Due Diligence On Yourself – Why Sellers Need To Prep

You might think you are ready to sell your business, but very few small business owners actually are. Do you have all of your books in order? Have you made any necessary repairs?

 

Preparing a business for sale can be a lot like preparing a house for sale. You need to make it look aesthetically pleasing and fix what’s broken.

 

There is, however, one major difference. Due diligence.

 

Once you have accepted an offer from a buyer, the due diligence period begins and you will be opening up your financial records, contracts, leases – everything – for that buyer to inspect.

 

Any problems found during due diligence can lead to one of two outcomes. Either the deal is dead and the buyer walks away, or they come back to you with a lower offer to compensate for the problems they’ve found.

 

No seller wants a perfectly good deal to fall through, and you want to get the best possible price for the business you’ve worked so hard to build – so how do you avoid due diligence issues?

 

Do due diligence on yourself.

 

 

Before a buyer has a chance to peek behind the scenes and go over your books with a fine-tooth comb, you should do this yourself. By performing due diligence on yourself you will see your business through a buyer’s eyes and will be able to address any potential problems long before a buyer finds them.

 

Don’t think you have any issues that will come up in due diligence? Think again. All small businesses have a few skeletons in the closet, and they can’t be hidden. Buyers always find issues, so the best way to deal with this eventuality is to solve the problems before they are found.   

 

How do you do due diligence on yourself? Ask your business broker for guidance and perhaps employ the services of a business transaction CPA. In most cases, you as a business owner know what the problems are. Figuring out the best way to deal with those problems will be where those experts come in handy. Is this an issue you can conceivable solve? How can you solve it? Is it a better tactic to just be upfront with the issues that exist when communicating with a future buyer or try to implement changes that will resolve those issues before the due diligence step in the process? 

 

Performing the due diligence process on yourself will help you and your business to stay ahead of the game during the transaction process and will also help you get the biggest return on your business sale. Ask your business broker for help. 

 

Do you have questions about what buyers will want to see during due diligence? Would you like to know what problems we’ve seen in due diligence in the past? Ask us! Leave any questions or comments and we would be happy to assist you.

 

 

 

Michael Monnot

941.518.7138
Mike@InfinityBusinessBrokers.com
5111 Ocean Boulevard, Suite E
Siesta Key, FL 34242

www.InfinityBusinessBrokers.com

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Want To Sell Your Business? 3 Must-Haves

In a perfect world, every business seller would list their business and get an all cash, full price offer the next day.

 

In reality, this is rarely the case. Like, it never happens that way.

 

On average, it typically takes nine to twelve months to get a business from listed to sold.

 

As a seller, there are three very basic (but also very simple) things you can do to improve your chances of selling right out of the gate.

 

 

Offer Seller Financing 

Banks and other more traditional lending institutions have always been gun-shy about small business loans – and the 2008 recession didn’t help. There are always a lot of buyers who are looking for new business opportunities, but they typically don’t come with a lot of cash on hand. By offering to finance part of your purchase price, you will be able to attract many more buyers than you would otherwise. Worst case scenario if the new owners fail? You get to to keep the sizable down payment the buyers put up and you get the business back

 

Hire A Business Broker

You might be great at what you do, but what you do isn’t helping people buy and sell businesses. This is what business brokers do for a living. They know the business transaction process inside and out, they have access to buyers you could never find and they are experts in confidential business marketing. Going it alone won’t save you money. It will more than likely mean you either won’t be able to sell at all or will end up having to take far less for the business than if you had hired the right help.

 

List For A Realistic Price 

Your business is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it. When deciding on a listing price many sellers try to set a price that will recoup all of the money they have invested over the years or use the value of new equipment when determining what their 10 year old stuff is worth. We get that you have invested a great deal of your time, money and energy in your business. You can absolutely get a good return on that investment, but you need to be realistic. Your business price should be based on your cash flow, what your equipment and inventory are actually worth and what the market will currently allow. Making a sensible and well-informed decision about listing price is key if you ever want to see a closing table

 

If you think you are ready to sell, go into the process with an open mind. Have realistic expectations, and use the experience of your business broker to help you set realistic goals for your transaction.

