Buying A Business? What You Can Realistically Afford

Thinking about buying a business? What can you buy with the capital you have available?


Although there are several factors to consider when purchasing a business – like finding one in an industry where you have some practical experience or finding one in an area close to where you live – what you can afford will probably be the biggest consideration of them all.


When deciding what you can and can’t afford, you may need to adjust your way of thinking about the capital you have. For instance, if you have $100,000 in cash to spend, you absolutely can’t afford a $100,000 business.


Why not?


Covering the price tag alone isn’t going to be enough. You absolutely need to set aside a decent chuck of money for working capital. You need this extra capital to pay for attorney fees, for licensing and permits, for lease deposits, for first and last month’s rent, for utility deposits, for the first few weeks of payroll, for rent, for new inventory – the list goes on.


Wait, aren’t I buying a functioning business? Can’t I just use the money the business is making from day one? Why do I need so much working capital?


The short answer is you never know how much you are going to need. What if you lose an important client right out of the gate? What if you discover maintenance issues that immediately need work? What if you are taking over during a slow period of the fiscal year? You need to keep capital on hand to be able to cover the unexpected.


Another consideration? You will have a landlord who wants proof you can pay your rent – so not only will you have lease deposits that will need to be paid, you will likely need to prove you have the cash available for a decent amount of rent payments before you will be allowed to sign a lease. No landlord in their right mind is going to let someone sign a long-term commercial lease if they only have enough money to pay rent once in the bank. 


The message here is to be smart with the money you have available. Don’t overstretch your financial capacity. Doing so can put your business ownership success in jeopardy. Have an honest and open discussion with your business broker about how much money you really have available and then listen to their advice regarding what businesses you can realistically afford. By leaving yourself a working capital buffer you are far more likely to survive the bumps in the road any new business owner is sure to encounter. 


Would you like to know what types of businesses you could afford? Do you have questions about how much working capital you should set aside? Ask us! Leave questions or comments here and we would be happy to help.




Michael Monnot

12995 South Cleveland Avenue, Suite 249
Fort Myers, FL 33907


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When Should You Meet The Employees? A Guide For Business Buyers

You are very seriously considering what could soon be your new business. An offer has been accepted, you’re well into the due diligence phase – but the seller is incredibly reluctant to let you meet the staff. What gives?


For a Main Street business (think a small business, not a multi-million dollar business) there is a very real threat to the survival of that business if the for-sale status is divulged to it’s employees too soon.


This threat comes from the pervasive (but almost always untrue) assumption that a business for sale is a business on the brink of failure.


When the staff of a small business hears that the business is for sale, the knee-jerk reaction is to quit en masse – usually taking their regular clientele with them.


The loss of all (or even some) of the staff can be a death blow for a business that doesn’t employ that many people. As such, a seller isn’t going to want a potential buyer to meet the staff until after a deal is closed. If the meeting takes place before closing, the seller runs the risk of the word getting out to their staff, their clients and their vendors that the business is for sale. The rumors can and will spread like wildfire. If the current buyer decides to walk the seller is now stuck with an enormous mess and a complete breach of the confidentiality that is so critical in business sales.



In order to protect the business and retain the employees through the sale, a new owner will typically meet the staff right after closing.


Wait, what if I buy this business and then all the employees quit?


First, this rarely (if ever) happens. People want job stability, so finding out that a business has changed hands but is otherwise fine is not going to elicit the same response as if those employees found out that the business is for sale. Again, hearing that a business is for sale will cause a staff to completely freak out over the fear that the business is weeks away from faltering. Second, any employees that quit solely because the business was sold are probably not the kind of employees you were going to keep as the new owner anyway.


What if there’s one or two very vital key employees? Can’t I meet them?


Maybe. In the Main Street business market each transaction will follow it’s own path. In some instances it might be completely fine to meet critical staff while in others it won’t be. Each transaction, each buyer and each seller will have to figure out what is going to work in their particular scenario.


