Don’t Drag Your Feet – It’s Costing You Money

Buying a business is a huge decision. You are deciding on a whole new life and are about to write a very big check.


We get that.


A minor case of cold feet is absolutely to be expected with a decision this big, but the mistake many business buyers make is they allow their cold feet to become a major problem. They let their hesitation overshadow their rational side – and they slow the buying process to a near halt.


This will always cost you money.


We aren’t saying that you should immediately buy the very first business you look at. You should absolutely take a reasonable amount of time to make decisions about the business you ultimately buy.


What we are saying is you shouldn’t procrastinate indefinitely. If you’ve found a good business put in an offer. If you don’t, you risk several scenarios that will mean more money out of your pocket.



The sellers could decide to raise the price. Many new buyers think that this move is unfair, but a seller is completely within their rights to raise the price of their business if no written offers are currently on the table. If the business is experiencing a period of tremendous growth or if the sellers are seeing a lot of interest in their business and are hoping to cash in on the popularity of their listing – they might decide to get more bang for their buck and jack up the price. If you haven’t put in an offer, your only choice will be to pay the new price or move on.


You risk taking over the business out of season. If the business you are considering is in a seasonal market where businesses do well for part of the year and then have to survive the lean off-season (common in areas where tourism is big) dragging your feet could mean you get handed the keys right as the slow season starts. This could force you to eat up your working capital surviving until the busy season starts again instead of using that working capital to grow the business during the period of the year when customers are flocking in your door. Help yourself by using the timing of the sale to your favor. Don’t procrastinate yourself into a rough six months.


Another buyer might buy the business out from under you. Time is money, so if you are constantly losing out on good businesses because you are waiting too long and other buyers are pulling the trigger before you do – you will be perpetually stuck in the search phase of buying a business. It takes a fair amount of research time, search time, conversations, meetings, conference calls and the like to narrow down your business choices. Don’t waste all of that time (and therefore money) by prolonging your decision and losing out to a more decisive buyer.


You have every right to be nervous about your decision to buy a business, but the most successful small business owners are those who can be rational and decisive when it counts. Do yourself a favor and don’t wait.


Are you thinking about buying a business but are nervous about taking the plunge? Would you like to know more about the process to buy a business? 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

Buying A Business? The 1st Step


Buying a businessFiguring out what you want is the first step.


A dream about owning a bar on the beach might not be realistic if you’re looking to have your evenings free to spend with your kids.


What do you want your life to look like? What kind of hours do you want to work? What’s going to get you out of bed every morning? These are the kinds of questions you should be asking.


A lot about the buying process is deciding what your goals are and then finding businesses that fit those goals. If you don’t know what your goals are, have a talk with an experienced and qualified business broker about what you want out of business ownership.


Some people take the jump into entrepreneurship because they want to be their own boss, have control over their own schedule and work for themselves. While these are some of the benefits of owning your own business, they aren’t really well-defined goals. More well-defined goals might be I want to spend evenings with my family, I don’t want to have a job that requires a lot of manual labor and I want to stay within a defined budget in terms of purchase price.


You might be surprised that the industry and business has you had initially wanted won’t fit with your goals at all, and another business you would never have considered would better fit the life that you’re looking to have.


It’s important to remember that when you buy a business you are essentially buying yourself a job – so just like with a job search you need to have well-defined characteristics that you’re looking for. For instance, when you look for a job you look for jobs you would be qualified for, hours that would fit with the schedule you’d like to have and a location near where you live. You also might consider the amount of money you need to make to maintain your lifestyle. The same goes for buying a business. These are the type of well-defined goals you should come up with.


Another consideration? Your family. Whether you want it to be or not, having a business is a family affair. Owning your own business means the buck stops with you, so sometimes that can mean sacrificing time with your family to keep the business running – or maybe even having to bring your family members in as employees in a pinch. It’s important when you start the business buying process that everyone in your family is on the same page and are also on board with potential sacrifices because you don’t want to have issues down the line. An important note here – if you are expecting your children to work in and eventually take over the business, you need to make sure that they are ready, willing and able to go down this new career path with you.


If you are ready to start your business search, sit down with your family, come up with a set of goals and realistic expectations for life as a small business owner. Then talk to a business broker about these goals and they can help steer you towards a business that will fit (and make you and your family happy). 


