Selling Your Business? How That Is Still Possible During A Pandemic

 

Is it possible to sell your business during a pandemic?

 

Yes! It is absolutely possible to sell your business in the age of Covid-19, for a couple of reasons. 

 

One, the buying and selling of businesses is the job of business brokers. Business brokers don’t have their own licensing category in terms of professional regulations – so they are licensed as real estate brokers. The good news is in most states real estate is considered an essential service, meaning business brokerages are currently operating albeit remotely

 

That brings us to our second reason – the vast majority of the business buying and selling process can be done without having to break social distancing guidelines

 

You can meet with your business broker by phone or by video chat. When it comes to contact with potential buyers – conference calls and video meetings are always available, and quite frankly something we already do with regularity. Documents can be shared securely online. We can create a virtual tour of your business so potential buyers can do an on site visit from the comfort of their couch. Our brokers can even arrange in person contact or on site visits if absolutely necessary, as we have implemented protocols whereby appropriate social distances are kept in place, no one shakes hands and all common surfaces (like door handles) are cleaned both before and after. 

 

If you have been considering selling your business – now might be a great time to start the process. You probably have extra time on your hands right now, and you can use that time to organize your business documentation, talk to your business broker and perhaps even tackle your to-do list in terms of maintenance at your currently closed business location. 

 

It’s also a great time to list your business because there are a lot of seriously bored people who are currently rethinking their life choices and more than a few of them will be searching online for business ownership opportunities. Why not make your business one of them?

 

We’re sure you have a lot of questions. It might seem like a bad time to make any drastic changes to life, but the truth is life will eventually return to normal. Kids will go back to school, people will go back to work and your business doors will be open again. Where do you want to be when that return to normalcy happens? Retired? Looking for a new business because you are burned out with the one you currently have? Taking a new path with the money you’ve made from the sale of your business? 

 

If you’re considering a big life change, talk to one of our business brokers today. They can tell you about the changes in protocol and changes occurring within the market – as well as what businesses like yours have recently sold for. They can also offer guidance on how to get your business ducks in a row so you can take advantage of the litany of buyers looking for a different life too

 

Don’t wait. Use this unprecedented time wisely, and you could be well on your way to a new chapter of your life.  

 

Are you thinking about selling your business but are worried that the current pandemic will make it impossible? Do you have questions about how the business-for-sale market has changed recently? Ask us! Please leave any questions or comments and we will be happy to help. 

 

 

 

Michael Monnot

941.518.7138
Mike@InfinityBusinessBrokers.com
12995 South Cleveland Avenue, Suite 249
Fort Myers, FL 33907

www.InfinityBusinessBrokers.com

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Pandemic Making You Question Your Life Choices? Why Now Is The Time To Buy A Business

It’s an uncertain time. A global pandemic, the closure of everything from businesses to parks and a constant stream of terrifying information. While we all hunker down for the foreseeable future, it might seem like current circumstances should put your future dreams on hold. 

 

Guess what? If your dream is business ownership – you don’t have to wait.

 

This time away from normal life might be giving you a chance to rethink well, everything. Are you really happy on your current path? Is there something you’ve always wanted to do but life got in the way? Have you always envisioned life as the owner of your own business, waking up each morning to do something you love instead of just punching a clock?

 

Maybe now is the time to have a conversation with a business broker about what types of businesses would meet the goals you have for business ownership. Then, instead of endlessly scrolling on Instagram you could be searching for the perfect business – the one that would set you on the path to the life you’ve been dreaming of

 

 

Think it’s impossible to buy a business right now because of Covid-19? Its not

 

Why? 

