Good/Bad? What Was The Pandemic Like For The Small Business Market?

The pandemic was bad, but how bad was it for the small business market?

 

Well, it depends. It’s been an unprecedented year to say the least. Some businesses couldn’t weather the storm and had to close their doors. Those businesses made all the headlines, but outside of the spotlight many small businesses survived. Sure, some of the businesses who were able to remain open were forced to lay off workers, make cuts and the like – but small businesses and the small business market (perhaps surprisingly) never stopped.

 

 

Business owners who were able to pivot – say a restaurant who switched to take out and delivery options, or a manufacturer who was able to switch to producing hand sanitizer – these businesses did really well. So did businesses based in the new “essential” category. The ingenuity of the small and growing business showed itself in the creativity that allowed businesses to not only remain open – but thrive.

 

On the other side, people forced from their jobs and relegated to staring at the walls of their homes were also forced to evaluate what they wanted out of life. For a lot of them, what they want is to be their own boss – and as such calls from potential buyers never stopped.

 

What does the last year of the small business market mean for you?

 

The good news is if your business weathered the last year and you’re thinking about selling – there are absolutely buyers in the market. The pandemic-driven future entrepreneurs are looking to buy, and the fact that your business remained open is an enormous selling point. Talk to a business broker today about what the market currently looks like for a business like yours and what businesses in your industry are currently selling for.

 

If you fall into that category of budding entrepreneurs who are going to take the hard lessons from the last year and turn them into a more fulfilling life – there is never a better time than now. Sure, there are multi-million dollar businesses on the market – but there are also lots of very affordable business opportunities out there. Have a conversation with an experienced and qualified business broker about your goals for ownership, the capital you have available and the practical experience you have. You might be surprised, not only with the number of business opportunities available to you but also by what types of businesses will check all the boxes for your goals.

 

Were you thinking about selling your business before the spring of 2020 and now think the time might be right to restart those plans? Are you considering making the jump to business ownership now that the pandemic is winding down? Do you have questions about the small business market in 2021? Ask us! Leave any comments or questions 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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Patience With The Deal And Patience With Yourself – The Successful Business Seller

 

Selling your business is a monumental decision, one that carries with it some very big (and often very unexpected) emotions. While these emotions are completely normal, they can (if allowed to do so) completely derail a great business sale – so here’s how to keep that from happening: 

 

Be patient with the deal.

 

It can take months and months to find the right buyer, and then once you do the transaction itself takes time. Lots and lots of time. It can be easy to get lost in your post-sale-life daydreams and want to push the deal to go faster – but that isn’t a good idea. Your buyer is about to write a very big check, and they will absolutely be nervous. That nervous buyer is going to want to go over your books multiple times, rework the contract, renegotiate with the commercial landlord, have their attorney and CPA look at everything, rework the contract again – it’s a process that can be frustratingly long for a seller. Here’s the thing. You can’t force this process to move at the speed you’re ready for. It needs to go at the buyer’s pace because you don’t want their nerves to be coupled with feeling rushed – causing a perfectly good deal to fall apart. Patience with the process and patience with your buyer will serve you far better than trying to ram the deal through. 

 

Be patient with yourself.

 

Your business, even if you’re burned out and can’t wait to sell, is your baby. There’s a lot of blood, sweat and tears invested. You’re excited for the post-sale future, but it can be surprisingly hard to hand over those keys when the time comes. Be ready for this. Buyers are going to comb through all of the work you’ve ever done and look for problems, then they will try to leverage those problems for a better price. While a completely normal part of the business transaction process, it can be very difficult for a seller to keep from feeling personally insulted. Remember that you absolutely must stay objective, no matter how hard it is. If you were the buyer in this situation, you would be doing the same things. Mentally preparing to have both things happen – your work criticized and then giving your business to a stranger – will help you step back from the brink of killing your own deal when those big emotions show up.  

 

Get ready for dealing with the emotions that go hand in hand with such a huge life change. Take a breath, be patient with the transaction process and give yourself some grace. There are more exciting things ahead!

 

Have you considered selling your business, but aren’t sure you could walk away? Do you have questions about how long the transaction process takes for a business like yours? 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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Have A Favorite Real Estate Agent? Why You Shouldn’t Use Them For Your Business Deal

 

This one happens all the time. We get a call from a real estate agent who is inquiring about one of the businesses we have listed on behalf of a buyer, or is looking for potential buyers for a business one of their clients wants to sell. Perhaps they are a trusted agent for a client, and the client asked that they inquire on their behalf. We even have potential buyers and sellers call and request that we use their real estate agent for their part of the transaction. 

