Can I Still Buy A Florida Business In 2020? Yes! Just Plan Ahead


Living in southwest Florida definitely has its perks, even in the middle of a pandemic. We still have year-round summer, white sand beaches and a relaxed lifestyle.


Our small businesses have adapted to the new normal and the business market has many new opportunities for those who may be ready to make the jump to entrepreneurship. If this year’s events have you rethinking your life choices, now is a great time to buy a business. 


If you live outside of the area and are considering a move to the sunshine state as an entrepreneur, here are a few pointers you should consider before you make a trip down.


Buying a business is absolutely nothing like buying a house.


Many folks come to the business market with the mindset that the process will be very much like buying a house – but nothing could be farther from the truth. If finding a home is the goal of your trip, you might call a local real estate agent and ask them to set up a dozen or so homes to see a day or so before you jump on a plane, but if you try to do the same thing with buying a business you will be completely out of luck.


You must, must, must plan ahead.


The process to buy business has many steps, and starts with contacting a business broker. This first step should come long before you’ve even bought your plane ticket. You and the local broker should have a conversation about your goals for business ownership, your work experience, how much capital you are planning to invest and the industries that interest you. Your broker will then send you listings that fit with your goals and will ask you to review those listings and narrow down your choices. Once you have two or three listings that appeal to you, you will be asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) for each listing. Once the NDA is signed and submitted to the listing broker, you will be sent the marketing package – complete with the name and address of the business in question. You and your broker will review each package and come up with a list of questions to ask the sellers, which you will have an opportunity to do once a conference call is set up. After the conference call, if you are still interested in the business, a tour of the physical location can be arranged but will have to be coordinated between your travel schedule, the schedule of the business (for confidentiality reasons buyers can only see a business before or after hours when no employees or customers are present), the schedule of the sellers, the schedule of the brokers involved and considering the social distancing measures that must be in place. 


Doesn’t sound like something that can be done or thrown together in a day, does it? That’s because it can’t.


It is very common for a buyer to call us on a Friday to say they are catching a plane the next day to visit some businesses over the weekend – and then they are upset when we tell them their request is impossible. If you are serious about buying a business you will need to go through the proper steps and plan visits to businesses long before you set foot on a plane. Business transactions are inherently complex and require lots of moving parts, so you need to both plan ahead and be flexible.


But I’m planning on writing a very big check to buy a business, why can’t you accommodate me?


It’s not that we are trying to be difficult; it really is that last minute requests are completely impossible – especially right now. We also don’t want to waste your time taking you to businesses that don’t fit with what you are hoping to get from business ownership. The process works, and if you follow it you will be better set up for success in your new business venture.


Are you considering a move to southwest Florida? Do you have more questions about the process and want to know how to get started? Would you like to know what measures we currently use to ensure safety during site visits? Ask us! Leave us any questions or comments here, and we would be happy to help.




Michael Monnot

5111 Ocean Boulevard, Suite E
Siesta Key, FL 34242


Is It Crazy? Help With Business Listing Prices


If you’re new to the business buying marketplace you will probably notice something right out of the gate as you begin your search – listing prices seem like they’re all over the map. 


How are you supposed to figure out if the listing price is fair?


While initially confusing, the listing prices of businesses can and do make sense in most cases – you just need to know how to look at the number the seller wants objectively.


Your best bet as a new buyer is to get some professional expertise on your side. Talk to a qualified business broker about some of the business prices you’ve seen and ask for their input. The listing price of a business can be a very nuanced thing. It’s often based on cash flow, but sometimes metrics like industry standard multiples, values of equipment and inventory, what comparable businesses have recently sold for, etc. can be part of the equation that leads to a listing price. Experienced eyes will be necessary to tease out the important details and help you decide if what a seller wants is fair – or well beyond the realm of reality. 


Why would someone list a business for a crazy high price? Sometimes those sellers are more interested in being told what they want to hear than they are interested in selling. Sometimes they are listing just to see if someone will make them an offer. In some cases these sellers will negotiate with buyers who come up with a fair and justifiable offer, but if they won’t – it’s probably time to move on. An extreme price can be a red flag that it will be very difficult to put a deal together. 


A realistic seller will be able to back up the number they’ve asked for. They will have the financial documentation that shows their request is legitimate. These sellers are willing to negotiate when presented with a fair offer, because ultimately a business is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it. This does not mean that you as a buyer should throw extreme low-ball offers to see if they stick. A small business is someone’s blood, sweat and tears. The personal attachment to all of that work means that it is relatively easy to offend a seller to the point that they will refuse to work with you. Just as you would like the listing process to be fair – you need to return the favor and offer a fair price. 