The point here is as a buyer you will have to come to the table with the understanding that it might not be in the cards for you to meet the staff before closing. Understanding this nuance of small business sales will keep you from getting stuck on this point during the negotiation process and derailing your deal.


Are you considering buying a business and want to know more about why confidentiality is so important? Would you like to know how to best introduce yourself to a new staff? Please ask us! Leave any comments or questions and we would be happy to help.




Michael Monnot

12995 South Cleveland Avenue, Suite 249
Fort Myers, FL 33907


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The NDA – Important Information For Business Buyers

If you are new to the business buying process, there are several steps that can seem very uncomfortable – like having to give potential sellers, business brokers and your possible new landlord access to proof of your finances (so those involved in the transaction can see proof that you can, in fact, afford the business you are about to buy). While initially unpleasant these steps are critically important for a successful business purchase.


One of the steps for new buyers that can seem unpleasant is the signing of non-disclosure agreements, or NDAs – but it is also one of the most important.


What is the NDA and why do you need to sign it?


The NDA is an agreement that says you will not disclose any of the information you are about to be given on a particular business – including the fact that it is this particular business that is for sale. Each business you request access to will require it’s own NDA, so the longer you shop for a business to buy, the more NDAs you will have to sign.


Confidentiality in business sales is of the utmost importance, so for the protection of the business and the protection of the seller the NDA is a must before any information is given to any potential buyer. It provides the seller of the business with legal protections – meaning legal consequences for a careless buyer who discloses anything about the business to someone they shouldn’t, even telling someone inappropriate that the business is for sale. Without this confidentiality people like the staff, the customers and the vendors might think the business is for sale because it is on the brink of failure (almost never true when a business is for sale) and will leave the business for better prospects somewhere else.


The importance of non-disclosure means if you as a buyer are uncomfortable with signing the NDA, you aren’t going to be able to buy a business. The NDA can’t be changed to suit your tastes, it can’t be amended to take the legal risks for you away – it is what it is. Sign it or don’t, but no seller in their right mind will allow a buyer anywhere near their business or their books without this all-important legal protection.


If it is the legal repercussions you are concerned about – you shouldn’t be. All you have to do is keep the information you are given to yourself. That’s it. If you tell your neighbor’s wife in a casual conversation at the mailbox that the business is for sale or you talk to your barber about the last three years of tax returns you’ve been shown – those potentially devastating disclosures will land you in hot water. If you talk to your broker, your attorney or your CPA about this business you are thinking about buying – there will never be a need to enforce the legal repercussions of the NDA.


NDAs are good for you as a buyer because they keep all potential businesses on the market safe from the disasters an inappropriate disclosure can cause. You don’t want you brand new business adventure to have been damaged by another careless buyer. You also want access to all of the proprietary and financial documentation possible before you buy so you can sure about your purchase before you write a big check. The NDA provides for both.


Don’t be nervous about signing the NDA, as long as you do what’s asked of you by keeping the information to yourself – it will get you one step closer to owning your own business.


Do you have questions about the legal repercussions of the NDA? Would you like to know more about the process of buying a business? Ask us! Please feel free to leave any comments or questions here and we will be happy to help.




Michael Monnot

12995 South Cleveland Avenue, Suite 249
Fort Myers, FL 33907

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Maybe College Isn’t For You – The Millennial Entrepreneur


Once upon a time, it was the American dream to own your own business.


Kids grew up in world where the example of entrepreneurial blood, sweat and tears was the only path to a better future for yourself and for your family.


Fast forward to today. Today’s kids get roped into enormous amounts of student loan debt because the new path to the American dream is a higher education. An expensive higher education. An expensive higher education that doesn’t necessarily mean a job on the other end. Que the trend of college grads moving back into mom and dad’s place.


This push for higher education at the expense of all other walks of life hasn’t made anyone any happier or any richer than the generation before. In fact, it’s put a large part of the millennial generation in a financial hole they might never come out of.


