Questions Business Owners Ask When Selling Their BusinessBy Paul L. Kush Copyright 1994 Solutions Consultants Business BrokersFrequently Asked QuestionsWHY SHOULD I CONTRACT A BUSINESS BROKER? Business Brokers understand the market and the quickest path to achieving a closed transaction. SO YOU CAN STAY FOCUSED ON RUNNING YOUR BUSINESS - This is important so your business stays profitable and marketable. Having a third party involved allows you to keep an arms length in the negotiations. MARKETING AND ADVERTISINGDesigning a marketing plan specifically targeted to the types of buyer that would be interested in the business is a key factor. Business brokers use data bases of buyer prospects professional associations, and investment groups. Target marketing through trade publications, direct mail, and Internet sites specifically for business transactions may be used to reach buyers. Advertising in newspapers both local and national are typically used.QUALIFYING BUYERSThe business broker will focus on those prospects who are financially qualified and who are genuinely interested in the type of business.PRESENTING THE BUSINESSThe professional business broker is experienced in handling negotiations. The broker also offers the seller convenience of continuing to manage the business while the selling process is underway.MAINTAINING PRIVACY AND CONFIDENTIALITYBusiness owners are extremely concerned about confidentiality. A professional broker is skilled at protecting the confidentiality from the employees, suppliers, creditors, and customers of the business.NEGOTIATING THE BUSINESS SALE TRANSACTIONThe business broker will be a vital advisor during the sale transaction. Knowledgeable about negotiating price, terms, and other key aspects of the sale, the broker will guide the seller each step of the way. Proper deal structure will greatly affect the net amount that the seller will end up keeping after selling the business.HOW MUCH IS MY BUSINESS WORTH?The value of your company depends on many factors such as: Who is buying the business, what is the cash flow, asset values, financial history, condition of equipment and premises of the business. Are there favorable lease terms, what is the competition, location and the economy? As you can see analyzing your business and comparable sales in your industry is imperative. Solutions Consultants Business Brokers can advise you on the proper pricing strategy for your business based on all of these factors. The biggest mistake you can make is to over or under price your business!It is Imperative to do a third party valuation. Not only for you to know the true market value of your business so you can price it right, but most financial institutions insist on a business valuation before they will consider financing. In addition, businesses that have third party valuations sell more frequently at the asking price than those that don't have one. It provides the buyer with the confidence that the business has been analyzed and priced. Why not sell my business myself? It is extremely difficult to maintain your business while engaging in the selling process. Most owners do not know the time and expense involved in marketing their own business. They will often spend wasted hours working with unqualified buyers. In fact, because the business owner does not have access to a network of qualified buyers, they often end up selling their businesses for much less than they could have. It is very hard to maintain confidentiality as well as negotiate a deal if the business owner is working directly with the buyer. Using a Broker can ensure the highest dollar. WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO SELL?The best time to sell is at the businesses peak. Buyers put most of their focus on the future prospects, if your business has been a steady performer and they can see growth potential, the higher the purchase price.WHY SHOULD I USE SOLUTIONS CONSULTANTS BUSINESS BROKERS AND THE SCBB TO SELL MY BUSINESS? Solutions Consultants Business Brokers will help you get the best value for your business. We will save both buyers and Sellers money by avoiding costly mistakes in the selling process. Our National Affiliation with the SCBB network enables us to utilize our affiliate offices worldwide to aid in selling our listings. Solutions Consultants Business Brokers will help you get the best value for your business. We will save both buyers and Sellers money by avoiding costly mistakes in the selling process.