A Business Buyer’s Options For Corporate Structures – Which Is Best For You?

There are a lot of important decisions to make when you are buying a business, but one you may not have considered is choosing the corporate structure. You will need a corporate structure in place before you do many of the licensing/permitting applications that will be necessary for you to officially take over the reins. Your corporate structure also defines who owns the business and how the business will be taxed. 

 

 

What are my options?

 

Corporation

Probably the most frequently used and preferred type of structure for forming a company is the corporation. By presenting the Articles of Corporation to the Secretary of State, you can form a corporation fairly quickly. If you are forming the company in Florida, then the registered office is also in Florida and the corporate structures are governed by the laws of the state of Florida. A corporation formed in Florida can carry out business in every state, although all of the states require a registration. Foreign nationals can also form a corporation in Florida. A registered agent (a person headquartered in Florida) has to be named to receive and deliver documents.

 

Limited Liability Company (LLC)

The Limited Liability Company is not accepted in all states, but it is in Florida. The shareholders are personally liable for taxation and the accountability is limited to the assets of the business. Just like the corporation, an LLC requires the filing documents to be registered with the Secretary of State. In most cases at least two shareholders are required for a Limited Liability Company.

 

Sole Proprietorship

If the business is privately owned, it is a Sole Proprietorship. In the majority of cases a single person is the owner of the business. This type of corporate structure does have some downsides. The owner is liable with all of their personal assets and the owner is also liable for taxation.

 

General Partnership

In this type of corporate structure, the partners lead the business together and all of the partners are absolutely liable for accounts payable. This setup usually requires more administrative effort and can be more cost-intensive.

 

Limited Partnership

The Limited Partnership consists at least of 2 people, a General and a Limited Partner. The Limited Partner has a supervisory role, both available and limited. He or she can’t be part of the management and acts as an investor. The General Partner leads and is liable for the business. A shareholder contract has to be prepared for the forming of the business. With this type of corporate structure, you have to request a Certificate of Limited Partnership from the Secretary of State.

 

 

Before you make a decision it is important to contact a certified public accountant familiar with corporate structures and small businesses, a business attorney or a business broker because they will be able to advise you about what type of structure would be right for the business you want to purchase. Are you a business buyer or budding entrepreneur who would like help? Please feel free to contact us or leave a question here and we will be happy to help or refer you to one of our partners.

 

 

 

Michael Monnot

941.518.7138
Mike@InfinityBusinessBrokers.com

 

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Business Buyer: What’s In An Offer?

If you’ve found a business you really like, and you are ready for the next step, congratulations!

 

The next stage in the business transaction process is the initial offer, sometimes called a “purchase contract” or an “offer to purchase”.

 

 

Once a buyer makes an offer, the seller decides if they are willing to accept the offer. If they are, then the business transaction heads into a period called due diligence. Just like you can’t do an inspection on a house until you’ve had an accepted offer – in business sales an accepted offer will give a business buyer a chance to look over every aspect of the business and decide if they want to go ahead with the sale.

 

What goes into an offer?

 

This document will contain the terms, conditions, non-compete conditions, financing, inventory, transition details like training, warranties and any other aspects of the purchase.

 

Should I write my own offer?

 

In most cases, you will want to have a business broker put together an offer to purchase for you, although there are some standardized versions you may be able to use in the most simple of transactions. Business transactions are inherently complex, so having someone who writes these types of contracts all the time to help you will keep you from having issues (like if you unknowingly leave out what could be a crucial part of the contract) down the road. If you really want to write your own, just make sure you have your broker look it over before it gets handed over to the seller.

 

Is an offer set in stone?

 

Absolutely not! Your initial offer is contingent upon what you discover in due diligence. If what you uncover during this period makes you unwilling to go ahead with the purchase, you will have the opportunity to back out. If what you find during due diligence isn’t enough to kill the deal, but you discover, for instance, that the business is earning 15% less than was initially stated , you will be able to adjust your offer accordingly.

 

The moral of the story? An offer is an important part of the business transaction process, so use the experience of your business broker to guide you through this step.

 

Are you a buyer with your eye on a particular business but you aren’t sure what will need to go into the initial offer? Was your initial offer rejected by the seller and you need to know what to do next? Please leave us a comment or question and we would be happy to help you.

 

 

 

Michael Monnot

941.518.7138
Mike@InfinityBusinessBrokers.com

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Don’t Download – Why You Need To Make Up Your Own Questions

You’ve found a business or two that you really like. You’ve filled out the NDAs and have the marketing packages in front of you. You’ve scheduled a conference call or a meeting with the sellers and the brokers, and your broker has asked you to come up with a list of questions.