 

We tell them how business transactions work. A real estate agent who refers a client to us will get a referral fee when the deal closes, all they have to do is get us the client’s contact info.

 

Sometimes an agent refuses to divulge their client’s information, demanding instead that we work with them on the deal. We refuse, so the agent moves on to a different broker to see if they can talk someone into working with them. Their clients don’t get access to business information or potential buyers, and are likely unaware that any of this is going on.

 

Why won’t business brokers work with real estate agents? Why do they require a referral of the clients instead?

 

It’s very simple. Real estate agents are very good at what they do – they sell property and homes. What they are not good at and likely know little to nothing about is selling businesses. You can liken the difference between a business broker and a real estate agent to the difference between a plastic surgeon and your general family physician. You would probably be very uncomfortable having your family doctor do reconstructive facial surgery – along the same lines a business broker specializes in the buying and selling of businesses. We would never try to help someone buy a house, it’s just not what we do.

 

What can happen if a real estate agent tries to help you buy or sell a business? Since they don’t know the ins and outs of the business transaction process, there is a good chance you will never see a closing table.

 

If you are a seller, a real estate agent will likely treat your business listing like a listing for a house. They will take pictures, gather some cursory financial information and then post this information on the MLS listing system. This is a complete disaster in the making. The most important part of selling an existing business is maintaining confidentiality. Without confidentiality, you stand to lose customers, employees, vendors and money. The only people who should know that your business is for sale are those who have signed the appropriate non-disclosure documents – not anyone with an internet connection who can search the MLS. A business broker knows how to confidentiality market your business, and they are also well-versed in negotiating leases, licensing and permitting concerns and will have relationships with other brokers and buyers who are currently in the market looking for a business like yours.

 

If you are a buyer, a real estate agent isn’t going to have access to any business listing information without talking a broker into letting them have it (which isn’t likely to happen). Many real estate agents also try to fill out the non-disclosure forms themselves, pretending to be the buyer, but all this does is garner mistrust with any sellers who will then feel like they’ve been duped when the truth is later revealed.

 

We understand your loyalty to your real estate agent – we have many friends in the real estate industry and we have used their expertise for not only our home purchases but also the sales and purchases for our family members. You shouldn’t feel like your real estate agent gets the short end of the deal if they refer you to a business broker – they get paid for handing over information and doing nothing more. They are doing you and your future business transaction a great service by putting you in more capable hands.

 

If you are looking to buy or sell a business, feel free to ask your real estate agent if they have a business broker they would recommend. Just be wary if your agent tries to talk you into letting them take the reins.

 

Have you tried to buy or sell a business using a real estate agent and have a story to share? Do you have more questions about the referral process? Ask us! Please feel free to leave any comments or 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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Picking A Broker? Red Flags: What To Watch Out For

Whether you’re in the market to buy a business or have a business that you’re ready to sell – your best bet for success and reaching a closing table is hiring the right help. In the business transaction world that help is a business broker

 

What do business brokers do? They help sellers list their business for sale. They put together marketing packages and business listings and then add those businesses on listing platforms. They keep the confidentiality of the for-sale status of a business in place by vetting buyers and having qualified buyers sign the appropriate non-disclosure agreements. They coordinate conference calls and meetings between buyers and sellers and act as an incredibly important buffer in the negotiation process. They help put together offers and help solidify purchase contracts. They give advice throughout the process, as their experience with business transactions can be invaluable for avoiding common pitfalls that can cause deals to fall apart. They help sort out commercial leases with landlords and property managers. They assist with permitting and licensing requirements. They assist with obtaining financing options. They coordinate with immigration attorneys to obtain Visas for international clients. 

 

It’s a long list. A list you probably don’t want to tackle with someone who is terrible at their job. 

 

How can you tell if a broker is a good broker? You can watch out for red flags.

 

 

Does this business broker have no online presence at all, or a website where the last post was 7 years ago? 

 

The business transaction process, like most things, has gone digital in recent years – from electronic signatures to virtual walkthroughs and the like. If a broker can’t even maintain a basic digital presence, then they probably aren’t up to speed on other aspects of their job either. 

 

Do the listings for a particular broker have a ton of spelling errors or always seem to be incomplete/incorrect? 