 

First, the buying and selling of businesses is the job of business brokers. Business brokers don’t have their own licensing category in terms of professional regulations – so they are licensed as real estate brokers. The good news is in most states real estate is considered an essential service, meaning business brokerages are currently operating albeit remotely

 

Next, the vast majority of the business buying process can be done without breaking social distancing guidelines. Business searches can be completed via your laptop from your couch. Conference calls and video meetings are always available, and quite frankly something we already do with regularity. Documents can be shared securely online. Business site visits can be done via virtual tour. Our brokers can even arrange in person contact or on site visits if absolutely necessary, as we have implemented protocols whereby appropriate social distances are kept in place, no one shakes hands and all common surfaces (like door handles) are cleaned both before and after. 

 

Make use of this time away from the day-to-day grind to decide if you really want your old life back once all of this is over. Spend your free time searching for businesses, talking to the owners of businesses you like and getting yourself on the path to business ownership. 

 

Have you always wanted to own your own business and this pandemic is making you question your life choices? Do you want to know what types of businesses are in your price range and would meet your goals for business ownership? Ask us! Leave any questions or comments here and we would be happy to help.

 

 

 

Michael Monnot

941.518.7138
Mike@InfinityBusinessBrokers.com
12995 South Cleveland Avenue, Suite 249
Fort Myers, FL 33907

www.InfinityBusinessBrokers.com

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The Paperwork Series: The Licensing For Business Buyers

Buying a business is no small task, and many first-time buyers are initially intimidated by the paperwork required to make a sale happen.

 

The good news is the paperwork, contracts and red tape required for buying a business are totally do-able.

 

You just need to stay on top of requirements, have patience and have the right help.

 

 

The last (and possibly the most aggravating) part of the paperwork you will come across in a business transaction has to do with the licensing involved when starting or running a business.

 

A very important note on licensing – you absolutely must have all your licensing in place before you take over as owner of the business. Any procrastination on your part will probably lead to major issues. Any procrastination on your business broker’s part could also be a problem. Any good business broker should be helping their buyers wade through the paperwork jungle. Some brokers leave their clients high and dry, postponing important licensing issues until the last minute. Your broker should be helping you get the information necessary to get the proper licenses and permits. If they aren’t, you might need to find better help.

 

Your licensing requirements will depend on where the business is located, what goods or services it provides and your role in the business itself. For example, a small pizza shop that does not serve alcohol will have to comply with licensing requirements from the Division of Hotels and Restaurants but not the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. If you are buying a contracting business, you may need to have the appropriate contractor license for your state. Each state, county and city will also require specific licensing requirements depending on what the business is and where it is located in relation to state, county and city boundaries.

 

Just like all of the other paperwork requirements we have discussed in previous articles – this is a great example of when a business broker is worth their weight in gold. As we already mentioned, any good broker should be helping you with licensing requirements or referring you to a licensing professional. They should also be advising you on when each part of the licensing process should be started and when it needs to be complete.

 

If you don’t want to pay the fees of a licensing professional, you should know that it is absolutely possible to do your own licensing – but it will take a good dose of patience and plenty of perseverance.

 

The best advice is to get all of the necessary licensing information from the seller (through your broker) and then go through each licensing requirement one at a time. You should print all applications regardless of whether or not you will be submitting them online as many government agencies have time-out procedures on their websites (so if you take too long to fill out your application online it will time-out and you will have to start over). Printing the applications allows you to fill everything out beforehand so you don’t have timing issues. You should also have everything in printed form and kept together because in many cases an application will require approval and signatures from multiple agencies – so it is best to take everything with you.

 

You should also understand that all government agencies are very large bureaucracies, and as such the red tape involved can be extensive and open to interpretation. What do we mean by “open to interpretation”? If you have a question on one part of a specific application, you might call one day to get an answer. The next day, when you speak to someone else in the same office, you might get a completely different answer. Although frustrating, this difference in opinion is totally normal. Just follow the instructions of the government agent you are currently dealing with, and try to deal with that one specific person every time (not always possible).

 

The best way to deal with licensing? Ask questions, lean on the experience of your business broker and stay on top of deadlines.

 

Do you have more questions about the licensing requirements in a business sale? Would you like to know more about what’s included? Ask us! Feel free to leave any questions or comments and we would be happy to help.

