Do I need an attorney?

It is always advisable to have an attorney review the legal documents. It is important, however, that the attorney you hire is familiar with the business buying process and has the time available to handle the paperwork on a timely basis. If the attorney does not have experience in handling business sales, you may be paying for the attorney's education. Most business brokers have lists of attorneys who are familiar with the business buying process. An experienced attorney can be of real assistance in making sure that all of the details are handled properly. Business brokers are not qualified to give legal advice. However, keep in mind that many attorneys are not qualified to give business advice. Your attorney will be, and should be, looking after your interests; however, you need to remember that the seller's interests must also be considered. If the attorney goes too far in trying to protect your interests, the seller's attorney will instruct his or her client not to proceed. The … [Read more...]

Why should I use an M&A Intermediary?

A professional intermediary can be helpful in many ways. They can provide you with a selection of different companies that may fit your criteria including many that you would not be able to find on your own. An intermediary can provide you with extensive information and an in-depth look at pre-screened organizations. Intermediaries are also an excellent source of information about the market. They are familiar with individual companies, the markets they represent, industries trends and can advise you about other key elements in your search and evaluation process. A well qualified intermediary acts as the quarterback in managing the entire process and coordinates the activities of each consulting professional involved in the process. … [Read more...]

What happens when I find a business I want to buy?

When you find a business, the business broker will be able to answer many of your questions immediately or will research them for you. Once you get your preliminary questions answered, the typical next step is for the broker to prepare an offer based on the price and terms you feel are appropriate. This offer will generally be subject to your approval of the actual books and records supporting the figures that have been supplied to you. The main purpose of the offer is to see if the seller is willing to accept the price and terms you offered. There isn't much point in continuing if you and the seller can't get together on price and terms. The offer is then presented to the seller who can approve it, reject it, or counter it with his or her own offer. You, obviously, have the decision of accepting the counter proposal from the seller or rejecting it and going on to consider other businesses. If you and the seller agree on the price and terms, the next step is for you to do your … [Read more...]

What does it take to be successful?

Certainly, you need adequate capital to buy the business and to make the improvements you want, along with maintaining some reserves in case things start off slowly. You need to be willing to work hard and, in many cases, to put in long hours. Unfortunately, many of today's buyers are not willing to do what it takes to be successful in owning a business. A business owner has to, as they say, be the janitor, errand boy, employee, bookkeeper and "chief bottle washer!" Too many people think they can buy a business and then just sit behind a desk and work on their business plans. Owners of small businesses must be "doers." … [Read more...]

What should I Look for?

Obviously, you want to consider only those businesses that you would feel comfortable owning and operating. "Pride of Ownership" is an important ingredient for success. You also want to consider only those businesses that you can afford with the cash you have available. In addition, the business you buy must be able to supply you with enough income - after making payments on it - to pay your bills. However, you should look at a business with an eye toward what you can do with it - how you can improve it and make it more productive and profitable. There is an old adage advising that you shouldn't buy a business unless you feel you can do better than the present owner. Everyone has seen examples of a business that needs improvement in order to thrive, and a new owner comes in and does just that. Conversely, there are also cases where a new owner takes over a very successful business and not soon after, it either closes or is sold. It all depends on you! … [Read more...]

How are businesses valued?

Most sellers have some idea about what they believe their business is worth or what they would like to sell it for to the right buyer. This may or may not be realistic. They look through the lens of their own business and compare it to others in the market. This is where the experience of a knowledgeable intermediary begins to establish a solid understanding of the operation to determine market value. The intermediary begins by understanding the company, the industry, the market, the intellectual property available and the potential opportunity to a buyer A company may worth one price to a financial buyer and a completely different price to a strategic buyer. The intermediary works with the seller and his/her management team (if appropriate) to position the company in the best posture to attract the best suitors. An outside valuation by an expert in the field of business valuations may be an important component in helping to determine potential market value. Once this … [Read more...]

What is the real reason people go into business for themselves?

There have been many surveys taken in an attempt to answer this question. Most surveys reveal the same responses, in almost the same identical order of priority. Here are the results of a typical survey, listed in order of importance: 1. To do my own thing, control my own destiny. 2. Don't want to work for someone else. 3. To better utilize my skills and abilities. 4. To make money. *It is interesting to note that money is not at the top of the list, but comes in fourth.  … [Read more...]

Why should I buy a business rather than start one?

An existing business has a track record. The failure rate in small business is largely in the start-up phase. The existing business has demonstrated that there is a need for that product or service in a particular locale. Financial records are available along with other information on the business. Most sellers will stay and train a new owner and most will also supply financing. Finding someone who will teach you the intricacies of running a business and who is also willing to finance the sale can make all the difference. … [Read more...]