Five Kinds of Buyers

Buyers are generally categorized as belonging to one of the following groups although, in reality, most buyers fit into more than one. The Individual Buyer This is typically an individual with substantial financial resources, and with the type of background or experience necessary for leading a particular operation. The individual buyer usually seeks a business that is financially healthy, indicating a sound return on the investment of both money and time. The Strategic Buyer This buyer is almost always a company with a specific goal in mind -- entry into new markets, increasing market share, gaining new technology, or eliminating some element of competition. The Synergistic Buyer The synergistic category of buyer, like the strategic type, is usually a company. Synergy means that the joining of the two companies will produce more, or be worth more, than just the sum of their parts. The Industry Buyer Sometimes known as “the buyer of last resort,” this type is … [Read more...]

Why Deals Don’t Close

Sellers Don’t have a valid reason for selling. Are testing the waters to check the market and the price. (They are similar to the buyer who is “just shopping.”) Are completely unrealistic about the price and the market for their business. Are not honest about their business or their situation. The reason they want to sell is that the business is not viable, it has environmental problems or some other serious issues that the seller has not revealed, or new competition is entering the market. Don’t disclose that there is more than one owner and they are not all in agreement. Have not checked with their outside advisors about possible financial, tax or legal implications of selling their business. Are unprepared to accept seller financing or now unwilling to accept it. Buyers Don’t have a valid reason to buy a business, or the reason is not strong enough to overcome the fear. Have unrealistic expectations regarding price, the business buying process, and/or small … [Read more...]

Seller Financing: The Basics

Seller financing has always been a mainstay of business brokerage.  Buyers don’t have the capital necessary to pay cash, are unable to borrow the money, or are reluctant to use all of their capital.  Buyers also feel that a business should pay for itself and are wary of a seller who wants all cash or who wants the carry-back note secured by additional collateral. What sellers seem to be saying, at least as perceived by the buyer, is that they don’t have a lot of confidence in the business or in the buyer or perhaps both.  However, if you look at statistics, it’s apparent that sellers usually receive a much higher purchase price if they accept terms. Studies reveal that, on average, a seller who sells for all cash receives only about 80 percent of the asking price.  Sellers who are willing to accept terms receive, on average, 86 percent of the asking price. The seller who asks for all cash receives, on average, a purchase price of 36 percent of annual sales while the seller who will … [Read more...]

What Would Your Business Sell For?

There is the old anecdote about the immigrant who opened his own business in the United States. Like many small business owners, he had his own bookkeeping system. He kept his accounts payable in a cigar box on the left side of his cash register, his daily receipts – cash and credit card receipts – in the cash register, and his invoices and paid bills in a cigar box on the right side of his cash register. When his youngest son graduated as a CPA, he was appalled by his father’s primitive bookkeeping system. “I don’t know how you can run a business that way,” his son said. “How do you know what your profits are?” “Well, son,” the father replied, “when I came to this country, I had nothing but the clothes I was wearing. Today, your brother is a doctor, your sister is a lawyer, and you are an accountant. Your mother and I have a nice car, a city house and a place at the beach. We have a good business and everything is paid for. Add that all together, subtract the clothes, and … [Read more...]

Selling Your Business? Expect the Unexpected!

According to the experts, a business owner should lay the groundwork for selling at about the same time as he or she first opens the door for business. Great advice, but it rarely happens. Most sales of businesses are event-driven; i.e., an event or circumstance such as partnership problems, divorce, health, or just plain burn-out pushes the business owner into selling. The business owner now becomes a seller without considering the unexpected issues that almost always occur. Here are some questions that need answering before selling: How much is your time worth? Business owners have a business to run, and they are generally the mainstay of the operation. If they are too busy trying to meet with prospective buyers, answering their questions and getting necessary data to them, the business may play second fiddle. Buyers can be very demanding and ignoring them may not only kill a possible sale, but will also reduce the purchase price. Using the services of a business broker is a … [Read more...]

Rating Business Buyers in Today’s Market

Making the initial decision to sell is tough, but once that decision is made, there are many diverse options.  Small businesses are more sophisticated than ever, and the individuals purchasing these businesses are complex and come from varied backgrounds.  Here is an overview of the most active categories of business buyers in today's market: Groupings of Family Members People within a business owner’s own family often opt to buy the family business. In fact, this stands as one of the more common types of small business buyers.  One reason is that business owners are more comfortable with a relative taking over the prized business, as they often built it up from nothing.  Quite often the family member looking to take over the family business has been carefully groomed and tested over the years to ensure that he or she is ready to be the true "heir apparent."  In this kind of situation, the family member truly is the best person to buy the business. However, there is a downside.  … [Read more...]

Want to Sell your Business? Preparation is Crucial

Article by: Alan Brind, President Business Brokers New York LLC   In our experience the majority of business owners are inadequately prepared when the time comes to sell their business and transfer ownership. But, the way to ensure that the business owner maximizes the value of their business and minimize the objections raised by a potential buyer is to have squeaky-clean financials. Starts with the Financials When a potential buyer becomes interested in your business, their first port of call is to examine your financials. This is an opportunity for you “the business owner” to create a favorable impression and set the tone for the buyer’s whole experience in dealing with you as the seller. An astute buyer will often have a cadre of professional advisor’s, the most notable in the early stages of discussions with the seller, is his accountant. Any CPA worth his salt will scrutinize your financial statements, with particular attention being paid to the balance … [Read more...]

Reuters: Some small business owners see ’12 as year to sell

By Deborah L. Cohen CHICAGO | Thu Jun 28, 2012 2:43pm EDT (Reuters) - Jim Angleton did not plan on selling his small financial services business this year, but when a foreign buyer approached with the right offer he went ahead without regrets. "There's uncertainty moving forward," said Angleton, 56, who sold a unit of his Miami-based company, AEGIS FinServ Corp, which issues debit and credit cards to U.S. government employees working abroad. "Tax rules are constantly changing and they don't make sense. This time next year I'll probably be thankful I did this." Like many small business owners, Angleton cited jitters about the future of U.S. tax policy and an uncertain regulatory environment that could affect his company - specifically, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act which entails tighter controls over banks and financial services providers. Such worries may be one reason why business brokers say they are fielding more calls this year from the … [Read more...]

Why Sell?

There are a number of different reasons why selling a business can be an emotional event. The business may have been in the owner’s family for generations. The owner may have built it from scratch or bought it and then poured the necessary energy into it to grow it into a successful, profitable business. For these and many other reasons, “seller's remorse" is actually one of the major causes of a deal falling through. However, despite the emotional ties to a business, there are times when selling is the best course to take. Here are just a few examples of those times. Burnout According to industry experts, burnout is a major reason owners consider selling their businesses. Over time, the long hours and 7-day workweeks can take their toll. On the opposite end, business owners who thrive on challenge may get to the point that the business has just become boring - the challenge of creating it or growing it has been replaced with the mundane daily activities of running it. Losing … [Read more...]

Rating Today’s Business Buyers

Once the decision to sell has been made, the business owner should be aware of the variety of possible business buyers. Just as small business itself has become more sophisticated, the people interested in buying them have also become more divergent and complex. The following are some of today's most active categories of business buyers: Family Members Members of the seller's own family form a traditional category of business buyer: tried but not always "true." The notion of a family member taking over is amenable to many of the parties involved because they envision continuity, seeing that as a prime advantage. And it can be, given that the family member treats the role as something akin to a hierarchical responsibility. This can mean years of planning and diligent preparation, involving all or many members of the family in deciding who will be the "heir to the throne." If this has been done, the family member may be the best type of buyer. Too often, however, the difficulty … [Read more...]