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Business Broker Report 16: 3 Tips to Avoid Getting "Burned" by Your Broker.

Posted on Mon, Mar 23, 2015

describe the imageSo, you’ve finally decided to sell your business. Congratulations - it’s a tough decision to make.

But the decision-making isn’t over yet. Now, it’s time to choose your Broker - the firm you need to handle your sale and get you the best possible deal for your business.

But how do you make sure you’re not getting burned by your Broker?

Follow These 3 Tips to Make Sure You Don’t Get Ripped Off:

  1. Don’t Pay Any Up-Front Fees.
    You’ve probably attended seminars where they promise to sell your business for three, four, five or even ten times its true value.
      Back away – don’t get sucked in. This is actually a very sophisticated scam.

    Companies like this put on slick presentations, but are really only interested in collecting big up-front fees, not in actually selling businesses. They claim they can create a “frenzy of buyer interest” that will “skyrocket the price to stratospheric levels.” Don’t be fooled. It’s all smoke and mirrors. They want to get you excited and then stick you with a $30-60K up-front fee.
    Money you don‘t get back when they fail to sell your business!

  2. Use a Brokerage Firm that Doesn't Get Paid Until You Do. 
    Not all business brokerage firms ask for up-front fees.
      Some operate strictly on a success fee basis. These firms get paid only when the sale of your business actually goes to closing. These success-fee based Brokers have the confidence that they can get the deal done. After all, if your sale doesn’t close, they don’t get paid.
     
  3. No Track Record? No Way! 
    You don’t want your Business Broker or M&A Advisor to learn on the job with your sale. Do your due diligence! Check their track record, case studies and success stories, making sure they’re credible. Probe into past and present clients. Are the clients satisfied? Do they even exist?

Don’t learn the hard way -- if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Stick with a reputable Broker with a solid track record who is willing to earn his success fee only when the sale of your business is completed!

If you’re ready to sell your business - with no up-front fees and no smoke and mirrors - please click here or on the link below or call us at 888 468-1660. We’ll be happy to schedule a free initial consultation and complimentary business appraisal.

There is never an up-front cost or obligation, and all communications will be held in the strictest confidence. 

Sell Your Business The Right Way

Prime Investments Business Brokers takes the risk out of selling. For over 25 years Prime has helped owners in Virginia, Maryland, Florida, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Washington, D.C. and New Jersey get the best deal when they sell their businesses – without charging any upfront fees.

Tags: M&A Advisor, sell your business, selling your business, business broker

Business Broker Report 15: Are Market Conditions Right to Sell My Business?

Posted on Mon, Sep 08, 2014

tired business womanYou want to sell your business, but you don't have to sell it today. After all, you've worked hard for many years to build the value of your business. Sure you want to spend more time with family and friends, travel, play golf or do whatever it is you like to do when you're not working. But not at the cost of leaving money on the table. What's the point of working hard for all these years if you can't sell your business for top dollar? You can always stay on a few more years if you have to. As they say, timing is everything.

Is now the right time to sell your business?

We can't answer that question for you from the personal point of view - you and your family have to make that decision. But we can provide some insight into the market for selling businesses. From what we see, current market conditions are extremely favorable to business sellers.

Here are three factors that lead us to conclude that current market conditions have created the perfect time to sell your business:

 

Pent-up Demand
Many business owners who would have liked to have sold over the last few years held off because of the recession. Buyers have had thin pickings. This created a huge backlog of buyers - individuals, equity funds and companies - searching for businesses to buy.

Buyers are competing amongst themselves for the few good businesses available for sale, keeping valuations high. That makes for a real seller's market.

 

Availability of Capital for Acquisition Loans
Buyers - equity funds, companies and individual investors - are flush with cash. And lenders, who need to make loans to stay in business, are actively competing to find good deals to fund.

Additionally the Small Business Administration (SBA) recently increased its ceiling for business purchase loans and streamlined its approval process, making it easier than ever for buyers to be approved.  

Buyers have access to the necessary funds. They're just waiting for the right investment opportunity.

