Don’t Be Disengaged: Why This Buyer Spells Disaster

Buying a business is a big deal. You are embarking on a whole new life, have a ton to learn and an exciting new road ahead – a road that takes a lot of planning, preparation and hard work.

 

What can sometimes confound business brokers, business sellers and even some buyers is a relatively rare but alarmingly destructive force – the disengaged buyer.

 

 

What’s a disengaged buyer?

 

Someone who waltzes into the business buying process with nonchalance – they don’t take anything seriously.

 

They miss conference calls. They’re chronically late for appointments. They let license applications sit on their desk unfinished. They don’t show up for training with the seller, or they show up and act like they could care less. Sounds frustrating, doesn’t it?

 

Frustration isn’t the only issue. This level of apathy can be destructive as well.

 

It alienates the seller. It angers the commercial landlord. It hampers the ability to run the business because licensing requirements have not been met.

 

Sure, some of the business buying process is tedious. Some of your training will seem unnecessary. Red tape and paperwork are boring. We get it. Guess what? Nonchalance on your part can (and probably will) cause irreparable harm to your business ownership goals.

 

Why?

 

All those conference calls and meetings are crucial to your success. You can’t know if a business is going to be right for you if you haven’t asked the right questions.

 

Licensing requirements are an absolute necessity – and they can take time. Time that is out of your control because the wheels of bureaucracy turn slowly. You need to get going on applications as soon as is feasible and you need to stay on top of all the bureaucratic red tape before it has a chance to strangle your new business venture.

 

Your training period is critical to your success. You need to take every single moment of training seriously and try to gain every bit of knowledge you can from your seller. They’ve already worked through the pitfalls that you will face, and their knowledge will help you avoid them.

 

The relationships you have with your seller and your commercial landlord can make or break your transition to business ownership. If you alienate the seller, they are much less likely to take training you seriously – and you’d better believe they’ll stop taking your calls as soon as the training period is over. An angry landlord can refuse to transfer the lease, raise the rent, etc. Preserving those relationships by being respectful of everyone’s time and effort will go a long way on ensuring your success.

 

Do yourself and your future business a favor – BE ENGAGED.

 

Are you thinking about buying a business and want to know more about how to maintain important relationships throughout the purchase process? Would you like to know more about licensing requirements? Do you have questions about how the training period works? Ask us! Leave any questions or comments 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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Are You A No-Offer Business Buyer? How To Be Taken Seriously

If you’ve been looking for a business to buy for a while, you may have run into a problem that some buyers encounter – no one will take you seriously.

 

Maybe it’s your broker or the seller’s brokers that you have come across, maybe it’s the sellers themselves. Whoever it is, they don’t look at you as someone who is serious about buying a business. What they see is someone who is on an eternal search, and therefore someone who isn’t worth their time and energy.

 

How can you prove them wrong and show that you are a serious buyer? Make an offer.

 

 

“I don’t want to make an offer on every business I look at.”

 

Of course you don’t, and you shouldn’t. What we mean here is if you are seriously considering a business, the only way to know for sure if the business is going to fit your goals is to get to the due diligence process. In this process, you are allowed an in-depth look at all aspects of the business, from financial statements to contracts – then you can decide if it really is the right business for you.

 

“If I make an offer, I’m stuck with that business whether I like it or not, right?”

 

Absolutely not. If, during the due diligence phase you come across a reason why you don’t want the business – you will have the opportunity to back out of the deal before anyone reaches the closing table. The system is designed this way because businesses are inherently complex, so your ability to get a good look at what you’re purchasing is part of the process. Then and only then do you have to make a final decision about buying.

 

If you’ve been looking at businesses for an extended period of time without even entertaining the idea of making an offer, then don’t be surprised if brokers don’t take you seriously.

 

There are plenty of “tire-kicker” buyers out there who inquire about countless businesses – over enormous amounts of time – without ever making the move to buy one. On the other hand, serious entrepreneurs come on the scene with goals in mind, do a targeted search of available businesses, then make offers.

 

If you were working in the business market or trying to sell your own business, who would you take more seriously?

 

Are you a buyer who has trouble getting sellers to take you seriously? Do you have additional questions about why it is a good idea to put an offer on the table? Please leave us a comment or question here, and we will 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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Do You Have Enough Capital? The Big Question For Buyers

When the dream is owning your own business, you have a lot of questions.

 

A big one is “how much money do I need to buy a business?

 

There’s an issue with this question. The issue is the answer – it depends.

 

 

It depends on what type of business would be right for you. 

