The Pros Of Buying An Existing Business

If you’ve dreamed of starting life as an entrepreneur then you’ve likely conjured images of the startup in your garage, endless hours and scrounging for capital while you work as hard as you can to get your business idea off the ground. While many a Fortune 500 company began this way, it isn’t the only path to entrepreneurship.

 

What’s another path? Buying an existing business.

 

Wait, people sell businesses? Yes, existing businesses are bought and sold every day. Sometimes it’s because an owner has reached retirement. Maybe they’ve decided to undertake a different venture. Perhaps there’s something in their life that has created a situation where they can no longer own and operate their business the way they’d like to.

 

In other cases a seller has reached a particular metric – maybe they bought a smaller business that needed new growth strategies and now the business is at the point where they’re ready to sell and start again with a new project.

 

Whatever the reason for the sale, there are great businesses on the market every day – businesses that would meet the goals you have for business ownership.

 

But I have a couple of my own business ideas, why should I consider buying an existing business instead? There are many benefits to buying an existing business that just don’t exist if you’re starting on your own.

 

 

What are the pros?

 

A proven concept. While you might have a great idea, it’s just that – an idea. It hasn’t been proven. This is why the failure rate of startup businesses is so high – sometimes a great idea just falls flat when it’s introduced to the world. With an existing business someone else has laid the groundwork for you. The fact that the business exists today means the concept works.

 

An existing customer base. Customers are the obvious life blood of a business, and with an existing business you will still have new customer acquisition as a priority – but you don’t have to start from square one. A loyal and established customer base exist the day you take over.

 

Better financing opportunities. Traditional lending institutions are very gun-shy about supporting start-ups. You’ll likely have a hard time getting funding. When you buy an existing business there tend to be better options for financing your purchase, like the Small Business Administration (SBA) or seller financing.

 

Immediate cash flow. When you start out on your own you end up spending a ton of money before you ever generate any kind of cash flow. When you buy an existing, operating business the cash flow is there the day you get the keys.

 

The message here is business ownership and an entrepreneurial life don’t have to start in your garage. You can buy an existing business and reap the benefits of someone else laying the groundwork for you.

 

Have you always wanted to start your own business but the idea seems too daunting? Would you like to know what businesses currently for sale could meet your goals for business ownership? Ask us, or search current business listings here! Leave any questions or comments and we would be happy to help.

 

 

 

Michael Monnot

941.518.7138
Mike@InfinityBusinessBrokers.com

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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

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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

 

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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

 

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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

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Planning Your Trip: 3 Tips For Relocating Business Buyers

 

Maybe it was the lockdowns of the pandemic. Maybe it’s just that you’re burned out. Whatever the reason, you’ve been daydreaming about moving somewhere else and buying a business. Guess what? There’s no better time than now to make the leap.

 

Want some tips on how to start? Here’s 3:

 

Do lots of research:

 

This one might sound obvious, but most people would be shocked at how little research most buyers do before taking a huge leap like this. Take a deep dive into the locations that interest you. If it’s somewhere you’ve only ever visited on vacation, research what it’s like to live there year-round. Is it a seasonal economy that you’ll need to account for when choosing the type of business to buy? Can you afford to buy or rent a home close enough to your business to make your commute make sense? If you have kids – what are the schools like and where do you need to live in order to get your kids into a school where they’ll be successful? What are the property taxes like? Are crazy weather events like hurricanes something you need to think about? The point here is you need to have a good handle on where you both want to and realistically can be long before you start a serious search for businesses to buy.

 

Find the right help:

 

If you’re serious about buying a business in a new area, a local business broker is going to be an immense help. They know the area, the local small business economy, the local licensing/permitting requirements, the major players in terms of commercial property managers – the list goes on and on. Having someone with local experience as your guide will make both finding the right business and navigating the buying process much easier than going it alone or using someone who doesn’t know the area.