 

Low Interest Rates
Interest rates are still quite low. Low interest rates make it easier for a buyer to afford a strong sales price by lowering monthly debt-service payments. With low interest rates, a buyer can pay a strong price for your business and still stay within the lender's approvable debt-service to revenue ratios. It's a win-win situation. You achieve a high price for your business and the buyer keeps his monthly payments affordable.

But this window of opportunity created by low interest rates won't last forever. As you've probably heard, interest rates are expected to climb as the economic recovery matures. It takes up to a year to sell a business. If you're thinking about selling, you should start the process now.

 

Low interest rates, pent-up buyer demand, and the increased amount of available capital have combined to create an ideal situation for business owners thinking about selling. Is this a good time to sell your business? No . . . it's the perfect time!

 

If you would like to see if the time is right to sell your business, please click here or on the link below or call us at 888 468-1660. We'll be happy to schedule a free intitial consultation and complimentary business appraisal.

There's never an up-front cost or obligation, and all communications will be held in the strictest confidence.

Is This the Right Time to Sell My Business?

 

Prime Investments Business Brokers takes the risk out of selling. For over 25 years, Prime has helped business owners in Florida, Georgia, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey and Washington, DC sell their businesses - without charging up-front fees.

 

 

 

 

Tags: business brokers, busines broker, sell your business

Business Broker Report 14: What Do I Do After I Sell My Business?

Posted on Tue, May 27, 2014

man sailing after he sold his businessQuick answer: anything you damn well please!  Sail around the world. Train for a triathlon. Find the perfect trout stream. Play golf every day.

 

Sounds great, but reality is a little more complicated. You can’t just walk out the door the day after you sell your business – and most owners don’t want to. They understand that in order to protect their employees and the legacy of what they have built, they will have to stick around for a bit. That being said, some owners still want to exit as quickly as they can; others would like to continue to work for a few years, although with reduced hours and responsibilities. Some owners might want to retain a piece of the business and cash in on the upside that the buyer creates. The right Business Broker / Advisor can help structure your post-closing arrangements as part of the overall deal and create a situation that works for both you and the buyer.

Although post-closing arrangements are custom-tailored to individual needs, they fall broadly into three categories:

1. Short-Term Transitional Services

Sellers who want to exit quickly should understand that they will need to stay a minimum of 2-3 months after closing to train and familiarize the new owners with all aspects of the business. This includes introducing the buyers to your employees, familiarizing them with your operational procedures and transitioning client relationships. Often in this type of arrangement, your responsibility is full-time for the first month or two, and then reduces to part time. These arrangements typically include a consulting component where you agree to be available for a period of up to one year after closing for occasional telephone, email or in-person consulting. Short-term transitional services are traditionally provided as part of the larger deal, with no additional compensation.

2. Longer-Term Employment

Sellers who would like to stay with their company for more than a few months can have a strong hand in influencing what their post-closing situation will be. Oftentimes we can arrange that the seller limits his duties going forward to the things he likes (sales for example) and avoid the things he dislikes (administration or HR). We can also often arrange for changes in his work schedule to improve his quality of life – shorter work weeks, more vacation time, etc. While these post-closing employment arrangements often have a term of between 6 months and 2 years, we have seen cases where it worked so well that the seller stayed on for 5 years. 

3. Retaining an Equity Position

Buyers can bring more to the table than just the cash needed to consummate a deal. Buyers often bring professional management, additional capital to help the company grow, or other critical elements (such as new distribution channels) needed to take a company to the “next level”. It might be a good business decision in these instances for the seller to retain a minority interest in the company.  The seller would then continue working for a period of time and use the assets the buyer brought to the table to help the buyer grow the business. At some point in the future, the seller elects for the buyer to buy his remaining equity at a pre-determined formula, which, if all goes well, gives him a higher valuation and allows him to participate in the growth that has occurred since he sold his majority interest.

 For more information about issues that relate to selling your business, please visit us at www.primeinvestments.us. There are lots of white papers to download and blog topics of interest to business owners. If you would like to have a confidential discussion about your personal situation, click here or on the link below or call us at 240 290-5000. We’ll be happy to schedule a free initial consultation and complimentary business appraisal.

 There’s never an up-front cost or obligation, and all communications will be held in the strictest confidence.

