Buying A Business? Step 1: What’s Right For You?

If you think you might be ready to take the entrepreneurial leap, but don’t have a genius start-up idea you can work on in your garage – you don’t need one! Existing businesses get bought and sold everyday, some 500,000+ a year (a number that is on the rise as baby boomer owners enter retirement and list their businesses for sale). These existing businesses can instantly turn you into an entrepreneur, no start-up required. 


If you’ve always wanted to be your own boss and think buying an existing business might be for you – the process is fairly straightforward. 


Here’s step one: Figure out what type of business would be right for you. 


This one might seem obvious, but lots of buyers come to the market without a clear idea of what they want out of owning a business – and then what type of business is going to meet that set of goals. They either have their heart set on a business that will probably meet none of their goals or they don’t really know yet what they’re looking for. Both of these scenarios are going to be counterproductive. In the first, you end up with a nightmare business you hate. In the second scenario you never buy a business at all. 



Don’t start the process like that. Instead, start by figuring out what your goals are.


This one is probably the most important. Sometimes people want to own their own business because they feel like becoming their own boss will solve the problems created by working for someone else. Here’s the thing – business ownership is just as tough as the job you want to leave, it’s just tough for different reasons. Being your own boss isn’t (and shouldn’t be) your only goal. Instead, think about why the idea of business ownership appeals to you. Do you hate your current job because you wish you had more schedule flexibility? Do you wish you could change career paths more frequently because you work hard but get bored easily? Are you hoping to have more time at home to spend with your kids? Would you like to work really hard and make as much money as possible in the shortest amount of time? Are you using the move to entrepreneurship as a way to move to a new area or country? These types of introspective questions will help you come up with well defined goals for business ownership. With goals in hand, you can then look at businesses that will meet those goals – saving yourself a ton of time and effort chasing a daydream business that would end up making you miserable. 


Next, pick something you already know


If the only thing you’ve done for the last 20 years is work on cars, but you’ve always dreamed about owning your own restaurant – buying a huge waterfront restaurant is probably going to be a colossal mistake. You really need to enter the world of business ownership in an industry where you have some practical experience. The leap to entrepreneurship carries with it a steep learning curve – you absolutely do not want to add learning a whole new industry to that mix. 


Third, be open minded about the types of businesses that might work for you when you begin your search.


This one can be tough for people because it can be hard to let go of a daydream – even when in reality that daydream would more than likely end up a nightmare. We regularly talk people out of buying certain types of businesses because the goal is successful business ownership – not stressful failure. Talk to an experienced and qualified business broker about what your goals are for business ownership and about your education and experience. You might be surprised by the types of businesses and industries where your goals and experience would help you thrive.


Ready to take the first step towards business ownership? Do you have questions about what types of businesses would fit your goals and experience? Ask us! Please leave us questions and comments, we would be happy to help.  


Want to read step two? Click here for “Buying A Business? Step 2: Search For Businesses”

Want to read “Buying A Business? Step 3: Make Some Choices” (click here!)





Michael Monnot

5111 Ocean Boulevard, Suite E
Siesta Key, FL 34242


Your Commercial Lease And Landlord: 3 Ways To Ensure Success

You’re all set to buy a business. You have the perfect business picked out. It meets all of your goals for business ownership, it’s within your budget for asking price and working capital, you’ve filed all of the appropriate licensing paperwork, finalized the negotiations over the purchase contract – you’re done, right?



Not quite. One major hurdle business buyers must overcome is one they don’t often consider. The lease and the landlord.


In almost every small business transaction, it is only the business itself that changes hands. Most small businesses exist within commercial rental property, and as such the business buying process includes the negotiation of a new lease.


Why can’t you just take over the current lease? If you rent an apartment, you sign a new lease whether or not the person who lived there before you stayed for the entire length of the lease they signed – with very rare exceptions the same goes for commercial leases. A landlord wants a new contract when they get a new tenant, so you need to be prepared for this sometimes difficult part of the business buying process.


Here’s three tips to keep you from hitting a leasing snag:


You will need to prove your experience and finances.

