The Business Brokers Survival Guide To Buying Or Selling A Business – 10 Tips For Buyers And Sellers

By Jason Alan - One thing’s for certain when buying or selling a business, it can be a emotional roller coaster for all parties involved (buyer, seller, and broker). It is important that as brokers we identify these emotions and strategically handle them.  I’ve learned to identify a series of patterns from my buyers and sellers with respect to their emotions and behavioral patterns and how to handle them. First and foremost not  taking any of them personally or getting my own emotion involved.  While this can be a challenging exercise, it’s imperative. Once the purchase agreement has been signed and due diligence has begun, buyers and sellers experience a wide variety of emotions. There are several factors that influence the decision making process beyond the hard facts at hand such as: Pride, Denial, Ego, 3rd party advocate (who usually  doesn’t have all of the facts), lack of confidence, and the list goes on.  When any combination of these emotions come into the equation it’s … [Read more...]

What Does a “Unique Business” Mean?

Quite commonly, business owners feel that their business is unique, but is it really?  There are a variety of different ways that businesses can be unique.  Yet, there are some key variables and factors that simply must be in place if a business is to be simultaneously unique and valuable.  This leads us to an important question, are these unique and valuable factors transferable to a new owner?   Here are five key factors to look for in a business. Factor One-The Assets Having an intangible asset, such as the perfect location with a locked in long-term lease (which would, of course, transfer to a new owner) is of vital importance.  However, this is not the only example of critical intangible assets.  Other examples would include a robust mailing list of past and current clients that was built up over a series of years, a popular franchise relationship, trademarks and copyrights or a respected and known product line.  Factor Two-Is the Business Easily … [Read more...]

Why is seller financing so important to the sale of my business?

Surveys have shown that a seller who asks for all cash, receives on average only 70 percent of his or her asking price, while sellers who accept terms receive on average 86 percent of their asking price. That's a difference of 16 percent! In many cases, businesses that are listed for all cash just don't sell. With reasonable terms, however, the chances of selling increase dramatically and the time period from listing to sale greatly decreases. Most sellers are unaware of how much interest they can receive by financing the sale of their business. In some cases it can greatly increase the amount received. And, again, it tells the buyer that the seller has enough confidence that the business can, indeed, pay for itself. … [Read more...]

What happens when there is a buyer for my business?

When a buyer is sufficiently interested in your business, he or she will, or should, submit an offer in writing. This offer or proposal may have one or more contingencies. Usually, the contingencies concern a detailed review of your financial records and may also include a review of your lease arrangements, franchise agreement (if there is one), or other pertinent details of the business. You may accept the terms of the offer or you may make a counter-proposal. You should understand, however, that if you do not accept the buyer's proposal, the buyer can withdraw it at any time. At first review, you may not be pleased with a particular offer; however, it is important to look at it carefully. It may be lacking in some areas, but it might also have some pluses to seriously consider. There is an old adage that says, "The first offer is generally the best one the seller will receive." This does not mean that you should accept the first, or any offer -- just that all offers should be looked … [Read more...]

What can I do to help sell my business?

A buyer will want up-to-date financial information. If you use accountants, you can work with them on making current information available. If you are using an attorney, make sure they are familiar with the business closing process and the laws of your particular state. You might also ask if their schedule will allow them to participate in the closing on very short notice. If you and the buyer want to close the sale quickly, usually within a few weeks, unless there is an alcohol or other license involved that might delay things, you don't want to wait until the attorney can make the time to prepare the documents or attend the closing. Time is of the essence in any business sale transaction. The failure to close on schedule permits the buyer to reconsider or make changes in the original proposal. … [Read more...]

What can business brokers do – and, what can’t they do?

Business brokers are the professionals who will facilitate the successful sale of your business. It is important that you understand just what a professional business broker can do -- as well as what they can't. They can help you decide how to price your business and how to structure the sale so it makes sense for everyone -- you and the buyer. They can find the right buyer for your business, work with you and the buyer in negotiating and along every other step of the way until the transaction is successfully closed. They can also help the buyer in all the details of the business buying process. A business broker is not, however, a magician who can sell an overpriced business. Most businesses are saleable if priced and structured properly. You should understand that only the marketplace can determine what a business will sell for. The amount of the down payment you are willing to accept, along with the terms of the seller financing, can greatly influence not only the ultimate … [Read more...]

How long does it take to sell my business?

It generally takes, on average, between five to eight months to sell most businesses. Keep in mind that an average is just that. Some businesses will take longer to sell, while others will sell in a shorter period of time. The sooner you have all the information needed to begin the marketing process, the shorter the time period should be. It is also important that the business be priced properly right from the start. Some sellers, operating under the premise that they can always come down in price, overprice their business. This theory often "backfires," because buyers often will refuse to look at an overpriced business. It has been shown that the amount of the down payment may be the key ingredient to a quick sale. The lower the down payment, generally 40 percent of the asking price or less, the shorter the time to a successful sale. A reasonable down payment also tells a potential buyer that the seller has confidence in the business's ability to make the payments. … [Read more...]