 Schedule Your No-Fee Initial Consultation

Prime Investments Business Brokers takes the risk out of selling. For over 25 years Prime has been helping business owners in Florida, Georgia, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey and Washington, DC sell their businesses – without charging upfront fees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tags: business brokers, business broker Pennsylvania, business broker Virginia, business broker Delaware, business broker Washington, business broker, business broker Maryland, business broker New Jersey, DC

Business Broker Report 13: Will The New Owner Keep My Employees?

Posted on Tue, Mar 18, 2014
employee getting fired when business broker sold businessYour  employees have stuck with you year after year, working hard to help build your business into a thriving enterprise. You wouldn’t be where you are today without them. So when it comes time to sell your business, it’s not surprising that you are concerned about their future. Will the buyer keep your employees on, or will he just "clean house” and put his own people in.

 

What’s the Buyer Buying Anyway?

Your business may have lots of equipment, vehicles and inventory. Or it may have long-term contracts, intellectual property or other valuable assets. Or it may be a service business with very little in the way of hard assets. In either case, it has one critical component– its employees. Your assets couldn’t generate revenues without them. It’s your employees who have the customer and vendor relationships and the specific knowledge and skills that generate revenues and profits. It’s your employees who make your company valuable.

 As worried as you are that a new owner might let your employees go, the new owner is more worried that your employees might quit! After all, what would happen to the value of your business after the sale if your key people left? Rather than “clearing house”, we find that new owners usually bend over backwards to make sure that the existing employees stay on and feel like they are valuable members of the team. They may offer (or insist on) employment contracts for key people. They will maintain current compensation and benefits. They typically don’t make any major changes for six months to one year after closing. And, oftentimes, they ask that you, the existing owner, stay with the business for a period of time after closing to help smooth the transition.

 So the worry that you may have that your employees will all get fired after the sale is largely unfounded – the new owner needs your employees and wants them to stay. Here’s a brief outline of what to expect with three different types of buyers:

 

1. Entrepreneurial Individual Buyer  

If an individual buys your company, he will likely do his utmost to keep your entire staff intact. He will essentially step into your shoes and, over time, learn the operational details of your business.  He will rely on your employees to keep the operation running smoothly.

2. Equity Fund Buyer

An equity fund buyer may already have an experienced manager to step in and run the company or, as often happens, may promote your second in command to COO and incentivize him or her with the ability to earn an ownership position in the business. In either case, equity fund buyers will typically want all of the existing employees to stay on.

 3. Industry Insider Buyer

If an industry insider buys your company, there may be some positions that the buying company’s existing staff can take over. Sales and production staff are typically safe, as are most lower to mid-level managerial positions; however, some higher-level managerial positions might be eliminated.

 For more information about issues that relate to selling your business, please visit us at www.primeinvestments.us. There are lots of white papers to download and blog topics of interest to business owners. If you would like to have a confidential discussion about your personal situation, click here, click on the link below or call us at 240 290-5000 We’ll be happy to schedule a free initial consultation and complimentary business appraisal.

 There’s never an up-front cost or obligation, and all communications will be held in the strictest confidence.

Schedule Your No-Fee Initial Consultation

Prime Investments Business Brokers takes the risk out of selling. For over 25 years Prime has been helping business owners in Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Florida, Georgia, Delaware, New Jersey and Washington, DC sell their businesses – without charging upfront fees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tags: business brokers, business broker Virginia, business broker Delaware, business brokoer Pennsylvania, business broker, business broker Maryland, business broker New Jersey

Business Broker Report 12: Selling Your Business? What Could Go Wrong?

Posted on Thu, Jan 23, 2014
businessman who made a big mistakeYour business likely represents a major portion of your net worth. Before you sell your business, team up with an experienced Business Broker or M&A Advisor. He will help you get the best price for your company and steer you clear of the pitfalls that could cause you to lose the value of your life’s work.