* Bottom Line, by using us to sell your business you get: * Maximum Exposure* Confidentiality* Qualified Buyers* Advertising and Marketing * Financial Guidance * Negotiating Power* Ability co-broker with our affiliates * Experience Proven Results WHAT ITEMS DO I NEED TO PREPARE IN ORDER TO SELL MY BUSINESS? * Gather Documents for Evaluation:* Three Years of Income Statements or Tax Returns* Current Balance Sheet* Current Asset List with replacement value* Copy of Facilities Lease Agreement* Organizational chartWe assist you in putting together a professional marketing package. A professional business broker is never the expert in your business or the industry. That expertise comes from the business owner. The broker is the marketing expert. Preparing a marketing package for your business requires that the owner and the broker work together to determine the strengths and weaknesses of a company and how they could impact the marketing of your business.WHEN SHOULD I DEVELOP AN EXIT STRATEGY? The sooner the better. The ideal time to develop an Exit Strategy for your business is when you start or purchase the business. However, industry statistics indicate that 85% of all business owners do not have a defined exit strategy although, on average 75% of their net worth is tied up in their business. IS MY COMPANY READY FOR SALE? The company's financial records and operations must be evaluated and analyzed to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the company. Proper planning will help you address and hopefully minimize any operational or financial weaknesses of the company before launching the marketing phase of the disposition process.WHAT IS MY COMPANY WORTH? The market price range of your company is estimated after consulting with all of your team members (accountant, valuation expert, M&A specialist) and evaluating all of your goals and objectives. Timing considerations, proposed transaction structure, industry conditions and lending market conditions are all key elements to consider in estimating the market price range for your company.HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO SELL MY COMPANY? The industry average for selling a business is 6-12 months. The size of the transaction, the pricing structure, and specific marketing strategy will directly affect how long it will take to sell your company. HOW DO I MAINTAIN CONFIDENTIALITY IN THE MARKETING PROCESS?Confidentiality in dealing with internal personnel and external sources is strongly encouraged and is critical to achieve a successful transaction. For the Seller's protection, Solutions Consultants Business Brokers requires a Buyer's Confidentiality Agreement to be signed by the potential buyer before the release of the Business Memorandum.HOW DO I PREPARE TO BUY A COMPANY SHOULD THAT BE MY INTEREST? We will assist you in determining your acquisition goals and objectives. Before the acquisition search begins, it is important to narrowly define and target a specific industry, business size, develop an integration plan if applicable, understand your financial purchasing parameters and explore your financing options.WILL SOLUTIONS CONSULTANTS BUSINESS BROKERS HELP ME ARRANGE FOR FINANCING? Yes, we assist Buyers in obtaining transaction financing through our extensive financial institution network. We counsel you on the variety of transaction financing options that are available and assist you in evaluating these options as they pertain to and your specific potential business acquisition. DOES SOLUTIONS CONSULTANTS BUSINESS BROKERS ASSIST IN STRATEGIC ACQUISITIONS?Yes, we will formulate with you a definitive acquisition plan to target both single and multiple acquisition candidates. If you prefer, we will help you remain anonymous and maintain confidentiality until the appropriate time in the transaction. WHAT IS A BUSINESS VALUATION?A business valuation is an estimate of the value of a business or of an interest in a business. Should the value of a business have any relationship to the value in the marketplace? A business valuation should consider the market value that a buyer could reasonably be expected to pay, and that a seller could reasonably be expected to accept, if the business were exposed for sale on the open market for a reasonable period of time, both buyer and seller being in possession of the pertinent facts, and neither being under compulsion to act. WHY ARE VALUATIONS DONE? A valuation may be necessary to sell a company, to buy a company, to sell shares of a company to key employees, to settle estates, for divorce property settlements, insurance purposes or to simply keep informed of the company's value as growth takes place. WHAT INFORMATION SHOULD BE USED TO COMPLETE A VALUATION? Solutions Consultants Business Brokers uses proprietary information for valuations such as tax returns and accountant prepared financial statements for up to five fiscal years. We also incorporate interviews with the principal and employees, tours of the business facility, reviews of customer lists, tangible business assets, general operating and management information, and other information concerning business operations. Analysis is also done to compare the company's financial performance to others within the same industry.WHAT IS DONE WITH ALL OF THIS BUSINESS INFORMATION? The basis of any valuation should be the analysis and reconstruction of business earnings, an assessment of current business assets, and an opinion of the future of the business. The valuation considers the continuity of business income, market competitiveness, industry growth, company longevity and reputation, financial