Walk Before You Run: Why New Owners Should Take It Slow


When you buy an existing business it comes with the seller’s personality, whether you like it or not. Their choices are everywhere – from the paint color on the walls to the employees they keep. It can be tempting to want to make your mark and change it into the business you’ve always dreamed of right out of the gate – but that is a colossal mistake.


Here’s why.


You bought an existing business because it’s existing. The doors are open and it makes money. It runs. Before you go gutting the interior, tossing the furnishings and replacing the staff you need to take a breath and instead start paying attention.


Why does this business work?


What parts of the decor, the current menu, the personalities of the staff, the operating procedures, the equipment, etc. add to the functionality and value of the business? 


What is it about this business that keeps customers coming back for more?


If you rush in and change everything, you are missing the opportunity to learn what makes the place successful. Listening and learning should absolutely be your number one priority in the early days of owning your new business. Take every chance you have to learn from the seller, even if you aren’t a fan. While you negotiate ask lots of questions and pay attention to the answers. Be willing to take advice. Most business purchase contracts come with a two week training period – use that time to absorb everything you can.


When the reins are finally yours, slow down. Run the business as-is for as long as it takes for you to truly understand what works and what doesn’t. Talk to the staff – ask them to give you their thoughts about what is important and what they would change if they could. Talk to the customers and ask them the same thing. What would they like to see changed and what would they like to see stay the same?


Take all of this data that you collect and then make small, incremental changes that will benefit the business. Don’t make changes just because it’s something you would prefer.


Are you considering buying a business but hadn’t thought about when and why you should make changes? Do you have questions about the training period in a purchase contract? Ask us! Leave any questions or comments and we would be happy to assist.




Michael Monnot


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Is It Really Better To Buy An Existing Business?


The first question on any entrepreneurial journey is a big one. Is it better to buy an existing/operating business or should you choose to start one instead? The short answer? Buying an existing business is typically the better path.




An existing business has a history that you can examine.


If you start a business from the ground up, there is no way to know what the track record will be. If you are fortunate, the record will be good. If you aren’t, you probably won’t be around long. An existing business removes a bit of this risk by having financial records that you can examine closely prior to purchasing the business. An existing business also has a proven location and comes with an already established customer base.


Another plus to getting a business with records? As you go through the numbers you may find new business growth ideas, unused niches or overlooked areas that could be streamlined.


An existing business has cash flow.


New businesses fail when new business owners don’t take into account the period of time, typically 12 to 18 months, between opening the doors and when the business will actually start generating a profit. Many new businesses go under because they have no cash left after getting to the grand opening – they end up running on fumes and having to shut the doors before anyone even knows the business is there.


An existing business is already generating income. Even if you will need to find financing for operating expenses, there is no need to guess how much money you will need and how much you will be able to pay back because you already know what cash flow the business currently generates.


An existing business comes with someone to show you the ropes.


When an existing business is sold, there is usually a training and/or consulting period written into the contract. This ensures that the new owner gets the proper training to keep the business up and running.


If you start your own business, you will be going it alone. Although there might be business owners who are willing to give you advice, you won’t have someone to show you exactly what works (and more importantly what doesn’t work) for those critical first few weeks of ownership.


It is typically easier to get financing for an existing business.


It is fairly common in the sale of small businesses that the owner will offer seller financing. This is great for a new entrepreneur for two reasons. First, it says a lot about a business that the current owner has enough confidence in the business model to take payments over time. By offering seller financing, they will be dependent on the continued success of the business for years to come. Second, traditional sources of financing can be very hard to come by. For a buyer who can’t pay all cash up front, seller financing allows for the purchase of a business with just a sizable down payment.


For all the reasons above and more, deciding to buy an existing business will likely put you in a profitable position much sooner and with less risk than creating a business from scratch.


Have you ever started a business and wished that you had just bought one that was already established? Do you have questions about the success rates of existing businesses once they change ownership compared with the success rates of start-ups? Ask us! Leave us a comment or question here and we will be happy to help.




