be Nice To The Landlord

Landlords typically have nothing to gain by being helpful or cooperative, and landlords are also famous for both holding up and killing deals because they didn’t like a buyer. Always show up on time to meetings with your future landlord, be nice (even if they aren’t) and come prepared to prove you can be successful as the business owner by bringing your financial statement and resume.


Business transactions have a lot of moving parts, so if you want to be successful in your decision to buy a business you will have to be prepared to put in the effort and cooperation during the sale process.


Do you have questions about the requirements of a buyer during the transaction process? Would you like to know what kinds of financial information you will be required to provide? Feel free to leave a comment or question here and we would be happy to help.



Michael Monnot

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

Beat The Buyer’s Market Wave And Sell While The Selling Is Good

Deciding when to sell your business can be tough. Ideally, you want to sell when conditions are favorable – interest rates are low, there are more buyers than sellers in the market and the economy is peaking.


buy or sell


The timing of your sale can mean everything in terms of the amount you get for your business, so staying on top of market trends is critical if you are even considering selling.

If the sale of your business is something you see as a possibility in the near future, then the state of the market would suggest that the time to sell is now. Currently there are more buyers in the market than sellers, but with a wave of baby boomers poised for retirement – that balance is about to shift.

If you want to get out in front of the wave of boomers looking to sell, then there are a few steps you will need to take to ready your business.

First, you will need the services of an experienced business broker to help you through the process and take the pressure of finding and negotiating with buyers off your shoulders – so you can focus on running your business.

Second, you will need to get the business and all financial records ready for a buyer’s eyes – make repairs to your equipment, give the business a thorough cleaning, have your records assembled in a format that is easy to understand and have your numbers recasted so a buyer can quickly understand the value you have placed on your business.

In addition to these tangible steps, you also need to ready yourself. In the small business market, most deals involve at least a bit of seller financing and quite a bit of back-and-forth negotiation, so banish from your mind the ideal of an all-cash, full-price offer.

If you’ve thought about selling – now is the time. While the economy is good and the market favors sellers over buyers, get your exit strategy in place to get the best return on your investment.


Michael Monnot

12995 South Cleveland Avenue, Suite 249
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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