 

 

 

Michael Monnot

941.518.7138
Mike@InfinityBusinessBrokers.com
12995 South Cleveland Avenue, Suite 249
Fort Myers, FL 33907

www.InfinityBusinessBrokers.com

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The Paperwork Series: The Commercial Lease For Business Buyers

Buying a business is no small task, and many first-time buyers are initially intimidated by the paperwork required to make a sale happen.

 

The good news is the paperwork, contracts and red tape required for buying a business are totally do-able.

 

You just need to stay on top of requirements, have patience and have the right help.

 

 

As you near your closing date, you will also be nearing the day when you sign your commercial lease. Almost all business transactions are for the business itself – not for the associated real estate, so in almost all cases you will be dealing with a commercial lease when you buy a business. The timing for signing your commercial lease will be one of the clauses mentioned in your purchase contract.

 

Navigating the negotiation of a commercial lease and acting as a buffer between buyers and typically difficult property managers is yet another example of why a good business broker is instrumental in the success of a sale.

 

Property managers are difficult by nature because it is their job to protect the owner of the property from anyone who might not be able to pay the rent. Businesses, especially small businesses, are inherently very risky – so many property managers are hesitant to allow new owners to take over the lease at a location. You should expect a thorough vetting process, and should be prepared to disclose your financial statements and your resume. Your new landlord wants to make sure you have the experience necessary to keep the business successful and the capital to pay the rent during the transition to new ownership.

 

The inherent risk of small business also means you should expect that your lease will be essentially the same price as the lease the current seller is paying. Most property managers are not going to renegotiate for a much lower price. Why not? Keeping the current tenants at their current rate means more money for the property owner, so be ready to pay essentially the same rent (if not more).

 

Commercial leases are similar to the purchase contract because they are very extensive. You should review them carefully with your business broker and your business transaction attorney. Just like your purchase contract, any attorney unfamiliar with the business transaction process will be hesitant to advise you to sign a commercial lease simply because it is so extensive. Listen to the advice of your business broker and your business transaction attorney as they are best suited to advise you in this situation. Also be aware that most commercial leases are fairly standard, so although you may be able to negotiate some small parts of your lease – it will largely stay as it was for the original tenant.

 

Do you have more questions about the commercial lease in a business sale? Would you like to know more about what’s included? Ask us! Feel free to leave any questions or comments here and we would be happy to help.

 

 

 

Michael Monnot

941.518.7138
Mike@InfinityBusinessBrokers.com
12995 South Cleveland Avenue, Suite 249
Fort Myers, FL 33907

www.InfinityBusinessBrokers.com

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The Paperwork Series: The Purchase Contract For Business Buyers

Buying a business is no small task, and many first-time buyers are initially intimidated by the paperwork required to make a sale happen.

 

The good news is the paperwork, contracts and red tape required for buying a business are totally do-able.

 

You just need to stay on top of requirements, have patience and have the right help.

 

 

After you have signed non-disclosure agreements and have had a chance to check out a few businesses, the next set of paperwork you will encounter will be your purchase contract.

 

What is a purchase contract?

 

When you find a business you really like, you will put together an initial offer with your business broker and present that offer to the sellers. This initial offer opens up the negotiating table, and after a bit of back and forth between both parties you will hopefully have your amended offer accepted by the sellers.

 

Your initial offer, once accepted, essentially becomes the purchase contract. This contract is basically a guide for what will happen during the transaction process.

 

What will it include?

 

It will vary from transaction to transaction because businesses are inherently complex and each one is very different from the next. Some basic items the purchase contract will cover? The price offered, the length of the due diligence period and the length and scope of training are a few of the things covered in your contract, but there will also be many more.

 

The complexity of this agreement is one of the major reasons the professional help of an experienced and qualified business broker is necessary for a successful transaction. Drawing up a purchase contract on your own could leave you in a lurch if you forget something critical.