Many new business owners walk into the business market under the mistaken assumption that anyone can own and run any type of business. Nothing could ever be farther from the truth. To keep your new business profitable, you will need to be able to both navigate and compete in the market you are in. If you have little to no relevant experience in your business, there is likely no way for you to stay competitive. To avoid this pitfall you should look for businesses in industries where you have practical experience. By staying with what you know you will avoid the potentially catastrophic learning curve that comes with learning a new business and a new industry at the same time. 

Every industry is going to have options in terms of price. There will be some larger, well-established – and thus highly priced businesses as wells as smaller, more affordable businesses with room for growth. Focus first on the type of business, then look at price.

 

It depends on how much capital you have available, and how you allocate that capital.

Do you have enough money ready and available to buy and run a business? You should really have at least 50% of a purchase price if a seller is offering seller financing, and all cash or third-party financing already in place if seller financing is off the table. You need to allow for not only the purchase price, but all of the other costs involved in a business sale – like fees for licensing and money available to keep the business running until you are able to start turning a profit at the helm.

Be honest with your business broker about how much capital you have available for your new venture and then listen to their advice about what you can reasonably afford.

 

It depends on what your goal for business ownership is.

Are you looking to invest almost all of your capital in order to buy a well-established, highly profitable business – or are you looking to hang onto more of your funds and buy a business that has lots of room for growth? You will likely have to work a bit harder in the second scenario, but you will have the benefit of having enough funds to ride out any issues that you come across.

You will have to decide what you want your day to day life to look like, and discuss those desires with you business broker.

 

The message here is there’s more to look at than just the price of a business. You need to figure out your goals, look for industries where you can be successful and then decide how you’d like to allocate the money you have available.

 

Are you thinking about buying a business? Do you have questions about seller financing and the best type of business for you? Ask us! Leave us a comment or question here, and we will be happy to help you on your business ownership journey.

 

 

 

Michael Monnot

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

www.InfinityBusinessBrokers.com

 

 

 

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Business Sale? When To Tell The Staff

 

When a business is larger than a one-man shop, what the employees know about the sale of the business and when they know it are of major consideration and concern.

 

Keeping the employees in the dark is extremely important.

 

Breaches of confidentiality about a business and it’s for-sale status can cause massive issues.

 

There is a reasonable concern that once an entire staff knows the business is for sale, it will be impossible to keep that for-sale status confidential for any future time the business is on the market.

 

Employees may also jump ship. This usually occurs within the lower-level employees – think servers in a restaurant or clerks in a retail shop. The typical fear is a new owner will come in and clean house or that the business is for sale because it is closing the doors for good (rarely true).

 

What many sellers and their employees fail to realize is the jobs of critical staff (and maybe even the staff as a whole) are probably never safer than during the time frame when new ownership takes over. New owners need trained staff in place to keep the business up and running while they learn their new responsibilities.

 

My employees found out, now what? I don’t want to lose my whole staff.

 

If you are a seller whose employees somehow know the business is on the market (either intentionally or by confidentiality breach), make sure your employees know that you are expressing the importance of those employees to a new owner – this can greatly help to calm fears.

 

For the buyer of a business, meeting the staff before deciding whether or not to buy the business may seem necessary, but there are usually very few instances where this will be able to happen. Lower-level staff will likely have to be met after the deal is closed.

 

The employees a buyer will most likely be able to meet pre-closing will be key employees like managers and other staff members who are crucial to the operation and would be very difficult to replace. In most situations, the buyer will meet these employees only after all other aspects of due diligence have been satisfied and the deal is still moving forward. This protects the seller’s business from any damage that could be done by revealing the sale to the staff too soon.

 

The message here is that maintaining the confidentiality of the business sale will be paramount to the successful sale of the business, so both buyers and sellers will have to work together when it comes to the staff in order to keep everyone in place.

 

Are you a business seller who is concerned about your staff knowing the business is for sale? Are you a business buyer who feels they need to meet the staff before you get to the closing table? Please feel free to leave us a question or comment, and we will be happy to address any concerns you may have.

 

 

 

Michael Monnot

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

www.InfinityBusinessBrokers.com

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Buying A Business? Commercial Lease 101

You’ve found a great business and are excited to start negotiations with the sellers – but here’s a thought you may not have considered. That’s not the only negotiating you’re going to have to do.

 

When you buy an existing business, you typically are not buying the physical space that the business occupies.

 

Most businesses come with a lease, and that lease comes with a landlord and/or property manager.

 

 

Most landlords accommodate transfers easily, but not all do. Deals can get hung up on the lease when the landlord refuses to grant the transfer or has decided to change the lease terms dramatically. They can also get hung up if you don’t start working on the transfer until the last minute. 

