What Can You Realistically Afford? Thoughts For Business Buyers

We all have big dreams. A bigger house. A nicer car. Lavish vacations. Your own private island. What keeps these wonderful flights of fancy in the realm of dreams is the fact that we just can’t (currently) make them happen.



Big dreams can become a big problem in the small business market. Why?


New buyers will often consider businesses that are completely out of their price range – like drastically so.


Why do many new business buyers have unrealistic expectations? It may be, in part, because of the way people buy homes.


When you go into a bank to get a mortgage, you might walk out with a pre-approval for $750,000. Does that mean you have $750,000 in the bank in cash? Nope. It just means the bank is willing to loan you that amount because they can take back your new house as collateral if you don’t pay them back.


Small business transactions don’t work that way. There are financing options if you don’t have a huge amount of cash available – but that financing is very different than what you see in the housing market. You might be able to get a loan from the Small Business Administration (SBA) or from the seller of the business via seller financing – but no matter where you get your loan you are going to have to put up a large down payment and prove that you have the capital to both get through the transaction process and sustain yourself as the new owner of the business.


What do we mean by that? The business buying process can be expensive. If you get a loan from the SBA, they are going to require an appraisal of the business – one you as the buyer have to pay for. There are application fees for SBA, as well as application and licensing costs associated with the licensing requirements for your new business. If your future business is in a commercial space, your new landlord is going to want first-last-security and to see your financials to assure them you can not only pay those initial costs, but be able to pay your rent going forward. You might need capital for payroll in the first few weeks or months. The list can be long and pricey.


This doesn’t mean you can’t fulfill your dream of buying your own business. It just means you need to be realistic with what you can afford. If you only have $50,000 to spend, you shouldn’t even look at a business that is $750,000. It can’t happen. What you can do is find an affordable business that you can grow. Smaller, more affordable businesses can be very successful – and have lots of room for that all-important growth.  


If you want to know what you can realistically afford, ask an experienced and qualified business broker. They can look at your current financial situation, your goals for business ownership and your previous experience – then assist you with finding the right business to buy. The right business will both meet your goals and keep you from extending yourself beyond what is currently financially possible.


Have you always wanted to buy a business but aren’t sure what you could afford? Would you like to know what types of businesses are currently on the market in your price range? Ask us! Leave any questions or comments and we would be happy to help.




Michael Monnot

5111 Ocean Boulevard, Suite E
Siesta Key, FL 34242


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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

5111 Ocean Boulevard, Suite E
Siesta Key, FL 34242


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Buying A Business In The Post-Quarantine Economy

Can you still buy a business in the post-quarantine economy? Absolutely. The keys to success are adaptability and creativity.


Everyone can agree that the past few months have been difficult, unprecedented and just plain strange. If you were thinking about changing career paths before the quarantine hit, or if the time trapped in your house made you rethink your life choices – you might be wondering if now is the time to make the switch to entrepreneurship.



It certainly can be. While some segments of the economy are currently struggling, there are a few key industries that are booming. Think about what people are using/needing and you can come up with a whole host of ideas. Here’s a few:


grocery stores

liquor stores

health care and health care supply businesses

waste disposal

cleaning services


auto repair

delivery services


The list of newly named “essential businesses” is a long one. If you were thinking about making the switch to business ownership then a business in the “essential” sector is a good buy.


If you had your heart set on a different industry, you might still be able to make it work by adapting your business model and the business you purchase to fit with the times. For instance, if you’ve always wanted to own a restaurant you could perhaps find an existing restaurant to buy and change the model to a take out counter that also offers retail food options like fresh baked bread and other staples – making your business a one-stop shop.


The key to success in 2020 is adaptability and creativity. If you have that and are willing to put in the hard work – business ownership can be a very successful path.


What about all of the news about struggling small businesses? Yes, there are businesses out there who will not make it back. Many were faltering anyway, or didn’t have a business plan or model that could survive the shut down. The silver lining? Those struggling businesses might be a good buy for future entrepreneurs. Some businesses that have decided to remain closed permanently will likely be offered as asset sales, while those who don’t show the best numbers over the last few months might be purchased for a discounted price. Talk to your business broker about the pros and cons of snapping up a currently struggling business to see if the effort it would take to pull the business back from the brink aligns with your goals for business ownership.