 

An important point about seeking professional help with your purchase contract: your business transaction attorney could also help you with the purchase contract  – however, notice we said business transaction attorney. Your family law attorney or the attorney you used for a civil lawsuit are not going to understand a purchase contract the way a business transaction attorney would. Remember that an attorney’s sole purpose is to protect you from any and all risk – and all businesses come with an inherent amount of risk. This contradiction means it will be tough to properly advise you if your attorney has never been a part of a business transaction. The solution is to use the advice of a business transaction attorney and business broker instead.

 

Do you have more questions about the purchase contract in a business sale? Would you like to know more about what’s included? Ask us! Feel free to leave any questions or comments and we would be happy to help.

 

 

 

Michael Monnot

941.518.7138
Mike@InfinityBusinessBrokers.com
12995 South Cleveland Avenue, Suite 249
Fort Myers, FL 33907

www.InfinityBusinessBrokers.com

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The Paperwork Series: The NDA For Business Buyers

Buying a business is no small task, and many first-time buyers are initially intimidated by the paperwork required to make a sale happen.

 

The good news is the paperwork, contracts and red tape required for buying a business are totally do-able.

 

You just need to stay on top of requirements, have patience and have the right help.

 

 

We’ll start with the first paperwork you will come across, the non-disclosure agreement. This is an agreement you must sign in order to learn the name and physical location of a business that interests you.

 

Why do you have to sign it? When a seller puts their business on the market, the confidentiality of that for-sale status is crucial for protecting the business. When confidentiality is breached an entire staff can quit, vendors can cancel contracts and the competition may move in for the kill.

 

The non-disclosure agreement protects the confidentiality of the business by creating legal repercussions for a buyer who discloses the business inappropriately. You as a buyer can avoid these repercussions by keeping the information you are given to yourself and by following the instructions of your broker in regards to any financial documents or associated information you are given.

 

What if I don’t like a portion of the non-disclosure agreement? Can I cross out the portions I don’t like before I sign it? No, you can’t. Non-disclosure agreements are standard documents, and as such changes are not permitted.

 

If you are uncomfortable signing the non-disclosure, consider the reason it is needed. If you were selling your own business, you would want legal repercussions in place to protect that business. You wouldn’t be comfortable handing over sensitive and/or proprietary information to just anyone in that same way you probably wouldn’t be comfortable handing your personal tax return to the strange guy sitting next to you at a coffee shop.

 

You should discuss any reservations you have with your business broker, but understand that your refusal to sign a non-disclosure agreement will probably put a stop to your ability to buy a business.

 

Do you have more questions about the non-disclosure agreement and what it means for you as a buyer? Would you like to know more about the business buying process? Ask us! Please feel free to leave any questions or comments and we would be happy to help.

 

 

 

Michael Monnot

941.518.7138
Mike@InfinityBusinessBrokers.com
12995 South Cleveland Avenue, Suite 249
Fort Myers, FL 33907

www.InfinityBusinessBrokers.com

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Business Buyer Questions: What Can I Afford?

 

What can you afford?

 

This is an important question, but a vastly more important question is…

 

What can you REALISTICALLY afford?

 

Anyone around for the real estate crash of 2008 knows that a major contributor to that disaster was people buying homes they had no business buying. Great big loans were common, and eager home buyers leapt at the chance to buy dream homes that were well out of realistic reach. 

 

While one would hope that we’ve all learned our lesson, there are many instances in the business market today where buyers make a 2008-esque mistake. They purchase a business they can’t realistically afford and guess what happens? Failure. Time and time again we’ve seen buyers bite off more than they can chew, use up all of their free capital and end up having to walk away six months after the closing table.

 

How do you protect yourself from this disaster?

 

Have a frank and honest conversation with your business broker when you start the business buying process. Your broker needs to know what funds you actually have available and what you are willing to risk. It should go without saying that you should be using as little of your free capital as possible for the purchase of your new business.

 

Why?

 

You are going to need cash available for a litany of things when you take over the helm. Payroll, inventory, licensing – there are day to day costs that will need to be paid in order for the business to continue running long enough for you to get profitable. 

