Experience Counts – Why You Need A Veteran Of The Transaction Process



You’ve just entered the business market with the intent of buying yourself a small business, and you are shopping around for a business broker to help you.

 

There are many factors that separate the good brokers from the bad – but one of the big ones is experience.

 

Rookie brokers make lots of mistakes, and if you’ve hitched yourself to their wagon for your transaction then you get to live those mistakes right along with them.

 

As experienced brokers, it can be very frustrating to try and work with these newbies, but it becomes increasingly difficult when they are trying their hand at the business alone and without any guidance – or if they have an experienced broker whom they work for who has given little to no training of any kind.

 

One of the major ways this lack of experience shows through? Too many showings.

 

What do we mean by too many showings?

 

If you’ve ever bought a house, you know that going to see a plethora of homes is part of the game, especially in a fast-moving market where a house has multiple offers the first day it lists. This is not, however, how business sales works – so newbie business brokers, especially those fresh out of the real estate industry, will sometimes try to play the same game by attempting to line up a litany of businesses for their clients to see. It doesn’t work.

 

First of all, when you are buying a business, you are buying an existing business – one that is open and running with staff and customers. The importance of confidentiality means that the staff and customers can’t know the business is for sale. Therefore, a business seller can’t have a parade of semi-curious buyers waltzing through the front door on a regular basis – it would make confidentiality impossible.

 

If done properly, the process to go see/tour a business is much more extensive:

 

It starts by having a conversation with your business broker about what you are looking for in a business and what your goals are. You will also talk about how much capital you have to invest in a business, and your broker will then take that information and find you a number of listings to look at that will be within your budget and meet your entrepreneurial goals. Out of that initial batch of potential businesses, you will typically be asked to narrow down the choices to just a few – think two or three – that peak your interest. You will then sign non-disclosure agreements for those listings in order to receive the marketing package, complete with the name and physical location of the business. After thoroughly reviewing the marketing materials for your few choices, you will probably prefer one business over the others. Your broker will help you form a list of additional questions you have for the sellers, and you will be given an opportunity to ask those questions during a conference call including the sellers, the brokers involved and you. After all of those steps have passed and you are still very interested in the business, your broker will set up a walk-through of the physical location of the business either before or after business hours when the staff and customers are gone.

 

What you can’t do in this process is decide that you want to spend a few days touring businesses and line up 5, 10 or more “showings” with your broker. No experienced broker worth their salt is going to waste their seller’s time by trying to coordinate a visit when the buyer hasn’t even bothered to narrow down their choices or ask any good questions. It’s just not going to happen. They’re also not going to put the confidentiality of the business at risk by having too many unfamiliar people coming to the business to meet with the seller during business hours as the staff will know something is up.

 

If you ask for this type of multi-tour approach and your broker says “Sure!”, beware that you probably have a rookie on your hands. The experienced brokers on the other side of the table aren’t going to play along, and you will be stuck seeing only the businesses listed by fellow rookie brokers.

 

If you are serious about buying, get yourself an experienced broker and go through the proper steps. You will end up only seeing the businesses that are right for you instead of wasting your own time looking at businesses that don’t fit the bill.

 

Are you a first-time buyer with more questions about the business buying process? Have you had an experience with a rookie broker that you’d like to share? Please feel free to leave comments or questions here and we would be happy to help.

 

 

 

Michael Monnot

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

www.InfinityBusinessBrokers.com


Weighing Advice: How Business Buyers Should Deal With “Help”



Everyone is an expert, right?

 

We all have that person in our life who talks confidently about every subject while knowing little to nothing about the things they speak of. They string together urban legend, conjecture and memes from the internet into what sounds like a coherent piece of genuine information when, in fact, it is nothing of the sort.