Are you considering the jump to business ownership? Do you have more questions about what industries would be a great buy right now? Ask us! Leave any questions or comments and we would be happy to help.




Michael Monnot

5111 Ocean Boulevard, Suite E
Siesta Key, FL 34242



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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.




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

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



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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

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


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Covid Disaster Loans, Grants and Ideas

Here is the article to view along with the video:

Small Business? How To Get Financial Relief During The Coronavirus Crisis

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Small Business? How To Get Financial Relief During The Coronavirus Crisis


It can be a difficult time to understand the financial aspects involved in being an entrepreneur. We have put together a list of some programs and ideas to hopefully make this a bit easier.


So – if you’re worried about taking care of your employees, worried about more important things…we hope this helps!



#1 Paycheck Protection Program

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has $350 billion to support job retention and operating expenses.

 The Paycheck Protection Program creates an emergency loan that can help small businesses retain a full workforce during COVID-19.

Who is Eligible? 

  •  Small businesses with 500 or fewer employees 
  •  501(c)(3) Nonprofits with fewer than 500 employees
  •  Some 501(c)(19) veteran organizations
  •  Businesses with more than 500 employees that meet the SBA standards for their industry
  •  Sole proprietorships
  •  Self-employed individuals
  •  Independent contractors
  • Private non-profit or 501(c) or Veterans organizations

Eligible businesses must have been operational on February 15, 2020.

How Much?

Small businesses may apply for a maximum loan of $10 million with no higher than a 4% interest rate. 

To determine your income in most cases, collect your net income/W2, gather your annual health insurance costs and the amount that you have contributed to retirement.

Loan Forgiveness

SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for 8 weeks, and 75% of the money is used for payroll while the rest can be used for rent, mortgage interest or utilities. This starts on April 3 and will be available through June 30, 2020.

How to Apply:

You will apply for the Paycheck Protection loan at your local bank.

View the application here 


  • Loan payments are deferred for 6 months
  • 2 year maturity at 1% interest rate



#2 Economic Injury Disaster Loans & Loan Advance 

Economic Injury Disaster Loans are the SBA’s low-interest disaster loans given to small businesses experiencing a substantial economic loss due to a disaster.

Who is Eligible?

The CARES Act expanded eligibility for EIDLs to all small businesses in the U.S. affected by COVID-19.

How Much?

Eligible businesses may qualify for a loan of up to $2 million. 

Emergency Loan Advance

You may also apply for an emergency loan advance of up to $10,000. If your application is accepted, these funds would become available within three days and would not have to be repaid.

How to Apply: 

Businesses may apply for an EIDL and loan advance here

Can you get a Paycheck Protection Loan and an EIDL?

Yes, as long as you are not using them for the same expenses. Talk to your financial advisor about the best option for your business.



#3 Business Tax Changes

In an effort to alleviate the strain on small businesses affected by COVID-19, the CARES Act has made specific changes to taxes and tax policy.



#4 Families First Coronavirus Response Act

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) provides assistance to employees affected by COVID-19. 

As a small business, this means new requirements for paid sick leave and paid family and medical leave (FMLA), as well as employer tax credits.

Read more about the FFCRA and what it means for small business here.

**Please contact your CPA about the employer tax credits**



#5 SBA Debt Relief

To help small businesses overcome the challenges of COVID-19, the SBA has implemented a debt relief program.

  •  Principal and interest will be paid for six months on current 7(a) loans
  •  Principal and interest will be paid on new 7(a) loans issued before Sept. 27, 2020



#6 SBA Express Bridge Loans

With an Express Bridge Loan, businesses may access up to $25,000 to ‘bridge the gap’ as you wait for your Economic Injury Disaster Loan application to process. 

  •  You must have an established relationship with an SBA Express Lender to qualify
  •  This loan will be repaid through the EIDL

**Different banks have different rules, so you must call. Some are not accepting new business and only servicing past clients – while there are a few banks who will act so long as you have opened accounts**



#7 The Cares Act

Student Loans

  • No federal student loan payments through September 30, 2020
  • No interest on your federal student loan payments
  • No garnishment of wages, SS and tax refunds for student loan debt collection

**Pausing will still result in you getting monthly payment credit regardless of what your servicer tells you**



#8 The Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program

Who is Eligible?

  • Florida Small Businesses

How Much?