What has this push for higher education done to the entrepreneurial spirit? It’s choking the life out of it. If you come out of four, six or eight years of higher education you are probably in no financial position to take on the financial risk of owning your own business. You’ve also spent the last handful of years outside of the workforce. You may have learned a lot, but the learning wasn’t of the practical nature best suited for business ownership.


We’re not saying that higher education is a bad thing. What we are saying is it doesn’t have to be everyone’s path. If you see yourself 10, 20 years down the road as the owner of your own business – there’s no need to wait. You don’t need a lofty or expensive degree to be a great entrepreneur. You need drive and passion.


Instead of asking your folks to send you to college, maybe the better path would be to invest in a business. Buying an existing business can be less risky than starting from scratch and it allows you to take the reins from a seller who will be able to train you.


If your parents aren’t thrilled with the idea of you going-it alone, then maybe a family partnership is in the cards. There are also ways for a millennial entrepreneur to fund a business purchase through the Small Business Administration (SBA). Ask a business broker about what opportunities would be available. You might be surprised with what’s possible!


If entrepreneurship is for you, there’s no need to saddle yourself with student debt to get there. Talk to a business broker today about your goals for business ownership and the capital you have available – and they will be able to help you decide on the best entrepreneurial path for you.


Do you have more questions about how to get funding for the purchase of a business? Would you like to know what a family partnership might look like? Ask us! Leave any questions or comments and we would be happy to help.




Michael Monnot

12995 South Cleveland Avenue, Suite 249
Fort Myers, FL 33907

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Dishonesty, Procrastination And Red Tape – A Cautionary Lesson For Business Buyers


Buying a business involves a lot of paperwork and red tape – what can sometimes seem like mountains of the stuff.


When mired in this sea of required documentation and applications, there can be times when you are tempted to skip a few steps and just bet on not getting caught.


This is a HUGE mistake, for a number of reasons.


Reason one? It could be considered fraud.


If you are filling out those mountains of applications for financing, fudging the paperwork could ultimately land you in very hot water. Lying about anything, even something small, will almost assuredly come up when the lending institution (be it a bank or the Small Business Administration) goes over everything with a fine tooth comb before they write you a check. It would be very bad for their own business if they were in the habit of overlooking items that would otherwise prevent a loan from happening. Cover yourself from fraud charges or denial of funding down the line and be absolutely honest.


Reason two? It could mean your licenses get revoked.


If you are buying a business that requires some type of licencing, like most do, your applications for those licenses will seem never-ending. Skipping necessary steps, fudging a bit in your answers, procrastinating and missing deadlines or just not applying for the license at all will likely mean you have to close the business doors when you get caught. Licencing agencies get paid to ensure everyone is following the rules, and they have the right to revoke your licenses and close your business if they catch you trying to bend or break those rules. Do yourself and your investment a favor and don’t skimp on your licencing requirements.


Reason three? Fines, fines, fines.


Even if you manage to escape fraud charges or license revocations, if you get caught or miss an important deadline you will absolutely be slapped with what can quickly add up to debilitating fines. Again, the bankers and agencies you are dealing with have punishments like fines in place to ensure everyone follows the rules. Don’t spend exorbitant amounts of money unnecessarily. Do the paperwork right the first time.


We aren’t trying to scare you, we are trying to give you an honest look at what can happen when you think you can bend or break the rules.


The paperwork might seem never-ending, but it’s very manageable if you stay on top of it – and every operating business out there got it done.


There is also help available if you feel overwhelmed. Ask your business broker for help, or you can hire someone who specializes in licenses for businesses. The message here is do it right so you won’t get caught.


Do you have questions about the licensing requirements for the types of businesses you are interested in? Would you like to know more about the services available to help you? Ask us! Please leave questions or comments here and we would be happy to help.




Michael Monnot

12995 South Cleveland Avenue, Suite 249
Fort Myers, FL 33907

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Buying Or Selling? Why A Broker Is A Must

Buying or selling a business? Are you ready to negotiate


No one has ever bought or sold a business without a great deal of back and forth between the parties involved – and many, many deals have died over the negotiating table. Nothing is more frustrating for buyers and sellers than the death of a perfectly good deal. If you are thinking about buying or selling a business, how do you keep your deal alive?