 

The most important thing you can do as a buyer is get your hands on a copy of the current lease as soon as possible, and then deal with any lease issues long before the day you are supposed to close your deal.

 

Once you have the lease, the language you would typically want to see is in the section of the lease that has to do with transfers or assignments of the lease. Does it say something along the lines of “any assignment will not be unreasonably withheld”? If it does, you are probably in good shape. This type of language means the landlord would have to come up with a very good reason to keep from transferring the lease to you.

 

Landlords, for the most part, are concerned with keeping a rental space filled and generating rental income. Some, however, are unwilling to reassign leases (at least initially).

 

This is a part of the business sale process where your business broker will be an invaluable asset. They can act as a buffer between you and a difficult landlord, and can help to negotiate your new lease or the reassignment of the old lease to keep the lease rates reasonable.

 

Another way to keep the lease from holding up your closing is to be forthcoming with your financial information when the landlord asks for it. Most landlords are going to want to see some kind of financial statement that proves you have the capital to keep the business open. It would be foolish for them to rent to a tenant who will be forced to close the business doors only a third of the way through the lease. Some landlords also want to see some kind of resume or work history to show you have the experience necessary to keep the business running and profitable.

 

You should also be aware that in some cases the rental rate will slightly increase from what the seller is currently paying when you get a new lease. You can negotiate a lease extension at the same rate, but eventually your new lease may come with a new rental rate. You will also be responsible for coming up with the deposits necessary for the lease.

 

The message here is your business won’t be much of a business if you can’t get a lease assigned to you for the space. Deal with lease issues early on and the won’t become a big headache in the end.

 

Are you a business buyer who has questions about business leases? Have you had a deal fall apart because of a difficult landlord? Please feel free to leave us a comment or question here, and we will be happy to assist you with any lease questions.

 

 

 

Michael Monnot

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

www.InfinityBusinessBrokers.com

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Could Vs. Should – Buying A Business Without The Right Help

If you’ve ever bought a house or have even just rented an apartment, you know the importance of agents in those transactions. Your real estate agent or your rental agent helped you with locating potential properties, let you in to take a look around, assisted with your purchase or lease contract and was there throughout negotiations. While it is possible to buy a house on your own or rent your own apartment, it’s definitely easier with someone who knows what they’re doing by your side. When it comes to the small business market, the same will be true. It’s going to be much easier with help.

 

Business transactions are inherently very, very complex.

 

If you’ve never been through a business transaction before you are probably going to have an impossibly difficult time navigating everything that needs to happen. That’s where business brokers come in

 

 

A business broker is a transaction agent. Their job is to get a business sale from start to finish. They help buyers by guiding you through from you initial contact all the way past the closing table.

 

Your broker will talk to you about your goals for business ownership, the amount of capital you are able to invest, the areas where you would like your business to be located and your education/experience. Your broker will then help you with your business search, narrowing down the choices based on your feedback. Once you have found a business or two that interests you, you will sign nondisclosure agreements to gain access to the business name and some cursory financials. If you like these businesses your broker can schedule conference calls with the sellers as well as site visits when there are no employees or clients around. Your business broker will then help you write your offer which, if accepted, will become the purchase contract. The business brokers will act as buffers during negotiations between you and the seller – a very important role. They will also negotiate with your future commercial landlord and property manager to ensure you get a fair lease. Your broker will also help you with the licenses and permits required for you to take over as owner.

 

This is a big list – and it would be quite an undertaking for someone who has never been through it before. Very few business transactions go through successfully without help. An experienced and qualified business broker has not only been down this road many times before, but they know where the pitfalls are going to be and can help you avoid them. 

 

The message here? Could you buy a business without a business broker? Maybe. Should you? Definitely not.

 

Are you considering buying a business but aren’t convinced you need a business broker? Do you have more questions about what a business broker can do to help you throughout the transaction process? Please feel free to leave any comments or questions. 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 Justifiable Offer: Why A Low-Ball Is A Bad Idea

You’ve done the searches. You’ve analyzed your options. You’ve done a few conference calls with sellers and you think you’ve found the right business for you. Your next step is a big one, and your decisions here can absolutely make or break your chances of buying this business. It’s time to make an offer.

 

Your offer is important for a number of reasons. The offer you put together (if accepted) will become the purchase contract. This contract will include not just the final sale price but many other parts of the transaction that will need to be negotiated. Think the length of your training period, the terms of the deal and how existing contracts will be assigned – just to name a few.