 

Have the site visits planned way before you leave for your trip:

 

Seeing a business you are considering is an important step, but what many buyers don’t understand is this step never comes first. Businesses are bought and sold under the protection of confidentiality (see why here), so you can’t just fly into town and waltz into whatever business you please. The steps that are required before you set foot in a physical location go like this:

 

You talk to a local business broker about your goals for business ownership, the industries you’re interested in and the amount of capital you have to invest. They find you business listings that would match your goals and means. If any of those listings look promising you can request more information by signing a non-disclosure agreement for each business you’re still considering. After looking over the information a conference call with the sellers is next, so you can ask questions about the business and see if it’s still a good fit. If after your calls you’d like to see the physical location this can be arranged. It usually requires seeing the business before or after hours when no staff or customers are around and will need to be coordinated between the schedules of the seller, the buyer and the brokers involved. It should be obvious that this process can’t be completed once you’ve landed on your scouting trip and have called a local broker for the very first time. You need to plan your site visits when you are doing your initial trip planning – like before you’ve even bought your plane tickets. It is a colossal waste of your own time to fly in and see businesses you haven’t already vetted, so plan your trip with that in mind. 

 

If you’re considering a big move – now is the time. Contact a local business broker and get the process moving!

 

Have you always wanted to move somewhere else and own your own business? Do you have more questions about the steps of the business buying process? Ask us! Leave any questions or comments and we would be happy to help!

 

 

 

Michael Monnot

941.518.7138
Mike@InfinityBusinessBrokers.com

 

 

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It’s Never The Perfect Time – Why You Should Buy That Business NOW

We all have the dreams. Dreams of quitting the job we hate, of striking out on our own and finally becoming our own boss.

 

What stops us? Taking a huge leap into the unknown can be absolutely terrifying.

 

No one wants to fail, and to prevent that failure we try to get our ducks in a row before we make big changes. Like waiting for a housing market peak before listing your house for sale. Like detailing your car before you sell it. We all strive for things to be perfect when we’re about to take a big step.

 

Here’s the thing about that push for perfection. It can hold you back.

 

 

Entrepreneurs can’t be risk averse. Buying or starting a business, operating that business, growing that business – all of these come with their fair share of risk. Guess what? If you need to be comfortable with risk you can’t also demand perfection.

 

Any business you look at will have a few skeletons. The news is always going to look bleak. The timing could always be better.

 

You can always find a reason not to do something. That’s the path of least resistance. If you don’t let go of your hope for perfection you aren’t going to be able to achieve the dreams, take the leap or change your life.

 

Should you disregard what’s going on in your life, disregard global catastrophes or settle for something that isn’t ideal? Of course not. The point we are trying to make is you can’t chase your dreams of business ownership if you always wait for everything to be just right.

 

If you really want to own your own business but aren’t sure if you’re ready or aren’t sure that the timing is right – have a conversation with an experienced and qualified business broker. They can help you decide what types of businesses would fit with your dreams and goals for business ownership and also give you guidance on the current state of the market.

 

Don’t wait for the perfect time to buy a business because that time will never come. Instead, have a conversation about your goals for business ownership and get started on the path to the life you’ve always wanted – today.

 

Have you always wanted to have your own business but aren’t sure if now is a good time? Would you like to know more about the business buying process? Ask us! Please leave any questions or comments and we would be happy to help.

 

 

 

Michael Monnot

941.518.7138
Mike@InfinityBusinessBrokers.com

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Are You Set Up For Success? 2 Ways Business Buyers Can Help Themselves

 

Buying a business? Congratulations on your start in the world of entrepreneurship! It’s hard work, but the benefits of owning your own business can absolutely outweigh the challenges – as long as you’ve set yourself up for success.

 

How can you get yourself off to the best start as a business owner?

 

Choose Something You Know

 

One of the most common mistakes new entrepreneurs make is they buy a business they know absolutely nothing about. For instance, if you’ve spent your whole career as a pharmaceutical salesman – you definitely shouldn’t buy a bar. Why not? Although it might seem like slinging a few beers isn’t that hard – the restaurant industry (or any industry where you have zero experience) can be impossibly tough. Do you know what your food and beverage costs should be to keep you in the black? Do you know enough about what it takes to be a good bartender so you can vet and hire the right staff or fill in when needed? Would you be able to tell if your current vendors are giving you the right stock and the best price? Probably not, and these are just a few points in the restaurant industry that can mean the difference between success and bankruptcy. Choose a business in an industry where you already know the ropes. Adding a brand-new industry to the already precipitously steep learning curve of business ownership is almost always a mistake.

