No Website? Why Business Sellers Need An Online Presence

We all know the importance of an online presence in our digital world, but what many business owners may not consider is what the lack of an online presence can do to the possible future sale of their business.



Why would a lack of an online presence hurt a business sale? Consider the view from the other side.


You are looking for a business to buy, a good investment. You find two nearly identical businesses for sale – similar numbers, similar industries and similar locations. One business has a poorly maintained Facebook page that appears to have been nothing more than an afterthought. The second business has a visually appealing and highly informative website.  


As an investor, which business appears to be more sound? Which one appears to have a more attentive and growth-driven owner? Which business looks like it would be favored by potential new customers?


The answers to these questions are easy. The business with the better (or any) website, right?


You no longer have to be an IT expert to give your business a decent web presence. There are a multitude of web design services like Wix or Squarespace that allow you to use simple templates and drag-and-drop features to make your own website from scratch. There is also the option of hiring a website designer, although this will be more expensive than a do-it-yourself version. Either way, your business will have a web presence that speaks to a level of professionalism that a Facebook page (or no online presence at all) could never do.


Ok, I get that I need a website, but what should I include? A good business website has the name, address, phone number, email and other necessary contact information that is easy to find. You should also include information about the products or services your business offers, your hours of operation, menus or product lists and any other helpful information that you would want your customers to know. How are you different from the competition? How will your services or products help?


By having a visually appealing and highly informative website in place before you list your business for sale you will be giving buyers a great first impression. You will also be telling prospective buyers you are a business owner who is interested in the growth and future of the business you’ve built far better than the perception that you are a business owner who is behind the times.


Are you a business owner who is thinking about selling but don’t have a web presence to speak of? Would you like to know more about what buyers look for in a business? Please feel free to leave any questions or comments here and we would be happy to help.




Michael Monnot

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

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Future Entrepreneur? Why You Should Pretend That Unicorns Are Impossible


Pop culture mythology is full of entrepreneurial unicorns – these semi-urban myth creatures who start a tech company and 6 months later sell it for millions or billions of dollars. Many hopeful budding entrepreneurs see these news snippets and falsely believe that entrepreneurship, if done the “right” way, can make them fabulously wealthy in no time at all.


If you are considering a career as an entrepreneur, you will essentially doom yourself to failure if you think the world of business ownership is quick or easy. It just isn’t.


Believing you can enter business ownership and suddenly vault yourself into fabulous wealth is a dangerous way to enter a reality where hard work and perseverance are the only keys to success.


Want the cold, hard truth of entrepreneurial unicorn stories?


Owning a business is tough.


If you own a business, the buck stops with you. Even in a larger business with a management structure and many employees – you are ultimately responsible for the success or failure of your business. Business owners work long hours, can have high levels of stress and don’t always make tons of money (especially in the first few years). You need to accept that becoming the master of your own destiny by working for yourself means you need to have the drive and grit to get the job done.


You probably won’t get fabulously wealthy.


We all know the names of the entrepreneurial NFL quarterbacks like Zuckerberg and Jobs – but just like the chances of any high school football player making it to the starting lineup on Super Bowl Sunday, most entrepreneurs don’t become billionaires. This is not to say, however, that you wouldn’t make a good living owning your own business. If you work hard you can absolutely make a decent amount of money and have a good quality of life. Keeping yourself grounded in financial reality will keep you eye on the right goal – growing your business – instead of chasing an impossible scenario.


Owning a business can be very, very rewarding.


Even though entrepreneurship is tough and probably won’t make you a multimillionaire, the benefits and rewards of owning your own business make the journey completely worth the effort. Owning your own business means you get to be your own boss. It means every dollar you make, you’ve made for yourself and not someone else. It means you have the flexibility to set your own schedule. It means you get to be the master of your own destiny. It means you get to wake up every morning and do something your love to do. The benefits far outweigh the effort it takes. Just head into the world of business ownership firmly grounded with realistic (and non-unicorn) expectations and you have a far better chance of success.