 

So, what do you want to know?

 

 

It can be tempting in this situation to just Google “lists of questions for business buyers” and then bring that list of questions with you. Don’t do that. If you need to look up a list of questions to ask it’s likely that you haven’t done any research on your side.

 

Here’s what we mean:

 

Have you thoroughly read the marketing package you received once you signed the NDA? This one becomes blatantly obvious once you start asking boiler-plate questions that were clearly answered in the material you were already given. This tells the seller that you don’t really care about details and are willing to waste everyone’s time. If you were selling a business that was your blood, sweat and tears would you be willing to give the keys to someone who can’t be bothered? Probably not.

 

Have you researched the local market, the industry in general, the area where the business is located, etc.? If you are serious about buying a business you should want to know everything about not only the business but the industry and local area as well. Again it will show your lack of dedication to the process if you go into that first meeting and ask something a simple internet search could have told you or that you probably should already know if this is the business you’re hoping to buy.

 

Have you read the list of questions you’re going to ask? This one might sound crazy but it happens with frankly alarming regularity. People will either ask or send a list of questions to be answered that are from a completely different arena. Like a person looking at a small café who asks about the stock options available to investors. Once again this shows everyone involved that you probably don’t care.

 

See the recurring theme? Your meetings and calls with a seller are critically important opportunities to gather the information you need to make an informed decision about whether this business will be right for you. These interactions are also pivotal in terms of showing a seller that you’re a serious buyer and someone capable of taking over the business that they care about. Don’t waste your own time by not taking the opportunities to ask great questions.

 

Are you looking at businesses to buy and aren’t sure what types of questions you should ask? Do you want to know what kinds of information you would need for a particular industry? Ask an experienced and qualified business broker for help! You may also leave any questions or comments here and we would be happy to help.

 

 

 

Michael Monnot

941.518.7138
Mike@InfinityBusinessBrokers.com

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How Your Military Career Primed You For Business Ownership

Are you a veteran? Your military career trained you to be a leader, taught you discipline and gave you the mental endurance to put in the hours it takes to get something done. Guess what? Those are the skills and qualities great entrepreneurs need.

 

 

 

I’ve never owned a business before. I wouldn’t know where to begin.

 

We’ve got good news – you don’t have to start from scratch. There are a myriad of small businesses for sale, and there’s a good chance that you’ll be able to find one that fits your goals and one in an industry where you have some practical experience. Buying a business means you don’t have to start from zero. You get a fully operating business, complete with employees, equipment, inventory, operating procedures, vendor contracts – you get the idea. You can walk in on day one and be the owner of a business instead of starting with nothing more than an empty space.

 

Am I qualified to own a business?

 

Yes, absolutely! Many of the training programs and careers within the military transfer very well into the entrepreneurial sphere. The experience and practical knowledge you gained during your service are exactly what you need to successfully operate a small business.

 

The type of business and industry sector that will be right for you will depend a lot on what jobs you did both before and during your time in the military as well as what you hope to get out of business ownership. Love working on cars in your spare time and spent your military career as an aircraft mechanic? Maybe an auto shop is for you. Looking to spend as much time as possible with your family? A bar or restaurant that will need your attention 7 days a week probably isn’t the best choice. Talk to a business broker about your goals and your experience – you might be surprised by the businesses that would meet both.

 

I don’t have a lot of money, how much money does it take to buy a business?

 

It depends. There are very small businesses that won’t cost much and larger businesses that run in the millions. The good news is that as a veteran you have special access to programs from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) that can help you get the funding you need to buy a business (click here to visit the Office of Veterans Business Development). Talk to your business broker about what SBA programs you might qualify for and what businesses might qualify for SBA lending. If SBA financing is out of the question, many sellers will offer seller financing to the right buyer with a decent down payment.

 

The message here is if you have always wanted to own your own business – your military service can help make that possible. Talk to a business broker today to explore your options for the path to entrepreneurship!

 

Are you a veteran and have questions about what SBA programs you would qualify for? Would you like to know what types of businesses would suit your goals and experience? Ask us! Please leave questions or comments here and we would be happy to help. Thank you for your service!

 

 

 

Michael Monnot

941.518.7138
Mike@InfinityBusinessBrokers.com

 

 

 

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Buying A Business And Legal Advice: When To Take It With A Grain Of Salt

Buying a business is a huge deal. Businesses are complicated, there’s a lot of money changing hands, contracts can be long and need to be carefully negotiated. As a buyer you should absolutely have legal council and they should absolutely go over anything and everything you sign.

 

 

So why are we saying you might want to take legal advice with a grain of salt?

