If you want to sell more businesses at a quicker pace, preparing a detailed business information package can help you achieve that 7-figure income. We often receive comments from other brokers on how quickly our businesses sell at Crowne Atlantic Business Brokers. I respond by stating “it’s all in the preparation of our package.” We take the packaging of our businesses very seriously. We believe every business is unique, and our job is to highlight those unique attributes and features, as well as how this business can work for a new owner. We borrow the eyes of a buyer and look at buying a business from their perspective. Of course, keep in mind that the best package in the world can’t fix horrible and/or inconsistent numbers. This article is assuming the business you’re selling is truly viable.
How To Make 7 Figures By Preparing A Great Package
Let us compare the business package to a bouquet of flowers. Many brokers offer bits and pieces of separate data such as a profit and loss in one file, and a tax return in another file, and if you’re lucky, an equipment list. The data looks like separate flowers spread out on a table; Buyers then see a mishmash of data with no organization or thought. It makes it easy to see why stores sell flowers in a bouquet. The flowers look better when beautifully packaged together. The information package helps tell the story of a business, and offers brokers an opportunity to add context to the financial data.
Instead of challenging Buyers to picture the operation for themselves, tell them the story. Give them a gorgeous bouquet of flowers instead of pieces of flowers thrown on a table.
When you create a package, you need to share with the buyer truly helpful and descriptive information on the business. The bare minimum standard list of items to have in your business package include:
- Executive Summary
- Summary of Assets Included
- Equipment List
- Staff Chart
- Photos/Video Links
This list is quite basic, and your package should contain these items. When the main items are in your business package, look at it once more and ask yourself, “are you looking at this business package from the buyer’s lens?” Do you truly elaborate on the features in each of these sections of the package?” Are you thinking ahead to what questions a buyer will ask about the financials, the operation of the business, the layout of the facility, and the current team in place? Are you mentioning why features are or are not ideal, and how it affects the income of the business?
Easy Guide of What to Say
|PACKAGE ITEM||COMMON DESCRIPTION||HOW TO ELABORATE|
|Location||Located in Central Florida||Located in an industrial area with great access to I-4. Cheaper rent. Business is next to reciprocating businesses that refer work back and forth|
|Staff||Owner has 5 employees||Owner has one manager who manages evening hours and one who manages daytime hours, one bookkeeper, and one salesperson who has been there for 10 years. None of the staff is family related.|
|Financials||Financials Tax return or P&L with no commentary||Show addbacks for 3 years; list any out of the norm expenses or situations...and there is something within 3 years at some point to list which stands out for every business I have ever seen.|
|Equipment List||Partial equipment list||It is vital for you to understand what tangible and intangible assets are included in the transaction to be able to properly convey that information to the buyer. Prepare this in advance the best you can.|
|AR/AP||Often this isn't clear in the package||DON'T OMIT! This is important to mention if there are receivables and if they are or are not included.|
|Photos||One photo...maybe||This is your chance to create a visual of what this company physically looks like, or what the set-up of the business is. If there is a home office, see if you can get a photo of the space. If there is anything remotely fun, highlight it. Any business can be exciting!|
Lastly, most buyers ask the same set of questions. Help manage those expectations, and have these questions answered in the package. For example, when my daughter was 5, I told her “most adults are going to ask you the same questions over and over.” Questions like: How old are you? Do you like school? Where do you go to school? What do you want to be when you grow up?
I told her to expect these questions, and have some answers prepared. Why do adults ask the same questions? Many don’t know how to start a conversation with a child, or how to relate to a child, so they start with the same basic questions. It is the same thing with a potential buyer of a business.
Here is a sample list of basic questions I receive from most potential business Buyers:
- Why is the owner selling?
- How did you arrive at the valuation?
- Is there customer concentration?
- Are there repeat customers?
- What’s the competition?
- And most importantly, what is the growth potential?
It amazes me that most brokers cannot answer these questions about their listing. If you know you don’t have updated financials and the buyers are going to want it, why are you even putting up the listing? Can you really sell a business quickly when you, or the business, isn’t properly prepared? Sellers hire brokers to do one job…sell their business.
Being proactive and getting these questions answered in the package helps the potential buyer immensely, and saves time to weed out buyers that are not interested.
Sellers hire brokers to do one job – to sell their business. It is imperative that a broker not only makes sure that the business is ready to be sold, but that the broker is prepared to interact with potential buyers. Can a broker really sell a business quickly when the broker, or the business is not properly prepared?
When you have a properly prepared package, the Buyer’s first impression of the business is a beautiful bouquet of flowers. Offering Buyers a properly packaged business is one way to attain the 7- figure income as a business broker.