 

Do you have questions about how to price your business? Would you like to know what businesses like yours are currently selling for? Ask us! Leave any questions or comments here and we would be happy to help.

 

 

 

Michael Monnot

941.518.7138
Mike@InfinityBusinessBrokers.com
5111 Ocean Boulevard, Suite E
Siesta Key, FL 34242

www.InfinityBusinessBrokers.com

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The Right Advice At The Right Time: The Role Of Attorneys In Your Business Transaction

Let’s start this one off by saying we are absolutely not advocating an attorney-free business deal. A business transaction involves contracts that you will need to sign and a lot of money changing hands – so the assistance of an attorney is absolutely necessary.

 

 

Business transactions, however, are also inherently very complex and businesses themselves involve a decent amount of risk. If buying a business gave you a 100% chance of getting a fabulous return on your investment then that’s what everyone would do. Buying and running a business means a fair share of risk and plenty of hard work.

 

Before you bring your attorney into the mix (which you will definitely need to do), ask yourself this important question – what do they do for a living? They protect you from any and all risk.

 

It is impossible for your attorney to keep you from any and all risk and also give you a thumbs up on a business. It is because of this conflict between what a lawyer does for a living and what you are trying to do (buy or sell a business) that we are suggesting that you keep their advice to only the portions of your deal that they specialize in.

 

What do we mean by this?

 

Your attorney doesn’t need to be giving you advice about price. Determining what a business is worth in the current market isn’t what they do. They don’t know how to derive value from cash flow or how to price a business based on what comparable businesses have actually sold for.

 

Your attorney shouldn’t have a major role in negotiations. At the end of the day, a deal is happening between the buyer and the seller. These two parties will have a tough time coming to a consensus – even when using intermediaries like business brokers who act as buffers. Adding more voices and opinions to the mix by having attorneys intimately entwined in the negotiations might mean no deal will ever be reached. It becomes a “too many cooks in the kitchen” scenario.

 

I get why my attorney might cause problems, so what should I use them for?

 

Again, your attorney will be instrumental in putting together contracts and advising you of your risks in association with these contracts. You should absolutely listen to what they have to say in regards to these parts of a business transaction that are very much their specialty. You should listen to their advice, weigh what they have to say based on the fact that their job is to protect you from risk – and then use common sense to make up your own mind about what you should do.

 

A note here. You should also be using a business transaction attorney for this role. Your family law attorney (for example) isn’t going to understand your business contracts the way a business transaction attorney does. It would be like going to the pediatrician to get plastic surgery – it isn’t what they do. Finding and using a business transaction attorney with some experience in this very unique process will be pivotal to success.

 

Keeping a business transaction as simple as possible is the only way to successfully navigate a process that is inherently complex. Use each advisor for the role where their advice is the most appropriate and you will have a far better chance of transaction success.

 

Are you a buyer or seller who wants to have their attorney involved in everything? Do you have more questions about why this might be a problem? Ask us! Leave any comments or questions here and we would be happy to help.

 

 

 

Michael Monnot

941.518.7138
Mike@InfinityBusinessBrokers.com
12995 South Cleveland Avenue, Suite 249
Fort Myers, FL 33907

www.InfinityBusinessBrokers.com

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All The Way To The Finish Line – Why You Need A Great Broker

 

Both parties have agreed on the purchase contract, you’re finished – right?

 

Not quite, and if you have a business broker who isn’t going to push your deal all the way to the finish line – then your deal could be in trouble. 

 

A contract does not mean the deal is done, it just means one step in the process has been completed. We have a very high closure rate once our deals get to contract – 70-80%, but most business brokers can’t get anywhere near that number.

 

Why?

 

Once the contract piece of the puzzle is done, many brokers walk away and let the deal fend for itself. They let things like licensing, SBA loan issues and follow-thru with details fall by the wayside – and when this happens a minor issue can become a major deal-breaker in no time.

 

A transaction isn’t closed until it’s closed.

