Preparation And Selling Your Business – 3 Steps You Should Take

How important is preparation when selling a business?


The short answer? Preparation is everything.



Let’s pretend that you are buying a car. You find two nearly identical cars – same price, make, model, year and color. One seller has the title ready to go, the car had been recently detailed and the interior smells nice. The other seller isn’t sure where the title is, the car is full of junk and doesn’t look or smell like it’s been cleaned in this century. Which one are you going to buy? The answer may seem obvious, but in many cases business sellers try to pass off their wildly unprepared business as one ready for buyers. This is a big mistake. First impressions are extremely important, so your business needs to be ready for buyers before buyers ever come through the door. 


How do you prepare a business for the market?


Organize Your Books

Business buyers aren’t typically buying the building associated with your business, and the value of a business isn’t based solely on tangible assets like furnishings, inventory and equipment – your listing price is, for the most part, based on your cash flow. How can you prove that it’s worth what you say it is? A big box of crumpled paper isn’t going to cut it. Neither is a poorly photocopied P&L and the last page of a tax return. You need to get your books in order, and you need to do it now. If you don’t know where to start, ask your business broker for advice or use the services of a CPA who is familiar with the accounting needs of a business that will be for sale.


Clean It Up

Back to the idea of first impressions – if you own a bar with carpet on the floors that have never been cleaned and rafters full of cobwebs you’d better believe no buyer in their right mind is going to pay you top dollar. The mess and smell aside, a filthy location or one in considerable disrepair tells a buyer that you haven’t taken care of your business the way that you should – meaning there are probably many more skeletons in the closet that they won’t be willing to pay for. Give your business a thorough once-over and fix what’s broken so you don’t squander that all-important first-impression.


Decide On Answers To Buyer Questions

When you are selling your business you are making a sale – and like any good salesman you should both know and be able to communicate your product (your business) to buyers. Talk to your business broker about what types of questions a buyer might ask and then think through how you might answer those questions. You want to look professional and polished in your first meeting or conference call with a buyer, not like a deer in headlights.


If you are considering selling your business and aren’t even close to a point where buyers can come in the door – don’t worry. Your job has been running your business, not selling it, so you will need to adjust your focus a bit in the weeks and months before your listing goes live. Use your business broker to help you prepare and you will be ready for those first looks.


Do you own a business with the proverbial big box of crumpled paper and would like some tips on how to start organizing your books? Would you like to know more about what buyers are typically looking for? Ask us! Leave questions or comments here and we would be happy to help.




Michael Monnot

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

Own A Small Business? 4 Big Website Mistakes To Avoid

Every business must have a website in the digital age, from a small food truck operation to a multinational corporation. Your website is how people find you, find out about what you do and decide if your business is the right business for their needs.


If you are a small business owner who doesn’t have a website – getting one is priority number one. Not having a web presence is like having a store without a sign out front or anything in the windows to tell those passing by what’s inside. If you do have a website, there are some very basic rules that separate a good website from a terrible one. Where does your current website fall? Here’s how to tell:


What makes for a great business website?


A good hosting plan.

Sure, you can find a litany of free or absurdly cheap web hosting services that will let you toss together a stock-layout website in 5 minutes – but is that what you really want the face of your business to be? Cheap and stock? Probably not. Services that offer more customization and a way to remove ads are essential if you want to look professional, and a good hosting service will also offer more speed for your users. The responsiveness and speed of your website will not only keep users happy, it can help boost your rankings with Google.


A good blog.

Blogs aren’t just for fashionistas or for your teenage kids – blogs are an essential part of any business website. Why? Having a blog ensures you are getting good information about your goods and services out to the people who visit your website. It also is a major factor in your rankings with Google. A well-kept blog means your website is constantly publishing new content – therefore constantly marching it’s way up the search rankings.


White space.

Do you know why newspaper stories have all of the pertinent information in the first paragraph? Very few people ever read the whole article. Online attention spans are even shorter – so if you are writing endless paragraphs that force people to scroll and scroll to find the information they need, you won’t keep their attention long enough to be useful to your business. Keep informative blurbs short and concise. Don’t clutter up your pages with too much information in one place. Your website needs to be aesthetically pleasing (lots of white space) if your want people to stay.


Your contact information.

This one might seem obvious, but you would be shocked at how many small business websites don’t include any contact information. One of the major purposes of your website is to tell people where you are and how to contact you. You should absolutely include your address, phone numbers, email addresses/a contact form and some kind of map.  


