Want to Own a Business? Start Here!



When you think about famous entrepreneurs, it often brings thoughts of a person who came up with an inspired idea and built a successful and thriving business from the ground up – with the romantic twist of doing so out of a garage with little to no seed money. While this may be the path for a few very driven and lucky individuals, the path for most entrepreneurs begins quite differently, with the purchase of an existing business.

 

Wait, what? Buy an already existing business? Why would I do that instead of starting my own business?

 

Typically, buying a business is a safer bet than building one from scratch. You get to take over as owner of an already built-out and proven location with trained employees and a ready-to-go set of operating procedures. This can be a great way to get into business ownership because it skips all of the disadvantages a start-up will encounter – like establishing a customer base, building cash flow, paying for build-outs, establishing marketing practices, training a brand-new staff, obtaining initial permits and licenses – to name just a few.

It is not, however, a fool-proof way to enter the world of business ownership. You need to choose a business that is profitable, or one that has easily-remedied issues that will make it profitable quickly. You need to choose a business that will fit with your goals for business ownership and one where you have some practical knowledge or experience. You also need to choose a business that has room for growth.

I have a lot of questions, who should I ask?

 

Business people in a meeting using tablet

 

The smartest step any budding entrepreneur can make is to hire an experienced and qualified business broker. A broker will be a great asset, as they can help you find businesses that are right for you.

 

In your initial conversation with your broker you should talk about your previous work experience. You don’t want to have to learn a whole new industry at the same time you are learning how to operate a business.  You should also talk about your goals for business ownership. Your goals will determine what industries would be best for you. For instance, buying a bar with the goal of having evenings off isn’t going to work. Be a bit opened minded about the businesses that are available – you might be surprised to find a business that perfectly fits your goals in an industry you would never have thought of on your own.

 

The message here is entrepreneurship isn’t an impossible goal, and you don’t have to come up with a genius idea in your garage to get there. There are a myriad of businesses available everyday, and with help from a good business broker you can find the right one for you.

 

Have you always wanted to own your own business, but were unsure of where to start? Do you have questions about what a business broker does? Ask us! Leave any questions or comments here, we would be happy to help.

 

 

Michael Monnot

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

http://www.infinitybusinessbrokers.com


Business Buyer Beware – Don’t Use A Real Estate Agent To Buy A Business



If you are thinking about buying a business, your first step should involve looking for someone to help you find the right business for you. The right professional for the job is called a business broker, someone who specializes in helping people buy and sell existing businesses.

 

In our industry there are a lot of fly-by-night imposters who think that dabbling in the business broker profession is something that can be done on the side to make some extra money. Absolutely nothing could be farther from the truth. 

 

Dishonest businessman telling lies, lying businessperson holding fingers crossed behind his back

 

The business market and businesses themselves are very complex, and each business and each business transaction is unique. Helping people buy and sell businesses isn’t something you can do without the knowledge, experience and focus necessary to reach a successful closing table. We’ll put it this way, you wouldn’t trust a general practitioner to do reconstructive plastic surgery on your face, you would use a plastic surgeon instead. Why? They are a specialist. Business brokers are specialists too.

 

The fly-by-night impostors come in all forms. We’ve come across lawyers, doctors and accountants who have tried to pass themselves off as someone who could help someone buy a business – but by far the worst fly-by-nighters are real estate agents.

 

A real estate agent is a specialist in the buying and selling of homes and property, so many in that profession think they can seamlessly transition into buying and selling businesses. Again, nothing could be farther from the truth. A home and a business are completely different animals, the business market operates by different rules and the set of skills needed for a successful closing on a house are completely different than those needed to reach the closing table for a business.

 

Many real estate agents attempt to dabble in the realm of business brokers by offering to help a client who already bought a house find a business. These agents call us and try to work out some kind of deal where they will represent their buyer clients in the business transaction. Whenever this happens, any business broker worth their salt will refuse to work with a real estate agent in this way.

 

Why? Why can’t I use the real estate agent I already know and trust?

 

You can’t because that real estate agent can’t help you buy a business. They have absolutely no idea what they are doing. As business brokers we would never try to sell you a house for the same reason – we would have no idea what we were doing in that industry.

 

What should happen instead? Your real estate agent refers you to a qualified and experienced business broker, and they get a referral fee for the introduction. They essentially get paid for doing nothing more than exchanging phone numbers, so for the agent it’s a great deal. You as a buyer then get the proper help you need to successfully buy a business. Everybody wins.

 

The point here is you need to be suspicious of anyone who is not a full-time business broker who wants to help you buy a business. Save yourself the headache and get the right help from the start.  