 

The business transaction process requires a great deal of attention to detail. If a broker is willing to leave mistakes all over their listings, how careful are they with everything else? A listing and a marketing package are an important first impression of a business for buyers. If all you’re getting is some over-copied tax returns and 15 spelling errors, it might be time to find someone else. 

 

When you contact a broker, does it take them an enormous amount of time to respond?

 

You can’t expect a broker to always pick up your call or immediately respond (they should have other clients and a life outside of work) but you should be able to get in touch with them in a reasonable amount of time. If you have to wait a week for a response, you might need to find another broker. 

 

Does a broker claim to have proprietary formulas or methods that no one else in the business has? 

 

Well, there’s probably a reason for that. Occasionally brokers will claim to have some magic metric (for example – for pricing businesses) that no one else in the industry uses. Every business is unique, so a big part of becoming a successful business broker is understanding that every transaction will be different and each business will require a different approach. There isn’t a better mousetrap – there’s only those who can adapt the process to get a transaction done and those who can’t. 

 

The message here is you want qualified and experienced help – and you aren’t going to get that from someone who is careless with the most important parts of their job. Keep an eye out for red flags as you begin the business transaction process. 

 

Another good metric? Ask any potential broker how much of their business comes from referrals. Someone who does a good job is going to get a great deal of their future clients from the referrals of past happy ones. 

 

Are you looking for businesses to buy and want to know more about how a business broker can help you? Have you considered selling your business and want to know what our marketing packages look like in comparison to others in the industry? 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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The Waiting Game: Why Sellers Need Patience

When we finally decide we are ready to sell our business, we’re ready now. We’re ready for the next chapter. We can already see ourselves in the next phase of life – retired and playing golf, sitting on a beach somewhere or onto our next entrepreneurial project – whatever the daydream is.

 

There’s a big problem with the desire for now in the business marketplace. It can take a really, really long time to sell your business.

 

 

Sure, there are occasions where a business lists and sells relatively quickly, but this isn’t always the case. This usually occurs when it’s a seller’s market in general – as seems to be the case in 2021. That being said, even in a seller’s market it can take a while to get to a closing table.

 

Why? There are basically two reasons for this. Two reasons that will require you to have patience as a seller.

 

First, business transactions are complicated. There are contracts and leases to be negotiated, training that needs to occur, large amounts of money changing hands, time for attorneys to review documents, financing that needs to go through a process with lenders, licensing and permitting requirements, (for some transactions) Visas that need to be processed by consulates – the list goes on and on and on. Those layers of complication can hang up deals for days, weeks or months – even with very motivated parties on both sides. If you want to be a successful seller, then you need to be mentally prepared for your deal to get hung up somewhere (or multiple times) during the process.

 

Second, you have to wait for the right buyer. Every business is unique, and as such it takes a buyer with a set of goals that your business uniquely fills to make a deal happen. Depending on how niche your business is, licensing requirements for a new owner, your location, the physical abilities required to run your business, etc. it can take a bit of time for you and the right buyer to connect. In a typical year it can take somewhere around 9 to 12 months to get a deal from listing to closing – so you are going to need a large dose of patience if you want to see the process through. 

 

It can be tempting to list your business for sale and then take your foot off the gas because you are more than ready for the next phase of your life – but this is an enormous mistake. Your business needs to look the best it can when you are trying to attract the right buyer, and it can’t look it’s best if you’ve stopped trying. Have patience, keep a focus on growth and keep your numbers strong until you actually reach the closing table.  

 

Are you considering selling your business and want to know how long it’s currently taking to sell a business like yours? Would you like to know more about how to attract the right buyer? Ask us! Please feel free to leave any questions or comments, 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 Pre-Closing Panic: How Business Buyers And Sellers Can Avoid Disaster

A business changing hands is a big deal. One side is selling their blood, sweat and tears. The other is writing a very big check and stepping into the unknown. It can be scary. Really scary.

 

What happens more often than not is one or both sides start to panic as the closing date approaches – and when that happens tempers can flare and perfectly good deals can fall apart.

 

 

How do you avoid a pre-closing disaster? Know that it’s coming and mentally prepare.

 

 

Sellers:

If you are selling your business, it can be difficult to remain objective and unoffended when a buyer gets antsy and starts questioning everything about your business. We get that. Repeat questions, constant requests for renegotiation, attempts to lower the offer, demands for new issues that have already been dealt with and the like would make anyone angry – even angry enough to pull out of the deal.