 

If you are thinking about buying a business and you’ve told the people in your life about this new pursuit, then these fact-free advice givers will come out of the woodwork. Everyone, at one time or another has considered what life would be like as a business owner – and as such almost everyone feels qualified to offer their entrepreneurial advice. You will get unsolicited advice from seemingly everyone: your brother-in-law, the mailman, your dentist, your neighbors. While everyone’s intentions are good – to help you – the information you are given should be taken cautiously. Even the opinions of those you trust, like a very close friend, should be taken within the context of whether or not they actually know anything about buying or running a business.

 

Take, for example, the rent payments on a waterfront restaurant. If you are considering buying a large waterfront restaurant, especially one in a desirable location, then you should expect the rent to be high. That high rent, however, when compared to comparable businesses in the same area will probably be right in line with what you should expect to pay. Also, a desirable location means more customers in the door – meaning you will be perfectly capable of paying that high rent so long as you don’t run the business into the ground.

 

What unfortunately happens to many new buyers is they mention this high rent rate to someone who knows little to nothing about either the restaurant industry or the area in question and they balk at the number, exclaiming “That’s ridiculous!!! Don’t buy that business!” when the opposite is true. It’s a great business and falls right in line with both the buyer’s budget and their goals for business ownership.

 

There are many, many examples of instances where bad advice has driven a buyer from a perfectly good business – particularly when discussing matters of price. We’re not telling you that you shouldn’t listen to the opinions of those you trust, we’re just saying that you should consider their expertise in the matter before you take their advice as doctrine.

 

Who should you listen to? Your business broker is a good source of information because they eat, sleep and breathe business transactions and a good broker will know their local industry inside and out. Your business broker is also a reliable source of information because it is in their best interest if you succeed in your new business. You may refer them the business owners or business buyers you meet if you are happy in your business decision, and when the time comes to sell they hope you will use them again. A great business broker gets a great deal if their business from referrals and repeat clients.

 

You should also listen to the advice of your business transaction attorney and your business transaction CPA (if you end up using one) as they too know the industry well.

 

Notice we said “business transaction” attorney and CPA, not any attorney or CPA. Your friend who practices labor law and your uncle who does accounting for a rental car company aren’t going to be able to give you good advice about buying a restaurant because that’s not what they do. It would be similar to asking your car mechanic his advice about whether or not you should undergo back surgery – it’s not his area of expertise.

 

The most important person you should listen to? Your own common sense. Take the information you gather from all of your sources, weigh the validity of their opinions based on their real expertise in the matter – and then decide for yourself. You are the one buying the business, not the peanut gallery, so if the decision makes sense to you then that’s all that really counts.

 

Are you looking at businesses to buy and getting all kinds of advice at the same time? Do you have questions about some of the advice you’ve already been given? Please feel free to leave your questions and 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

www.InfinityBusinessBrokers.com


Buying A Business? Why You Should Stick With One Broker



We’ll start this one by saying as a caveat that if you end up with a dreadful broker who never returns your phone calls, doesn’t show up to scheduled meetings on a regular basis and is all around just bad – by all means, find a new broker.



Caveat aside, many business buyers come to the business-for-sale marketplace and try to play the field, and this never ends up working in their favor.



What do we mean by playing the field? If you’ve emailed 30 brokers in a small local area to request information on potential businesses, then you are doing yourself and your prospects for business ownership a big disservice.



Why?



Your business search needs to be focused in order to be successful, and in order to have a focused business search you need to have a relationship with a good broker. This relationship should start with a conversation about several very important things – things that won’t come across if all you are doing is shooting email requests to everyone in the area.



Your initial conversation with a broker might start out as an inquiry into one specific business, but it shouldn’t stay that way for long. A good broker is going to ask you questions that will let them know your direction in your search and help them narrow your focus to just those businesses that would fit with your goals.



What should a broker be asking you?



They should ask you about what your goals for business ownership are. If what you are hoping to achieve is a very flexible schedule so you can spend more time with your kids, then some businesses are definitely out of the question. If schedule isn’t a priority, but making as much money as possible is – then a very different business would be for you.



They should be asking you about what your passions are. Entrepreneurship is no picnic. It can be an enormous amount of work, so you need to be doing something that you can be driven and passionate about or you will end up miserable.