Michael Monnot



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Natural Disasters (Like Hurricanes) Shouldn’t Stop You From Buying A Business

Natural disasters shouldn’t stand in the way of your business dreams, they’re a part of life. If you want to live in a place that has a somewhat regular natural disaster risk (like hurricanes in Florida) you have a couple of ways you can think about this risk if your dream is to own your own business. 



Deciding whether or not to buy a business should be made with a long-term perspective in mind. Remember that while natural disasters can cause immediate disruptions, they rarely dictate the long-term trajectory of a business. Also, buying a business that has survived and navigated through these types of challenges in the past showcases its resilience and ability to adapt to adversity. 


There’s also the needs of a community that occur in the lead up to and after a disaster like a storm. Businesses that are well-prepared for emergencies (or those that provide essential goods and services during recovery) can experience heightened demand. As a prospective business owner, you can identify these emerging needs and position yourself to meet them. 


After a natural disaster there can be a surge in construction, renovation, and related services. If you’re considering a business that caters to these industries (such as construction, disaster response, tree removal and the like) a post-disaster environment might present a unique chance to establish yourself in a market with increased demand.


Another potentially beneficial post-disaster situation? Some business owners might be more motivated to sell due to the challenges they’ve faced. This situation can lead to negotiation opportunities and potentially more favorable terms for you as a buyer. If you’re able to see beyond the immediate setbacks and have a solid plan for recovery, you could end up with a business at a better price.


Experiencing a natural disaster first hand can also teach you a lot. It provides invaluable insights into risk management and preparedness. When looking at businesses in a potentially disaster-prone area, you should consider what strategies you might use to safeguard the business and its operations against whatever mother nature throws your way. 


Something like a hurricane can initially seem like an insurmountable obstacle to your business ownership dreams, but it should not deter you from pursuing your entrepreneurial goals. Resilience and adaptability really can turn adversity into opportunity – what defines success is your approach. 


Have you always wanted to buy a business in a disaster-prone area but have concerns about what something like hurricane season might mean for you future business? Would you like to know more about businesses that do well in the aftermath of a hurricane? Ask us! Please leave any questions or comments and we would be happy to help.




Michael Monnot


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The Power Of Practical Experience: Why Business Buyers Should Stay In Familiar Territory


Practical experience rarely gets the credit it deserves. Aspiring entrepreneurs looking to venture into the world of business ownership really need to follow the age-old adage “stick to what you know” – it can mean the difference between success and failure. Buying a business where you have practical experience offers a multitude of advantages.


Here’s a few:  


Practical experience in a specific industry provides buyers with an invaluable understanding of its nuances, trends and challenges. Armed with this knowledge, buyers can make informed decisions and devise effective strategies to navigate the market successfully. This level of insight is often difficult to acquire without hands-on experience in the field.


Buying a business in a familiar domain allows a buyer to hit the ground running. They are already equipped with the skills, know-how and practical experience needed to run the business. This significantly shortens the learning curve and the saves time and resources that would otherwise be spent on learning an entirely new industry from scratch.


Buyers with practical experience are more likely to get approved for a transfer of the commercial lease when a business purchase doesn’t involve the associated real estate. A commercial landlord is going to be far more comfortable with a tenant who already knows what they’re doing.


A deep understanding of an industry also enables buyers to identify gaps and untapped opportunities. Leveraging their practical experience, they can innovate and introduce unique solutions or products to cater to specific market needs. This ability to innovate can give their new business a competitive edge and the opportunity for growth.


Purchasing a business in an industry where you have practical experience is a strategic move that offers you numerous benefits. Beyond the familiarity and knowledge of the industry, you walk in with a competitive advantage and a head start in business operations. 


Have you always wanted to own your own business but didn’t think about choosing one in an industry you already know? Do you have questions about what businesses currently available would match with your practical experience? Ask us! Leave any questions or comments and we would be happy to help.