Have you always wanted to own your own business but haven’t yet come up with a list of goals for business ownership? Would you like to know what types of businesses would fit with the life you’d like to have? Please ask us! 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

Why Your Broker’s Referral Rate Is A BIG Deal

If you are looking at businesses to buy or are thinking about selling the business you own, you should really, really care about referrals.


Buying and selling businesses can be a tough and messy thing to do, so there are professionals out there called business brokers who help buyers and sellers reach a closing table.


Like any industry, there are business brokers who are fantastic and there are business brokers who are terrible at their job. How can you as a buyer or seller figure out if the broker you are considering working with is at the top of the game? Ask them a very simple question.


How much of your business comes from referrals?



Referrals happen when previous clients or industry professionals like accountants, real estate agents or attorneys find out that someone is looking to buy or sell a business. They refer that person to a business broker they have previously worked with or know on a professional basis.


No one is going to give someone the name of a business broker they hate, so if you are working with a broker who gets the bulk of their business from referrals – it can tell you as a potential client a great deal about how this person conducts themselves in a business transaction.


We, for instance, get a great deal of our business through the referral process. Like 80% or more. Does this mean that we’ve made every client absolutely happy? Nope. But it does mean that we work very hard to get our clients to their goal. We do more than is expected and our past clients see that – especially when the other broker in the transaction does little to nothing to help the deal along. The difference between what we do and what some other brokers don’t do is the reason people send their friends our way.


The same goes for the professionals we work with throughout the transaction process, like attorneys and accountants. They’ve typically worked with other brokers who make big mistakes and expect everyone else to do the work for them – and after working with us they send any potential business our way instead.  


If you want the best help on your journey to buy or sell a business, your best bet is to ask any broker about their referral rate. The good ones will be happy to tell you that they get a good chunk of their business from past clients and business associates. The bad ones will probably change the subject – and that’s a big red flag. 


Would you like to know more about what business brokers can do to help buyers and sellers in a business transaction? Do you have questions about our referral rate? Ask us! 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


Buying A Business? What You Can Realistically Afford

Thinking about buying a business? What can you buy with the capital you have available?


Although there are several factors to consider when purchasing a business – like finding one in an industry where you have some practical experience or finding one in an area close to where you live – what you can afford will probably be the biggest consideration of them all.


When deciding what you can and can’t afford, you may need to adjust your way of thinking about the capital you have. For instance, if you have $100,000 in cash to spend, you absolutely can’t afford a $100,000 business.


Why not?


Covering the price tag alone isn’t going to be enough. You absolutely need to set aside a decent chuck of money for working capital. You need this extra capital to pay for attorney fees, for licensing and permits, for lease deposits, for first and last month’s rent, for utility deposits, for the first few weeks of payroll, for rent, for new inventory – the list goes on.


Wait, aren’t I buying a functioning business? Can’t I just use the money the business is making from day one? Why do I need so much working capital?


The short answer is you never know how much you are going to need. What if you lose an important client right out of the gate? What if you discover maintenance issues that immediately need work? What if you are taking over during a slow period of the fiscal year? You need to keep capital on hand to be able to cover the unexpected.


Another consideration? You will have a landlord who wants proof you can pay your rent – so not only will you have lease deposits that will need to be paid, you will likely need to prove you have the cash available for a decent amount of rent payments before you will be allowed to sign a lease. No landlord in their right mind is going to let someone sign a long-term commercial lease if they only have enough money to pay rent once in the bank. 


The message here is to be smart with the money you have available. Don’t overstretch your financial capacity. Doing so can put your business ownership success in jeopardy. Have an honest and open discussion with your business broker about how much money you really have available and then listen to their advice regarding what businesses you can realistically afford. By leaving yourself a working capital buffer you are far more likely to survive the bumps in the road any new business owner is sure to encounter. 


Would you like to know what types of businesses you could afford? Do you have questions about how much working capital you should set aside? 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


Opportunity Is Knocking – Grow An Entrepreneur, Not Just A Business

It can be an excruciatingly tough decision. You’ve created a successful business and are generally happy with where it’s headed. You spend every waking hour working on growth and you are reaping the benefits of all that labor. Selling your business and an exit strategy are probably something you’ve considered down the line – but times are good so you’re definitely not going to sell now. Right?



Here’s the thing. Your business is currently successful. The economy is booming. You have solid numbers for the last few years. Your business is probably worth a lot right now. How much are you willing to bet that this upswing is going to last? If you wait too long to sell, then the answer could be everything.