Use an experienced and qualified business broker. A good business broker is essential for success.


Of course you would say that you’re business brokers. Yes, you have us there – but we would advise you to use the services of a business broker whether that’s what we did for a living or not.


Why? The business selling process and the businesses themselves are both complicated, messy animals.  No where does that inherent messiness come out more boldly than during negotiations.



What needs to be negotiated? Essentially everything. The purchase price, the length of the due diligence phase, seller financing agreements, a non-compete clause, a new lease, the value of the inventory, the length of the training period, the value of the equipment and furnishings, the continued employment of certain staff, the closing date – the list goes on and on.


With such a monumental list of things that need to be agreed upon by two parties with vastly different goals it’s no wonder that many deals fall apart. A seller is dealing with handing over a business with which they have strong emotional ties as it has been a very big part of their life. Sellers are also nervous about selling themselves out of a job, essentially becoming unemployed the moment the deal is signed. They want to get as much as they can out of the sale of their business. Buyers, on the other hand, are dealing with writing a huge check to a complete stranger for a risky new entrepreneurial adventure. They want to spend as little as possible so they can keep working capital available. 


How do you meet in the middle of such vastly different goals? An intermediary like a business broker.


A broker’s responsibility is to keep the deal together and help it get to the closing table. Your broker acts not only as an experienced advisor who ensures everything that needs to be done gets done, they also act as an all-important buffer between the two parties. Business sellers and business buyers are entrepreneurs at heart – and to be a successful entrepreneur you need a strong and driven personality. If you’ve ever tried to argue with someone who has this personality type – you should understand why a buffer is needed. Too many perfectly good deals have fallen apart because someone asked the wrong question, made the wrong request – and the other side was offended to the point of no return.


Don’t try to go-it alone. If you are serious about selling or buying a business, you need a business broker to help you negotiate your way to closing table success.


Are you thinking about selling your business and want to know more about how a business broker can help you? Do you want to buy a business and want to know more about the negotiation process? Ask us! Please feel free to leave any questions or comments and we would be happy to help.




Michael Monnot

12995 South Cleveland Avenue, Suite 249
Fort Myers, FL 33907


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Stand Out! How Business Buyers Can Break From The Pack

Thinking about buying a business? The best way to go about buying a business of your own is to employ the services of a business broker. If you have already started your business search, you may find that it is difficult to get business brokers to pay attention to you. Why is this?


For most business brokers, dealing with buyers is frustrating. Up to 90% of potential buyers who enter the market never buy anything, and a big chunk of that 90% are people who are just kicking tires and have no real desire to ever buy a business.



If you are among the 10% who really do want to buy, separating yourself from the rest will be critical in getting a deal done.


How do you as a buyer get business brokers to take you seriously?


Ask questions.

Serious buyers ask great questions, and they ask lots of them. Buying a business is very different from buying a house because you aren’t buying aesthetics and a structure, you are buying cash flow. As such, the physical location and furnishings aren’t really important. Great buyers want to see the books and have conference calls with the owners, they don’t want to go on a walk through.


Be ready to answer questions.

Yes, personal financial information is intensely private, but when you are buying a business you are going to have to provide proof of funds and answer lots and lots of questions about your money and your work history – so just be willing and able to answer from the very beginning. Sellers don’t want to reveal proprietary information to potential buyers who haven’t proven they can afford the business and landlords/property managers won’t be willing to negotiate a new lease with buyers who don’t have the appropriate financial means.


Be patient.

Your business broker (if they’re a good one) has many clients and many listings to manage, so if they don’t immediately call you back – don’t call 17 times in a row. If you have shown that you are a serious buyer, you are important to your broker and they will work hard to get you the best business for you. Likewise, you also have to understand that business sellers are also small business owners, so you aren’t their top priority – the business is. Your questions will be answered, so be patient.


