Business Buyer? Must-Haves – The Right Help


If you are considering taking the plunge into entrepreneurship by buying a business, you should know that the best way to be a successful business buyer is by using all of the resources available to you – namely the experts who can help you along your path.


Why do I need help? Aren’t experts expensive? Wouldn’t I be saving a ton of money by buying a business on my own?


You absolutely, positively need to have the right help when making a purchase as large and life-encompassing as buying a business. That help needs to be experienced in their field and have the knowledge to properly guide you through the business transaction process.


Going it alone may seem like a good idea because there aren’t any fees or commissions to pay, but you will more than likely end up in hot water if you don’t know what you are doing – and that can mean way more money spent cleaning up the mess on the back end than you ever would have spent hiring the right help.


What kind of hot water could you end up in? You could be shut down if you don’t handle licensing and permitting issues correctly, you could end up signing a purchase contract that doesn’t cover what you thought it did, you could end up discovering surprise debts the business owes after you’ve signed on the dotted line and that business is now your problem alone – just to name a few. In addition, most businesses you buy do not come with the corresponding real estate, so a commercial lease will need to be negotiated – and commercial property managers are notorious for being difficult, more so if they feel like you don’t know what you are doing.


What should you do instead? Employ the right help, they will be worth their weight in gold.


What help might I need


A Business Broker


This person will be the main adviser you use for the purchase of a business. They will assist you with your search, help you obtain the information needed for due diligence, help you make sense of the numbers, negotiate with the sellers for the best price, negotiate and play middle-man with the landlords and property managers, help you get the appropriate licenses and permits, help you transfer utilities and vendor contracts – the list goes on. A good, experienced business broker has already seen everything that could possibly go wrong in a business transaction, so they can help you avoid the pitfalls and come out with the right business for you.


A Business Transaction Attorney


Notice we didn’t just say “attorney”. A family law attorney will do you no good in a business transaction in the same way a plastic surgeon isn’t going to be of much help if you have back pain. An attorney who specializes in business transactions will be best equipped to help you navigate your purchase contract and help you on closing day.


A Business Transaction CPA


Again, we didn’t say just “CPA”. Not all accountants are familiar with the very tangled web of numbers one finds in a small business. The one or two numbers on the bottom of a tax return are not going to tell you everything you need to know about how much money the business makes. For example – has depreciation been taken into account, have the personal benefits of vehicles and cell phones been added back, has the value of the inventory been accounted for? Having a CPA who has business transaction experience will be your best bet for understanding the numbers.


The moral of the story? Your best bet for the successful purchase of the best business for you is to have the right help along the way.


Have more questions? Don’t believe us? Leave questions, comments or concerns here and we will be happy to talk to you more.




Michael Monnot

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

Buying A Business? The Value Of Your Future Life

Figuring out what a business is worth is a difficult thing – especially if you are a first-time business buyer.


What do the last several years of tax returns say about what the next few years might be like? How much is the inventory worth? Should you even care what the inventory is worth? How much cash flow does the business generate? What kind of monetary benefits does the current owner get from the business? What are multiples and how were they used to come up with a price


These are all great questions that you and your broker will discuss when deciding if a particular business is worth what they’re asking. You’ll also use the answers to those questions to decide if a business fits with the goals you have for business ownership. What you may have noticed about this list of questions is they all have a numerical answer of some sort. Businesses are, however, far more complex than just numbers can explain – so let’s look at one marker for value that you may not have considered – the value of your future life.



Two businesses may appear nearly identical on paper – but in terms of value to you as a buyer and in terms of list price they may be very different. Why? One business has far better non-monetary benefits for the owner than the other. Here’s an example:


There are two nearly identical pizza shops in the same area of town. They both generate $100,000 a year, but in one the owner works 80 hours a week – the other owner only works 20 hours a week. Which shop would be worth more to a potential buyer? The one with the vastly better work schedule, right?


There is far more to owning and running a business than just the numbers. You are buying yourself a job and a lifestyle, and for a better job and lifestyle you are probably going to have to pay more. The day-to-day schedule of the current owner, having a strong management structure in place that allows an owner to do things like take vacations – these bonuses are going to cost you more up front, but will give you as an owner a far better lifestyle down the road.  


These non-monetary benefits can be hard to put a number on when deciding if a listing price is fair or deciding what to offer the seller, but they are an important part of the value of the business and can’t be overlooked. Talk to your business broker about how to put a value on these perks when drafting your offer. They will be able to help explain the nuances of a particular business listing price.


Are you looking at businesses to buy and feel like the prices are all over the map? Do you have questions about how to evaluate listing prices? 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


Last-Minute Greed: The Business Deal Kiss Of Death (And How To Avoid It)


Buying or selling a business is a large undertaking. From start to finish it can take months of back-and-forth to reach and agree on a deal. One you get to that point, where a purchase contract is ironed out, you should be able to coast through the home stretch – right? Not always. This home stretch period should be a breeze, where sellers tie up loose ends and buyers get geared up to take over the helm – but in many transactions something strange happens. Last-minute greed.


What do we mean?


Buying or selling a business typically involves large amounts of money changing hands. It is completely normal to get 11th hour cold feet and panic for a moment with the thought that you are either paying too much or aren’t getting enough. Maybe you came to this thought on your own, or maybe a friend or family member has chimed in late to say they think you’re getting ripped off.


Momentary panic is one thing, but if you let this fear get the better of you it can have disastrous consequences.