 

What we’re trying to drive home here is if you have $100,000 available – don’t look at $100,000 businesses. Look for businesses well below your max budget so you leave yourself some financial wiggle room in your early days as owner. 

 

Are you currently looking for businesses to buy and want to know what you can realistically afford? Would you like to know more about how much free capital you should leave yourself? Ask us! Leave us any questions or comments and we would be happy to help.

 

 

 

Michael Monnot

941.518.7138
Mike@InfinityBusinessBrokers.com
12995 South Cleveland Avenue, Suite 249
Fort Myers, FL 33907

www.InfinityBusinessBrokers.com

 

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Want To See A Business On Vacation? PLAN AHEAD

 

It’s a request we get all. the. time. A prospective buyer has made a trip to our area, they’ve already been here a week and they would like an on-site tour of one of the businesses we have listed. Oh, and they fly back home tomorrow morning so the tour has to be now

 

Guess what? It’s a hard no.

 

Why? 

 

Business sales are nothing like home sales where you can make a call and someone can drive you around that day. Everyone knows when a home is for sale, and that knowledge of the home’s for-sale status is a good thing. 

 

The opposite is true for existing businesses.

 

Business sales work under a tightly controlled layer of confidentiality. This confidentiality covers everything – from the tax returns to the very name and location of the business. A business that reveals it’s for-sale status can be setting itself up for potential ruin. Regular customers will (incorrectly) assume that a business for sale is a business on the brink of failure and take their business elsewhere. Staff can quit en masse to find more stable work. Competitors can move in for the kill. All bad things, right?

 

The necessity of confidentiality means that potential buyers must sign non-disclosure agreements before even the name and location of a business can be disclosed. They will likely need to arrange several conference calls with the seller and business brokers involved to decide if a business fits with their goals for business ownership. Then (and only then) does it make sense for a potential buyer to see the physical location of the business. This on-site tour will need to take place before or after business hours when no staff or customers will be on site, and will need to be coordinated between the schedules of the buyer, seller, brokers involved and the business itself. Guess what? That 100% can’t be done before your plane leaves tomorrow. 

 

Do yourself and your chance for getting a look at a business a favor – plan ahead. Have the cursory conversations with your broker, the conference calls with sellers and the time and flexibility to arrange on-site meetings – way, way ahead of time.

 

Are you in the market to buy a business and want to know more about how confidentiality affects the process? Would you like to know what businesses in the area might meet your goals for business ownership? Ask us today! Leave any questions or comments and we would be happy to help.

 

 

 

Michael Monnot

941.518.7138
Mike@InfinityBusinessBrokers.com
12995 South Cleveland Avenue, Suite 249
Fort Myers, FL 33907

www.InfinityBusinessBrokers.com

 

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How To Solve The Family Entrepreneurial Divide

Owning a business means putting your heart and soul into a living, growing business entity – and with all that heart and soul comes a lot of personal attachment. Many small business owners dread the day when life will force them to hand over the reins to someone else. How could anyone else do the job like they do? How could anyone else possibly care as much as they do? What if a new owner changes things? These are the things of entrepreneurial nightmares.

 

What do many small business owners do to deal with their issues of letting go? They try to groom one or more of their children to take the helm. By handing the business down to one’s offspring you can always keep one foot in the door and still exert some control, even if it is from behind the scenes. You can also continue to reap the financial rewards of small business ownership by taking a salary to fund your retirement.

 

 

Unfortunately, however, many small businesses that get handed down to children fail or take such a steep decline that the aging parents must come out of retirement to try and right the ship.

 

Why does this happen?

 

Children are not clones of their parents – they are their own people with their own motivations, hopes and dreams. A great many children of business owners take over the family business not because they want to, but out of a sense of duty.

 

Any successful business owner will tell you that without drive and passion there is little chance of keeping a business alive. If you try to force that drive and passion onto someone else – the outcome could be ugly. In other cases it isn’t a lack of drive or passion, some people just aren’t cut out to be business owners.