Here are 4 mistakes that are easily avoided when you have professional advice:

Mistake #1 – Accepting a Large “Earn-Out” Instead of Cash at Closing

A company comes to you with an offer to buy your business. They tell you what a great job you’ve done and what a great company you’ve built.  Then they tell you about their company, they wine you and dine you, and maybe even fly you out to their corporate headquarters. You begin to get comfortable with them. They seem like good guys. Then they make an offer with a very strong price, but with one hitch. Most of the purchase price is an “earn out” – paid to you only if your company reaches certain performance goals going forward. This kind of arrangement may be acceptable if you get the bulk of the purchase price, let’s say 70-80%, in cash at closing. But if the numbers are reversed and you get only a small down payment – don’t do it. Even if you continue to run the company for the buyer after closing, you’re not really in control. They call the shots. And if their decisions cause your company not to do well, you’re not going to get paid the full purchase price. It’s that simple.

Mistake #2 – Taking Stock in the Buying Company in Lieu of Cash

Similar to Scenario 1, but instead of accepting an” earn out”, you accept stock in the buying company with just a small cash down payment. This is even more dangerous than the earn-out scenario. In the earn-out scenario, you’ll at least have some control of your company after closing.  When you accept stock instead of cash, however, you are completely at the mercy of the buyer. If his company goes down, your stock goes down. And if the market tanks, as we all know it can, the value of your stock tanks as well. And what makes this scenario even worse is that the stock you received when you sold your business will often be restricted – you’ll be prohibited from selling it for a period of time after closing, typically two years. It’s a recipe for disaster.  

Mistake #3 – Failing to Maintain Confidentiality

You’ve negotiated a deal with the buyer, the purchase contract is almost finished, the buyer has secured financing and the deal is scheduled to go to closing. You decide to hold a company-wide meeting to tell your staff about the impending sale. But then something happens. The deal is called off. Now what?  Now your employees, your competitors, your vendors and your banker all know that you are trying to sell. Your employees get nervous and start looking for another job, your competitors tell your customers that you’re going out of business, your vendors put you on COD and your banker calls in your line of credit. It’s a nightmare scenario which, with the proper advice as to how to maintain confidentiality, could easily have been avoided.

Mistake #4 – Choosing the Wrong Business Broker or M&A Firm

You attend a seminar where a company promises to sell your business for three, four, five or even ten times its true value.  Back away – don’t get sucked in. This is actually a very sophisticated scam.

Companies like this put on slick presentations, but are really only interested in collecting big up-front fees, not in actually selling businesses. They claim they can create a “frenzy of buyer interest” that will “skyrocket the price to stratospheric levels.” Don’t be fooled. It’s all smoke and mirrors. They want to get you excited and then stick you with a $30-50K up-front fee. And then good luck getting your phone calls or emails returned.

Don’t learn the hard way -- if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Stick with a reputable Broker who is willing to earn his “success fee” only when the sale of your business is completed.

You are an expert in running your business. But you’re not an expert in selling businesses.  Most business owners aren’t – they simply don’t have any experience with the process. Just as providing your product or service requires specific experience and expertise, selling your business requires a specific, but different, set of experience and expertise.

Your business very likely represents your largest personal asset. Selling your business – turning your biggest asset into dollars – is too important to be left to an amateur. You need the services of an expert – a qualified, experienced Business Broker or M&A Advisor.

For other valuable tips about selling your business and to learn more about the business sales process in general, click on the link below, visit us at www.primeinvestments.us or call us at 240 290-5000. We’ll be happy to schedule a free initial consultation and complimentary business appraisal.

There’s never an up-front cost or obligation, and all communications will be held in the strictest confidence.

  Schedule Your No-Fee Initial Consultation

 

 

Tags: M&A Advisor, M&A, selling your business, business broker

Business Broker Report 11: Is Your Competitor Really the Best Buyer?

Posted on Fri, Nov 15, 2013

big fish small fishWhen it comes time to sell their business, many owners sit down with their Business Broker or M&A Advisor and tell them that this is going to be easy – that they already know who the perfect buyer is for their business. “My competitor just down the road,” they often say “would be the perfect buyer – he already knows the business and he could just add my people and accounts. And I also sell X product or service that he doesn’t have, and he could add that to his existing offerings. It’s a perfect fit!”