The message here? Enlisting some professional guidance will be essential in helping you navigate the listing prices of the businesses on the market. Once you’ve determined that a business is what you want – put together a fair and justifiable offer. 


Are you just starting your business search and want to know what’s out there? Click here to search for current listings! Would you like to know more about how businesses are priced? Ask us! Please feel free to leave any questions or comments and we would be happy to help.




Michael Monnot

5111 Ocean Boulevard, Suite E
Siesta Key, FL 34242

What Can You Realistically Afford? Thoughts For Business Buyers

We all have big dreams. A bigger house. A nicer car. Lavish vacations. Your own private island. What keeps these wonderful flights of fancy in the realm of dreams is the fact that we just can’t (currently) make them happen.



Big dreams can become a big problem in the small business market. Why?


New buyers will often consider businesses that are completely out of their price range – like drastically so.


Why do many new business buyers have unrealistic expectations? It may be, in part, because of the way people buy homes.


When you go into a bank to get a mortgage, you might walk out with a pre-approval for $750,000. Does that mean you have $750,000 in the bank in cash? Nope. It just means the bank is willing to loan you that amount because they can take back your new house as collateral if you don’t pay them back.


Small business transactions don’t work that way. There are financing options if you don’t have a huge amount of cash available – but that financing is very different than what you see in the housing market. You might be able to get a loan from the Small Business Administration (SBA) or from the seller of the business via seller financing – but no matter where you get your loan you are going to have to put up a large down payment and prove that you have the capital to both get through the transaction process and sustain yourself as the new owner of the business.


What do we mean by that? The business buying process can be expensive. If you get a loan from the SBA, they are going to require an appraisal of the business – one you as the buyer have to pay for. There are application fees for SBA, as well as application and licensing costs associated with the licensing requirements for your new business. If your future business is in a commercial space, your new landlord is going to want first-last-security and to see your financials to assure them you can not only pay those initial costs, but be able to pay your rent going forward. You might need capital for payroll in the first few weeks or months. The list can be long and pricey.


This doesn’t mean you can’t fulfill your dream of buying your own business. It just means you need to be realistic with what you can afford. If you only have $50,000 to spend, you shouldn’t even look at a business that is $750,000. It can’t happen. What you can do is find an affordable business that you can grow. Smaller, more affordable businesses can be very successful – and have lots of room for that all-important growth.  


If you want to know what you can realistically afford, ask an experienced and qualified business broker. They can look at your current financial situation, your goals for business ownership and your previous experience – then assist you with finding the right business to buy. The right business will both meet your goals and keep you from extending yourself beyond what is currently financially possible.


Have you always wanted to buy a business but aren’t sure what you could afford? Would you like to know what types of businesses are currently on the market in your price range? Ask us! Leave any questions or comments and we would be happy to help.




Michael Monnot

5111 Ocean Boulevard, Suite E
Siesta Key, FL 34242

Due Diligence On Yourself – Why Sellers Need To Prep

You might think you are ready to sell your business, but very few small business owners actually are. Do you have all of your books in order? Have you made any necessary repairs?


Preparing a business for sale can be a lot like preparing a house for sale. You need to make it look aesthetically pleasing and fix what’s broken.


There is, however, one major difference. Due diligence.


Once you have accepted an offer from a buyer, the due diligence period begins and you will be opening up your financial records, contracts, leases – everything – for that buyer to inspect.


Any problems found during due diligence can lead to one of two outcomes. Either the deal is dead and the buyer walks away, or they come back to you with a lower offer to compensate for the problems they’ve found.


No seller wants a perfectly good deal to fall through, and you want to get the best possible price for the business you’ve worked so hard to build – so how do you avoid due diligence issues?


Do due diligence on yourself.



Before a buyer has a chance to peek behind the scenes and go over your books with a fine-tooth comb, you should do this yourself. By performing due diligence on yourself you will see your business through a buyer’s eyes and will be able to address any potential problems long before a buyer finds them.


Don’t think you have any issues that will come up in due diligence? Think again. All small businesses have a few skeletons in the closet, and they can’t be hidden. Buyers always find issues, so the best way to deal with this eventuality is to solve the problems before they are found.   


How do you do due diligence on yourself? Ask your business broker for guidance and perhaps employ the services of a business transaction CPA. In most cases, you as a business owner know what the problems are. Figuring out the best way to deal with those problems will be where those experts come in handy. Is this an issue you can conceivable solve? How can you solve it? Is it a better tactic to just be upfront with the issues that exist when communicating with a future buyer or try to implement changes that will resolve those issues before the due diligence step in the process? 


Performing the due diligence process on yourself will help you and your business to stay ahead of the game during the transaction process and will also help you get the biggest return on your business sale. Ask your business broker for help. 