trends, management depth, customer mix, the quality of the products and services offered, and the general desirability of the business. WHAT ARE MORE IMPORTANT, BUSINESS EARNINGS OR BUSINESS ASSETS? It is true that earnings must support the purchase of business assets. It is also true that assets must be available to serve as financial or even "psychological" collateral. A common finding is that the mix of assets and earnings will vary considerably among businesses. This mix is then judged accordingly for that particular business. HOW ASSETS AND EARNINGS ARE BEST DISPLAYED? In most valuations it is necessary to reconstruct the tax oriented income statement and balance sheet to display the information as it would appear to a new owner. For example, the income statement may need to be adjusted to better show the pre-tax earnings that a business can generate. This is necessary since an income statement is prepared for tax purposes and in general will attempt to lower taxable earnings. For example, a business may show a non-cash expense such as depreciation, in excess of what would be necessary for a reasonable replacement fund. Also, an owner may be receiving a salary that is either too high or low for the work that is being performed. Both of these cases will require adjustment. Another adjustment is usually required for interest expenses since a new owner will have a different debt and equity structure than the current owner. There may also be other adjustments on expense items which are not necessarily important for business operations but considered important to the owner as additional benefits or compensation. In addition, a company's balance sheet may display equipment that is fully or almost fully depreciated, but that has a higher fair market value. The balance sheet may also display certain assets such as franchise fees or real property at cost, but they may actually have appreciated in value. Conversely, there may also be unrelated business assets that should be eliminated. These and other adjustments to a company's book value of assets need to be made in order to show the current fair market value.What are the Top 10 reasons why businesses don't sell?1. Priced too high. 2. No justification for the price.3. Business cannot be financed. 4. Poor record keeping (tax returns).5. Not packaged correctly. 6. Need to explain full value of the company in writing. Buyers want to leverage their money.7. Desirability (owners responsibility and hours required to operate successfully).8. Management and employee not staying after the sale (family owned).9. Out dated service and/or product (i.e., payphone business).10. Too much working capital required. SOME ADDITIONAL POINTS TO CONSIDER: Asking Price Must be reasonable and fair to both seller and buyer. DEAL STRUCTURE AND FINANCING Is owner financing a consideration? Does this company have the potential for SBA approved financing? Sales and Earnings Are revenues going up, down, or flat? What are the trends in expenses and margins? Company History IS THIS COMPANY A STARTUP OR IS THERE A LONG, STEADY HISTORY? Marketing Strategies Is there an opportunity to improve sales through a more aggressive marketing campaign? Industry Trends? How are revenues trending in the industry as a whole? Is there a consolidation movement within this industry? Employees Is there a stable workforce? Do the employees know the business is for sale? Is the owner willing to stay on as an employee? Facilities Is there a long-term lease? Is real estate included in the deal? Assets and Liabilities Exactly what assets and liabilities are to be transferred with the sale of the company? Does it make sense to include accounts receivable and accounts payable?Are there some assets or liabilities that it makes sense to exclude?As you can see, there are many things to consider when selling your business. We are ready to help you if you have the need. Paul L. Kush Solutions Consultants Business Brokers Houston, TX 281.333.0052SCBB | Questions Business Owners Ask When Selling Their Business1
Everybody says it. Get a personal introduction and youll fare much better.So, what? I walk up to this guy when hes at lunch and introduce myself, noting that Id like $850,000 for my new business? No, I dont think so.There are, actually, much better ways of getting that personal introduction, such as:1.Via RejectionsYes, rejections do have a rosy side. Every time a lender or investor rejects your business plan, call and ask who they recommend as a good prospect.Then, contact the person/company that is recommended, noting, Jan Snicker at Big Oldie Bank suggested I contact you.Voila! Theres your personal introduction.2.Via ResearchUse your research to identify something common between you and the lender/investor. Perhaps your neighbor went to the same college he did. Perhaps your kids are both into ice hockey.Use that commonality to get your personal approach.For example, you discover that he is a Scout leader, just as you were. So start out, Being a Scout leader taught me the importance of teaching leadership