No one knows how long the economy will boom, but we all know it can’t be forever. If we have another crash like the one in 2008, could your business survive? You and your family might currently be in good health, but that could change and pull your focus away from the business to the point where the business falters.


The calculation of how long to hang on to a business while the going is good can be tough, but here’s a few things in the tea leaves that might make you consider selling sooner rather than later.


The Baby Boomers are retiring in record numbers. A lot of these Boomers are small business owners and as such will be looking to sell  in the near future so they can retire. That means a glut of stable, long-term small businesses with good numbers will be hitting the market. All of these great businesses will be your competition, and too many businesses for sale will absolutely push prices down.


The economy is great, and there’s a rush of new construction happening everywhere – in both the residential and commercial sectors. Real estate prices are soaring. Sounds like life in 2006 and 2007, right?


So what’s a business owner to do? You may not want to sell because you are essentially selling yourself out of a job – but here’s another way to look at your business investment. You can only grow your current business so far, and if this article is resonating with you then you’re probably nearing or have already reached the peak. Selling and moving on to new ventures can grow you as an entrepreneur instead of just growing one business. Here’s another thought – if the economy does crash and you were able to sell before it happened, you will be uniquely positioned to invest in a new business venture when no one else has any capital and the prices for businesses are way down.


The tried and true notion of buy low, sell high absolutely rings true in the small business market. If you haven’t considered selling because everything seems great – maybe you should. Selling your business while it’s still worth a lot will give you choices and capital that you won’t have if you hang on through the wave of retiring Boomers and the next economic meltdown. Consider growing yourself as an entrepreneur and get on the path to sell today.


Are you a small business owner who hasn’t considered selling? Would you like to know what businesses like yours are currently getting in the market? Please 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



Cash Flow, Your Opinion And The Listing Price – Thoughts For Business Buyers


Listing prices can seem like they are all over the map, and to be honest, sometimes they are. Some businesses are listed for far too much – where a seller is unsuccessfully trying to recuperate every dollar they’ve ever invested. Some businesses are listed for so little it seems like they’re trying to hide some kind of massive fault. While the wide scope of prices might make all listing prices look like just an arbitrary number – for the vast majority of businesses for sale they aren’t. Sellers who are motivated to sell and who have the right help from a decent business broker will have their business listed for an appropriate price.


As a buyer it might initially seem difficult to determine if what you’re looking at is indeed worth what a seller says it is – especially with things like depreciation, add-backs and multiples clouding the waters. While there are many factors that can add or subtract some value from a business, the most important marker to consider is cash flow.


Cash flow is king because that’s what a business is.


It is a money-generating enterprise. The money a business makes it what gives it value. This is very different than say, a house. It is the features and aesthetics of a house that will determine it’s worth.


Here’s the problem. Some buyers get hung up on the aesthetics of a business, like the condition of the furniture or the color of the walls – and base their own perceived value on these physical things while completely missing the point. You need to be looking at cash flow. And you need to understand that how things currently look and the way things are currently done is what is producing that cash flow.


Getting hung up on aesthetics can cause other issues as well. It can make a buyer believe that a business price should be discounted based on a difference of opinion. Let’s go back to the house example.


If you walk into a house and you hate the design of the brand-new kitchen you can’t go to the seller of the home and say “I’m decreasing my offer by $50,000 because that’s how much it’s going to take to redo the kitchen.” That would be ridiculous, right? When you buy a house, you are buying it as-is. The same goes for businesses. If you don’t like the way a current owner is doing things or the truck they just bought for the business you don’t get to discount the price because it isn’t something you would have chosen or isn’t a procedure you would have implemented. Again, you need to remember that the way the current owner is doing things is what is generating the cash flow that you’re buying.


From the outside looking in, especially with only a cursory glance, you can’t possibly understand the nuances of why a business is generating the cash flow that it does. It can be difficult to look past the aesthetics but it is critical that you do. You need to look deeper and try to understand what it is about the way the seller does things that works.


It’s also a great idea to keep from insulting a seller to the point of no return by trying to get a deep discount on a business for something that is essentially a difference of opinion. Talk to your business broker about any concerns you might have, and they can help you come up with a fair offer that will (hopefully) keep the deal moving forward.


Are you in the market to buy a business and have more questions about the importance of cash flow? Would you like to know more about how other factors may play into business pricing? 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

Michael Monnot


5111-E Ocean Blvd
Siesta Key, FL 34242

Michael Monnot


9040 Town Center Parkway
Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202


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