Jackie Ossin Hirsch
Crowne Atlantic Business Brokers
Five Tips for Successfully Navigating Due Diligence
As a business broker, one of your most critical responsibilities is guiding your clients through the transaction process. A crucial part of this process is conducting due diligence, which involves verifying the information provided by the seller to ensure that the buyer clearly understands the business’s operations and financials. Due diligence can be challenging, but with the following tips, you can navigate this stage successfully:
1. Know Who’s Who: As the point person during the transaction, you should orchestrate the communication with all parties involved. Get to know the buyer’s advisors – there’s always someone who has their ear – and build credibility early. Work with the seller to determine when the landlord should be contacted and involve the seller’s accountant as soon as possible – they often don’t move as quickly as you’d like them to.
2. Have Regular Meetings Along the Way: At the beginning of due diligence, hold a formal kick-off meeting to remind everyone of the milestones, re-set expectations, and discuss the best way to share information. Regular (weekly) meetings are crucial for maintaining communication and building trust between the buyer and seller. Hiding any issues with the business will damage everyone’s credibility, so it’s better to have the seller disclose them early.
3. Document Everything: It’s essential to document every communication with the buyer and keep copies of all documents provided by the seller. This documentation can be helpful if any disputes arise during the transaction. Electronic deal rooms are a great option to protect you in the long run – plenty of good options exist.
4. Have a Plan B: There’s always a chance that the transaction will fall through – every broker has lost a deal in due diligence – so it’s essential to have a backup plan in case this happens. The standard BBF APA does not limit you or the seller from discussing the business with other interested buyers. Keep fielding inquiries, setting meetings, and answering questions with backup buyers and their brokers. If your deal dies, you won’t want to start at the beginning again!
5. Keep Your Focus and Handle Your Emotions: Although you may feel as if you are almost done, the due diligence stage is where the sale can be made or lost, so it’s critical to remain focused. This is also when inexperienced buyers and sellers feel the most stress. As a broker, you should remain emotionally unattached and handle the transaction with the calmness that comes from being an expert in the field and having a history of successful transactions!
Ryan Cave, MBA, CBI, M&AMI, CMAP
South Florida District
View from the Driver’s Seat
It is well-known that the Business Brokers of Florida (BBF) is the largest and best co-brokering association of business brokers and M&A professionals worldwide. Since its inception in 1999, our founders have had the drive and true vision to set us on the path to be the example of what other business brokerage associations strive to become. Many years of experience and effort have gone into perfecting the never-perfect process of working with buyers and sellers to get deals done. Furthermore, the BBF has the numbers to back up these successes.
One of the main reasons for the BBF reaching such a high level of achievement is our membership. Many of our members believe we have built a culture of dedication to our association and the industry. Underneath are the folks that work to manage each district and those who volunteer on the many committees and task forces to bring about the change and allow us to continue on the path to growth and a prosperous future for all. Spearheading these ideas are the dedicated people in the ever-so-important board of directors and leadership positions, who are in the driver’s seat of what is yet to come. Did you catch the part that this has been accomplished by an all-volunteer organization?
Additional apparent factors to the BBF’s success are how the business brokerage industry has undergone significant changes, including the rise of technology, the increasing importance of online/social media marketing, and the ability to conduct meetings through platforms such as Zoom. As individual brokers, we see the effects of these advancements in our firms. Just think about how wonderful it is to get our principals’ contract signatures without driving across town. BBF is doing its best to keep pace with these changes, embracing technology to expand its reach and improve its services. By staying up to date with the latest trends and technologies, BBF can continue to grow and succeed in the future.
Over the years, we have taken steps to bring our association to the next level by making improvements internally through our MLS system along with the systems and processes that help us function. In addition, we gave the BBF a new look externally so that we may showcase our membership to the public. However, I feel that our most significant impact in 2021 was recognizing how important educating our members and having the right tools are to raise everyone in the association to equal footing. Last year was pivotal in the growth of all our members, where we have included a membership to our sister organization, the IBBA. This partnership fills the educational and broker benefits void as only the IBBA can do.
The district and state boards have worked tirelessly to improve what Ken Stebbins, Roger Murphy, Steve Raptoulis, and Sandy Cosenza envisioned. Since I have been on the local and state boards and in leadership, I have personally worked with some of the brightest hard-working brokers/members who dedicate their time for the betterment of us all. However, this comes with a cost to each individual and their business, who sacrificed to get things done. Fortunately, the collective wisdom of our board of directors recognized the need to take the BBF to the next level and understood that, in order to get there sometime this decade, we would need professional support.
In 2023 we set the BBF on the road to the next level of greatness. The board’s unanimous decision to bring on a management team to help us succeed in many plans and projects we’ve mapped out will mark this time when we witnessed our association’s transformation. Over the next few months, and years, you will see/experience some incredible improvements and new ideas that will encourage, educate, and, quite frankly, directly impact how we do business as individuals and as an association.
