Get Comfortable With Sharing: Why Business Buyers Need To Divulge Info Too

No one likes to talk about deeply personal things with strangers – like how much money you make or exactly where you live. Guess what? If you really want to buy a business you are going to have to get comfortable sharing information just like this with the other parties in your business transaction.



What do we mean?


Well, for starters you are going to have to give your real physical address and full name to a business broker before they are going to let you sign a non-disclosure agreement for a particular business listing. They need this information because it ensures that you are who you say you are and you can be individually identified. For instance, there might be 10 John Smiths living in your area, but only one John Smith lives at 123 Marigold Way.


Next, a business broker is likely going to ask for proof of financials to prove to the seller, whoever is financing your transaction (the seller if your deal includes seller financing, the SBA if your loan is through their program, etc.) and your future commercial landlord/property manager that you indeed have the money that you say you do and that you can successfully purchase the business.


That same group might also want to know your work history, education and practical experience. A commercial landlord isn’t likely to let a new tenant sign a long term lease if they have no actual experience in that particular industry. The rent won’t get paid if you don’t know what you’re doing so they want a tenant who is more likely to succeed than fail. A seller also wants to know that they are handing over their business and employees to someone who knows how to keep the business going and keep everyone employed.


See a trend? You are going to have to get comfortable sharing this type of information about yourself. There’s no way around it. When you share your information you gain access to far more from the other side. You get access to confidential, proprietary and potentially damaging information about a business, you get to go through any and all documentation the business has, you get access to tax returns, contracts, employee files – the list is long. What you are given versus what you give is most certainly slanted in a buyer’s favor.


The message here is business deals are complex and a lot of money changes hands. You are going to need to be upfront and forthcoming with information about yourself if you expect the other side to be upfront and forthcoming with the information you need too.


Are you thinking about buying a business and aren’t super comfortable giving up personal information to gain access to listed business information? Would you like to know more about what business brokers, sellers and landlords do with that information? Ask us! Leave any questions or comments and we would be happy to help.




Michael Monnot


Interested Buying A Franchise? Let’s Talk New Vs. Existing

Buying into a franchise can be a great option for those who are looking to start their own business from the ground up. Starting your entrepreneurial journey with a franchise does not necessarily mean an easier path, it just means you walk in with an established brand and structure already in place. In terms of the time and money you will ultimately spend, buying into and starting a franchise will be just as much work as starting a business on your own.



What are the major expenses involved in starting a franchise?


The first cost you will incur will likely be the franchise fee. Franchises charge this upfront fee as a way of recouping the costs of training, branding and the support they will provide. The average franchise fee is somewhere in the neighborhood of $30,000, but they can range from less than $10,000 to over $100,000. The franchise fee will depend on the size of the franchise you are buying into, and each individual franchise will have specific requirements to become part of the brand.


There may also be costs related to setting up a location. You may have rent payments and may have to pay for things like landscaping. You may need to have signs made, install new equipment and fixtures, buy new furnishings, and build-out a space.


Any new business will also need to bring in an initial inventory and purchase supplies. There may also be operational needs like advertising and payroll, so you will need to be certain that after all of your starting costs are covered, there is still enough capital left to cover your additional expenses until you are able to turn a profit.


How can you be sure that you have enough to get your franchise up and running and keep it running until a profit starts coming in? Ask questions, lots of questions, during the buying process. You will need to have at least a general idea of how much time per week you will need to work, and how much income you can expect to bring in if all goes well.


Does starting your own franchise location sound a little daunting?


If you are looking for the benefits of owning a franchise without the risk of creating an unproven location, then perhaps buying an existing franchise location is for you. Like with the purchase of other existing businesses you will be getting a turn-key, currently operating business with everything from build-out, staff and operating procedures already in place. The difference with a franchise location is you will need to pay a franchise fee to join the brand – but if you are looking for a business with instant name recognition and a well defined structure already in place this might be the path for you. Ask your business broker about the costs versus benefits of buying an existing franchise location or starting one from scratch.


Does buying a franchise seem like the right path for you, but you have additional questions? Would you like to know what franchise locations are currently for sale in your target area? Ask us! Leave a question or comment here and we will be happy to help.




Michael Monnot




Can You Really Run A Business From The Beach? Thoughts For Buyers

It’s an entrepreneurial dream. Owning a business run by a trusted management team that allows you to spend your days sipping drinks in a beach chair. It would be nice, right?



The problems come when a prospective business buyer thinks this goal could be realistic with any business or that all you have to do is pay for a business and then sit back, relax and let the checks come in. Nothing could be further from the truth.


While it is possible to get your new business to a point where you can be a semi-absentee owner, you will never be able to completely abandon your responsibility and it will take a while to get there.


What if you buy a business that is currently run as an absentee-owner business? Can’t you just walk in the door and take over this already existing arrangement? The short answer is no.


There are a few reasons. First, the seller’s trusted management system is theirs, not yours. Although it is sometimes possible to maintain management loyalty when a business passes to a new owner – it is not guaranteed that the management in place will have the same amount of loyalty to you.


This can also be a precarious position for a new owner. If you don’t understand the ins and outs of the business, the details of the business that are needed to keep it profitable can go unchecked because you may not know they are (or aren’t) happening. Let this go on for too long and what you will be left with is no business at all.


Is it possible to have an absentee-owner business? Yes, but you have to realize two things.