skills to my team.Before you know it, you and he are good buddies.3.Via a Common ContactSomewhere within seven degrees of separation there are people common to both of you, either in your professional lives, or your personal circles.This may take some legwork. You need to hook up with the person who knows the person who knows him. But its well worth it. The gold mine of information you discover along the way, as well as that ever valuable personal introduction, make every moment worth while.Is this imposing on people? Not at all. People like to be asked. They like feeling important. So give them both.Dont be surprised if a journey like this turns up other investors/lenders that you hadnt even thought of.4.Via a Chance EncounterYou suspect that Mr. Gingle will be at the investor forum next week? Well, what the dickens is stopping you? Line up that intro now.If you can manage to be at his table at lunch, youve hit a home run. But any chance encounter will do just fine. All you need is a few minutes to give your investor introduction pitch.Your goal is to have him say that its OK for you to send a business plan to his attention. That, realistically, is all the time he will have at a brief encounter like this.5.Via the Back DoorYour lender/investor has clients. Some have been very successful and earned him a lot of money.If you cannot get to your person, try getting to that particular client. Industry conferences are always a good bet. Local business conferences often work well too.I know one industrious entrepreneur who moved to Menlo Park, California, and hung out in the local pubs known to be frequented by venture capitalists. While that was a bit radical, the approach is right on target.I cannot over-emphasize the importance of conducting research on your potential investment partner. It doesnt matter whether its the bank around the corner or the "venture capital" firm on the other side of the country. Find out everything you can names, biographies, hobbies, speeches, education, career path.Then, when you do get that personal introduction (and its invariably at a time when you least expect it!), you will have the info glue to make the introduction stick.Good luck on your adventure!
Though earning a high income certainly makes life easier, it's not necessarily the only solution to attracting wealth and gaining financial freedom. The "super rich" have another great back door secret that often goes unnoticed. It's the secret of spending less than you earn to build wealth. Not only those who are already rich, but some middle-to-lower class workers are well on their way to creating wealth by using this simple method. They realize the value of a dollar and how just a little creativity - and discernment - can keep them one step ahead of the financial game.What Does it Mean to "Spend Less than You Earn?"It means just what the statement implies - don't spend it if you don't have it, spend less instead. If you earn $3,000 monthly, spend only $2,800 if possible, and put the remaining $200 into a retirement or college savings plan or some sort of wise investment that will yield a return later. Live within your means. In other words, don't buy an expensive car and/or home that you can't afford. Choose products that you can buy with straight cash when possible, or products that you can finance without putting a financial strain on your budget. Opt for a lower payment and low interest loans if you must go in debt.Work towards Paying Off DebtThe first step to "creating wealth" is to get out of debt. Smart spending is the only way you can do this. Create a detailed budget and outline all of your monthly spending - even the extra stuff such as soft drinks from a local store. Write down every penny spent, so you'll know where the money is going. Then, notice the unnecessary spending that you can eliminate. There are likely things you can do without as you pay off debts. Write these things down and transfer that money to pay toward the debts. Pay off high-interest loans or credit cards first. And most importantly, don't create new debts.Creating Wealth through Smarter ShoppingWhen shopping, look for better deals, use coupons, and shop at thrift stores instead of buying things new. Smart spending frees up extra money for creating wealth through savings and investments. Be mindful of spending when dining out at restaurants, visiting stores, paying for fuel, and when buying supplies or household goods. Eliminate or reduce unnecessary monthly payments such as expensive cell phone contracts, cable or satellite television, furniture rentals, certain types of insurance, and so forth. With some needful expenses such as car or health insurance, you might be able to find a more affordable provider.Attracting wealth is easy once you realize the tremendous value of unspent dollars. They add up quickly, and you don't have to work harder to earn them! You'll gain control of your finances and reduce stress for yourself and your family. And in the future, you'll enjoy "financial freedom" by creating wealth for the long term!