 

If you are grooming your kids for life as the owner of your business you need to consider that they, secretly or not, might not want to do what you do.

 

If you have a family business, the first thing you need to do is have a serious talk with your kids about the future of the business, their dreams and their goals. You might be surprised to learn that they want to do something else.

 

If this is the case, all is not lost. You can still make a return on all of the investment of time,energy and money you have contributed to your business over the years by selling the business. You can use the proceeds of that sale to fund your retirement or to invest in a business venture that your children actually want.

 

The message here is every business owner needs to deal with the reality that no one lives forever, and for the business to continue someone else needs to take the reins. Turn all of the love you have for your business into capital you can use instead of forcing your kids to take the helm.

 

Do you own a business and have always planned to give the business to your children? Have your kids expressed zero desire to take over when you retire? Would you like to know what businesses like yours have recently sold for? Ask us! Please leave any questions or comments here and we would be happy to help.

 

 

 

Michael Monnot

941.518.7138
Mike@InfinityBusinessBrokers.com
12995 South Cleveland Avenue, Suite 249
Fort Myers, FL 33907

www.InfinityBusinessBrokers.com

 

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Benefits Of The E2 Visa – A Primer For Business Buyers And Sellers

This United States is a country of immigrants. Our foundation was built on the backs of the small business owners who came to this country to give their families a chance at a better life. While today’s anti-immigration news climate might seem to impede the path of those living abroad who have a desire to move to the United States – it doesn’t mean you can’t get here. The entrepreneurial American dream is still very much alive and well.

 

The United States allows several pathways for those who would like to come here and invest in a business – because those businesses help to strengthen the American economy and create jobs.

 

One of these pathways is by way of the E2 Visa.

 

 

An E2 Visa is an option worth considering if you are a foreign buyer because it allows a non-immigrant investor to come to the U.S. with their spouse and children to live and work so long as they invest in a business that qualifies for E2 status. There are rules to consider, such as whether or not the country where you hold citizenship will allow you to qualify for this type of Visa, but those answers can easily be found by checking the Department of Homeland Security U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services website, found here:

 

http://www.uscis.gov/working-united-states/temporary-workers/e-2-treaty-investors

 

or by asking a qualified business broker who has experience with the E2 Visa process (like us!).

 

If you are a business seller, then this type of Visa could potentially be very important to you as well. If your business qualifies for E2 status, then you will be opening your business listing to a huge market of investor buyers who are looking for a way to come the the United States.

 

If you haven’t heard of getting your business qualified for the E2, don’t be surprised – there are not many brokers who are experienced in this type of transaction, and many falsely believe that throwing a Visa into the mix will slow a transaction down. While a Visa does add a few more steps (mostly on the buyer side of the table), in most cases the process will only be delayed by a few weeks – and quite frankly we have had more deals held up by the sellers themselves than we ever have by consulates evaluating E2 status.

 

If you think the E2 might be your path to entrepreneurship in the United States, don’t delay. There are great businesses for sale that currently meet the E2 requirements. If you haven’t asked about qualifying your business for the E2 Visa, please do by contacting us today! The more buyers who see you business as a potential investment opportunity, the better – so why limit yourself to only local and national buyers? Get your small business on the international scene and you will have a great chance of finding the right buyer.

 

For more information about the E2 Visa process, please also visit our sister site,

 

http://e2visa.com/

 

Are you a foreign buyer who is interested in the option to buy a business in the States with the E2? Are you a seller who wants to know if your business would qualify? Please feel free to leave any questions or comments here and we would be happy to help!

 

 

 

Michael Monnot

941.518.7138
Mike@InfinityBusinessBrokers.com
12995 South Cleveland Avenue, Suite 249
Fort Myers, FL 33907

www.InfinityBusinessBrokers.com

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Michael Monnot

941.518.7138
Mike@InfinityBusinessBrokers.com

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




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