Buying A Business? Why Research & Questions Should Be Your Top Priority



We get it. Once you’ve decided that you are ready to make the leap and buy a business it can be hard to keep from going directly to the shopping phase. It’s fun to look at business listings and envision yourself as the owner. Guess what? Shopping for businesses in this way is unproductive and ultimately won’t get you what you’re hoping for from business ownership.

 

Why?

 

Any business, large or small, can be condensed down to one major thing. A business is cash flow. You are providing goods or services that you pay for and then your customers pay you. It’s the money in and money out that makes a business successful, and hopefully you’re making more than you’re spending.

 

If a business is essentially just cash flow it really doesn’t matter what color the walls are. Looking at pictures of businesses on the internet isn’t telling you much of the story. Neither is perusing vague P&L statements.

 

What you really need to know about a business is does it generate (or have the potential to generate) the amount of cash flow I need to live day to day as the owner – and is it possible for me to be successful in this industry.

 

How do you figure that out? Research and questions.

 

 

Research the areas where you’d like your business to be. Can you afford to live there? How much would you need to make to have that be possible? Will the area work for you and your family? If you’d love to live on the beach, but your target area has zero schools for your kids you might need to redirect your target area.

 

Research the different industry sectors possible in that area. Do you have any practical experience or education that would make a particular industry better for you than another? Will the industries available in your target area match with your skills? If you’ve always wanted to own a big restaurant but have never spent a single day in the restaurant industry, then looking at food service industry business is likely a mistake.

 

Once you’ve done some research, start asking questions. Have a conversation with an experienced and qualified business broker about the areas you’re considering, your practical experience and education, your goals for business ownership and the amount of capital you have to invest. Ask lots of questions – about the area, about the industries that do well in that area, about what types of businesses would both fit with your experience and with what you hope to get out of owning your own business.

 

Notice something? So far we haven’t said “look at listings” because it isn’t helpful until you know where you want to be and what you need to be successful.

 

Don’t waste a ton of time scouring the internet for your future business. Do some research and then get in touch with a business broker.

 

Do you have questions about the process to buy a business? Would you like to know what types of businesses would match your practical experience? Ask us! Leave any questions or comments and we would be happy to help.

 

 

 

Michael Monnot

941.518.7138
Mike@InfinityBusinessBrokers.com


Buying A Business And Legal Advice: When To Take It With A Grain Of Salt



Buying a business is a huge deal. Businesses are complicated, there’s a lot of money changing hands, contracts can be long and need to be carefully negotiated. As a buyer you should absolutely have legal council and they should absolutely go over anything and everything you sign.

 

 

So why are we saying you might want to take legal advice with a grain of salt?

 

First and foremost, business ownership is inherently risky. Entrepreneurship can be rough and there’s no guarantee that the contract you put together for the purchase of a business is going to ensure that you as the new owner will be successful. Purchase contracts are also heavily negotiated, meaning one party (you) will not get everything you want. There will be concessions with the seller if you want a business transaction to happen.

 

Think about the job you’ve hired your attorney to do. Their job is to protect you from any and all risk. Their job is to make sure you get everything you want. See where the problem is? 

 

Here’s another issue. There will be some documents that you need to sign that are industry standards, like the non-disclosure agreements necessary to receive most information on businesses for sale. These industry standard documents can’t be changed, so if your attorney asks to make changes the answer is likely going to be no. You will have to sign the agreement as-is or not get the information you’ve requested.

 

It’s also important to remember that there are many, many specialties in the legal field. Your family attorney who helped you with your uncle’s estate and the probate process isn’t likely to know very much about the legalities of a business transaction. It’s why you don’t go to your kid’s pediatrician if you have arthritis in your knee. You would be better suited hiring an attorney who works in the business transaction arena as they will know how to best protect you without hampering your ability to buy a business.  

 

We aren’t saying you shouldn’t take your attorney’s advice. You definitely should. What we are saying that you need to take that advice as it is meant – to completely and totally protect you. You also need to be sure you are hiring the right type of attorney to give you the best advice possible. 

 

Are you considering business ownership and hadn’t thought about finding a business transaction attorney? Would you like to know more about the documents that you’ll need your attorney to review as part of the business buying process? Leave us any questions or comments, we would be happy to help. 

 

 

 

Michael Monnot

941.518.7138
Mike@InfinityBusinessBrokers.com

 


Why Sellers Need To Work On Confidentiality Too



 

If you are selling your business you probably know how damaging it can be if your staff, customers or frankly anyone finds out that the business is on the market.

 

Employees can panic and quit en masse, taking their regulars with them. Customers can stop coming in, worried about how much the business might change under new ownership. The community at large might think you’re selling to get yourself clear of a sinking ship (as the misconception that a business for sale is a business on the brink is both pervasive and in the vast majority of cases – false).

 

While your business is for sale maintaining confidentiality is paramount, but not just in terms of the for-sale status. There are parts of your business that a buyer will need to see – your tax returns, your employee records, your vendor contracts, your client contracts and the like that are also critically important. Your business records and proprietary information need to stay confidential too. 

 

That’s why it’s a good idea to hire the right help – a business broker. Business brokers are able to safely and confidentially market your business to buyers, at first through a purposefully vague listing and then only disclosing any identifying information after a prospective buyer has signed the appropriate non-disclosure agreement (NDA). The NDA also protects the records and information a buyer will have access to from disclosure so you don’t need to worry about confidential information ending up in the wrong hands.

 

While your business broker and buyers who have signed the NDA do their part to keep the confidentiality of your business transaction in place, you as a seller also need to be careful so you don’t burst your own confidentiality bubble. It happens more than it should, and often it’s the product of an seemingly innocent conversation.