 

What you should know going in is these things are probably going to happen. There are very few buyers who don’t get cold feet as the contract winds towards closing, and those cold feet can cause a buyer to do some pretty weird things. They are going to try to find a way to back out of the deal – not because they really want to, but because their nerves got the better of them.

 

Whatever your buyer is doing or demanding at the end, take a step back and think about where the panic behavior is coming from. Are they just freaking out? Have they really found an insurmountable issue with your business, or are they trying to give themselves a reason to back out because they’re scared? You don’t have to bend to their every demand, but you do need to have some patience and be ready for this inevitable last-minute buyer anxiety. 

 

Buyers:

If you are a buyer, know going in that you are probably going to be really nervous increasingly so as the date for writing that big check approaches.

 

You are absolutely entitled to all of the information you need before you sign on the dotted line and buy a business – that’s what the due diligence period is for. You need to utilize that time for due diligence to go through all of the information you request, ask good questions, discuss any issues you uncover with your business broker, your spouse, your transaction attorney, etc. and make an educated decision based on all of that information. Once you’ve made that decision – don’t second guess yourself.

 

Feeling anxious about a big decision is totally normal – letting that anxiety override an educated decision is far from productive. If you are days away from closing and are feeling like you’re making a mistake – go back and talk to the people you talked to during the due diligence process, like your business broker, your spouse and your transaction attorney. Go over your worries and work through why you are suddenly feeling like you don’t want to go through with the deal. It is nerves, or is it really an insurmountable problem? If you’ve made it all the way through due diligence without finding a deal-killing problem, it’s probably just nerves. Don’t talk yourself out of a great new opportunity.

 

The message? It’s the last minute panic that causes the issues. Big decisions might feel like they require a big leap of faith – but the reality is the decisions you’ve made during your business transaction have been made based on facts, no leap of faith was required. Trust your gut, be patient with the other side and remember that nerves can only cause issues if you let them. 

 

Do you have questions about how to deal with a panicking buyer? Would you like to know more about how due diligence 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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Don’t Lock The Doors – Sell Your Distressed Business Instead

We see this way more often than we should.

 

A business owner, for any one of a myriad of reasons, decides that the time has come to step away from their role as the owner of their business. Perhaps they’ve decided it’s time to retire, maybe they were hoping to pass the business on to children who have decided to follow another path or perhaps they are in the midst of a personal/family emergency that will require too much of their time and energy to keep the business afloat. In today’s market it might be because the pandemic has caused a massive hit to their bottom line and they don’t see a path forward.

 

 

Here’s the problem – the only solution they see is to sell some physical assets, lock the doors and walk away.

 

This isn’t the only choice. Existing businesses are worth far more than just the value of the tangible assets because an existing business has (or has recently had) cash flow.

 

Cash flow has it’s own value and is a highly sought-after commodity, especially if your business is in a soon to be healthy market and has the potential for growth.

 

Ok, so cash flow has value – but who would want to buy my business?

 

Lots of people would. Budding entrepreneurs who want a safer bet than starting from scratch, veteran business owners who want a change of pace and are looking for businesses with room to grow, foreign investors who are looking to move to the United States by buying a business – just to name a few.

 

Think of it this way – someone who wants to own their own business has two options. They can make a very risky and very large monetary investment in an unproven location, with an unproven business model and unproven products and services – or they can buy a business who has already overcome those initial hurdles. A buyer knows your location, business model, products and services worked because your doors are open and your books show growth (or have shown growth in the time period before the pandemic hit). They get an operating business from day one instead of a risk-filled empty space, and you get a financial return on all you have invested in your business.

 

If you don’t really have a plan for your exit as the owner of your business, it might be a good idea to talk to a business broker about what options you may have, what kind of timetable you are considering and what businesses like yours have recently sold for. Asking questions now will give you the information you need to make the smart choice – the choice to sell your business when the time is right. Don’t walk away and leave so much on the table, contact us today!

 

Do you have more questions about selling your distressed business? Would you like to know what the market currently looks like for businesses like yours? Ask us! Feel free to leave any questions or comments, 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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Insights from the Insight Report: Why 2021 Is The Year For Buyers And Sellers

 

2020 is over and the BizBuySell 2020 Insight Report is out – so what does a look back at an unprecedented year mean for business buyers and sellers in 2021?