 

Are you thinking about buying a business and want to know more about the difference between a business broker and a real estate agent? Would you like to know more about the process of buying a business? Ask us! Please leave us 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

http://www.infinitybusinessbrokers.com


Sneaky, Sneaky – Why A Business Seller Really Needs A Business Broker



 

 

If you are on the road to sell your business, you probably already know the importance of confidentiality when it comes to maintaining the integrity of your business. If you don’t, here’s why it is completely and totally necessary:

 

When the average person hears that a business is for sale, it immediately conjures the image that the business is in some kind of trouble – possibly teetering on the brink of failure. This is, of course, not reality – but this dangerous false perception can cause real havoc within your business if the word gets out that you are trying to sell. Think about what your employees will think if they think the business is about to close the doors. Think about what your competition might do if they think you are about to go under. You can lose vendors, contracts, future customers. Not good.

 

This is why, instead of trying to sell your business on your own, you really need a good business broker at your side. One of the major responsibilities of a business broker is maintaining that all important confidently – and therefore the integrity of your business.

 

How do we as brokers maintain confidentiality?

 

We ask questions, do our homework and we make people sign legally binding confidentiality agreements.

 

What kind of questions do we ask? The kind that will weed-out the sneaky, sneaky people who have no business knowing that your business is for sale.

 

We get a list of people from you that you don’t want knowing the business is for sale, like your current or former staff or a big competitor. We get the full name and physical address of anyone who wants to sign a non-disclosure agreement for your business. We “Google” people to find out if they really are who they say they are. We have multiple ways to research prospective buyers, and we use those research tools. By doing our homework, we ensure that your confidentiality stays in place.

 

Doing our homework also means we catch sneaky people, and we catch them all the time. Staff members who pose as someone else to find out if the for-sale rumors are true. The owners of competing businesses who have their parents or siblings call, pretending to be buyers. Real estate agents posing as business brokers calling on behalf of someone on the don’t-disclose list.

 

Our diligence when it comes to confidentially is what keeps your business safe. A buyer on their own probably isn’t going to know the industry well enough to know when someone is posing as someone they’re not. You aren’t going to have the time to properly vet curious potential buyers – you need to run your business and prep it for sale, both of which take enormous amounts of time and energy. Don’t go it alone and risk irreparably damaging your business. Having a good broker at your side is essential to keep confidentiality in place.

 

Do you have more questions about the importance of confidentiality or how we go about keeping it in place? Would you like to know more about other parts of the business selling process? Ask us! Please leave 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

http://www.infinitybusinessbrokers.com

 


Confidentiality and the Business Buyer – What You Need to Know



Buying a business is a big task, and there are many steps ahead of you that might initially seem ridiculous – but all are a necessary part of a successful business transaction. The most important of these steps is the signing of confidentiality agreements and then keeping that confidentiality in place.

 

Top Secret - Geschftsmann mit Finger vor Mund

 

This is by far the most frustrating part of the process for buyers. The confidential nature of business sales means you can’t have all of the information you want the moment you want it – and you will have to sign non-disclosure agreements for each and every business you seriously consider, all without knowing very much about the business before you do.

 

Keeping the for-sale status of a business a closely-guarded secret is absolutely imperative for the health (and possibly survival) of the business. When people find out a business is for sale, they immediately assume the worst. A business for sale must be a business on the brink of ruin. Why would anyone sell a perfectly good business?

 

Well, there are a lot of reasons. Reaching retirement age, the desire to move to a new area, wanting to pursue a different business venture, reaching a pre-planned goal within the business for the purpose of selling – all of these reasons mean a business is healthy, not failing.

 

In general, however, that false perception that a business for sale is a failing business can cause an enormous amount of havoc in an operating business. The entire staff can quit, customers can go elsewhere, contracts can be cancelled – all things that can severely affect the bottom line.

 

For you as a buyer, the confidential nature of business sales means you must sign non-disclosure agreements and you must abide by them. Period.

 

You can’t change the language of the agreement to remove the penalties for you if you break the agreement. Non-disclosure agreements come in a standard form used throughout the industry and are not open for negotiation. If buyers could change the agreement to remove the penalties for a disclosure, then there really isn’t any point in having non-disclosure agreements in the first place.

 

You also can’t tell anyone who is outside of the transaction that the business is for sale (like your mother-in-law, your neighbor, your golf buddies, etc.). The only people who should have access to any confidential information is the buyer, the seller and the brokers, CPAs and attorneys involved.  

 

While the confidential nature of business sales might seem like a giant pain – you should consider it a great thing for you as a business buyer. Confidentiality means that the business you want to buy hasn’t been trashed by the careless disclosure of it’s for-sale status by a buyer that considered it before you did. You will get your new business intact and healthy.