Well . . . maybe. It might work. But be careful – offering your business to a competitor is fraught with peril. The risk here is that you and the buyer operate in the same marketplace. It’s a small world. You have overlapping suppliers, customers and even workers who know one another. Although your advisor will have all prospective buyers sign Non-Disclosure Agreements prohibiting them from disclosing the fact that you are selling to anyone except direct deal advisors (typically accountants and attorneys), because you are in the same market, even an inadvertent breach of confidentiality could cause you serious harm.

But is the risk worthwhile? Will the competitor pay a strong price or even an above-market price to acquire your company? We find that the answer is typically “no”. We consistently find that equity funds, individual buyers or other outside investors accept higher valuations than industry insiders. While your competition would love to acquire your clients and other assets, they generally don’t like to pay for good will – after all, they already know how to provide the goods or services you provide.

That’s not to say that selling to a competitor is never the right move - sometimes it is. For
example, if your competitor is doing a “roll-up” – aggressively acquiring a number of businesses in same the field to build a much larger company – you may be able to walk away with a good deal in hand.  Or if your business has something that your competitor desperately needs but can’t get, you may be able to leverage a strong price. But even these situations need to be handled with an abundance of caution.

What other types of buyers are there?

  1. Private Equity Funds (PE)
    PE firms are private companies comprised of groups of investors who pool money to buy and manage a portfolio of businesses. Although there are huge PE firms like The Carlyle Group or The Blackstone Group acquiring very large companies, there are also thousands of smaller PE firms that are active in the lower end of the market, buying companies that are worth between $1 million and $25 million. PE firms buy mature companies from owners who are either planning to retire, ready for a new business pursuit or who understand that professional management is needed to take their company to the next level.

    PE firms offer several advantages over traditional buyers:
  • High net worth – PE firms often don’t need to seek outside financing.
  • Experience – PE firms typically have made multiple acquisitions and decide quickly whether they will make an  offer or not.
  • Professional management – PE firms can often provide the
    management expertise the acquired company needs to realize its true potential.
  • Strong price – once a PE firm has decided to make an acquisition, it typically will make a good offer and try to get the deal closed as soon as possible.
  • Hi-net Worth Entrepreneurial Individuals
    These are individuals who have either been in business before or have the experience, skill and capital necessary to acquire and manage a business. Some will have a depth of knowledge and experience in your specific field; others will come with general business training and acumen that they can apply to manage and grow your company. An individual buyer uses his own money and/or borrows money from a lender to make an acquisition. Since he is risking his own assets, oftentimes including his home, he tends to be very careful. While it sometimes takes a bit more patience and “hand holding” to get a deal done with an individual buyer, once he is comfortable that your company represents a safe investment, the entrepreneurial individual is often the perfect buyer.

  • Companies in Related Fields or Different Geographic Markets
    These are companies seeking to grow by acquiring a company with products or service offerings related to their existing core business or by acquiring companies in their core business in new geographic markets. They offer the advantage of having some degree of knowledge of your industry while being removed sufficiently as to not be a direct competitive threat. While perhaps not as aggressive as PE firms in their valuations, these companies often will pay a strong price because the acquisition creates synergistic value above and beyond the intrinsic value of the company they are buying.

    To help choose the right buyer for your business and learn more about the business sales process in general, click on the link below, call us at 240 290-5000 or visit us at www.primeinvestments.us. We’ll be happy to schedule a free initial consultation and complimentary business appraisal.

    There’s never an up-front cost or obligation, and all communications will be held in the strictest confidence. 

Find the Best Buyer for Your Business

 

 

 

Tags: business brokers, M&A, business broker

Business Broker Report 10: 3 Tips for Boomers Ready to Sell

Posted on Tue, Sep 17, 2013

retired man sailing

According to many Business Brokers and Mergers and Acquisitions Specialists, we're entering into a perfect storm created by baby boomers reaching retirement age and the country coming out of a recession. Boomer business owners who have wanted to retire, but have held their businesses off the market because of the recession, are now moving forward in increasing numbers.