 

Here’s an example. A business seller flies to see their parents on vacation, and while on the plane headed out of state they strike up a conversation with the person sitting next to them. The conversation turns, as it often does, to what you do for a living. The seller tells this stranger that he owns a waterfront restaurant that he’s currently selling. Later in the conversation he lets slip that this restaurant is in a specific community, one where there’s only one waterfront restaurant. Unbeknownst to the seller, this casual stranger not only lives in this community, they’re very involved in the community’s social scene and have many friends who frequent his restaurant. As soon as the plane lands, the gossip begins, as phone calls to friends include “did you hear the restaurant is for sale?” By the time the seller is on his return flight the damage is done and the entire community knows about his for-sale status. 

 

The point here is you wouldn’t carry around a copy of your business tax returns to show every stranger you meet, so you need to work just as hard as your broker and the buyers who sign the NDA to keep your for-sale status under wraps. Don’t tell strangers, don’t tell your friends, don’t tell your neighbors – you get the idea.

 

Are you considering selling your business and hadn’t thought about how important confidentiality is? Would you like to know more about how we market your business while maintaining confidentiality? Ask us! Leave any questions or comments and we would be happy to help.

 

 

 

Michael Monnot

941.518.7138
Mike@InfinityBusinessBrokers.com

 


Why Business Buyers Should Consider Customer Diversity



When you are looking at buying a business, one aspect of any business you will need to consider is the size of the customer base. Ideally, you should look for businesses with a large number of clients spread out over many accounts where each client makes up only a small portion of the total revenue.

 

 

Why is this important?

 

A company that has one (or just a few) large client(s) who make(s) up a very large percentage of revenue can be problematic.

 

Here’s an example. A lawn service company has a handful of independent regular clients, but the majority of their business is for a large real estate firm that has a contract with them to maintain the lawns of homes that are on the market. This one client makes up 70% of their revenue. Say you purchase this business, and then three months into ownership the real estate firm is bought out by another company who already has a lawn service contract in place. In one swift move, 70% of your revenue goes up in smoke.

 

The way to avoid this pitfall is to look for a diverse customer base when you are screening prospective businesses. Ask yourself these questions as you consider a business:

 

What does the customer list look like?

How does the business acquire new customers?

What is the cost of customer acquisition?

What kind of customer retention does the business currently have?

 

On the other hand, what if you find a business that you really like, but the customer list isn’t very diverse? Does that mean you shouldn’t buy it? No, but it does mean that creating customer diversity needs to be priority #1 the day you take over as owner.

 

Only you can decide which business is ultimately right for you and for the goals you are hoping to achieve. You just need to be aware of the inherent perils that exist when you are buying a business with a very small customer base.

 

Are you looking at buying a business, but are curious about what a diverse customer base would look like for a particular industry? Do you have concerns about a business you are already considering? Ask us! Please feel free to leave a comment or question here, and we will be happy to help.

 

 

 

Michael Monnot

941.518.7138
Mike@InfinityBusinessBrokers.com

 


Buying A Business? Invest Your Time + Energy For Success



 

When you are serious about buying a business and ready to jump into the process, you aren’t going to show up one day and own a business the next. It’s going to take time. Probably more time than you thought. Most business transactions take months to get from the initial interest of a buyer all the way to a closing table, and that’s if both sides agree on most things.

 

Why does it take so long? Small businesses are complicated animals, and business transactions have a lot of moving parts. On the buyer’s side of the equation you will be putting together offers, going through documentation, getting your own licenses and permits sorted out, negotiating with sellers, meeting with attorneys and CPAs, talking to your business broker, touring physical locations, negotiating with your commercial landlord, having meetings and conference calls with the seller – you get the idea. It can at times feel like you have a new part-time or even a full-time job.

 

If you really want to buy a business you’re going to need to make the time to do the things that need to be done. You can’t come in and expect it all to be finished in a few days with very little effort on your part. You’re going to have to spend evenings researching. You’re going to have to be patient with the negotiation process. You’re going to have to be willing to put in the work to provide the information about yourself that’s requested. You’re going to have to get your license and permit applications done. You’re going to have to make lots of phone calls and have lots of meetings. It can feel like a long list – but it’s not impossible. 

 

If you’re worried about the amount of time and effort you’re going to have to put into buying a business, don’t. Small business ownership is a life encompassing affair – so if you aren’t willing to put in the effort and energy it’s going to take to get through the business buying process you probably shouldn’t be buying a business in the first place. Remember that all the work that you do before you sign at the closing table is work you are doing to help yourself. All of the time and effort you spend up front will be instrumental for setting you up for success in your new business venture.

 

For example, the bureaucracy that is the licensing and permitting process for small businesses can be complicated and slow. If you drag your feet on licensing and permitting requirements, putting everything off until your closing date is looming, you’re going to be scrambling when the business keys get handed to you and you’re not properly squared away in terms of license requirements. In many cases if you haven’t worked out your licensing requirements you won’t be able to open the business until you get it straightened out. If you stay on top of what needs to be done you won’t cause yourself any issues when it’s your turn to take the reins. 

 

The message here is you need to be prepared to spend some time and exert some effort if you want to become a business owner – but all the work you do will pay off once you get handed the keys.

 

Have you always wanted to buy your own business but are worried about what’s required for the transaction process? Would you like to know what businesses are currently available that would meet your goals for business ownership? Ask us! Leave any questions or comments and we would be happy to help.

 

 

 

Michael Monnot

941.518.7138
Mike@InfinityBusinessBrokers.com



Michael Monnot

941.518.7138
Mike@InfinityBusinessBrokers.com

5111-E Ocean Blvd
Siesta Key, FL 34242

Michael Monnot

941.518.7138
Mike@InfinityBusinessBrokers.com

9040 Town Center Parkway
Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202




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