Are you thinking about becoming a business owner and have questions about how much money you can make when you own a business? Would you like to know what types of businesses are currently for sale in your area? Ask us! Please feel free to leave us any comments or questions and we would be happy to help.




Michael Monnot

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

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Big Mistakes: Don’t Sink Your New Business

Although unfortunate, it does happen. Business buyers get their hands on a profitable business and within six months they are calling us to sell because they are literally days away from complete and utter failure – like having to lock the doors and walk away.



How does this happen?


There are four big mistakes that can cause you to pull the rug right out from under your own feet, but they can easily be avoided if you know what they are and apply some common sense to your new venture.


Spending All Of Your Cash


You might have $100,000 to spend on a business, but that doesn’t mean that you should be shopping for businesses that are listed for $100,000. Buying a business and launching yourself into business ownership is an expensive adventure, and you will need to reserve enough of your capital to keep yourself in the black long enough to get the business generating a profit with you at the helm. You will need cash for licensing fees, for your new commercial lease, for inventory and payroll in your first few weeks as owner – only to name a few. When deciding what you can and can’t afford, be honest with your business broker about the money you have available and they can better assist you with finding a business that will reserve some of your cash.


Ignoring Red Tape


Yes, bureaucracy is annoying. Licensing requirements are confusing, expensive and time-consuming – but that doesn’t mean that you can skate around the requirements. You need to be sure that you are operating your business in accordance with the licensing requirements of your industry, state, county and city. If you aren’t, it is only a matter of time before you are caught – and the consequences can be devastating (think the loss of a liquor license or major fines and penalties, for example). Pay attention to the red tape.


Coasting Too Early (Or Ever)


You found a great little business, and from day one you were lucky enough to be pulling a profit, so you take your foot off the gas and let the business essentially run itself. This always ends in disaster. Think about why this business was great in the first place. The former owner worked incredibly hard to maintain what worked and continually focused on the future growth of the business. That simple formula, always maintaining and growing your business, is the key to success. Owners that stop trying always stop succeeding.


Changing Everything


You bought a profitable restaurant, but you hate everything about it. The decor is dated, the equipment isn’t the top of the line and the menu doesn’t appeal to your vision of restaurant ownership. You spend your first six months of ownership completely gutting the kitchen and dining room, a massively expensive renovation. Then you come up with an entirely new menu that is a huge divergence from what the restaurant used to serve. While you are at it, you also change vendors and essentially every operating procedure. After all of this massive upheaval, you are shocked that you can’t get customers in the door and that all of your staff jumped ship. Where did everybody go? The old phrase “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” goes a long way in explaining this most expensive of mistakes. The restaurant in this example was successful because it had a regular clientele who loved the menu and quaint decor and a happy staff who were good at their jobs. New owners who change things before they give themselves the time to understand why certain aspects of the business work (or why they don’t work) are setting themselves up for failure. A new owner is far better off following in the footsteps of the prior owner until they are sure the changes they want to make are changes that will actually improve the business, not hurt it.


If you are looking at businesses to buy – be aware that you need to be careful of too many changes, you need to keep the business growing, you need to stay on top of red-tape issues and you need to be careful with your cash if you want to be successful.


Are you in the business market and are curious about what businesses you could afford with the cash you have available? Do you have more questions about how to avoid the pitfalls we talked about here? Ask us! Leave any questions or comments here and we would be happy to help.




Michael Monnot

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

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4 Considerations – Buying A Franchise Vs. Buying Independent


If you are thinking about buying a business, then one of the many early decisions you will have to make is whether you should buy an independently owned small business or a franchise.


Both routes to business ownership can bring a buyer success, but it will be a matter of personal choice as to which path will be better suited for you.


Let’s take a look at the four major differences between an independent small business and a franchise to help you decide which camp will suit you best.