Be flexible.

You might think you really want to buy a bar, when in fact a completely different business would better meet your goals for business ownership. Entering the market with a flexible mindset will be instrumental in getting you the right business. You also need to be flexible with the process of a business transaction – negotiations and appointment requests may not always go your way.


If you are ready, willing and able to buy a business – stand out from the rest by asking and answering questions, having patience and being flexible. By showing your broker and sellers that you are serious you will be well on your way to business ownership.


Do you have questions about the business transaction process? Are you wondering if the business you think you want to buy is actually the right business for you? Ask us! Please feel free to leave questions or comments here and we would be happy to help.




Michael Monnot

12995 South Cleveland Avenue, Suite 249
Fort Myers, FL 33907

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Buying A Business? 3 Financing Options


If you are looking at buying a business, you may not have the full amount you would need to make an all-cash offer – so financing options might need to be considered.


If I need financing, what options are available? 


Traditional Loans


You may be thinking that you can just head down to your local bank and take out a loan to help you buy a small business, but this option will probably have to be taken off the list. Traditional lending institutions are very gun-shy about financing small businesses.


If you are entering the world of small business ownership you already know that starting a small business is a risky venture. You are trying an unproven product or service in an unproven location with unproven operating methods.


Buying an existing small business removes the “unproven” part of the equation – good news for business buyers – but a traditional lending institution is only looking at the risk. For most prospective business buyers, a traditional loan from a traditional lending institution probably isn’t on the table.


The Small Business Administration (SBA)


Some businesses on the market and some buyers who are considering those businesses will qualify for a loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration – just be aware that because this is a government program it comes with it’s fair share of paperwork and red tape.


Both the business and the buyer themselves will have to meet the qualifications necessary, but in some instances this can be a great financing option for those looking to buy a small business. If you would like to know more about financing options from the SBA, click here to visit SBA’s website or click here to contact us with questions about this lending option.


Seller Financing


Most small business transactions involve this third type of financing, where a buyer puts down a down payment (typically 50% or more) and the seller finances the rest.


This is a great financing option for several reasons. A seller who is willing to keep some skin in the game speaks volumes about their confidence in the future of the business – and it gives opportunities to future business owners who may not have been able to find more traditional lending options.


If you can’t get a traditional loan, and SBA financing isn’t in the cards – talk to your business broker about the possibility of seller financing and about what businesses on the market are currently offering this type of financing. Want to learn more about how seller financing works? Click here to read Seller Financing: The Business Buyer’s Guide.


The opportunity to buy a business can come in many forms. The financing option that suits you best and is available for the business you are interested in will vary – just ask your broker about your options.


Do you have questions about how to qualify for a loan from SBA? Would you like to know what currently available businesses are offering seller financing? Please feel free to leave comments and questions here and we would be happy to help.




Michael Monnot

12995 South Cleveland Avenue, Suite 249
Fort Myers, FL 33907

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A Fair Price Or Are They Dreaming? Small Business Listing Prices


As a business buyer, the number that will be at the center of your attention throughout the business transaction is the purchase price.


How much are you willing to pay for the business, and how does the seller arrive at their asking price?


These are important considerations, and as you progress through the due diligence phase, you will be deciding if you think the price is fair. What parts of a business will you need to consider when determining the price you are wiling to pay?


Cash Flow and Contracts

In order to determine the cash flow of the business you will need to examine financial statements, sales records, and tax returns for the last few years.

This is a great time to enlist the help of your business broker and possibly an accountant who is familiar with analyzing business transactions. Both will have the experience necessary to determine what the records really show in terms of how the business has been doing. It is impossible to gauge the health of a business by simply looking at the bottom line of tax returns – more analysis will be necessary.

You can also have your business broker determine the operating ratios of the business, as these ratios can be a good indicator to compare against industry standards.

Examine any and all contracts and agreements the business currently has. These include purchase agreements, leases, contractor agreements, and any other legal instruments.



What is the inventory? The inventory includes any materials and products that are used for resale or for client services.