 

Why would any broker let this happen? Once the contract is put together, most brokers think that their work is done, but the last few details are often the most important. Our process is different because we do an immense amount of pre-due diligence. We have all of the ducks in a row and have rooted out and dealt with many of the issues that come up at the end long before they become potential deal killers. Then, we don’t stop until the deal is done.

 

Let’s focus on just one of the often-overlooked last-minute details to give you an example of the importance of getting all those final ducks in a row:

 

If you as a buyer have no idea what the licensing requirements are for the business you are about to take over, how can you possibly have all of those requirements complete on the day you get handed the keys? Any business transaction means that at the very least all licensing must be transferred from the old owner to the new, and many of these licenses come with an inspection requirement that needs to be fulfilled before the business can serve customers. What does that mean if you don’t complete the necessary applications and inspections before the day you take over? You can’t open the doors until they are all complete, so having a broker who is on top of issues like licensing will be crucial for a successful transaction.

 

If you are a seller who offered seller financing, then it is in your best interest for the transition to the new owner to go smoothly. An incomplete licensing, permitting or inspection requirement will put the transition and the future of the business in jeopardy (meaning you won’t be able to get paid). Having a broker who is proactive on the licensing front (and all other fronts, for that matter) will mean a more successful transition to the new ownership and a far better chance for the new owner to find success right out of the gate.

 

Ask your broker how many of their deals make it to closing once the contract step has been reached. Their answer to this question will tell you all you need to know about their follow-through and whether or not you’ll be able to make it to the closing table.

 

Are you buying a business and want to know more about the process to transfer licenses? Are you selling your business and would like to know what aspects of your transaction will need to be followed all the way to the end? Please feel free to leave any questions or comments and we will be happy to help.

 

 

 

Michael Monnot

941.518.7138
Mike@InfinityBusinessBrokers.com
12995 South Cleveland Avenue, Suite 249
Fort Myers, FL 33907

www.InfinityBusinessBrokers.com

 

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Bad Advice: The Outrageous Listing Price

 

You’ve decided to sell your business, so you start asking the people around you what they think it’s worth. Your father-in-law, your CPA and your neighbor will probably give you vastly different numbers – and you’ve also got a rough calculation in your head of how much money it has cost you over the years to build the business into what it is today. Are any of these “valuations” correct? Probably not.

 

The hard truth of the business market is your business is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it.

 

Many, many sellers have a hard time with this concept – and unfortunately there are business brokers out there who will tell a potential client anything they want to hear in order to get the listingmeaning their bad advice will cause you to list your small business for an outrageous price that you will never, ever get.

 

The price you put on your business from day one is very important. A business that is priced correctly will tell buyers you are serious about selling (and that you aren’t totally insane). 

 

Your business should not be listed for a price that is based on how much money you’ve invested over the years, how much all of the equipment and furnishings cost you when they were new (8 years ago) or how much you think you’re going to need in order to retire with the quality of life you currently have.

 

Your listing price will contain a lot of moving parts, but primarily it should be based on cash flow, the current value of any assets and what comparable businesses have actually sold for.

 

There are some occasions where a standardized multiple is used, but every small business is a unique case, and should be priced accordingly.

 

What should you do? Have a serious conversation with your business broker about where you would like to set the listing price and then listen to what they have to say. If they think you’re way above where you need to be, you should seriously consider their advice before demanding they list for whatever you want. Any good broker is going to walk away from a client who demands an outrageous price. A broker who will bend to your demands (regardless of reality) should be avoided. 

 

 

Are you thinking about selling and are curious about what similar businesses have recently sold for? Would you like to know our thoughts on the current state of the market for your industry? Ask us! Please feel free to leave comments or questions and we would be happy to help.

 

 

 

Michael Monnot

941.518.7138
Mike@InfinityBusinessBrokers.com
12995 South Cleveland Avenue, Suite 249
Fort Myers, FL 33907

www.InfinityBusinessBrokers.com

 

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Child Of An Entrepreneur? How To Follow Your Own Path

 

If you are the child of an entrepreneur, then you probably grew up in the family business. You might have napped in the back office and done your homework at your parent’s desk. Your chores might have included taking out the trash or washing dishes. Now that you are an adult, your parents might assume that your path in life includes taking over that family business so they can retire.