If you decide to go it alone and opt for an independently owned small business, you will most likely be going without the large-scale name recognition and branding that are associated with a large franchise. This can be detrimental in that a strong brand will automatically bring you customers loyal to the parent brand without having to try very hard. On the flip side of the branding coin, however, are the problems that can arise if the parent company or another franchisee makes a big negative splash in the media. Any of that bad press will automatically fall onto anyone within the franchise group.


If you are a marketing machine and love to create buzz about your business, then perhaps an independent business is for you. If you would rather focus your energy elsewhere and leave the branding to the parent company professionals, then a franchise would be a good choice.



Yes, a franchisee owns their business in the same way that an independent owner does – the difference lies in the decision making abilities of these two owners. If you are part of a franchise then decisions on product choices, renovation decisions and operating procedures may be made for you.


If you are a first-time business buyer, this might be a good bet because you don’t have to make every decision right away. If you are a complete control freak by nature, you might have issues with having the parent company tell you what to do.


Total Cost

Although debatable and entirely dependent on each individual business and each individual franchise, there are a few generalizations about cost that you can use to help with your decision about becoming a franchisee.


In general, the upfront costs for buying a franchise can be a bit lower than buying an independently owned business, but in return the independent business owner has more control over their cash flow than a franchisee would. For instance, a franchise can require a renovation and you would have to comply where an independent owner can delay renovations until the cash is more readily available.



This one is also helpful for a first-time business buyer. If you opt for the franchise route, then the day-to-day operations of your business will be established and tested. You will not, however, be able to make major changes to the standard operating procedures if one or more parts don’t suit the way you like to run your business.


Buying an existing independent small business also means that you inherit a set of operating procedures – the difference is that these procedures are not so set in stone. As you learn the ins and outs of running your new business, you can make any changes you see as necessary.


If you are considering a franchise over an independent business or vice versa – the best thing to do is have a chat with a business broker experienced with both franchise and independently owned businesses. Using your experience and your goals for business ownership you and your broker will be able to sort out which option would be best for you. 


Are you considering a franchise and have more questions about what it would mean to be a franchisee? Do you think an independently owned small business would be better for you and want to know what businesses are currently available? Please feel free to leave any questions or comments and we will be happy to help.




Michael Monnot

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

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Myths And Curves – The Reality Of Buying A Business

You’ve made the plunge, you’re buying a business – welcome to the fantastically tough but fantastically rewarding world of entrepreneurship. You may just be starting your search, or the closing table is next week – but wherever you are in the process of buying a business there is a very big change in your life that is approaching at light speed. Life as a small business owner.


Many new buyers (and sometimes veteran buyers too) have a roads-paved-with-gold attitude when it comes to what happens after the closing table. They have visions of happiness in their newfound investment, visions of getting the keys and starting in a brand-new and wonderful life.



Life as a business owner can be very wonderful, but it’s also very hard – especially in the first few weeks.


A buyer who wants the smoothest transition possible into entrepreneurship needs to remember two all-important things.


There will be an extremely steep learning curve.


Regardless of your experience in the industry, any new business is going to come with a very steep learning curve. Why? Unlike an employee at a new job who only really needs to learn their own responsibilities when they get hired, a new owner has to learn EVERYTHING. Not only do you have to learn the day-to-day logistics and operational procedures, you need to learn how to do payroll, how to pay taxes, how to make a schedule that won’t cause a mutiny, how to order new inventory, how to get licenses and permits, how to acquire new customers, how to keep your customer base happy through the transition of ownership, how to pay the rent and deal with your new landlord – the list goes on and on.


This steep learning curve should in no way freak you out or dissuade you from small business ownership, instead it should help you mentally prepare for a tough few weeks ahead. Once you get the hang of things it will obviously get a lot easier. Just don’t set yourself up for failure by thinking it will be a walk in the park.


Your new business isn’t perfect.