Michael Monnot


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The True Measure Of Success: Emphasizing Cash Flow Over Aesthetics When Buying A Business

In the world of business sales, it’s all too common for prospective buyers to be swayed by how a business looks. The allure of aesthetically pleasing interiors, new equipment or fancy technology can blind them to the crucial factor that truly defines a business’s success: cash flow



Cash flow is the lifeblood of any business. It represents the net amount of money moving in and out of a business, essentially reflecting its financial health. A small café with a newly renovated space or a manufacturing business that just invested in all new equipment might look fantastic from the outside – but without consistent, positive cash flow it risks becoming unsustainable. Cash flow ensures that operational expenses, employee salaries and other crucial financial obligations are met. Neglecting to focus on cash flow during the business purchase process can lead to severe repercussions down the road.


One of the main reasons buyers get lured by aesthetics is the misconception that a visually appealing business automatically translates into profitability. While aesthetics can play a role in attracting customers and enhancing brand image, they do not guarantee financial success. A beautiful storefront might draw initial interest, but if it doesn’t convert visitors into paying customers and generate sustainable revenue – it’s merely a façade.


On the other hand, a business that might not have the most captivating exterior or is full of older equipment could be backed by solid fundamentals and robust cash flow. This means the company is efficiently converting its sales into profit, reinvesting in growth and reducing debt – all of which contribute to long-term success.


Focusing on cash flow during the purchase process enables buyers to make informed decisions based on concrete financial data rather than deciding on a business because you like the paint colors and furniture. Conducting a thorough cash flow analysis helps determine whether the business has consistent revenue streams, assesses its ability to weather economic downturns and reveals potential areas for improvement. This is why it is far more important to examine the financial records than it is to do a physical walk-through of the location.


Savvy business buyers understand the importance of looking beyond surface-level charm and instead place emphasis on the financial stability of the business. 


Are you looking at businesses to buy and want to know how to determine the cash flow a business is actually generating? Would you like to know more about how to see past a shiny exterior and make a decision based on financial health instead? Ask us! Leave any questions or comments here and we would be happy to help.




Michael Monnot


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Is This Where You Want To Live? Thoughts For Business Buyers

The romance of owning your own business can sometimes give a new buyer blinders about where the business actually is and what that means for the day-to-day life of the business owner and their family.


It’s essential to evaluate the local area where the business is located to determine if it aligns with the lifestyle you’re looking for and it has the amenities you need. Assessing the local area helps ensure that you not only invest in a viable business but also find a community where you want to live and thrive. 



An important note here. Don’t trust the outward appearance or your preconceived notions of what a place is like. Google it. Visit. Call schools. Watch YouTube videos. Join Facebook groups to hear what people are really saying. Read the local news. You get the idea. 


Here’s some things to consider when looking at not only where you want to work – but where you want to live:


Evaluate the local area’s lifestyle and determine if it suits you, your family and your goals. Consider factors such as climate, proximity to amenities, recreational activities, cultural attractions and community values. Ensure that the local area offers the quality of life you desire, as you will be spending a significant amount of time in this community.


Research the cost of living in the local area to understand its affordability. Compare housing costs, taxes, transportation expense, and other living expenses with your budget and financial capabilities. Ensure that the cost of living is sustainable and aligns with your income potential from the business you plan to buy.


Evaluate the local area’s accessibility and infrastructure. Consider proximity to transportation hubs, major highways, airports and public transportation. Assess the quality of healthcare facilities, schools and other essential infrastructure that may impact your lifestyle and the business’s success.


Consider the safety and security of the local area. Research crime rates, the effectiveness of local law enforcement and any other relevant safety measures. A safe and secure environment is crucial for your personal well-being, the well-being of your family and the success of your business.


Evaluate the level of community engagement and support in the local area. Look for signs of a vibrant community that values local businesses and encourages entrepreneurship. A supportive community can provide networking opportunities, word-of-mouth marketing and a customer base that appreciates local establishments.


It could not be more important to thoroughly research the local area before you buy a business. Your life outside of your business needs consideration just like P&Ls and purchase contracts. Sit down with your family and figure out what everyone will need to be happy and then find a business in a place that will meet those goals.  


Are you thinking about buying a business and hadn’t considered researching where you would actually live? Do you have questions about what businesses are currently for sale in an area you like? Ask us! Leave any questions or comments and we would be happy to help.