A great business website can be the difference between success and failure, so invest the time, money and effort to make the online face of your business as great as your physical one. A well-maintained and beautiful website will also make a great selling point when the time comes to put your business on the market.


Do you own a business but don’t have a website? Would you like to know more about how a great website can help you when the time comes to sell? Please leave any questions or comments here and we would be happy to help.




Michael Monnot

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

Buying Or Selling A Business? What A Government Shutdown Means For You

The government is shut down, again.


It’s happened more times than it should in recent years, to the point that most people feel like it’s so old hat that it really doesn’t have much impact on their lives.



However, if you’re in the market to buy a business or are currently trying to sell your business, the government shutdown could have a major impact on your transaction.


Why? The Small Business Administration, or SBA for short.


Traditional lending institutions like banks are typically gun-shy about financing small business transactions, especially with the financial crisis of 2008 relatively fresh in everyone’s mind – so many buyers turn to the SBA in order to finance the purchase a business when a full cash offer is not an option. Many sellers also take steps to ensure that their business would qualify for SBA loans when they are preparing to list, as the possibility of SBA financing can be a draw for potential buyers.


SBA financing is very common in the small business world and can be a very useful tool to get a deal to the closing table, but since the SBA is a government entity it requires the government to be up and running to be able to use it. A government shut down means the activities of the SBA are suspended – so no financing can go through.


If you are looking to buy a business, the government shutdown and suspension of SBA means you may have to put your buying plans on hold until the government is back up and running. If you are a business buyer or seller with a deal in the works, it may mean a pause in your transaction until the funding can go through.


What should you do if you are a buyer or seller and are concerned about the impact of the shutdown? Talk to your business broker. We have, unfortunately, been through this before, so we can talk through any and all potential options and decide on the best course of action for your particular circumstance. Overall, the best advice would be to stay patient and understand that this political tool doesn’t last forever. SBA will be back up and running soon.


A note to sellers – you should be patient with the other side of your transaction because it isn’t their fault the financing has been put on hold. A buyer who needs the SBA to buy your business can’t do anything if the SBA isn’t open. 


Will the shut down last forever? No, it won’t. Will this kind of thing happen again? Unfortunately, it probably will. Stay calm, try to be patient and discuss options with your broker.


Are you looking for businesses to buy and want to know about funding options besides the SBA? Are you a seller who wants to know more about finding out if your business would qualify for SBA financing? Leave any questions or comments here and we would be happy to help.




Michael Monnot

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

Own A Small Business Or Looking To Buy One? Why Automation Is Your Friend

Although it might feel like the automation of our world is sending us into the plot of a sci-fi film – many entrepreneurs are either unaware of or discount the potential benefits automation can bring to their business lives.


Think of a repetitive, mundane administrative task that your business requires. You make the time for it and do it because you have to, but that time could absolutely be spent accomplishing something else more productive – like growing your business.



What can you automate?


Your marketing strategy.

Marketing is the lifeblood of your business – it’s what brings new customers in through the door. Companies like Drip and ConvertKit creatively automate your email marketing to ensure you stay active in a customer’s inbox. As far as social media marketing goes, companies like Buffer and MeetEdgar manage and help schedule your social media posts so you don’t have to.


Your accounting.

Keeping track of invoices, managing your financial records and tracking expenses can be very time consuming – but with accounting software from places like Xero and Wave you can automate many aspects of your business accounting.


Your paperwork.

Long gone are the days of physical signatures and fax machines – now most of the paperwork, sales documents and contracts you need can be sent and signed electronically in seconds using products from companies like PandaDoc and HelloSign.


Your payroll.

If your business is big enough to have employees but small enough that a full-time payroll person isn’t in the cards – services like Gusto and Wagepoint can take the payroll pressure off of your plate.


These suggestions aren’t ads, by the way. The services we listed here are by no means the only ones out there and might not be the right fit for your business – they are merely examples to show you what’s out there. It is incredibly important that you do your homework when selecting an automated service to ensure that the time it saves you will be worth it.


A note for business owners:


Another major bonus to automating some of the administrative tasks within your business? When the time comes to sell, buyers will see that you’ve taken the “work smarter, not harder” approach when it comes to your business. This will speak volumes about how you see a business owner’s time as valuable and about how you have placed a priority on streamlining the business to make it successful.