 

This all-important document essentially contains all the parts of your deal that will need to be negotiated. The fluid nature of an initial offer/purchase contract means the first version – your version – is just a place to start those negotiations. It should go without saying that you need to start off on the right foot. 

 

 

The relationship you have with the seller, although not a permanent one, will be critical to the success or failure of your transaction. You have to talk to this person, meet with this person, iron out a deal with this person and then most likely work side by side with this person during your training period.

 

This is not a relationship you want to start with a perceived slap in the face.

 

What do we mean by that? You do not want to low-ball a seller just to see how desperate they are or how great of a deal you can get. People who intentionally low-ball business sellers aren’t business buyers. They’re tire-kickers. Your initial offer speaks volumes to a seller about how serious you are and what it’s like to work with you. You are making a financial offer for something that seller has invested countless hours in, has spent years building and has made sacrifices to maintain. Yes, business transactions shouldn’t be emotionally driven, but in the small business market it really can’t be helped. No one wants their blood, sweat and tears treated like a cheap car.

 

What should you do instead?

 

Make a JUSTIFIABLE offer.

 

A justifiable offer is a simple concept – it’s something based in reality and backed up by data. You’ve looked at the numbers, you’ve considered the current market and you’ve come up with a number that makes sense – not the lowest, rock-bottom price you’d love but something you feel (based on the data you have) is fair.

 

Making a fair offer tells a seller that although you may not want to give them their full asking price, you are a person interested in making a deal happen. You are someone who values their business and all they’ve invested. 

 

How do I make sure my initial offer is fair? Talk to your business broker about what you’d like to offer, and then listen to their advice. They know the market, and can give you insight into whether or not the number you’ve come up with will be a good point to start negotiations.

 

The message here is simple. If you are serious about buying a business the best way to start your transaction is by making a fair and justifiable offer. 

 

Have you looked at businesses and want to know more about how sellers come up with their listing price? Do you have questions about what an initial offer/purchase contract entails? Ask us! Leave any questions or comments 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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Follow The Rules: How To Keep From Killing Your Deal

Buying a business can be (and often is) an intensely frustrating process. When you have questions, when negotiations are in full swing – even getting initial information usually means you spend a lot of time waiting. Waiting for the seller’s broker to contact the seller. Waiting for the seller to get together the documentation you’ve requested. Waiting for an attorney to look over a contract. Waiting for approval by your new commercial landlord. Waiting for licensing and permitting requirements to go through. It takes an enormous amount of personal patience to see it through.

 

This huge patience requirement can make you feel a little crazy – maybe even crazy enough to try and push the process along by yourself.

 

What do we mean by that?

 

The process of buying and selling businesses comes with a rather rigid set of rules. The majority of those rules seek to protect the deal on two fronts. They protect the confidentiality of the transaction itself and they protect the buyer and seller from each other.

 

Why does a transaction need confidentiality and why shouldn’t you push to break it? Breaching confidentiality might not only kill your deal, it could potentially cause a fatal blow to the business you are hoping to buy. Business sales happen under a strict veil of confidentiality for a few very important reasons.

 

The most important of these reasons is the incorrect but pervasive assumption that a business for sale is a business on the brink of failure. This notion can destroy a business if the news gets out that it’s on the market. Employees can panic and leave. Clients can cancel big contracts. It can be devastating. As a buyer you have to keep the for-sale status of prospective businesses under wraps. You will not only be required to sign non-disclosure agreements – you will be forbidden from talking to staff on your own, from emailing the owner directly (in many businesses the owner’s email is accessible to their staff), from calling the place of business and asking for the owner, from visiting the premises without permission, etc.

 

While it might be tempting to email or call the seller because you’re tired of waiting for the brokers and attorneys involved to get you the information you’ve been asking for – don’t. One seemingly insignificant point of contact can cause a disastrous cascade. The rules exist for a reason. You have to follow them.

 

This leads us to the second set of rules that protect the buyer and seller from each other. Even if you are following the rules that protect confidentiality to the letter, it might be tempting to bypass the intermediaries and talk one-on-one with the seller (if you somehow have their home phone number, for example). Don’t do this either.

 

Why?

 

The better question is why do the intermediaries, the business brokers, exist? They exist because the complex tangle of a business transaction requires experience and it also requires a buffer. A seller is selling their blood, sweat and tears – something that may be their life’s work. They have a deep personal connection to their business – and a buyer can quickly and easily derail a deal by asking the wrong question, by making an innocent assumption, by saying the wrong thing. Those questions and remarks can offend a seller to the point that they will refuse to work with you – and your deal is dead.