Michael Monnot



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Buying A Business? What To Expect When Headed For The Closing Table

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. You can read more about the initial steps you’ll take here – but the last steps you take before the day you get handed the keys can be some of the most important.



Here’s a few to consider:


Complete a thorough and final round of due diligence on the information provided by the seller. Review all relevant documents, contracts, financial records and legal obligations to ensure there are no surprises or undisclosed issues. This step is crucial to confirm the accuracy of the information and ensure that the business is in the expected condition.


Work closely with your business broker and business transaction attorney to negotiate and finalize the purchase agreement/contract. This document outlines the terms and conditions of the sale, including the purchase price, payment terms, assets included and any contingencies. Ensure that the agreement reflects the agreed-upon terms and protects your interests as the buyer.


Identify and obtain any necessary approvals, permits or licenses required to operate the business legally. This may include licenses for specific industries or local permits. Talk to your business broker about what you’ll need from state and/or local regulatory agencies to ensure compliance with all legal requirements. You can read more about that here.


Develop a comprehensive transition plan with the seller to ensure a smooth handover of the business operations. Identify key employees involved in the transition process and communicate the plan effectively. Prepare any necessary training materials, transfer important documents and information, and ensure a seamless transfer of responsibilities. Use the entirety of the training period outlined in your purchase contract to your advantage and learn everything you possibly can from your seller.


Schedule a final walkthrough of the business premises with your broker to assess its condition and ensure that all assets included in the sale are in the expected state. Check that all equipment, inventory and fixtures are accounted for and in working order. Address any outstanding issues or discrepancies before the closing.


The last steps before reaching the closing table are crucial in finalizing the purchase of a small business. Completing due diligence, finalizing the purchase agreement, obtaining approvals and licenses, preparing for the transition and conducting a final walkthrough are all essential tasks. By carefully completing these steps, buyers can mitigate risks, address any outstanding issues and set the stage for a successful transition into their new business.


Are you new to the business buying process and have questions about these pre-closing tasks? Would you like to know more about what the transaction process looks like for the type of business you are interested in buying? Ask us! Feel free to leave questions or comments here and we would be happy to help!




Michael Monnot


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4 Ways: How To Finance The Purchase Of A Business

Coming up with a brand new business idea is a big challenge. You have to figure out a concept, find a location, come up with operating procedures, hire and train a staff, build out your space – the list is a long one.


If you’ve ever wanted to own your own business there’s a way to do so without having to start at ground level. You can buy an existing business instead – one that has a proven location, concept and track record. 


If this sounds like it might be the right path for you, here’s your next question.


How are you going to pay for it? 



In the small business world there are essentially 4 ways to finance the purchase of a business. Let’s take a look at your options:


Seller Financing

This one is probably the most common. A buyer comes up with a substantial down payment and then the seller of the business finances the rest. This option is popular because small business funding can be difficult to get from a traditional lending institutions like a bank, so sellers will offer creative financing to open up the pool of buyers for their business. This is also popular among buyers because a seller who is willing to keep some skin in the game tells you volumes about how they view the future profitability of their business. They don’t get paid unless you succeed. A few caveats for this financing option. You will need to bring a large down payment, 10 or 15% isn’t going to cut it. Also, if you do end up defaulting on this loan the seller will get the business back.


SBA Loan

The Small Business Association (SBA) does offer loans in the right situation to people buying a small business. There will be a fair share of bureaucracy with this financing option, as well as certain metrics both the buyer and the business itself will have to meet in order for the loan to happen.


Investor/Family Funds

In some situations a buyer is able to procure funds from loans made by family, friends or investors. This option should include a contract or written agreement by all parties that spells out every aspect of the loan – how it will be paid back, what metrics are necessary, how one or more parties can be bought out of the agreement should the need arise, etc.


Your Own Cash

Lastly, you can always use your own cash to fund the purchase of a business. Perhaps you have a decent amount of money in savings, maybe you’re considering refinancing your home or pulling funds out of investment accounts. This option will alleviate you from owing money to others but must be considered carefully if you are going to be investing all of your available cash into the purchase of a business.