After several months of suffering numerous criticisms, the United Arab Emirates finally yields to political antagonism. Dubai Ports World has ordered the removal of the facilities from the five ports they have purchased from the United States. Dubai has announced their decision right after the meeting between the Republican representatives in both the House and Senate was concluded. In the private meeting held in the morning, the leaders told Bush that that transaction between the U.S and the United Arab Emirates was destined to fail.Some business factions said that this mounting paranoia in the U.S Senate could possibly harm future trade investments. This defeat, some warned, may come back and haunt the U.S because it may damage the relationship between both countries. It should be noted that the UAE is an important ally nation of the United States in the Middle East. In an act to save the rapport between the two countries, UAEs Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum has decided to hand the operations of the P and O Ports North America Inc. to the supervision of the U.S. Just last February, DP World has announced that they will put their plan to take over the management of six US ports after numerous bombardment of criticisms by several parties. Concerns over the national security of the U.S were voiced out if ever the deal were to take place. It is a well-known fact that the Middle East is home to the terrorist group Al-Queda with some members coming from the United Arab Emirates. Critics who opposed the deal used this as the basis of their opposition, saying that handling the management of the ports to a nation with questionable association to terrorists would compromise national security.England, along with some officials, defended the deal. They said that paranoia should not be allowed to rule the minds of the people. They added that this is exactly what the terrorists want to happen. Administration officials have repeatedly said that although the management of the ports is going to be handed to the DP World, the national security will still be under the U.S entities' supervision such as the Coast Guard and the Customs of Border Protection. However, this assurance didnt stop the House to vote in opposition to the deal, and quite overwhelmingly. After reviewing the transaction under the agreed time of 45 days, the House vote resulted in a 62-2 vote against UAEs management of the U.S ports. According to White House officials, the decision came about after the meeting of the Congress and DP World. It has also been said that the senior officials of the administration had no direct involvement in the meeting. Several upper bodies of both governments discussed the issue and worked out a result, which was for the United Arab Emirates-based company to back out. After several weeks of controversy and heated discussions, the conclusion came surprisingly swift. It is still unknown how the company would formalize its departure but DP world would not suffer any substantial economic loss.
Step 3. Evaluate the risks and decide whether existing precautions are adequate or more should be done.Consider how likely it is that each hazard could cause harm. This will determine whether or not you need to do more to reduce the risk. Even after all precautions have been taken, some risk usually remains. What you have to decide for each significant hazard is whether this remaining risk is high, medium or low.Firstly, ask yourself whether you have done all the things that the law says you have got to do. As an example, there are legal requirements on prevention of access to dangerous parts of machinery. Then ask yourself whether generally accepted industry standards are in place. But do not stop there, think for yourself, because the law also says that you must do what is reasonably practicable to keep your workplace safe. Your real aim is to Make All Risks Small by adding to your precautions as necessary.If you find that something needs to be done, draw up an action list, and give priority to any remaining risks which are high, and those which could affect most people.In taking action ask yourself:1. Can you get rid of the hazard altogether?2. If not, how can you control the risks, so that harm is unlikely?In controlling risks apply the principles below, if possible in the following order:1. Try a less risky option.2. Prevent access to the hazard (eg by installing guards)3. Organise work to reduce exposure to the hazard.4. Issue personal protective equipment.5. Provide welfare facilities (eg washing facilities for removal of contamination) and first aid.Improving health and safety need not cost a lot. For instance, placing a mirror on a dangerous blind corner to help prevent vehicle accidents or putting some non-slip material on slippery steps, are relatively inexpensive precautions considering the risks.And failure to take simple precautions can cost you a lot more if an accident does happen.But what if the work you do tends to vary a lot, or if you and your employees move from one site to another?Identify the hazards you can reasonably expect and assess the risks from them. Then, if you spot any additional hazards when you arrive at the site. Get information from others on site, and take what action seems necessary.But what if you share a workplace?Tell the other employers and self-employed people working there about any risks your work could cause them, and also the precautions you are taking. Also, think about the risks to your own workforce from those who share your workplace.But what if you have already assessed some of the risks?If. for example you use hazardous chemicals and you have already assessed the risks to health and the precautions you need to take under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH), you can consider them checked and move on.More information about legal requirements and standards can be found in the HSE publications:An Introduction to Health and Safety. Essentials of Health and Safety. And Management of Health and Safety at Work: Approval Code of Practice.Thats it for this section.I'll cover Steps 4 and 5 in Part 3.