No landlord in their right mind is going to sign a multi-year, large financial contract with someone who has no possible hope of keeping the business afloat. You will need to put together a resume of some sort that shows you have the practical experience to succeed in your new business venture. You will also have to provide the landlord with proof of financial capacity as well. Landlords won’t give a lease to someone who is using every last cent to their name on the purchase price alone. They want to know you’ve set aside enough working capital to be able to pay your rent even if the business isn’t turning a profit for you right out of the gate.


You aren’t going to get an amazing deal on rent.

If the current business owner is paying $5000 a month in rent, there is no way the landlord is going to lease the same space for the same business for $500 a month. You will likely pay the exact same rent, or even a bit more. The landlord has no financial incentive to cut you a huge break, because they can just refuse to lease to you and continue to get the current lease rate from the seller. Be prepared to pay what you need to pay. You will also need to come up with security deposits, perhaps first and last month’s rent, lease fees, etc.


Expect the landlord (and their property manager) to be exceedingly difficult.

It’s not fair, but it’s a fact of life in small business transactions. Many landlords and the property managers who sometimes represent them are almost impossible to work with. Looking at a business transaction from their side can be helpful. They have no financial incentive to gamble on a new person to take over a space in their property and pay them rent when they already have a perfectly capable tenant in place. Their perspective aside, the fact of the matter is most landlords and property mangers don’t understand the business transaction process, and often cause major issues in the final days before closing. If you are mentally prepared for this road block you will be able to stay calm. You should also keep your business broker in the middle. No good can come of an angry phone call to a landlord from a business buyer. Your broker has probably dealt with this landlord in particular, or someone just like them, dozens and dozens of times. Leave the lease negotiations in their capable hands and any issues will likely be resolved.


Dealing with landlords can be excruciating, and this is often compounded by the fact that the lease can only be negotiated after many of the other parts of the business buying process are complete. Stay calm, come prepared with a realistic mindset and proof that you will be a great tenant – then let your business broker do the rest. 


Are you considering buying a business and never considered the commercial lease? Are you thinking about buying a business in an industry where you don’t have any practical experience? Ask us! We will be happy to help.




Michael Monnot

5111 Ocean Boulevard, Suite E
Siesta Key, FL 34242

Want To Stand Out? 3 Ways Buyers Can Get Noticed


If you’ve spent any time in the business-for-sale marketplace as a buyer, you may have discovered that it can be incredibly difficult to get anyone (sellers, brokers and the like) to take you seriously. This can be especially frustrating if you are a very serious buyer with money to spend, so what gives?


You can thank the non-serious, time-wasting tire-kickers who came before you.


The nature of the market means something like 90% of buyers who enter the marketplace never buy anything. This can understandably cause those on the other side of the transaction (think sellers and brokers) to resist expending much energy with a new buyer until they’re sure it’s not a complete and total waste of their time.


If you’re in the 10% of actual, serious buyers how do you distinguish yourself from the window shoppers around you?



Be willing to discuss finances:


Sure, no one likes discussions about their personal finances, and it can be really tough to divulge how much money you have to a complete stranger – but if that stranger is your new broker, this is critically important to do. If your broker doesn’t know how much money you are working with, then they can’t show you businesses that would be appropriate, nor will they be able to effectively negotiate on your behalf.


Be honest:


It is incredibly important to be honest, especially about your financial situation if you really want to get a deal done. Fudging or out-and-out lying about the capital you will have available will always come out, especially when the time comes to write a check that you can’t. Other things you should keep off the dishonesty list? Your past experience. A good broker will always try to talk you out of buying a business you know nothing about. Starting in a new venture is hard enough, you absolutely don’t want to add the steep learning curve of a brand new industry to the mix.


Avoid procrastinating:


Nothing is more infuriating for a buyer than a seller who takes forever to respond to requests for information, but it goes both ways. You will absolutely be given an appropriate amount of time for due diligence, and within that time frame you should be able to make a decision as to whether or not this business is for you. Continually asking for extensions and prolonging closings for no good reason can very quickly unravel a deal.


If you are really ready to buy a business and want to be taken seriously – be forthcoming with your capital, stay honest and make decisions in a timely fashion. It will quickly separate you from the never-going-to-buy-crowd.


Are you a buyer who’s been frustrated by the lack of attention you get in the marketplace? Are you ready to make offers and want to stand out from the crowd? Contact us! Leave us a question or comment here, and we will 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


Recent Posts