Small businesses can apply for up to $50,000 with interest rates at 12%, 1 year term, 1 loan per business and you must apply before May 8th, 2020.

Loan Forgiveness

All bridge loans must be paid in full.

How to Apply:

View the application here.



#9 For Your Employees:

Family Medical Leave Expansion

  • Up to 12 weeks of certain virus-related family medical leave
  • Business must have less than 500 employees
  • Eligible employees are not working because they are caring for a child due to school closures, child care closures or unavailability
  • Must have been employed at least 30 days
  • Unpaid leave for the first 10 days, after 10 days the emergency leave becomes paid leave
  • Employees to be paid to at least 2/3 of their regular rate of pay not to exceed $200 per day or $10,000 total


Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act

  • 2 weeks of paid sick leave
  • Employees not working because of quarantine, symptomatic, caring for an individual quarantined or child due to school closings or child car closings
  • Businesses must have less than 500 employees



Other potential options for securing capital or saving money at the moment:

Bridge Loans:
Businesses with collateral can get a bridge loan even if the business is losing money.

Facebook Grants:


Credit Card Processing:
If you take credit cards at your business we have an option for merchant processing. We have created a partnership with Priority Payments South Florida and created a program that will pass on the credit card fees to the consumer automatically. This has saved businesses everywhere from a few thousand to hundreds of thousands.


Check your insurance policy to see if it includes disruption insurance.


Contact your landlord or property manager if you have not already. They may be willing to work with you on your rent payments. 


Non-recourse stock loans may be an option for you.


Home Equity:
Home equity lines of credit may be possible if you have enough equity in your home. You would need to talk to a lender about this option. 



There are still a lot of moving parts with these programs/options and information is changing daily. So far we have not received guidance on the ins and outs of each program – for instance whether a business run out of your home would qualify for reimbursement of rent, how overlapping businesses may be handled, etc. The message here is it doesn’t hurt to try. Talk to us today about any of the options above and we may be able to help you decide which programs would be right for your particular circumstance.


Also – some banks are asking for a business valuation. Right now, due to the situation, we are doing these free of cost if needed. Simply send us 3 years of P&Ls and/or tax returns and we would be happy to provide this to you.


Life can and will return to normal. As a business owner you are more than acquainted with challenge and hardship – it’s the grit and determination of facing tough situations that makes you a successful entrepreneur. Don’t give up. Find creative solutions, programs you can utilize and plans to keep your business running as smoothly as possible during this unprecedented time. If you need help – ASK US! We know what you are going through and will assist you in every way we can. Reach out today, and stay safe out there.




Michael Monnot

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




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Buying A Business? How Much Of A Project Do You Want?

If you are in the market to buy a business – you probably already have a bit of an idea what you want. A dream industry, a long-sought location or a passion project turned entrepreneurial goal. 



Ok, great – you know what you want. That’s step number one. Now, the questions get a bit harder.


Once you enter the business search process, you will likely find a number of businesses that might be a good match. How do you decide which one is the right one?


Here’s where a big factor comes in, one you may not have considered.


How big of a project do you want? 


What do we mean by that? Like anything in an open market, businesses can run the gambit from wildly successful and exquisitely organized to lightly congealed and barely successful. Circumstances from even the far ends of the spectrum could end up a great buy for a particular buyer you just need to decide where you want to fall on that spectrum. A wildly successful and exquisitely organized business is going to probably cost a lot up front – but you won’t have as much of a project to contend with. Similarly, the opposite end of the spectrum will get you a business for a great price – but you might need to do a lot to get that business to a good place.


To decide where you fall on that spectrum, think about what your goals are for business ownership. If you have a bit more capital to invest and are looking for something stable – look for businesses that have great numbers, great reviews and many years of existence. If your goal is to make the most of your money and you like a challenge, then something nearer the barely successful end of the spectrum might be right for you. A bit of effort – some re-branding, a few staffing and protocol changes, perhaps some remodeling, a marketing plan, retooling of customer service – these are the things you may have to do to get a red-line business back in the black. An entrepreneur who wants a serial-entrepreneur lifestyle (one where you buy a faltering business, grow it to a certain metric and then sell for a profit before finding your next venture) would be well-suited for this lower end of the spectrum.


How can you decide how much of a project you want? Think about what will make you happy day-to-day.