 

If you have questions about non-disclosure agreements or questions about the business buying process in general, please feel free to contact us here or comment below. We would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

 

 

Michael Monnot

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

http://www.infinitybusinessbrokers.com


Two Easy Steps To Beef Up Your Business Before You Sell



If you are thinking about selling your business, you should also think about maximizing the the potential value of your business to buyers before the business hits the market. Many business owners who start the selling process take their foot off the gas, expecting the business to sell quickly and without much effort. If you are considering this approach, you should know that the typical time it takes to get from listing to closing is 9-12 months, an absolute eternity if you stop caring about running your business and plenty of time for you to sink what you’ve built.

 

Instead of trying to coast to the finish line, you should do everything you can to continue the growth of your business by seeking out new customers to add to your base. Increasing your customer base will add value to your business in the eyes of buyers, and will also show them that your business is a good investment because you as the current owner always have an eye on growth.

 

Young cheerful businessman watering green growing graph with can

 

Although it can be difficult to find new customers in a small, local area there are a few relatively simple things you can try to get your business noticed by both new clientele and buyers.

 

Get and Maintain an Online Presence

Hop on any major search engine and type in the name of your business. What pops up? If you have no online presence to speak of you should know that in our increasingly digital world absence from the internet realm will reflect very poorly on your business. Why? Any buyer who sees you have neglected the most important avenue for customers to find you will wonder what other aspects of the business you have let slide.

 

It is very easy to make yourself visible online. You first need to make sure your business information is both listed and correct on all of the major search engines, the yellow pages, etc. Your listings on these sites should include your address, phone number, an email and a short blurb about what you do. Next, you should set up a business Facebook page and regularly post news about your products and services. Finally, ALL businesses need a website. A business without a website is the equivalent of a store without a sign out front. There are many services available to create a website on your own without any tech-savvy knowledge or you can hire a web designer to create one for you. Make sure your website includes the location of the business, the contact information, the hours of operation and the products or services you provide. Make it incredibly easy for people to find you and your customer base will grow.

 

Ask For and Respond To Feedback

Websites like TripAdvisor and Yelp are where customers look when deciding on a new business to use, so use rating sites like these to your advantage. Ask customers to rate you, and respond in a positive way to any negative reviews by addressing and then fixing that person’s concerns. Showing that you are an engaged owner will not only help your business reputation with customers, it will help with any potential buyers as well.

 

Taking these two fairly easy steps to bring in new customers will both add to your bottom line and impress any potential buyers who come in the door. Don’t take your foot off the gas!

 

Are you thinking about selling your business and want to know more about growing the business to sell? Do you have questions about the business selling process? Please feel free to leave any questions or comments here and we will be happy to help.

 

 

 

Michael Monnot

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

http://www.infinitybusinessbrokers.com


A Thousand NDAs – How To NEVER Buy a Business



Business - Two businesspeople or professionals have a conversation in an office

 

We get these “buyers” all the time. They request information on dozens of businesses and then when we ask them questions about one of the listings they’ve inquired about – they can’t remember which one we’re talking about because they’ve signed what feels like a thousand NDAs. These people are NEVER going to buy a business. Never. Not going to happen.

 

Why?

 

This is the absolute opposite of the way a successful buyer finds and buys a business. A successful business buyer doesn’t want to shop as many businesses as possible, they have their eye on the true goal successful business ownership.

 

What do we mean by that?

 

You shouldn’t buy a business based on where it is, how it looks, or what the tax returns say. These are all important parts of a business, sure, but as a buyer you need to be focused instead on whether a particular business is going to meet your goals for business ownership. The major mistake that unsuccessful business buyers and unsuccessful business owners make is they don’t look at what they want out of a business.

 

If your goal for business ownership is to have more time to spend with your family and the ability to do things like coach your kid’s soccer team – then buying the bar you think you’ve always wanted isn’t going to work – you’ll have to work seven nights a week. If your goal for business ownership is to make more money than you do at your current job, then buying a huge restaurant with zero restaurant industry experience isn’t going to work – you’ll be bankrupt in six months.

 

The path to a successful business purchase starts with a conversation. You and your broker should have a talk about what your goals for business ownership are, about your prior work experience and about the amount of money you are looking to invest in a business. Then, and only then, should you sign NDAs for the businesses that will actually meet those goals. You might be surprised that a business you never would have considered on your own could be the perfect fit.

 

Are you looking for businesses to buy but haven’t had a conversation about what your goals for business ownership are? Do you want to know more about how to successfully buy a business? Ask us! Please feel free to leave any questions or comments here and we would be more than happy to help.

 

 

Michael Monnot

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

http://www.infinitybusinessbrokers.com


Tied Hands – Patience and Buying a Business



Patience Road Sign with dramatic clouds and sky.