 

What if that’s not what you want?

 

You aren’t alone. Not everyone follows in their parents footsteps, and if you’ve found a separate passion along the way that you want to pursue, you should. The key to a happy life is doing something that you love, and (hopefully) with some discussion your parents will see things the same way.

 

There’s no way my parents are going to be okay with me doing anything else. Now what?

 

First of all, have you even asked? Any family with a family business needs to have a discussion about the future of the business and the possible succession to the next generation. If you haven’t had this discussion yet, no time is better than right now.

 

If you really don’t want to take over the family business, and your parents are counting on just that – there is a solution where both sides win.

 

Approach your parents with the idea of selling the business and then using some of the proceeds to buy a business that you can be passionate about, thereby preserving the entrepreneurial legacy of the family while at the same time pursuing your own dreams.

 

By selling their business they can also get a financial return on their investment of time, energy and money while simultaneously helping you on your own journey to business success. If they see that they can potentially both make some money and give you the key to your own happiness – what parent isn’t going to want that?

 

Start the conversation now, then talk to an experienced and qualified business broker (like us) about what comparable businesses have recently sold for – and what businesses currently on the market might meet with your goals for business ownership.

 

Are you the child in a family business and want to know what comparable businesses have sold for? Do you have questions about what type of business you could buy? Please feel free to leave comments or questions here and we would be happy to help.

 

 

 

Michael Monnot

941.518.7138
Mike@InfinityBusinessBrokers.com
12995 South Cleveland Avenue, Suite 249
Fort Myers, FL 33907

www.InfinityBusinessBrokers.com

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Smaller Is Better – How Buyers And Sellers Can Compete Against Big Business

According to a Gallup poll, the small business model is still favored by the public – so businesses large and small can help themselves by trying to stay true to the “smaller is better” model.

 

 

Forces are pushing U.S. companies toward mergers, consolidations, acquisitions and growth. Yet, Americans continue to show strongly negative attitudes toward ‘big’ business, coupled with a continued strong attitudinal affinity for small business. This poses an essential dilemma for large enterprises attempting to build and maintain a thriving business-to-consumer customer base.

 

The basic data are clear. Gallup’s most recent research shows that 70% of Americans have ‘a great deal’ or ‘quite a lot’ of confidence in small business, more than three times the 21% confidence rating for big business.

 

What can someone who is looking to buy a business or someone who is considering selling do with this information?

 

Think about why people prefer small businesses over huge corporate conglomerates. Attention. Customer service. The ability to understand local community needs. Those are the areas where smart small business owners can focus in order to set themselves apart from the big businesses that could otherwise easily destroy them with volume pricing. The way you put those ideas into practice is by making your business as accessible and customer-experience focused as possible.

 

If you are buying a business, you need to make this consideration when you take over the helm. Regardless of the old owner’s practices, you need to focus on customer service and community involvement. If your new business doesn’t have a website or social media presence – create one. Make you business accessible both on and offline. Come up with creative marketing strategies that will position your new enterprise as a pivotal member of the community. Sponsor related community events. Donate money or supplies when the occasion calls for it. Join local festivals and parades. You need to keep your focus on the local customer because their loyalty to you is your only weapon against the intrusion of huge corporations into your industry space.

 

If you currently own a business and are considering selling now or in the near future – your focus needs to be nearly the same as someone just about to take over as a new owner. You absolutely must have a decent website, one that gives real-time information about the goods and services you offer. You need a social media presence that you update several times a week, if not daily. You should be growing your business always, even if your near-future plan is to sell because a business with a solid path toward growth is going to fetch a much better selling price than a business that is stagnant. The creative marketing strategies above can and should be used to solidify your business in your area as a community business.

 

Big business will only win if small business stops paying attention to what matters most – local, loyal customers and their ability to access your business how and when they want to. Online presence and community presence will put the business you buy and the business you hope to sell in a great position to succeed.

 

Are you thinking about buying a business and were worried about how a small business can compete with the industry giants? Have you considered selling your business and want to know more about how implementing the ideas here can help your sale? Ask us! Leave any questions or comments here and we would be happy to help.