One, you will never be able to completely ignore your business. Two, there are a few things that need to happen before you can move to an absentee-situation.


First you need to find a good business to buy, and you need to run it yourself for a while (like at least a year) so you know all of the ins and outs. Then you will need to find a good management team (or a single manager if it is a small business) that you are able to trust. Have this management team work alongside you for about the next 6 months so you can be sure they are properly trained. As you begin to relinquish power and responsibilities to your management team, it is incredibly important that you enable this management team to do their job by giving them the power to hire and fire, the power to change inventory, etc. If you’re going to trust them to handle the reins, you have to give them the power to do so. You will also need to come up with a system that will keep you informed of everything going on within the business. Lastly, keep a close eye on your business, even if you aren’t there everyday. Make frequent unannounced visits, go over the financial records regularly, etc.


While it is possible to be an absentee owner in some types of businesses, the majority of business situations are going to require a much larger time commitment from you.


If absentee-ownership is your ultimate goal, bring this up in your initial discussion with your business broker so they can help you to find businesses where this system has the potential to work.


Have you ever considered owning a business, but would ultimately like to be fairly hands-off with the day-to-day operations? Do you have questions about the types of businesses that can be run successfully this way? Ask us! Please feel free to leave us a comment or question here, and we would be happy to help you find a business that fits your goals.




Michael Monnot



Why You Might Be The Reason Your Deal Falls Apart (And How To Keep It From Happening)

A deal falling apart is the worst, particularly when it happens as you approach the closing table. Deals don’t close for a myriad of reasons, but to prevent it from happening in yours it might help to know what the market currently shows in terms of the reasons why deals fail. The IBBA and M&A Source Market Pulse Survey from the last half of 2022 offers some insight into why deals collapse.



The report shows that for Main Street businesses ($2MM or less) the main reason deals don’t close is poor financials – which doesn’t just mean that your business accounting system consists of a box of crumpled receipts under your desk. It also means you may have misrepresented, not fully understood or embellished your numbers. Misrepresenting your numbers, whether intentional or not, is a bad look and can lead a buyer to mistrust you to the point that they no longer want to continue with the deal.


Across both Main Street and Lower Middle Market ($2MM to $50MM) the overall reason deals don’t close is an unrealistic seller value expectation. You may have a magic number in your head, you may have a figure you’d love to get for your business that is based on what you’ve invested over the years, you may have a written valuation from a professional that specializes in your industry – but in the reality of the business-for-sale market all of those numbers essentially mean nothing. Your business is actually worth what a buyer actually pays you for it.


Another major factor in the death of deals is time. The longer you make a buyer wait, the longer your business is listed, the longer the transaction takes to work it’s way through the process the more likely it is to die. People change their minds, the market fluctuates, life circumstances get in the way. The way to combat time as a killer is to be ready. Have your financials in order, prep (with your business broker’s help) the answers to commonly asked buyer questions and be proactive with buyer requests – handling them the moment they come in.


If you’re a business buyer, know going in that some really great businesses have records that are lackluster (in terms of organization) at best. Also understand that it can be incredibly difficult for a seller to put a number on all their years of hard work and investment. Be patient with your negotiations and ready to possibly dig through a box of receipts. 


The moral of this story is although some reasons your deal might fall apart are out of your hands – most reasons are absolutely within your control. Go in ready, with realistic expectations and you’ll have a far better chance of seeing that closing table.


Do you have a Main Street business to sell and want to know what businesses like yours have recently sold for? Would you like to know how to get your financials ready for buyer’s eyes? Do you have questions about how to negotiate with a seller who has their business listed for an unrealistic price? Ask us! Please leave any questions or comments and we would be happy to help.




Michael Monnot


What’s In A Closing? An Explanation For Buyers + Sellers

When you start the process to buy or sell a business (especially if it’s your first time doing so) you will likely encounter some new lingo that you may or may not be familiar with. For instance, the process of buying and selling a business is referred to as a transaction, the professionals who help guide you through the process are known as business brokers and the end of the transaction is called a closing.


What is a closing exactly?


Put simply, a closing is the goal of every business-for-sale deal. It is the end point of the transaction and occurs when all parties included have signed all necessary documents, when the money has changed hands and the keys to the business are given to the new owner.



In many circumstances, this will all occur at one meeting, sometimes referred to as the closing table. All parties will arrive ready to sign and exchange the necessary funds and keys. The business brokers and business transaction attorneys will be present, and typically the funds for the sale will be in the hands of an escrow agent who will release them once the appropriate papers are signed.


In other transactions, the escrow agent acts as a kind of intermediary for the closing. Each party will receive and sign the necessary documents and then send them to the escrow agent. Once the agent has received everything needed for the closing from both parties, the funds in escrow will be released to the seller and the deal will then be officially closed.


Another aspect of the closing process usually involves a walk-through of the business and an inventory count. This is important because if equipment or inventory has changed, the selling price of the business may need to be adjusted.


The closing type and necessity of a walk-through will depend on the deal that has been reached and the preference of the parties involved. Ask your business broker about which type of closing you will likely see at the end of your specific transaction.


Are you a business buyer or seller with questions about the closing process? Would you like to know more about walk-throughs or inventory counts? Ask us! Please leave us a comment or question here and we will happily get those questions answered.




Michael Monnot



Michael Monnot


5111-E Ocean Blvd
Siesta Key, FL 34242

Michael Monnot


9040 Town Center Parkway
Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202


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