 

First and foremost, business ownership is inherently risky. Entrepreneurship can be rough and there’s no guarantee that the contract you put together for the purchase of a business is going to ensure that you as the new owner will be successful. Purchase contracts are also heavily negotiated, meaning one party (you) will not get everything you want. There will be concessions with the seller if you want a business transaction to happen.

 

Think about the job you’ve hired your attorney to do. Their job is to protect you from any and all risk. Their job is to make sure you get everything you want. See where the problem is? 

 

Here’s another issue. There will be some documents that you need to sign that are industry standards, like the non-disclosure agreements necessary to receive most information on businesses for sale. These industry standard documents can’t be changed, so if your attorney asks to make changes the answer is likely going to be no. You will have to sign the agreement as-is or not get the information you’ve requested.

 

It’s also important to remember that there are many, many specialties in the legal field. Your family attorney who helped you with your uncle’s estate and the probate process isn’t likely to know very much about the legalities of a business transaction. It’s why you don’t go to your kid’s pediatrician if you have arthritis in your knee. You would be better suited hiring an attorney who works in the business transaction arena as they will know how to best protect you without hampering your ability to buy a business.  

 

We aren’t saying you shouldn’t take your attorney’s advice. You definitely should. What we are saying that you need to take that advice as it is meant – to completely and totally protect you. You also need to be sure you are hiring the right type of attorney to give you the best advice possible. 

 

Are you considering business ownership and hadn’t thought about finding a business transaction attorney? Would you like to know more about the documents that you’ll need your attorney to review as part of the business buying process? Leave us any questions or comments, we would be happy to help. 

 

 

 

Michael Monnot

941.518.7138
Mike@InfinityBusinessBrokers.com

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Buying A Business? Invest Your Time + Energy For Success

 

When you are serious about buying a business and ready to jump into the process, you aren’t going to show up one day and own a business the next. It’s going to take time. Probably more time than you thought. Most business transactions take months to get from the initial interest of a buyer all the way to a closing table, and that’s if both sides agree on most things.

 

Why does it take so long? Small businesses are complicated animals, and business transactions have a lot of moving parts. On the buyer’s side of the equation you will be putting together offers, going through documentation, getting your own licenses and permits sorted out, negotiating with sellers, meeting with attorneys and CPAs, talking to your business broker, touring physical locations, negotiating with your commercial landlord, having meetings and conference calls with the seller – you get the idea. It can at times feel like you have a new part-time or even a full-time job.

 

If you really want to buy a business you’re going to need to make the time to do the things that need to be done. You can’t come in and expect it all to be finished in a few days with very little effort on your part. You’re going to have to spend evenings researching. You’re going to have to be patient with the negotiation process. You’re going to have to be willing to put in the work to provide the information about yourself that’s requested. You’re going to have to get your license and permit applications done. You’re going to have to make lots of phone calls and have lots of meetings. It can feel like a long list – but it’s not impossible. 

 

If you’re worried about the amount of time and effort you’re going to have to put into buying a business, don’t. Small business ownership is a life encompassing affair – so if you aren’t willing to put in the effort and energy it’s going to take to get through the business buying process you probably shouldn’t be buying a business in the first place. Remember that all the work that you do before you sign at the closing table is work you are doing to help yourself. All of the time and effort you spend up front will be instrumental for setting you up for success in your new business venture.

 

For example, the bureaucracy that is the licensing and permitting process for small businesses can be complicated and slow. If you drag your feet on licensing and permitting requirements, putting everything off until your closing date is looming, you’re going to be scrambling when the business keys get handed to you and you’re not properly squared away in terms of license requirements. In many cases if you haven’t worked out your licensing requirements you won’t be able to open the business until you get it straightened out. If you stay on top of what needs to be done you won’t cause yourself any issues when it’s your turn to take the reins. 

 

The message here is you need to be prepared to spend some time and exert some effort if you want to become a business owner – but all the work you do will pay off once you get handed the keys.

 

Have you always wanted to buy your own business but are worried about what’s required for the transaction process? Would you like to know what businesses are currently available that would meet your goals for business ownership? Ask us! Leave any questions or comments and we would be happy to help.

 

 

 

Michael Monnot

941.518.7138
Mike@InfinityBusinessBrokers.com

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Planning Your Trip: 3 Tips For Relocating Business Buyers

 

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

 

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

 

Do lots of research:

 

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

 

Find the right help:

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

Michael Monnot

941.518.7138
Mike@InfinityBusinessBrokers.com

 

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A Business Is Not A House – And Why This Matters

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

This is NOT how you go about buying a business.