 

 

Want to read the Gallup article? Click here:

https://news.gallup.com/opinion/polling-matters/216674/business-gets-bigger-even-americans-prefer-small.aspx

 

 

 

Michael Monnot

941.518.7138
Mike@InfinityBusinessBrokers.com
12995 South Cleveland Avenue, Suite 249
Fort Myers, FL 33907

www.InfinityBusinessBrokers.com

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Selling Your Business? How That Is Still Possible During A Pandemic

 

Is it possible to sell your business during a pandemic?

 

Yes! It is absolutely possible to sell your business in the age of Covid-19, for a couple of reasons. 

 

One, the buying and selling of businesses is the job of business brokers. Business brokers don’t have their own licensing category in terms of professional regulations – so they are licensed as real estate brokers. The good news is in most states real estate is considered an essential service, meaning business brokerages are currently operating albeit remotely

 

That brings us to our second reason – the vast majority of the business buying and selling process can be done without having to break social distancing guidelines

 

You can meet with your business broker by phone or by video chat. When it comes to contact with potential buyers – conference calls and video meetings are always available, and quite frankly something we already do with regularity. Documents can be shared securely online. We can create a virtual tour of your business so potential buyers can do an on site visit from the comfort of their couch. Our brokers can even arrange in person contact or on site visits if absolutely necessary, as we have implemented protocols whereby appropriate social distances are kept in place, no one shakes hands and all common surfaces (like door handles) are cleaned both before and after. 

 

If you have been considering selling your business – now might be a great time to start the process. You probably have extra time on your hands right now, and you can use that time to organize your business documentation, talk to your business broker and perhaps even tackle your to-do list in terms of maintenance at your currently closed business location. 

 

It’s also a great time to list your business because there are a lot of seriously bored people who are currently rethinking their life choices and more than a few of them will be searching online for business ownership opportunities. Why not make your business one of them?

 

We’re sure you have a lot of questions. It might seem like a bad time to make any drastic changes to life, but the truth is life will eventually return to normal. Kids will go back to school, people will go back to work and your business doors will be open again. Where do you want to be when that return to normalcy happens? Retired? Looking for a new business because you are burned out with the one you currently have? Taking a new path with the money you’ve made from the sale of your business? 

 

If you’re considering a big life change, talk to one of our business brokers today. They can tell you about the changes in protocol and changes occurring within the market – as well as what businesses like yours have recently sold for. They can also offer guidance on how to get your business ducks in a row so you can take advantage of the litany of buyers looking for a different life too

 

Don’t wait. Use this unprecedented time wisely, and you could be well on your way to a new chapter of your life.  

 

Are you thinking about selling your business but are worried that the current pandemic will make it impossible? Do you have questions about how the business-for-sale market has changed recently? Ask us! Please leave any questions or comments and we will be happy to help. 

 

 

 

Michael Monnot

941.518.7138
Mike@InfinityBusinessBrokers.com
12995 South Cleveland Avenue, Suite 249
Fort Myers, FL 33907

www.InfinityBusinessBrokers.com

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Business Sellers – The Pros And Cons Of Buyer Vetting

If you are selling your business you know the importance of keeping your sale under wraps. Confidentiality, both of the for-sale status of your business and of your business documentation (like bank statements, tax returns and contracts) is paramount. Your initial conversations with your business broker likely included discussions about how to keep confidentiality intact – by staying tight lipped around your employees, by keeping you business listing vague, by giving specific lists of individuals who should not be allowed to receive information, etc.

 

What about the buyers who will be privy to all of that confidential information? How do you decide the level of vetting they receive before finding out anything about your business?

 

 

The simple answer is the more buyers that get to see your business, the higher the likelihood that you will be able to sell. Using an industry standard NDA (non-disclosure agreement) and a good broker who will ask the right questions should be sufficient to screen the majority of potential buyers – but some business sellers want to take the screening process to the next level. 

 

Requirements like proof of financial capability and buyer background (such as industry experience or education) are things you as a business seller have the right to ask for – these are hoops that any buyer will eventually have to jump though anyway as the deal progresses. What you need to consider is in some cases putting all of the hoops at the very beginning, before the buyer even learns the name of the business – might drive some buyers away. 