 

Pandemic-proof businesses ruled the year.

 

2020 was a rough year in the small business marketplace, with a drop of 22% in businesses sold. However, this was not as large of a drop as the market saw during the recession (28% in 2009). Also, businesses sold last year were selling for higher prices than many of the businesses that sold in 2019 (the median sale price for 2020 was up 12% over 2019) as pandemic resistant businesses dominated the market.

 

 

“These businesses that continued to perform well despite the pandemic created a golden opportunity for sellers. According to surveyed brokers, 54% of businesses that sold in 2020 were immune to the pandemic, with almost half (24%) thriving.”

 

The uncertainty created by the pandemic and the shut downs saw many owners pulling their businesses from the market, and those with pandemic-proof business models (think takeout food, delivery service, manufacturing, etc.) enjoying the boom to their bottom line. If you’ve got one of these businesses and were considering selling at some point down the line – now is the time. As vaccine rollouts bring “normal” back, sellers who were on the fence will likely start listing again – in big numbers. Buyers today have far less inventory and inventory with high valuations. Get in while it’s still a seller’s market.

 

What if your business isn’t in that pandemic-proof category? If your business has suffered, but you’ve managed to persevere – the smart move might be to get your business to a place where you can show growth again before you list. This won’t be the case for every scenario – so talk to with a broker about what the best move will be for you and your business.

 

What if you’re a buyer? Keep your eye on the prize. Sure, the essential businesses are expensive and hard to come by at the moment – but those businesses are potentially a great buy for the uncertain times ahead. There are also lots of opportunities for buying distressed businesses at a great price. Talk to an experienced broker about what the right path would be for you. A distressed business that can be reinvigorated by adding a delivery option or by the creation of a social media marketing plan could be a good investment if you don’t have the available capital for a pandemic resistant business at the moment.  

 

The message here is although 2020 was a rough year, there is not only a light at the end of the tunnel – the tunnel itself wasn’t as bad as it could have been. Smart business owners have adapted and persevered – and now have the opportunity to get a great return in 2021. If the last year has you reconsidering your life – and you’ve always wanted to own your own business – 2021 could be your year as well. Talk to a qualified business broker about your business ownership goals today!

 

Do you have more questions about what last year’s numbers mean for you and your business ownership goals? Would you like to know what pandemic resistant businesses are currently for sale? 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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How Close Is Close Enough? Thoughts For Business Sellers

When you first list your business one of the major points of discussion will be the delicate balance of where to set your listing price. Set the number too high and good buyers will pass your business by in favor of those more reasonably priced. Price it too low and you won’t be getting the best return on your investment.

 

You probably have a dream number in your head – an amount you’d love to get. Here’s the thing. That dream number may or may not be realistic – and isn’t something you should stick to come hell or high water. Instead, consider a threshold where you would still be comfortable making a deal – then add a bit to reach your full listing price. Businesses rarely sell for this full listing price, so the buffer between your threshold and the listing price is the sweet spot where negotiation can happen.

 

 

Ok, I’ve got a buyer and we’ve been negotiating for weeks. So far their offer is still below my threshold. Do I take the offer or walk away?

 

You can always walk away, but ask yourself these questions first:

 

One, is what they are offering unfair – or is it just not ideal? If you haven’t been able to reach a middle ground with your buyer, ask yourself “why aren’t they coming up?”  Is there something about your business that will be expensive to fix or overhaul the day they walk in the door? Are they worried about a customer who makes up a large percent of your bottom line leaving once the business changes hands? Are you asking for your inventory or equipment to be valued as new even though it’s a few years old? If you were the buyer – would what they’re offering make sense? If so, maybe you need to come down a bit instead of trying to force them to come up.

 

Second, is there a way to meet in the middle by making a creative deal? Could you offer seller financing? Is there a way to structure a deal that will hold back money in escrow based on certain markers over a period of time? Every small business deal is different, and it’s this individual nature that allows for creative purchase contracts to come together. If you and your buyer are really deadlocked on price, maybe there’s a creative way to reach a deal anyway.