 

Follow the advice of your broker and keep the flow of communication between you and the seller flowing through the people who you hired to keep your deal on track. Negotiations are far easier when the seller is still willing to talk to you.

 

The message here is the rules that cover your business transaction are there for a reason. Someone, somewhere messed up their chances of becoming a business owner – and their cautionary tale will keep your deal safe.

 

Are you a business buyer who thinks the rules are a pain and want to know more about why they are so important? Do you have a story about a derailed deal that could have been protected? Please 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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How To Buy The Family Business When You Aren’t Family

If you think about the quintessential small business, you likely see a family-run business – one owned by mom and dad and staffed by children and other family members. While the initial intent of many family business owners may have been to pass the business on to the next generation, there are many times when these family businesses go on the market instead.

 

 

A family business on the open market can be a good buy for a business buyer because they are typically run with a lot of drive, passion and care – all of which translates into a strong and successful bottom line.

 

Problems can arise, however, because the person buying the business isn’t a member of the family.

 

I’m looking at buying a family business, what problems might I face?

 

First, you may have a hard time keeping critical staff after the transition because those critical staff may be related to the original owners. The loyalty for those original owners can be hard to replicate, so you as a buyer need to make an effort to get to know each member of the family who works in the business (and plans on staying) and understand what their roles and responsibilities are. Building a good relationship with each family member will help to keep them on your payroll – and hopefully also keep their loyal clientele.

 

This leads us to our next issue. Many family businesses retain their customer base because that customer base has loyalty and trust for the family. As a new face within the business, you will need the current owners of the business to help you with maintaining that customer loyalty. You can work on customer retention by having the seller introduce you to important regular customers and by possibly keeping the seller on as a consultant for a time after you purchase the business. The key to a successful transition is consistency – which leads us to our last point.

 

The final problem many buyers run into when purchasing a family business? Making too many changes too fast. The business you are buying is successful because the family that runs it runs it in a specific way – a way that keeps the customer base happy. Every business buyer wants to make their own mark, but massive changes right out of the gate in an already successful business will more than likely end in disaster. Changes are possible, but a buyer needs to take the time to see what parts of the business work.

 

Buying a family business can pose a special set of challenges, but those challenges are worth it when family-run means a great buy.

 

Do you have questions about buying family-run businesses? Would you like to know what family businesses are currently on the market? Please feel free to leave questions or comments 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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How To Get Your Deal To Close – Managing Reality and Expectations

No matter what the economic climate looks like, there are always businesses changing hands. Buyers and sellers are always working together – but even in the most favorable of circumstances some deals are destined to die. 

 

Why?

 

The main reason that deals fall apart before they hit a closing table? Unrealistic expectations

 

Business buyers and business sellers come into the business transaction process with an idea in their head of how that transaction is going to go and what they will get out of the deal. The problem with this initial vision is they are almost always an impossible reality. Businesses and business transactions are complicated, messy and involve many moving parts and personalities. Considering your business transaction with a focus on reality will help you immensely in having a successful sale or purchase.

 

 

First and foremost, there is no possible way that you are going to get everything you want. If you are buying a good business, you are not going to get it for a rock-bottom price. If you are selling, you are not going to get 10 times what businesses like yours are actually selling for. Business deals are full of negotiation – and not just about price. You will have to negotiate things like the length of due diligence, the length of the training period, the terms for seller financing, the clauses of a new lease – the list goes on. Be realistic in the negotiation phase of your business transaction. Go in knowing that there will need to be a lot of give and take from both sides of the transaction if you are going to get a deal done.

 

Another major issue that requires a reality check? We’ve already mentioned it – personalities.

 

There are a lot of people in a business transaction. There is a seller, a buyer, a couple of business brokers, business transaction attorneys, CPAs, landlords and property managers – and each one of these people will be seeing the transaction unfold from their own unique point of view. You need to be realistic because there are going to be times during the negotiation that one or more of these personalities are going to clash. For the most part, differing opinions can be sorted out, but only if all sides stay in the negotiation. Going into your business transaction with the understanding that problems will absolutely be a part of the game will help you see the end goal instead of focusing on temporary personality clashes.

 

Keep your expectations in the realm of reality and you will have a much better chance of reaching a closing table.

 

Are you thinking about selling your business and are curious about what businesses like yours have actually sold for? Would you like more information on the process to buy a business? Please feel free to 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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Michael Monnot

941.518.7138
Mike@InfinityBusinessBrokers.com

5111-E Ocean Blvd
Siesta Key, FL 34242




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