 

There are some circumstances where a heavier vetting process would be necessary – for instance the purchase of a multi-million dollar business is going to require any potential buyers to prove they have the financial means necessary before access to proprietary information will be granted. For most main street small businesses this high-level vetting isn’t necessary. What is necessary is getting your business in front of as many buyers as possible. 

 

Heavy screening up front can be a double edged sword – so you need to have a frank and honest discussion with your business broker about why you think you need any “above and beyond” initial requirements, and then listen to their experienced advice about how to proceed. In reality less is usually more when it comes to initial vetting, and any business broker worth their salt is going to ask the right questions before disclosing your business.

 

As the seller, it is ultimately up to you who learns the for-sale status of your business, who gets to see your business documentation and in the end who gets to buy it. Ask lots of questions in your initial discussions with a business broker. Find out how they maintain confidentiality and what they recommend in terms of initial buyer vetting. Then use your best judgement to come up with a plan that makes you comfortable while staying realistic with the process.

 

Are you considering selling your business and think your circumstance calls for very rigorous vetting of potential buyers? Would you like to know more about how we maintain the confidentiality of our client’s businesses? Please ask us! Feel free to leave any questions or comments and we would be happy to help.

 

 

 

 

Michael Monnot

941.518.7138
Mike@InfinityBusinessBrokers.com
12995 South Cleveland Avenue, Suite 249
Fort Myers, FL 33907

www.InfinityBusinessBrokers.com

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How To Solve The Family Entrepreneurial Divide

Owning a business means putting your heart and soul into a living, growing business entity – and with all that heart and soul comes a lot of personal attachment. Many small business owners dread the day when life will force them to hand over the reins to someone else. How could anyone else do the job like they do? How could anyone else possibly care as much as they do? What if a new owner changes things? These are the things of entrepreneurial nightmares.

 

What do many small business owners do to deal with their issues of letting go? They try to groom one or more of their children to take the helm. By handing the business down to one’s offspring you can always keep one foot in the door and still exert some control, even if it is from behind the scenes. You can also continue to reap the financial rewards of small business ownership by taking a salary to fund your retirement.

 

 

Unfortunately, however, many small businesses that get handed down to children fail or take such a steep decline that the aging parents must come out of retirement to try and right the ship.

 

Why does this happen?

 

Children are not clones of their parents – they are their own people with their own motivations, hopes and dreams. A great many children of business owners take over the family business not because they want to, but out of a sense of duty.

 

Any successful business owner will tell you that without drive and passion there is little chance of keeping a business alive. If you try to force that drive and passion onto someone else – the outcome could be ugly. In other cases it isn’t a lack of drive or passion, some people just aren’t cut out to be business owners.

 

If you are grooming your kids for life as the owner of your business you need to consider that they, secretly or not, might not want to do what you do.

 

If you have a family business, the first thing you need to do is have a serious talk with your kids about the future of the business, their dreams and their goals. You might be surprised to learn that they want to do something else.

 

If this is the case, all is not lost. You can still make a return on all of the investment of time,energy and money you have contributed to your business over the years by selling the business. You can use the proceeds of that sale to fund your retirement or to invest in a business venture that your children actually want.

 

The message here is every business owner needs to deal with the reality that no one lives forever, and for the business to continue someone else needs to take the reins. Turn all of the love you have for your business into capital you can use instead of forcing your kids to take the helm.

 

Do you own a business and have always planned to give the business to your children? Have your kids expressed zero desire to take over when you retire? Would you like to know what businesses like yours have recently sold for? Ask us! Please leave any questions or comments here and we would be happy to help.

 

 

 

Michael Monnot

941.518.7138
Mike@InfinityBusinessBrokers.com
12995 South Cleveland Avenue, Suite 249
Fort Myers, FL 33907

www.InfinityBusinessBrokers.com

 

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Michael Monnot

941.518.7138
Mike@InfinityBusinessBrokers.com

5111-E Ocean Blvd
Siesta Key, FL 34242




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