A little over two years ago, I was fortunate to be given the keys to the BBF. When I first sat in the driver’s seat, it was intimidating and exciting at the same time; with great responsibility and humility, I adjusted to my role in moving us forward in the direction of our growth. As I sit behind the steering wheel, glancing back in mirrors of our history and where we came from, then turning my focus to looking out the windshield of the BBF’s future. The view from the driver’s seat is quite incredible, and I’m excited for us all for what is yet to come of the world’s best co-brokering business broker association.
Joe Shemansky, CBI
Business Brokers of Florida
The Importance of Owner Flexibility
You shouldn’t expect to sell your company overnight. For every company that sells quickly, there are a hundred that take many months or even years to sell. Having the correct mindset and understanding of what you must do ahead of time to prepare for the sale of your company will help you avoid a range of headaches and dramatically increase your overall chances of success.
First, and arguably most importantly, you must have the right frame of mind. Flexibility is a key attribute for any business owner looking to sell his or her business. There are many variables involved in selling a business, and that means much can go wrong. An inflexible owner can even irritate prospective buyers and inadvertently sabotage what could have otherwise been a workable deal.
Be Flexible on Price
A key part of being flexible is to be ready and willing to accept a lower price. There are many reasons why business owners may fail to achieve the price they want for their business. These factors range from lack of management depth and lack of geographical distribution to an overreliance on a handful of customers or key clients. Of course, one way to address this problem is to work with a business broker or M&A advisor in advance, so that such price issues are minimized or eliminated altogether.
Be Prepared to Compromise
In the process of selling your business, you may want to achieve confidentiality and sell your business quickly and for the price you want. However, the fact is that most sellers find that it is possible to have confidentiality, speed, and the price you want, but not all three. Ultimately, you’ll have to pick two of the three variables that are most important to you.
A third way in which business owner flexibility can boost the chances of success is to embrace the virtue of patience. By accepting the fact that businesses can “sit on the shelf” for a considerable period of time, you are shifting your expectations. This realization can help reduce your stress level. The fact is that stressed out owners are far more likely to make mistakes.
Sometimes Losing is Really Winning
A fourth way in which business owners should be flexible is realizing that you and your lawyer will not win every single fight. There will be many points of contention, and a smart dealmaker realizes that it is often better to have a good deal than a perfect deal. You may have to make sacrifices in order to sell your company. Simply stated, you shouldn’t expect the other side to lose every point.
At the end of the day, a savvy business owner is one that never loses sight of the final goal. Your goal is to sell your business. Seeing the situation from the buyer’s perspective will help you make better decisions on how you present your business and interact with prospective buyers. Maintaining a flexible attitude with prospective buyers helps to position you as a reasonable person who wants to make a deal. Goodwill can go a long way when obstacles do arise.
Copyright: Business Brokerage Press, Inc.
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The Main Street Lending Program
There is no doubt that the COVID-19 situation seems to change with each and every day. The disruption and chaos that the pandemic has injected into both daily life and business is obvious. Just as it is often difficult to keep track of the ebbs and flows of the pandemic, the same can be stated for keeping up to speed on the government’s response and what options exist to assist companies of all sizes.
In this article, we’ll turn our attention to an overlooked area of the government’s pandemic response and how businesses can use a whole new lending platform to navigate the choppy waters.
As the pandemic continues, you will want to be aware of the main street lending program, which is a whole new lending platform. It was designed for businesses that were financially sound prior to the pandemic. Authorized under the CARE Act, the main street lending program is quite attractive for an array of reasons. Let’s take a closer look at what makes this program almost too good to be true.
This lender delivered program is a commercial loan. Unlike the PPP, there is no forgivable component. However, the main street lending program does have one remarkable feature that will certainly grab the attention of all kinds of businesses. It can be used to refinance existing debt at a rate of around 3%. With that stated, it is also important to note that businesses cannot refinance existing debt with the current lender. Instead, a new lender must be found. Generally, loans are a minimum of a quarter million dollars and have a five-year term. In another piece of good news, there is a two-year payment deferment period.
The main street lending program can be used in a variety of ways. In short, the program is not simply for refinancing existing debt. Additionally, there is no penalty for prepayment. The way the program works is that lenders make the loans and then sell 95% of the loan value to the Fed. This of course means that the lender is only required to retain 5% of the loan on their balance sheet. The end result is that lenders can dramatically expand the amount of loans they can make.
Whether it is the PPP or a program like the main street lending program, there are solid options available to help you. Businesses looking to restructure debt or put an infusion of cash to good use may find that the main street lending program offers a very flexible loan with great interest rates.
Copyright: Business Brokerage Press, Inc.Read More