 

Don’t Change Everything Right Away

 

Many entrepreneurs who buy an existing business walk into their new business on day one and decide they want to focus on something physical – like changing the color of the upholstery, buying new furniture or even a full renovation so they can make the space feel like their own. This a huge mistake and a big waste of resources. Why? You bought an existing business. That business has an already existing set of customers. Your mission in the first few months is twofold. One, don’t drive away your existing customers. Two, get as many new customers as you can. One surefire way to keep from accomplishing those two goals is to focus on physical things like aesthetics. Maybe the reason your new café is so popular is the regular clientele love the existing quaint atmosphere – redecorating to your sleek modern style might run them off. Instead, focus on building that customer base and take some time to learn why your current customers are there – before you make any changes.

 

Get yourself on the right path by buying a business you already know and don’t make any immediate changes. 

 

Are you thinking about buying a business in an industry where you have no experience and want to know what other industries would fit with your specific skill set? Would you like to know more about how a new business owner can get new customers in the door? Ask us! Leave questions or comments here and we would be happy to help.

 

 

 

Michael Monnot

941.518.7138
Mike@InfinityBusinessBrokers.com

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Buying/Selling? Why You Really Need A Broker

 

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

941.518.7138
Mike@InfinityBusinessBrokers.com

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A Business Is Not A House – And Why This Matters

Yes, we know. Obviously, a business is not a house. Here’s the point we’re trying to make:

 

Some prospective business buyers approach the business buying process as if they were buying a house or maybe even a car. This is an enormous mistake

 

 

They typically call us when they’re already in town, a trip that’s been planned for weeks or months. Did they have the foresight while planning this trip to think of talking to someone about looking at businesses? Nope. They just call to say they’re here. They want us to drop all of the clients we already have meetings and calls with that day to drive them around so they can look at the physical locations of all of the businesses that are currently on the market. They then expect that we can waltz into any business that seems to interest them, introduce ourselves to the staff and management – and ask why the business is for sale.

 

This is NOT how you go about buying a business.

 

You can’t treat a business like a house for a lot of reasons. An operating business is just that – operating. It has a staff, vendors and competition. It has customers on site.

 

There is a misleading perception that any business for sale is a business on the brink of failure. It is this perception that can cause catastrophic losses and serious ramifications if the for-sale status of a business is disclosed to the wrong people (think the staff, vendors, the general public and the competition). An entire staff can quit. Customers can cancel contracts. The list goes on. Confidentiality in business sales is key, so anyone who is serious about buying a business needs to play by the rules of confidentiality. Those rules take planning and they take time

 

How should you buy a business?

 

If you’re looking for businesses that aren’t in your current area, you should call and talk to a local business broker while you are buying your plane tickets or setting up your travel plans to visit your future relocation spot. Talk to the business broker about your goals for business ownership, the industries that you’re interested in and the areas where you have practical experience. You and the broker can spend a few weeks researching and searching – looking for the right business opportunities in your new area.

 

Once you have found a few businesses that interest you, you will be required to sign non-disclosure agreements before you are allowed to know the business name or location. The non-disclosures will also give you access to further information, things like P&L statements and past tax returns. You can use that information to narrow down your choices and then request a conference call with the sellers of the businesses that still interest you. By looking at the cursory financial information and talking to the other side you can decide if any of the businesses on your list will still fit with your goals. Those that do will be your final list, and these are the businesses worth seeing in person

 

Some buyers have a hard time with this concept – that they can’t tour physical locations as the first step. Here’s what you need to remember: an operating business has value because an operating business creates cash flow. You are buying this cash flow – not a physical space, so seeing it in person isn’t as important as it would be for something like a house.

 

The veil of confidentiality is also so crucially important, even for you as a buyer. You wouldn’t want a business that you are seriously considering to be destroyed by someone else’s careless disclosure of the for-sale status – so understand that the process is built to protect the business that might be yours someday. You will need a bit of patience to see the process through to the end.

 

Don’t treat buying a business like buying a house. Remember that you are buying yourself a future life, and for such an enormous endeavor some pre-planning must take placeso call a business broker long before you get to town.

 

Are you thinking about buying a business and have more questions about the business buying process? Would you like to know what types of businesses are currently for sale in the areas you’re considering? Ask us! Please leave any questions or comments, we would be happy to help.

 

 

 

Michael Monnot

941.518.7138
Mike@InfinityBusinessBrokers.com

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Michael Monnot

941.518.7138
Mike@InfinityBusinessBrokers.com

9040 Town Center Parkway
Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202




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