It is very important that you personally and a trusted and qualified representative (like your business broker) are present for and participate in any inventory examination.

You will need to know the inventory status in order to give it a proper evaluation. You should also request the inventory counts from the end of the previous fiscal year.

You may need to have the inventory appraised if you are unable to properly appraise it yourself. The inventory counts as a hard asset, so you will need to know what dollar value to assign to it.

An important point to keep in mind is the value of the inventory is something that can be negotiated. If the inventory is incompatible with your future target market, or in poor condition – these are points to be brought up during negotiations.


Equipment and Furnishings

These parts of the business are important in terms of value because they are considered hard assets, so you will need to know what furnishings, equipment (like kitchen appliances in a restaurant), and vehicles are part of the deal.

For any equipment you will need the name and model number for each piece, the present condition, the value when purchased, the current value, and whether the equipment was leased or bought.

You will also need to consider what kinds of changes and improvements to the building will be needed in order to suit your future business plan.  Find out what the seller invested in terms of maintenance and leasehold improvements so you will know what it will take to keep the facility in good condition.



The price of a business may change based on the economic climate or on the motivation of the seller, but in all reality the price of a business is what a buyer is willing to pay for it. Take a good look at the inventory and other hard assets, along with the cash flow and records of the business before you head to the negotiation table with a number you consider fair.


Do you have more questions about how you as a buyer can determine if a price is fair? Would you like to know more about the importance of cash flow? Ask us! Please feel free to leave any questions or comments and we would be happy to help.



Michael Monnot

12995 South Cleveland Avenue, Suite 249
Fort Myers, FL 33907

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Miserable At Work? Mid-Life Crisis? Buy A New Life By Buying A Business

We all get burned out. Burned out at work. Burned out in relationships. Burned out on life in general.


You feel like you need something new, something exciting to turn your life back towards happiness – but what new adventure can make this happen?


A hot new car? A brand new boat? Sure, these toys can be fun – but will they really bring you life-altering satisfaction? Probably not in the long run.



The happiest people are typically people who have followed their passions. They wake up every morning with the drive to do what they do because they love it – not because they have to. If you are truly dissatisfied with your career because deep down you always wanted to pursue another passion – maybe now is the time to make that change. Maybe making the jump to entrepreneurship is for you.


Entrepreneurs are a unique breed. They are willing to take risks. They have drive and passion. Best of all, they get to do what they love and don’t have to answer to anyone but themselves. Sounds good, doesn’t it?


The good news is you don’t have to make the jump to entrepreneurship by starting from scratch. Start-ups are notoriously tough, expensive and risky. You are developing an unproven product in an unproven location using unproven operating methods.


You can make your life easier by buying an existing business instead. With an existing business you remove the unproven part of the equation. You get to walk into a business with a proven product, location and operating procedures. You also get a previous owner who will train you before you take over the reins.


There are many, many businesses for sale from multiple industry sectors – so if you’ve ever considered following a passion in the small business world, there is likely a business out there that will fit well with your goals. Try a cursory search by clicking here, and then have a conversation with us about your goals for business ownership, the types of businesses you think you’d like and the capital you have to invest. You and your broker can then narrow the search to just those businesses that will be right for you.


We aren’t saying that an existing business is without risk or that an existing business won’t be a challenge. Owning a business, whether you started it or not, takes dedication. The hours might be long and the work might be hard – but all of your time and energy are spent working for yourself instead of for someone else.


Is small business ownership for you? It could be, and it could be the key to a happier life. The only way to find out is to start looking. Skip the new car and invest your money in a business that could bring you not only financial returns, but a better quality of life.


Would you like to know what types of businesses would fit with your goals? Do you want to know what your dream business would cost? Ask us! Please leave any questions or comments here and we would be happy to help.




Michael Monnot

12995 South Cleveland Avenue, Suite 249
Fort Myers, FL 33907

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Michael Monnot


12995 South Cleveland Avenue, Suite 249
Fort Myers, FL 33907


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