For instance, in this panicked state you call your broker and demand to put the deal on hold while you reconsider or demand to head back to the negotiation table. The other side of the transaction is then appalled at your insinuation that the deal has somehow (very suddenly) become unfair and balks at the suggestion that you renegotiate. Guess what? Your deal is probably dead


You have spent weeks and months negotiating, looking at numbers, pouring over books – and after all of that you have arrived at a number that both sides agreed was fair. Why the last minute doubt?


It’s just cold feet. The way you are feeling is completely normal, but remember that while you were in a more rational state of mind you decided that this deal was one you wanted. It was a deal you thought was fair. You have had many conversations with your broker, with the other side – and you felt comfortable moving ahead. Everyone always wants the most they can get for their money, and business transactions are no different. The emotional swings are just larger because there’s more money involved.


Last-minute greed isn’t going to get you a better deal. It’s more than likely going to end with no deal at all, and a colossal waste of time for everyone who’s been involved – including you. We’re not saying that you should agree to a deal that’s unfair. What we are saying that if you were fine with a deal until days or moments before the money starts changing hands – you’re probably just momentarily overwhelmed.


If you do suddenly feel like the deal isn’t right and you should be either paying less or getting more – give your broker a call. They’ve seen 11th hour panic many, many times and can help walk you through the ramifications of trying to renegotiate with the other side. They’ve also seen deals where something does come up at the last minute that requires renegotiation – and they can help you decide if that’s really the scenario you’re in.


Don’t destroy a perfectly good business opportunity because it’s scary to take a big plunge. Look to your broker for help, and do your best to remain calm and rational all the way to closing.


Are you thinking about buying a business but are worried about writing such a big check? Have you considered selling your business but want to know how you decide if an offer is fair? Do you have a story about last-minute greed in a business transaction you think would help other buyers or sellers? Feel free to leave any questions or comments here, we would be happy to help.




Michael Monnot

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

Don’t Be Underfunded: A Big Business Buyer Mistake

You’ve decided to buy a business, congratulations! Entrepreneurship can be one of the most rewarding journeys you can take in life. It can also, however, be your worst nightmare.


The difference between success and a nightmare scenario can come down to just two, very basic things – money and reality.



Let’s look at money first.


Guess what? You have to have money if you want to buy a business.


Of course you need money to buy a business! This may seem like a silly thing to say, but a fair number of the people who come into the business market are working with little to no capital at all and expecting someone else to pick up the rest. These prospective buyers are relying on funding sources like family members, bank loans, Small Business Administration (SBA) loans and seller financing – but the fact of the matter is the small business world just doesn’t work that way.


Family Money

You may have had a conversation or two with your well-off uncle or with your parents at Christmas about helping you get the money together to invest in a business, but we almost never see one of these deals actually go through. Once you start the serious conversations about what dollar amounts you’ll be needing, how long it would realistically take you to pay them back – the checks never get written. If you are depending on a family member footing the bill for your business purchase – you should probably think again.


Bank Loans

Even pre-recession it was tough to get a traditional lending institution like a bank to fund the purchase of a small business, but in the wake of all of that financial mess it can be nearly impossible to get a bank to approve a small business loan – even though the economy has improved substantially. 


SBA Loans

Yes, it is possible to get funding through the SBA to purchase a small business, but there are some very big hoops that need to be jumped through in order for this to happen. First, you as the buyer need to be approved, and if you don’t have a fair amount of capital to invest already – your chances of that approval are going to be slim to none. If you do manage to get approved, then the business itself will have to be vetted and approved – and like any lending institution post-recession, the SBA is going to be very conservative with how much they are going to lend, who they will lend it to and what businesses will even qualify for that buyer.


Seller Financing

Yes, seller financing is very common – but what most first-time buyers don’t understand is that these deals usually mean the buyer is going to pay at least half, if not quite a bit more, of the purchase price up front. No seller is going to take a tiny down payment and hand you the keys, it involves way too much risk on their part.


Ok, now let’s look at reality. You have to buy a business you can afford.


Again, this might sound silly, but business buyers are usually caught up in the hopes that one of the capital-raising schemes we just mentioned will pan out and therefore look at businesses that are ridiculously out of reach. Think coming to the table with $30,000 and looking at businesses in the $500,000 range. Again – no family member is going to write you a check that big, banks will laugh, the SBA will never approve you or the business in that situation and sellers definitely won’t take you seriously.


Even if you could get, say, a family member to loan you the money to buy a business that far out of your current reach – you will  be setting yourself up for failure. What new business buyers leave out of the equation is working capital – that is the money you need to both get the doors open under your ownership and then keep them open long enough to get the business turning a profit long enough to pay back your backers.


Just like renting a new apartment or buying a new house, there will be costs at closing that need to be paid – think deposits on a new commercial lease, deposits on utilities, first (and probably last) month’s rent, payroll and inventory starting the moment you take over, transfer fees for licensing, inspection fees – the list goes on and on. 


If you only have a small amount of capital to invest in a business, that’s totally acceptable and doesn’t preclude you from business ownership! If you start small, with a $15,000-$20,000 business, you can grow that business into something larger. It just takes some time and some hard work. Many entrepreneurs start small and grow their businesses to a size they initially wanted, or some sell the business after a time for a profit and move up the business ladder that way. Either way, you will have a far better chance at success if you stay within your means. 


Don’t make the mistake of starting out underfunded or ignoring reality!


Are you a business buyer who doesn’t have a lot of capital to invest? Are you curious about what’s out there in your price range? Ask us! Leave any comments or questions 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


9040 Town Center Parkway
Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202


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