Early in 2012, with the capital gains tax hike pending, tax considerations were the number one driver of business sales. But, according to a survey by Pepperdine University, the International Business Brokers Association and M&A Source, by the last quarter of 2012, baby boomer retirement had become the number one driver of small business sales.  In fact, according to BizBuySell.com (an online site hosting business buying and selling activity) the sale of small businesses increased 56% in the first quarter of 2013 over the first quarter of 2012.

OK. We get it. There’s going to be a lot of businesses on the market over the next few years. That being so, how do you make your business stand out from the crowd? How do you make it attractive to buyers so you can get the deal you need to get to help secure your retirement?

Here are 3 tips for getting your business in shape to sell:

 

1.     Enhance Your “Curb Appeal”

Studies have shown that a thorough detailing can add as much as 20% to the value of a used car. Whether it’s cleaning old debt off the books, getting rid of obsolete inventory, updating your IT infrastructure, or sprucing up your physical plant – updating and cleaning up your business before it goes on the market pays for itself many times over at the closing table. Buyers don’t want to buy a business that appears to have been neglected.  They don’t want to have to replace the phone system or deal with some uncollectable receivable on their first day of business. They want everything to be in place, bright and shiny and ready to help them realize their dreams.

 

2.     Start Letting Go of the Reins

Some business owners have trouble delegating – they keep their hands tight on the reins, make all the important decisions themselves and are the main point of contact with key customers.  That’s great as long as it works, but it’s not so great when it’s time to sell. Buyers will avoid or discount companies where all decision making and key customer relationships reside with the owner. If you don’t already have one, it’s important to create a strong second level of management before you put your company on the market. Start delegating decision making to your next-in-command. Transition key customer relationships to trusted managers. It may be painful for some owners to give up some control, but it will yield strong dividends at the sales table.

 

3.     Start a Relationship with an Experienced Business Broker or M&A Advisor

Even if you are not ready to sell today, it makes sense to meet with a qualified Business Broker or M&A Advisor. An experienced professional can advise you as to changes you need to make in your business to make it more attractive to buyers, educate you as to what you can expect during the process of selling, package your business to show it off in its best light to command the highest price, and guide you through potential pitfalls.

 

It can take a year or more to sell a business. To discuss your situation and start your personal planning, click on the link below, visit us at www.primeinvestments.us or call us at 240 290-5000. We’ll be happy to schedule a free initial consultation and complimentary business appraisal.

 

There’s never an up-front cost or obligation, and all communications will be held in the strictest confidence.

 

Schedule Your No-Fee Initial Consultation 

 

 

 

Tags: business brokers, M&A, Mergers and Acquisitions, IT, selling your business, Appraisal, business broker

Business Broker Report 9: Should I Offer My Business to My Key Employees?

Posted on Tue, Jul 23, 2013

angry meeting contrast adjustedYou’ve been thinking about selling your business for a while, maybe you’ve even had preliminary discussions with a Business Broker or Mergers and Acquisitions advisor. But you have one nagging concern - wouldn’t it be easier to sell your business to a trusted manager or key employee, or even to a group of employees? And wouldn’t it be the right thing to do? After all, these are the people who helped you build your business into what it is today. Shouldn’t they be rewarded for their loyalty?

In an ideal world, the answer would be “yes”. But in that “ideal” world, employees would have large savings and perfect credit, spouses would be willing to guarantee notes and place liens against their homes, and employees would have the commitment, motivation and risk tolerance of business owners.

But it’s not an “ideal” world – it’s the real world. In the real world, employees don’t have large savings or perfect credit, spouses aren’t willing to put their homes on the line as collateral and employees are employees for a reason – not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur. And banks don’t make loans to unqualified buyers.

In the real world, unless you are willing to personally lend the employees the bulk of the sales price, the answer to the question “should I offer my business to my key employees when I’m ready to sell” has to be “no”. It’s not in your interest – and it’s not even in your employees’ interest:

 

Employees Typically Won’t Qualify for Financing

Despite the best intentions of the owners and employees, in all likelihood, your employees just won’t qualify for a loan. They don’t have the required down payment, high enough credit scores, sufficient collateral, or business ownership experience. And then there is the squabbling – employee “A” has 50% more equity in his home than employee “B”, isn’t it fair that he get a bigger share?, employee “C” had a personal bankruptcy and employee “D”s spouse won’t co-sign. The infighting won’t stop.