You may come out of the due diligence phase thinking your new business is perfect every way. Reality, however, will rear her ugly head in the first few weeks or months of ownership and turn your perfect little business into what it really is – a business. There is no such thing as a perfect business. They all have flaws. They all have skeletons in the closet. The only thing you can know for sure as a new small business owner is you are going to find something (or many things) that make you unhappy. There are two ways to react to imperfections. One is to completely freak out and try to sue everyone who was a part of the business sale, then lock the doors and walk away. That is not, of course, the productive solution.


The other, and far better way to react is to take a deep breath and figure out a way to solve your problem. Owning a small business means having to constantly be ready to deal with issues – so treat the unearthing of skeletons as the first real test of your entrepreneurial grit.


Entrepreneurship is hard, but it is also a great way to earn a living. Think of the transitional time ahead of you as a challenge to be conquered and not a mythical field of roses.


Have more questions about the path to business ownership? Are you curious about what businesses would meet your goals for life as an entrepreneur? Ask us! Please leave questions or comments here and we would be happy to help.




Michael Monnot

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


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Buying? How You Should Look At A Business


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Have more questions about buying a business? Ask us! Please leave any questions or comments here and we would be happy to help.




Michael Monnot

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


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Buying A Business? Patience Is A Must

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



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


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


Here’s an example:


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


Then you wait. And you wait.


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


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


Why does this happen?


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


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


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


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


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


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


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




Michael Monnot

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

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The Garage Start Up? Why Buying A Business Is Better


When you think about famous entrepreneurs, it often brings thoughts of a person who came up with an inspired idea and built a successful and thriving business from the ground up – with the romantic twist of doing so out of a garage with little to no seed money. While this may be the path for a few very driven and lucky individuals, the path for most entrepreneurs begins quite differently, with the purchase of an existing business.


Wait, what? Buy an already existing business? Why would I do that instead of starting my own business?


Typically, buying a business is a safer bet than building one from scratch. You get to take over as owner of an already built-out and proven location with trained employees and a ready-to-go set of operating procedures. This can be a great way to get into business ownership because it skips all of the disadvantages a start-up will encounter – like establishing a customer base, building cash flow, paying for build-outs, establishing marketing practices, training a brand-new staff, obtaining initial permits and licenses – to name just a few.


It is not, however, a fool-proof way to enter the world of business ownership. You need to choose a business that is profitable, or one that has easily-remedied issues that will make it profitable quickly. You need to choose a business that will fit with your goals for business ownership and one where you have some practical knowledge or experience. You also need to choose a business that has room for growth.


I have a lot of questions, who should I ask?


The smartest step any budding entrepreneur can make is to hire an experienced and qualified business broker. A broker will be a great asset, as they can help you find businesses that are right for you.


In your initial conversation with your broker you should talk about your previous work experience. You don’t want to have to learn a whole new industry at the same time you are learning how to operate a business.  You should also talk about your goals for business ownership. Your goals will determine what industries would be best for you. For instance, buying a bar with the goal of having evenings off isn’t going to work. Be a bit opened minded about the businesses that are available – you might be surprised to find a business that perfectly fits your goals in an industry you would never have thought of on your own.


The message here is entrepreneurship isn’t an impossible goal, and you don’t have to come up with a genius idea in your garage to get there. There are a myriad of businesses available everyday, and with help from a good business broker you can find the right one for you.


Have you always wanted to own your own business, but were unsure of where to start? Do you have questions about what a business broker does? Ask us! Leave any questions or comments here, we would be happy to help.




Michael Monnot

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


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Are You Compulsive With NDAs? The Wrong Approach

Are you a buyer like this? Have you requested information on dozens of businesses and then when asked a question about one of these listings – you can’t remember which one we’re talking about?



Are you requesting and then signing Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) like it’s going out of style? Guess what? You are probably NEVER going to buy a business. Never. Not going to happen. Why?


Dozens and dozens of NDAs is not the way a successful buyer finds and then buys a business.


Buying a business requires that you keep your eye on the goal successful business ownership.


What do we mean by that?