They should ask you about your experience. If you’ve never worked so much as a single shift in the restaurant industry, then it would be a terrible idea to buy a bar or restaurant. Business ownership is tough, especially if you are brand new to entrepreneurship. You don’t want to add learning an entirely new industry on top of it – you will be setting yourself up for failure.



They should be asking you about your finances. You might think you have enough money to buy a particular business, but the reality of buying is that you need far more money than just enough to cover the listing price. You need enough to write the closing check, enough for the deposits for your utilities and lease, enough to buy new inventory, enough for licensing fees, enough for the first few rounds of payroll – the list goes on. A good broker doesn’t want to set you up for failure, so knowing your financial situation will allow them to find you businesses you can actually afford.



The point here is only by having a relationship with a single broker (who knows these very key things about you and about your business ownership goals) can you have any hope of finding the right business.



Approach you search for businesses by searching for a good broker first – then you can count on that relationship to bring you the businesses you should see.



Have you sent a ton of email requests but haven’t actually had a conversation with a broker yet? Do you want to know more about why a relationship with a good broker is so important for your success in purchasing a business? Ask us! Please feel free to leave any questions or comments, and we would be happy to help.

 

 

 

Michael Monnot

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

www.InfinityBusinessBrokers.com

 


Buying Or Selling A Business? Don’t Underestimate Training



Have you thought about what happens after the keys change hands and the buyer and seller walk away from the closing table?

 

The transaction process isn’t over yet – now the training period begins.

 

When a business is sold, part of the purchase contract will typically cover a training period of some sort where the seller will stay on with the business until the buyer can be sufficiently trained to take over the helm. This is an all-to-important part of the business transaction process, so it is in everyone’s best interest to keep the training period productive and amicable.

 

The best way to start the training period off right is to keep the negotiations during the sale process as friendly as possible. Both parties can do this by always using the business brokers involved as intermediaries. It might seem inefficient to always send questions or comments through a third party, but what starts as an innocent phone call to the other side can quickly devolve into a deal-killing fight. Keeping things friendly for the time period before your are stuck working together will make the start of training much easier.

 

If you are the buyer in the situation, it may be tempting to walk in on day one and completely change everything to your liking. This is a huge mistake for two reasons.

 

One, you shouldn’t make any changes to a functioning and profitable business until you know everything there is to know about the business. Then, and only then, will you know what parts of the business are making it profitable and successful and what aspects can be changed without causing any unforeseen damage down the line.

 

The second reason your should hold off on any changes is for the seller’s sake. The seller has a wealth of practical knowledge about the business you just bought, and it is absolutely in your best interest to get absolutely all of that knowledge before the training period is over. By coming in and changing everything, you are essentially telling the seller you don’t think anything they’ve done is worth learning about – a move so insulting that you will probably have an incredibly hard time getting any of that precious practical knowledge. Try to remember that this business was a huge part of the seller’s life, so treat them with a bit of compassion and wait until they are officially gone before you implement any big changes.

 

If you are the seller in the transaction, the training period can be difficult for a number of reasons. First, once you’ve left the closing table and the keys have changed hands, it can be very tempting to mentally check-out. This is a very bad idea, especially if your deal has seller financing involved (which many deals do). If you check-out and can’t properly train the new owner, the their chances of success (and you seeing the rest of your money) are probably not very good.

 

Another training pitfall for sellers is getting offended when the new owner wants to make changes. It can be extremely difficult to keep your emotions in check, but you must remember that this business no longer belongs to you, so the new owner can do what they please. Do your best to complete the training period amicably so that your business can carry on successfully without you.

 

Whether you are the buyer or the seller, it is critically important for the survival of the business in the long term that the training period happensso do your best to work together.

 

Have you bought a business and the training period wasn’t what it needed to be for you to successfully take over? Are you selling your business and you have questions about what the typical training period will be like? Please feel free to share your experiences or leave us questions here.

 

 

 

Michael Monnot

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

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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