A note for business buyers:


As you look at how prospective businesses are run and how the current owner spends their time, think “how can I automate this so I can turn the time I would have spent on this task into growth for my new business?” By thinking about the aspects of the business you can automate, you will be better prepared to see the potential of a new business opportunity instead of just what’s currently there.


If you’ve never considered how automation could help your small business, now is as good a time as any to start. Thoroughly research your options – then decide what could help you take some of the drudgery of business ownership off your plate.


Do you own a business and would like to know more about how streamlining your business may impress buyers? Are you considering buying a business and want to know what types of automation would best suit the industries you are interested in? Please feel free to leave any questions or comments and we would be happy to help.




Michael Monnot

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


Business Owner? Why An Accountant Is A Great Idea

Running a small business can be very challenging. You get pulled in 16 different directions every day and have the fate of your business and your employees on your shoulders. While it might seem like you should be able to be all things at all times for your business, there is one very important part of your business you shouldn’t try to handle all on your own.



Your accounting.


Keeping track of the finances of your business needs a great deal of time and energy – time and energy you as a business owner should really be spending growing your business and your customer base. It may seem like an unnecessary expense, but by handing over the incredibly important task of managing the financial record keeping of your company to someone who specializes in that work – the time that delegating your accounting gives you will pay for itself with the growth you can create.


Your numbers are also critically important when the time comes to sell your business, as your financial records are the only way you can justify your asking price to a potential buyer. You don’t want a box of crumpled receipts to be the face you put on your business when the first buyer wants to see documentation. A properly curated account of your business will not only make your numbers clear, it will show potential buyers that you had the foresight to keep this very important responsibility in the proper hands.


If your business is so small that you can’t afford an accountant yet – there are options like QuickBooks, Xero and Wave, just as examples, that will give you a guided approach to keeping your financial records on track.


The point here? When it comes to the accounting part of your business, don’t try to go it alone. Get the help that will pay off with the growth and the future sale of your business.


Do you own a business and do all of your own accounting? Would you like to know more about how professional accounting help will make your business more desirable to buyers? Ask us! Leave any questions or comments and we would be happy to help.




Michael Monnot

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


To Train Or Not To Train – How Long Should A Seller Stay?

You’re in the final stages of selling your business and are more than ready to start the next phase of your life. You and a buyer have agreed on a sale price and are in the final days of due diligence. As the final sale contract begins to come together one very important part of the agreement needs to be discussed – training.


No one in their right mind is going to take over a new business without having someone show them the ropes, and if you care at all about the future of your business, the jobs of your employees and your financial return from selling – you need to take the training part of your transaction very seriously. This is even more crucial if you have seller financing as part of your deal, because if the business falters after you leave – you won’t get paid.


So, what does a typical training period look like?


For the typical small business sale, the training period is two weeks.


If you and the buyer don’t think two weeks is enough time, there are a litany of options. You can agree to stay on to train in a full-time capacity for one period of time and then a part-time capacity for a period after that. You can also agree to the two full weeks and then agree to be available on a consulting basis for several weeks or months.


You don’t want to stay on any longer than necessary, but you do need to show a new owner EVERYTHING you do – from how you unlock doors to payroll. You need to introduce the new owner to your clients, your vendors and your staff. All of these things take time. 


They don’t, however, take forever. A buyer’s cold feet and nervousness about taking the reins shouldn’t dictate the amount of time you spend training. If you can teach them what they need to know in two weeks, then that’s it.


Here’s a very important caveat that you may not have considered. Once you hand over the keys, even if you are staying on in a training capacity, you are no longer the owner and no longer the boss. The new owner is in charge, and everyone needs to answer to them, not you. This dramatic shift in the power structure at a business you very recently owned can be emotionally difficult for some sellers, especially if the new owner makes changes you don’t agree with – another reason you should keep the training period as brief as possible. 


Talk to your business broker about what they would suggest for a training period in your case. Then remember to keep your cool when dealing with the new owner.


Are you thinking about selling your business and hadn’t considered a training period after the sale? Would you like to know what we would suggest as an acceptable training period for your business? Please feel free to leave any questions or comments here and we would be happy to help.




Michael Monnot

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

Michael Monnot


5111-E Ocean Blvd
Siesta Key, FL 34242

Michael Monnot


5111-E Ocean Blvd
Siesta Key, FL 34242


Recent Posts