First and foremost, signing the NDA should come after you’ve already made some decisions about whether of not a particular business is really what you’re looking for. You shouldn’t buy a business based on where it is, how it looks, or what the tax returns say. This is the information you will be able to access after you’ve signed the NDA. Sure, these are all important parts of a business, but as a buyer you need to be focused on whether a particular business is going to meet your goals for business ownership. The major mistake that unsuccessful business buyers and unsuccessful business owners make is they never considered what they want out of business ownership.


If your goal for business ownership is to have more time to spend with your family and the ability to do things like coach your kid’s soccer team – then buying the bar you think you’ve always wanted isn’t going to work – you’ll have to work seven nights a week. If your goal for business ownership is to make more money than you do at your current job, then buying a huge restaurant with zero restaurant industry experience isn’t going to work – you’ll be bankrupt in six months.


The path to a successful business purchase starts with a conversation. You and your business broker should have a talk about what your goals for business ownership are, about your prior work experience and about the amount of money you are looking to invest in a business. Then, and only then, should you sign NDAs for the businesses that will actually meet those goals. You might be surprised that a business you never would have considered on your own could be the perfect fit.


Narrow down your search, then request the information you need. This will help you keep your eye on the goal of business ownership.


Are you looking for businesses to buy but haven’t had a conversation about what your goals for business ownership are? Do you want to know more about how to successfully buy a business? Ask us! Please feel free to leave any questions or comments here and we would be happy to help.




Michael Monnot

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


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3 Big Steps For Business Buyers

Ready to buy your own business?



Step 1: Arranging Capital


You could probably guess that step one is figuring out how you are going to pay for your new venture. 


If you don’t have enough cash on hand to fully fund the purchase of a business there are several resources available which you could tap. These options consist of acquiring funds from the Small Business Administration (SBA), traditional financial institutions like banks or seller financing.


No matter what the source of funds, any lender is going to have conditions which you will have to satisfy if you want to be approved for said funds. They are going to require you to have adequate cash readily available for a down payment in addition to having sufficient working capital to sustain the business.


You will need to be aware of and account for costs like closing fees. It is possible to either pay for the closing fees up front or plan to have them incorporated within the amount that you will be financing.


Having financing or at least a down payment in place before you begin your business search will simplify the process of finding the right business for you.


Step 2: Making Offers


You found a business that meets with your goals and have finished going over the initial financial records. You think this might be the business for you. It is time to make an offer, but how do you determine what that offer should be?


First, consult with your business broker. There are considerations that influence price such as the amount comparable businesses have actually sold for, the value of inventory and contracts, the amount of cash flow the business currently generates – the list goes on. By consulting with your business broker you can consider all aspects and decide whether the asking price is fair and how much you are willing to offer.


Step 3: Due Diligence


After an offer is accepted, the offer you submitted essentially becomes the purchase contract and you will move to the next stage – due diligence. This is a crucial step when purchasing a business.  It is due diligence which enables you to figure out whether or not this business is for you. It also helps to determine what price you will be prepared to pay for it.


Due diligence will begin with examining previous years of financial records. You will be able to learn about any unresolved legal actions, relationships with vendors and clients, intellectual property rights including copyrights or patents, as well as any future liabilities.


Once you have all the necessary information you can make an informed decision about whether or not to proceed. This is the nature and necessity of due diligence. Your findings during due diligence may also modify the amount you are willing to pay for the business. 


As soon as you have arrived at what you feel is a complete picture of the business and have also arrived at a price that takes into account what you found during due diligence – you and the seller will negotiate to amend the purchase contract and proceed to the closing table. This step typically requires using the expertise and negotiating skills of your business broker, and possibly a CPA and/or attorney to guide you through the process.


While buying a business might initially seem like a monumental task, when broken down into basic steps it is absolutely possible for any driven future entrepreneur. 


Do you have more questions about the steps required to buy a business? Would you like to know more about the due diligence process? Ask us! Please feel free to leave any questions or comments, we would be happy to help.




Michael Monnot

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


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Michael Monnot


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


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