 

Finally, are you willing to walk away and start over with a new buyer? Selling a business takes time. A lot of time. It also takes a huge amount of effort. If you’ve been negotiating with a buyer for weeks or months and there’s a gap between what you would want in an ideal world and what they are willing to offer – is it going to be worth it to you to start over? Unless the gap is huge – probably not. It can be difficult to end a negotiation by letting the other side “win”, but how many weeks or months will it take you to find another buyer? Will that new buyer be willing to offer you substantially more, or are they likely to come to a similar conclusion and offer something like your current buyer is? You should also think about your deal in terms of the difference in price. For example – is the difference $5,000 or $10,000 in a deal worth hundreds of thousands of dollars? Does it make sense to kill a deal for a relatively small difference in price? In most cases, the answer will probably be no.

 

Here’s where we’re going with this. How close is close enough? You might not be getting that ideal number in your head, or the offer might be under a threshold where you would love to be – but does it make sense to walk away for the difference? In a lot of cases you can bridge the gap with your buyer by using  a creative deal, or by looking at the offer objectively from a buyer’s point of view. 

 

Are you considering selling your business and have questions about what a fair listing price might be? Would you like to know more about creative deals we’ve put together in the past? 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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Advice About Your Business Deal – The Good, The Bad And The Unhelpful

In the business transaction world, it happens all the time. A deal between a buyer and seller seems to be headed to a happy closing table and then suddenly the deal is dead. What happened to kill the deal? More often than not, someone got some bad advice.

 

 

What kind of advice is bad advice?

 

When you are trying to buy or trying to sell a business, advice from anyone who has little to no experience with the process of buying and selling businesses is probably not going to be very productive. Here are a few examples:

 

A listing agreement (which gets your business listed on the market) includes protections for both the seller of the business and the business broker who makes the transaction happen. These agreements are fairly standard, and if you as a seller refuse to sign one, you are going to have a hard time trying to find a decent business broker to help you with your sale. These agreements are a legal document, so some sellers give the agreement to their lawyer (who has no business transaction experience) to look over before they sign it.

 

Another standard document (geared toward buyers) is the non-disclosure agreement (NDA). NDAs exist to protect the business itself during the transaction process as buyers are privy to the for-sale status of a business, confidential financial documentation and potentially proprietary information. The NDA is something you are going to have to sign if you want access to information about businesses on the market, and you’re going to have to sign one for each business you inquire about. Like the listing agreement, the NDA is fairly standard across the industry and is a legal document that some buyers will hand off to their lawyer before they sign it.

 

There is something essential about lawyers to point out here. Your attorney’s job is to make sure you are legally covered and completely free of any risk. As a business owner (or future business owner) you should already know that any business deal is going to come with a bit of risk – it’s the nature of the beast. So how do you reconcile the opinion of someone you have hired to protect you from any and all risk with a business transaction that may carry some risk on your part? The short answer is you don’t. If you give your attorney who helped you with your divorce or the one who helped you sue a contractor for negligence a business listing agreement, a NDA or for that matter any agreement you may become a party to during a business sale, they will likely tell you not to sign it, or only to sign it if they are allowed to make a lot of changes (which is likely out of the question).

 

What should you do then? Hire a business transaction attorney instead. A business-specific attorney will be able to advise you during your business sale because they have done it before and know what they are doing. They are already familiar with typical agreements, they know the ins and outs of the process, and will be a far better legal guide.

 

Another example of advice that can be counter-productive is advice from the CPA who usually does your taxes. Unless they have been a part of business transactions in the past, they are going to be a problem for the same reason that your regular attorney is – it is their job to cover you and you alone. The issue that arises with a CPA who is unfamiliar with business transactions is they may not understand the way businesses are evaluated and how they are priced. With many types of businesses, the value comes from more than just what shows up as black and white on a profit and loss statement. When you ask your regular CPA to take a look at the business you may end up with inaccurate advice. Instead, hire an accountant familiar with business transactions because their advice will be far more valuable.

 

What about advice from your friend’s brother-in-law who used to be a commercial real estate agent, from your neighbor who owned and sold a business 25 years ago, or from your good friend who’s a dentist? Listen to all of the advice you get, but remember to filter what you hear because professionals who do business transaction work for a living are probably best qualified to answer your questions. If unsolicited advice leaves you second guessing your choices in the transaction, by all means talk to your business broker, transaction attorney, and transaction CPA before you decide to back out of a deal. You don’t want to miss a great opportunity because you got terrible advice!

 

Have you been in a deal that fell apart because of bad advice? Share your experience here! Do you have more questions about the roles of business brokers, transaction attorneys or transaction CPAs? Please feel free to leave us any questions or comments – 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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