 

Fear of the Unknown

The employees can’t qualify to buy the business themselves, but now they know you are planning to sell. What will the new owner be like? Will he want to keep them on or are they going to lose their jobs? Fear of the unknown is a normal human response. Even though new owners virtually always want everyone to stay, if your employees learn about a sale before they can meet the new owners, they may decide that the best way of dealing with the uncertainty is to start looking for a new job. By offering the business to your employees, you’ve let the cat out of the bag, and it won’t go back in. It’s best for everyone not to inform employees about a sale until after it is consummated.

 

“Blackmail” or “Veto” Power

It’s one thing to be told that the business you work in has been sold and that the new owners would like to keep you on. Most employees would feel surprise and then relief that their job was secure. It’s quite another thing to be offered a chance to buy your company – to have a chance at the American dream of owning your own business – and then have that chance evaporate when you are turned down for financing. And then, to add insult to injury, have the business sold to an outsider. Now the employee doesn’t feel relieved, he feels envious. We’ve seen instances where envious employees have tried to derail a sale, either  by getting together and “vetoing” a prospective buyer (by vowing not cooperate with someone they didn’t approve of) or by demanding a “bonus” (really blackmail) to sign up with the new owner. All because they were offered something they shouldn’t have been offered in the first place.

 

If you’ve been thinking about selling your business, it’s best to get professional advice before you make the kind of misstep that could put the successful sale of your company in jeopardy. To learn how to avoid these major mistakes click here or click on the button below or call us at 240 290-5000 and we’ll map out the steps you need to achieve the highest possible market price for your business.

There’s never an up-front cost or obligation, and all communications will be held in the strictest confidence.

 Schedule Your No-Fee Initial Consultation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tags: Mergers and Acquisitions, selling your business, business broker

Business Broker Report 8: 3 Ways Owners Can Increase Profits

Posted on Thu, Jun 13, 2013
increasing profits 3

 

Business owners are always looking for ways to maximize profits and increase the value of their business. There’s lots of advice out there, but it’s usually just some variation of “increase your sales and reduce your expenses” – duh – as if you hadn’t thought of that. Here are three ideas that you may not have thought of: 

 

Grow Your Recurring Revenue Base
Any business broker or mergers and acquisitions advisor will tell you that business buyers love recurring revenues. And there’s a reason. Recurring revenues are like magic. You make the initial sale and then do nothing (or next to nothing) and a check just shows up every month. It’s the best. And recurring revenues have additional advantages. First, because the customer is tied to you in some way, recurring revenues are usually quite stable. Second, because no additional sales effort is needed, they tend to be high-margin. And third, recurring revenues keep you connected to your customer so when he’s ready to make a new, large purchase, you’ll likely get the sale. There are lots of ways to build a base of recurring revenues – license or lease your product or technology instead of selling it outright, sell products that need periodic supplies or maintenance, sell service or maintenance agreements, franchise, sell your product through a distributor, etc. It’s well worth concentrating your energies on growing your recurring revenue base – it will pay dividends both in the short-term by increasing your profits and in the long-term by increasing the value of your company.

Fire Your Customers
Most everyone has heard of the 80-20 rule – that 80% of a company’s profits typically come from the top 20% of the company’s customers. But not enough small business owners focus on the effect on their company of the bottom 20% of customers. How many of these customers are marginal or even unprofitable? You probably have no idea. But you should. Marginal or unprofitable customers are often high-maintenance and low volume. They consume more resources than they pay for, bleed you with slow pay, or simply are too small to cover your overhead allocation. They divert attention from your hi-margin customers and use up resources that are better deployed elsewhere. We’ve sold businesses where the seller, content with his profits, never took a hard look at each customer’s profitability. When a new owner took over, however, he found that the business was losing money on each transaction with many of the company’s clients. He “fired” his marginal and losing customers and profits increased dramatically. There’s no reason to wait to get rid of losing accounts – do it now, increase your bottom line and increase the value of your company.