If one or more of these financing options seem doable for you, the next step you should take is to have a conversation with an experienced and qualified business broker. They will be able to talk you through the options available to you and help you decide which option will best meet your goals for business ownership.


Have you always wanted to own your own business but weren’t sure how you would fund such an endeavor? Would you like to know more about how seller financing works? Do you have questions about the process required for a loan from the SBA? Ask us! Leave any questions or comments here, we would be happy to help.




Michael Monnot


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I Have A Business Idea: Should I Buy A Business Or Start One Instead?

If you want to own your own business there are basically two avenues to make that happen. You can start your own original business from the ground up or you can purchase an existing business. The path you choose will depend on many factors that relate to the risks involved in starting a business versus the risks for buying one. 



In general it’s probably easier to buy an existing business. The concept, location and operating procedures are all proven because the business is currently open and running. The employees have already been hired and trained, the licensing and permits needed have already been approved, the inventory or goods for sale will work because they are currently selling – you get the idea. A tried and true method almost always works better than an unknown. 


If it’s easier to buy a business, is it always a better choice than a start-up? No, it depends on what your vision for business ownership is. 


You might be someone who just wants the flexibility and control business ownership affords you, and while you do have industries and types of businesses that would suit you in mind you aren’t stuck to one particular idea of how a business must be. Good financials, a good location, a good reputation – these are the things that matter to you. If your desire to be a business owner is born out of wanting to reach life goals but the path doesn’t need to be a certain way – purchasing an existing business is probably the right idea for you.


On the other hand if you have an entirely new business idea and the means to bring it to fruition coupled with needing that business to be exactly the way you envision it – a start-up is likely a better route. 


A caveat to the start-up route. Say your dream is to open your own café to sell the baked goods from your grandmother’s recipes and coffee. Sure, you could find an empty commercial space and build it out to your liking – but you’ll have no idea if the location and concept are going to work. A likely safer bet is to find and purchase an existing café that is similar to what you envisioned and then make small changes (after you’ve run it for a while and have a gauge on what your current clientele will accept as far as changes) until it’s exactly the way you want it. 


Whichever path you think might suit you a great first step is to have a conversation with an experienced and qualified business broker. They will be able to point you in the right direction, either by finding you listings that would suit your needs or by referring you to a commercial agent to find your new space. 


Do you have a vision for business ownership and aren’t sure which path is right for you? Would you like to know what businesses currently for sale might work for your goals? Ask us! Leave any questions or comments and we would be happy to help.




Michael Monnot



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Buying? Why You Need To Stay On Good Terms With The Seller

The people who buy and run businesses are a strong bunch. Lots of drive, lots of passion and typically a very type-A personality. When you get two people in a room with this personality type it can sometimes go south in a big way without a lot of provocation. This is an enormous problem if the people having issues are the buyer and seller of a business.



You aren’t going to like everyone you meet, and if you are buying a business you’ve fallen in love with you might very well hate the seller. Maybe the two of you have drastically different world views. Maybe you have drastically different visions for the future of the business. Maybe the negotiation of your deal got a little ugly at times. Whatever the reason you and the seller aren’t fans of each other it is absolutely in your best interest to maintain an amicable relationship with the seller. 


Why? You will need them for a bit. 


Business deals take a long time to get to a closing table. You might need to work with this seller for months on a deal and that will be vastly easier if you can be cordial to each other and keep things professional. It will also be easier to find points of compromise within the purchase contract. 


In addition to the time it takes to put a deal together, most purchase contacts contain language spelling out the terms of a training period for a new owner – usually two weeks of training after the closing happens. If you can keep your relationship with the seller peaceful this training will be pivotal to a smooth transition and ensuring you know how to successfully run your new business. If a clash of personalities causes major problems you probably won’t have a very useful training experience. 


The good news is if you aren’t a fan of the person selling your business – you don’t have to be. You just need to be able to keep it professional throughout the negotiation of your deal and then through the training process.


Have you considered some businesses for sale but weren’t a fan of the owners? Would you like to know strategies for dealing with a seller you don’t like? Ask us! Leave any questions or comments here, we would be happy to help.




Michael Monnot



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Michael Monnot


9040 Town Center Parkway
Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202


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