 

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

 

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

 

How should you buy a business?

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

Michael Monnot

941.518.7138
Mike@InfinityBusinessBrokers.com

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Buying A Business? Why You Should Be Decisive And Make An Offer

 

You think you’re ready to buy. You’ve researched the market and found that in the industry you’re considering there is room for growth. This industry will suit you because you already have practical experience and familiarity. You’ve searched for businesses and discussed the options available for sale with your business broker, and you’ve settled on one choice that really interests you. The next step is to make an offer – but that idea seems terrifying. What if it turns out this isn’t the business for you?

 

It’s hard to make big decisions. You can research, ponder and then research some more – but at the end of the day the only way to move forward is to act.

 

 

 

Here’s the good news.

 

There are two types of offers that you can make, and you should consult with your business broker to determine which would work better in your unique situation. One is a Letter Of Intent (LOI) and the other is a Purchase Contract (sometimes just called an Offer). Either way you choose to proceed – you can walk away from the deal if you decide (for whatever reason) that this business isn’t for you. It’s that simple. You will also get ample time to go through the business (financial records, contracts, commercial leases and the like) during a process known as due diligence.

 

Once you’ve submitted your offer you will have both the time and information you need to make an educated and carefully considered decision about a business.

 

What happens if you don’t make an offer? Well, nothing. You don’t get a chance to really look at a business because no owner is going to allow a due diligence level investigation of their business if you don’t have ay intention of actually buying it. If you never make offers you end up in a business buyer purgatory with everyone who is just there to kick tires.

 

If what you really want is to own your own business, you have to start taking those next steps and being decisive. Making an offer tells everyone involved in the deal that you’re a serious buyer and deserve to be treated as such.

 

Do you really want to buy a business, but making an offer seems like a daunting step? Are there questions about the types of offers you’d like answered? Have you made an offer on a business that you ended up not buying and have an experience to share? Please feel free to leave any questions or comments, we would be happy to help.

 

 

 

Michael Monnot

941.518.7138
Mike@InfinityBusinessBrokers.com

 

 

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Your Social Media Persona – Why Business Buyers Need To Google Themselves

You’ve decided you’d like to buy a business, so you start a cursory business search. Listings are purposefully vague (see why here), so after you’ve signed the appropriate NDA you’re finally given the name and address of a potential business.

 

What’s the first thing you do? That’s easy. You Google it.

 

In the digital age, this is a natural first step. You want to know everything about this potential business – the good, the bad and the ugly. The internet will absolutely provide all three.

 

 

Have you thought about this? If you like a business and want to move forward with conference calls and meetings with the seller (the next step) – they find out who you are too.

 

Guess what they’re going to do? Google you.

 

A seller doesn’t just see their business as a building and some inventory. It’s their energy and money, their passion and time spent, it’s employees and customers they consider friends. Simply put, their business is their baby – and they aren’t likely to hand over their baby to someone they don’t feel is up to the job. They want to know that the person who takes the reins is capable, mentally stable and likely to succeed. Does the you that exists online look like that?

 

Does your online persona appear professional, or do you exist on the internet as someone who you would think twice about hiring as an employee?

 

It’s easy to get sucked in to the darker side of social media by going on long political rants, engaging in heated comment arguments, by posting funny memes, pictures and videos that even on a good day are problematic. Engaging with friends and strangers through a screen tends to remove the socially acceptable filters that you would normally have during in-person interactions.

 

While it might be fun to be able to do and say things you normally wouldn’t – it can be a huge problem when people who are deciding if they’d like a professional relationship with you (think business sellers, commercial landlords and the like) find the pseudo-anonymous social media you.

 

Here’s how to keep your online persona from derailing your chances of buying a business. Look yourself up, before anyone else does.

 

Throw your name into a search engine and see what comes up. Scroll through your social media feeds and have a look. Pretend you’re an employer researching a potential employee.

 

If the online you is less than professional, take some time and clean up your feeds. Delete posts, comments or accounts. Remove problematic profile pictures. Add back in professional accounts that show your accomplishments.

 

You wouldn’t show up to a job interview in dirty pajamas yelling about the news. Treat your online existence the same way.

 

Are you considering buying a business and haven’t considered how you look on the other side of a Google search? Do you have questions about when and how business sellers find out who you are? Would you like to know more about the process to buy a business? Ask us! Please leave any questions or comments, we would be happy to help.

 

 

 

Michael Monnot

941.518.7138
Mike@InfinityBusinessBrokers.com

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Michael Monnot

941.518.7138
Mike@InfinityBusinessBrokers.com

9040 Town Center Parkway
Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202




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