Have a Business Plan
Studies show that most small business owners do not have a business plan. You may not feel like you need one. You know your business, you know your market and you know competition. And you run your business more on gut feel than hard analysis. And it works – for now. But did you know that businesses with defined, current business plans do better than those without? It makes sense. If you have a plan for growth, you tend to grow. If you don’t, you can stagnate or even lose ground. Most business owners are reactive rather than proactive - they react to changes in their market instead of analyzing changes and trends, identifying their strengths and weaknesses and then devising a plan to best position their company to move forward. It’s easy to get caught up in day-to-day operational issues and crises and to lose sight of the big picture. A business plan helps keep you focused on growth.

For more information about issues that may affect the value of your business, please visit us at www.primeinvestments.us. There are lots of white papers to download and blog topics of interest to business owners. Click here or on the link below if you are thinking about selling your business or call us at 888 468-1660. We’ll be happy to schedule a free initial consultation and complimentary business appraisal.

There’s never an up-front cost or obligation, and all communications will be held in the strictest confidence.

Schedule Your No-Fee Initial Consultation

 

 

Tags: business brokers, Mergers and Acquisitions, business broker

Business Broker Report 7: 3 Signals That It's Time To Sell

Posted on Tue, May 14, 2013

Are you “burned out”? Tired of dealing with thefrustrated business owner same problems every day? Don’t have the  passion anymore that it takes to improve your business? Don’t want to risk making the big investment your company needs to grow? Wish you could spend more time with your family? Travel more?

You’re not alone. Most owners who sell their businesses are in their mid-40s to early 60’s. They’re tired of the stress of having it all on their shoulders, the long hours away from home and family. They’re not forced to sell because they’re too old to run their company; rather, they choose to sell because they want a different lifestyle. Click here to listen to stories from entrepreneurs who have chosen to sell their businesses.

Sellers are typically energetic and vigorous entrepreneurs who have built great companies, made good money and are ready to enjoy their lives and families while they are still healthy and able to do so. They want to spend more time with their children or grandchildren (who might have been shortchanged while they were devoted to building the business), travel the world, or even take on a new business challenge.

How do you know when it’s time to go? Here are 3 good indicators: 

  1. You Feel ‘Burned Out’
    It’s hard enough to wear all the hats you wear and keep your business firing on all cylinders when you’re motivated – it’s a nearly Herculean task when you’re not. It’s not that you can’t do it, it’s just that you don’t want to. The same problems day in and day out, the never-ending routine of collections, vendor issues and employee problems. It’s not challenging anymore. It’s not even fun. You’re in a rut. You need a change of pace.
  2. You Aren’t Willing To Make a Necessary Investment In Your Business
    You know what you need to do to take your company to the next level. And if you were younger, you would do it in a heartbeat. But now you’re not so sure. Getting your company to the next level would take a huge additional time commitment just when you were trying to scale back. It would require you to re-invest substantial assets when you were thinking about taking money off the table, reducing your exposure, securing your retirement or seeding a new venture.
  3. You’re Thinking There Must Be More To Life Than Work
    You’ve heard rumors about this and decided to investigate. Maybe you’ve dipped your toe in the water and taken a long trip to an exotic destination. It wasn’t so bad. You could do that again. Or you can take a few weeks to go wilderness camping with your son before he goes away to college. Or sail the Caribbean. Or pick up your old electric guitar and get the band back together. Or finally spend time at your dream vacation home you built ten years ago. Or play more golf.

Business brokers and mergers and acquisitions specialists know that the time to sell your business isn’t after you’ve neglected it, let it run down and its value has decreased -- the time to sell is when you’re at the top of your game and your business is performing well. And when you’re young enough and healthy enough to enjoy the fruits of your labor and do the things that you have always wanted to do.

It can take a year or more to sell a business. To discuss your situation and start your personal planning, click on the link below, visit us at www.primeinvestments.us or call us at 888 468-1660. We’ll be happy to schedule a free initial consultation and complimentary business appraisal.

There’s never an up-front cost or obligation, and all communications will be held in the strictest confidence.

 Schedule Your No-Fee Initial Consultation

Tags: business brokers, Mergers and Acquisitions, selling your business, Appraisal