Do you want to just go to work and keep it simple, or are you someone who would be bored with that and needs a challenge? Once you decide, talk to an experienced and qualified business broker. Discuss the amount of capital you are willing and able to invest, as well as your optimal project-level. They will be able to take this information and find businesses that will be a good fit.


Are you considering buying a business but hadn’t considered how much of a project you are willing to take on? Do you need help finding a business that will fit with your goals for business ownership? 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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Buying? How You Should Look At A Business


When most first-time business buyers first call us, they have only one requestthey want to go see some businesses. They want to drive by, pop in and take a tour.


This is exactly the opposite of what a new buyer should ask for. You are buying a business, not a house – and the differences between the two are huge.


A house is four walls and the stuff inside. To make a judgement about whether or not a particular house is a good investment, you need to walk around and have a look at those four walls and the stuff inside.


An operating business is not four walls and the stuff inside.


The four walls are usually leased from someone else and the equipment and furnishings are the assets of the business – not the business itself. Yes, when you buy a business you also buy the assets, but that isn’t all you are getting. You are getting cash flow.


You can’t drive by, pop in or take a tour of cash flow. You learn whether or not a business is a good investment by looking at the numbers, by talking to the seller, by going over inventory lists and by examining contracts.


The depreciated value of the equipment, the furnishings, the vehicles, even the color of the paint have very little to do with how a business is priced and should have very little to do with how you judge the price of a business. As such, tours are really not that important. Aesthetics can be easily changed once you take over – so focus on how the business makes money instead.


A better way to look at businesses starts with a conversation with an experienced and qualified business broker. In this initial conversation you and your broker will talk about what your goals are for business ownership and then search for businesses based on those goals. Once you have a few businesses in mind your broker can help you decide if the price is fair based on the numbers and also help you decide if you want to pursue more information.


Want to take a quick peek at what types of business are currently for sale? Use our Business Search Tool by clicking here.


Have more questions about buying a business? 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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Buying A Business? Patience Is A Must

We’ve talked about this issue a handful of times, but it is so prevalent in the day-to-day of buying and selling businesses it merits revisiting from time to time. A great business broker spends their work day keeping business deals on track and moving towards a closing table, but they are only one part of a very complicated process.



As such, you as a buyer may get frustrated by the pace of your transaction – but in many cases there is absolutely nothing your broker can do.


What you need to remember is the only cure for tied hands is patience.


Here’s an example:


You are a motivated buyer who is very interested in a particular business and have put a decent offer on the table. You request through the seller’s business broker that the seller send over the information required for due diligence, like financial records, tax returns, etc.


Then you wait. And you wait.


Then the seller sends over partial records, which get forwarded to you from your broker, but the rest of the information you requested has yet to be produced. So you wait.


You constantly call and email your broker, and all they can tell you is they haven’t received the information from the seller so their hands are tied


Why does this happen?


Some sellers go on the market with the initial intention of reaching a closing table, but once they are in the process they realize that selling their business requires a ton of work on top of what is already required for the day-to-day operation of their business (producing information and being available for questions/meetings). Then they completely panic because are shortly going to be out of a job.


These realizations can cause some sellers to develop a decent case of cold feet. It can also cause a seller to be defensive, as constant requests for more financial information can give the impression that the buyer is trying to dig up dirt on the business.


This, of course, is not the case. Buying a business is a huge decision, and most buyers are going to want a thorough look at any business before they pull the trigger.


So how do you figure out if the problem is your broker or the seller?


If your broker is really good about answering your questions, is prompt with returning phone calls and emails and has been forthcoming about the issues they may be having with the other side – then their hands are probably are tied. If it takes your broker ten days to return your phone calls, then the problem is probably the broker.


As with everything in a business transaction, a good dose of patience will go a long way. This does not mean, however, that you have to sit around and wait for a seller to deliver information they have no intention of ever giving you. Talk to your broker if you have concerns about time frame issues, and understand that sometimes there really isn’t anything a broker can do to speed up the process.


Are you a buyer who is having a hard time getting information out of sellers? Are you concerned that the issue may be with your current broker and not with the seller? Please feel free to leave us a comment or question here, and we will be happy to assist you.




Michael Monnot

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


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Michael Monnot


5111-E Ocean Blvd
Siesta Key, FL 34242


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