Do you have questions about what buyers will want to see during due diligence? Would you like to know what problems we’ve seen in due diligence in the past? Ask us! Leave any questions or comments and we would be happy to assist you.




Michael Monnot

5111 Ocean Boulevard, Suite E
Siesta Key, FL 34242

Get Ready For The Google: Why Buyers Need To Think About Their Online Reputation

You have the capital ready, you’ve found a business you like and you are ready to write the check. The seller finds out who you are and then suddenly the deal is dead. What happened?


They Googled you.


When you buy a small business, you are buying something that the former owner spent their blood, sweat and tears for. You are getting the employees they care about, the business reputation they built. Who you are as a person, what you bring to the table in terms of stability and the ability to cement the future of the business they care about matters. It matters more than you may have considered.


While you and a business seller don’t have to be best friends or even agree on most things that occur outside the realm of running the business, what your online reputation says about you absolutely has the potential to sink a deal.


Try this. Look yourself up. What’s out there with your name attached?


Most people don’t have the celebrity-esque issue of having negative news articles all over the internet. That isn’t the problem. What most people have is their social media life. Your Facebook page. Your YouTube channel. Your Twitter account. Your blog. While this realm of your social life was probably intended to be for personal use only, it will absolutely impact the way a business seller thinks about you. It might even make them decide they don’t want you to buy their business.


But my LinkedIn page is very professional. Isn’t that the one that matters?


Not really. While most people aren’t posting long political rants or inappropriate memes on their “professional” online profiles – many people do on “personal” sites. The problem? Those personal thoughts, jokes and comments can be just as easy to find as your carefully curated professional page.


What can you do about it? Google yourself long before a prospective business seller does. See what’s public and make it private. Find what, in retrospect, wouldn’t be considered appropriate for a professional reputation and delete it. Clean up your online presence – immediately.


You would do a similar purge of your online presence before applying for a new job, as it is common knowledge that employers absolutely look people up – and there are many, many stories of poorly thought out posts sinking employment opportunities. The same protocol should be in place when you buy a business because you are essentially buying yourself a job. Do the work ahead of time and curate your entire public online presence before it’s too late.


Have you considered your online reputation s a business buyer? Would you like to know more about what business sellers are looking for in a prospective buyer? Ask us! Leave any questions or comments and we would be happy to help.




Michael Monnot

5111 Ocean Boulevard, Suite E
Siesta Key, FL 34242


What Does The 10% Look Like? Thoughts For Business Buyers

As a business buyer, it is critically important that you stand out from the crowd. Why?


Up to 90% of prospective buyers who enter the business market never buy anything.


If you consider this statistic from the perspective of a seller or business broker it looks like this – 90% of the buyers who initially contact you will wind up a complete waste of your time.


If you are serious about buying a business, you need to make yourself stand out as a part of that all-important 10% of buyers. How do you do that? Think about who someone in that 10% is.



What does the 10% look like? Well, like everyone. A business buyer ins’t best described by demographic data – a business buyer is simply someone who buys a business.


While this statement might initially sound obvious, preconceived notions about what a business owner looks like can perhaps unconsciously hinder those who could truly be successful entrepreneurs from entering the marketplace. If you’ve always been unhappy with your professional life and have always felt like you could do better if you were the one in chargeyou probably could. Running your own business isn’t any harder than going to a job you absolutely hate. The difference is at your own business the buck stops with you. If you have the drive, grit and creativity to push your business into tomorrow you can be just as successful as the person who climbs the corporate ladder for someone else. The difference is when you get to the level of success you were looking to attain – as a business owner that success is yours.


Ok, so I hate my job and I want to be my own boss. How do I get myself into that 10%? It’s incredibly simple. Act like a serious buyer.


Serious buyers are willing to sign non-disclosure agreements without a fuss. They understand that they are receiving privileged and confidential information about someone’s business and they respect that confidentiality. Serious buyers take the information they receive and put together a fair offer that has justifiable terms. They don’t waste everyone’s time by throwing in a ridiculous low-ball. Serious buyers also know that the best way to find out what they need to know to make an informed decision is by asking great questions.


The message here? The world of small business ownership is diverse. Your actions are what make you an entrepreneur, so use those actions to make yourself stand out.


Are you a business buyer who would like to know more about the process of buying a business and standing out from the crowd? Please leave any questions or comments here and we would be happy to help.




Michael Monnot

5111 Ocean Boulevard, Suite E
Siesta Key, FL 34242

Michael Monnot


5111-E Ocean Blvd
Siesta Key, FL 34242

Michael Monnot


9040 Town Center Parkway
Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202


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