 

We’ve talked about this issue a handful of times, but it is so prevalent in the day-to-day of buying and selling businesses it merits revisiting from time to time. A great business broker spends their work day keeping business deals on track and moving towards a closing table, but they are only one part of a very complicated process. As such, you as a buyer may get frustrated by the pace of your transaction – but in many cases there is absolutely nothing your broker can do. What you need to remember is the only cure for tied hands is patience. Here’s an example:

 

You are a motivated buyer who is very interested in a particular business and have put a decent offer on the table. You request through the seller’s business broker that the seller send over the information required for due diligence, like financial records, tax returns, etc.

 

Then you wait. And you wait.

 

Then the seller sends over partial records, which get forwarded to you from your broker, but the rest of the information you requested has yet to be produced. So you wait.

 

You constantly call and email your broker, and all they can tell you is they haven’t received the information from the seller so their hands are tied

 

Why does this happen?

 

Some sellers go on the market with the initial intention of reaching a closing table, but once they are in the process they realize that selling their business requires a ton of work on top of what is already required for the day-to-day operation of their business (producing information and being available for questions/meetings). Then they completely panic because are shortly going to be out of a job.

 

These realizations can cause some sellers to develop a decent case of cold feet. It can also cause a seller to be defensive, as constant requests for more financial information can give the impression that the buyer is trying to dig up dirt on the business.

 

This, of course, is not the case. Buying a business is a huge decision, and most buyers are going to want a thorough look at any business before they pull the trigger.

 

So how do you figure out if the problem is your broker or the seller?

 

If your broker is really good about answering your questions, is prompt with returning phone calls and emails and has been forthcoming about the issues they may be having with the other side – then their hands are probably are tied. If it takes your broker ten days to return your phone calls, then the problem is probably the broker.

 

As with everything in a business transaction, a good dose of patience will go a long way. This does not mean, however, that you have to sit around and wait for a seller to deliver information they have no intention of ever giving you. Talk to your broker if you have concerns about time frame issues, and understand that sometimes there really isn’t anything a broker can do to speed up the process.

 

Are you a buyer who is having a hard time getting information out of sellers? Are you concerned that the issue may be with your current broker and not with the seller? Please feel free to leave us a comment or question here, and we will be happy to assist you.

 

 

 

Michael Monnot

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

http://www.infinitybusinessbrokers.com


The Family Exit Strategy – Entrepreneurial Parents Versus Entrepreneurial Kids



Owning a business means putting your heart and soul into a living, growing business entity – and with all that heart and soul comes a lot of personal attachment. Many small business owners dread the day when life or age will force them to hand over the reins to someone else. How could anyone else do the job like they do? How could anyone else possibly care as much as they do? What if a new owner changes things? These are the things of entrepreneurial nightmares.

 

Workers In Family Business Standing Next To Van

 

What do many small business owners do to deal with their issues of letting go? They try to groom one or more of their children to take the helm. By handing the business down to one’s offspring you can keep one foot in the door and still exert some control, even if it is from behind the scenes. You can also continue to reap the financial rewards of small business ownership by taking a salary to fund your retirement.

 

Unfortunately, however, many small businesses that get handed down to children fail or take such a steep decline that the aging parents must come out of retirement to try and right the ship.

 

Why does this happen?

 

Children are not clones of their parents – they are their own people with their own motivations, hopes and dreams. A great many children of business owners take over the family business not because they want to, but out of a sense of duty.

 

Any successful business owner will tell you that without drive and passion there is little chance of keeping a business alive. If you try to force that drive and passion onto someone else – the outcome could be ugly. In other cases it isn’t a lack of drive or passion, some people just aren’t cut out to be business owners.

 

If you are grooming your kids for life as the owner of your business you need to consider that they, secretly or not, might not want to do what you do.

 

If you have a family business, the first thing you need to do is have a serious talk with your kids about the future of the business, their dreams and their goals. You might be surprised to learn that they want to do something else.

 

If this is the case, all is not lost. You can still make a return on all of the investment of time,energy and money you have contributed to your business over the years by selling the business. You can use the proceeds of that sale to fund your retirement or to invest in a business venture that your children actually want.

 

The message here is every business owner needs to deal with the reality that no one lives forever, and for the business to continue someone else needs to take the reins. Turn all of the love you have for your business into capital you can use instead of forcing your kids to take the helm.

 

Do you own a business and have always planned to give the business to your children? Have your kids expressed zero desire to take over when you retire? Would you like to know what businesses like yours have recently sold for? Ask us! Please 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

http://www.infinitybusinessbrokers.com



Michael Monnot

941.518.7138
Mike@InfinityBusinessBrokers.com

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

Michael Monnot

941.518.7138
Mike@InfinityBusinessBrokers.com

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




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