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...]

What Do Buyers Really Want to Know?

Before answering the question, it makes sense to first ask why people want to be in business for themselves. What are their motives? There have been many surveys addressing this question. The words may be different, but the idea behind them and the order in which they are listed are almost always the same.   Want to do their own thing; to control their own destiny, so to speak. Do not want to work for anyone else. Want to make better use of their skills and abilities. Want to make money.   These surveys indicate that by far the biggest reason people want to be in business for themselves is to be their own boss. The first three reasons listed revolve around this theme. Some may be frustrated in their current job or position. Others may not like their current boss or employer, while still others feel that their abilities are not being used properly or sufficiently.   The important item to note is that money is reason number four. Although making money is … [Read more...]

Today’s Business Buyer

For a business to sell, there has to be a seller - and a buyer. The buyer of today is a bit different than the one of yesterday. Today's buyer is not a risk-taker, is concerned about the financials, and seems to be overly concerned about price. Unfortunately, buyers have to understand that they cannot buy someone else's financial statements. The statements might be a good indication of what a new buyer can do with the business, but everyone does things differently. It is these differences that ultimately determine how the business will do. The price may not be the right question for the buyer to ask. What is usually the most important question is how much cash is required to buy it. Today's buyer is finicky, due certainly in part to the fact that, he or she is not a risk taker. Quite a few buyers enter the business buying process and, at the last minute, cannot make the leap of faith that is necessary to conclude the sale. The primary reason that buyers actually buy is not for the … [Read more...]

Dispelling a Buyer Myth

Most prospective business buyers really don't know from the outset the exact type of business they want to buy. Experienced business brokers and intermediaries know that many business buyers end up with what is sometimes a far cry from what first captured their imagination. Take, for example, the old story of the buyer who saw (and probably smelled) a doughnut shop in his business dreams. This was the business he was sure he wanted to own and operate - until he discovered that someone, most likely him, had to get up at 3 a.m. to make the day's baked goods. It is important that, before making the dream a reality, those prospective buyers understand just what the business is and how it fits their personalities - what they want to do and what they don't want to do! Obviously, if getting a good night's sleep is important, owning a doughnut shop is not a good idea. In searching for the right business, here are some of the crucial questions a prospective business buyer might ask himself or … [Read more...]

A Buyer’s Quandary

Statistics reveal that out of about 15 would-be business buyers, only one will actually buy a business. It is important that potential sellers be knowledgeable on what buyers go through to actually become business owners. This is especially true for those who have started their own business or have forgotten what they went thorough prior to buying their business. If a prospective business buyer is employed, he or she has to make the decision to leave that job and go into business for and by himself. There is also the financial commitment necessary to actually invest in a business and any subsequent loans that are a result of the purchase. The new owner will likely need to execute a lease or assume an existing one, which is another financial commitment. These financial obligations are almost always guaranteed personally by the new owner. The prospective business owner must also be willing to make that "leap of faith" that is so necessary to becoming a business owner. There is also the … [Read more...]

Today’s Business Buyer: A Profile

Today's independent business marketplace attracts a wide variety of buyers eager for a piece of ownership action. Buyers of small businesses are most likely replacing lost jobs or searching for a happier alternative to corporate life. Buyers of mid-sized and large operations are, typically, private investment companies seeking businesses to build and eventually sell for a profit. This is the broadest possible look at the types of buyers out there. Business owners considering putting their business on the market should be aware of the finer "distinctions" among buyers, as well as what they are looking to buy, and why. 1. 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 time and money. If these buyers do not have the amount of personal … [Read more...]

Why Do Deals Fall Apart?

In many cases, the buyer and seller reach a tentative agreement on the sale of the business, only to have it fall apart. There are reasons this happens, and, once understood, many of the worst deal-smashers can be avoided. Understanding is the key word. Both the buyer and the seller must develop an awareness of what the sale involves--and such an awareness should include facing potential problems before they swell into floodwaters and "sink" the sale. What keeps a sale from closing successfully? In a survey of business brokers across the United States, similar reasons were cited so often that a pattern of causality began to emerge. The following is a compilation of situations and factors affecting the sale of a business. The Seller Fails To Reveal Problems When a seller is not up-front about problems of the business, this does not mean the problems will go away. They are bound to turn up later, usually sometime after a tentative agreement has been reached. The buyer then gets cold … [Read more...]

A Private Equity Glossary

“Deep-pocketed investors often set aside money to buy into private equity funds.  Such investments tend to be riskier but can generate higher returns than stocks or bonds.  Here are some of the key players and terms in the world of private equity investments. • Private equity firms: A broad category.  It includes venture capitalists and buyout specialists who raise money from limited partners and use it to help companies develop products and markets. • Limited partners: Investors in venture capital or buyout funds.  These are typically pension funds, foundations, university endowments, insurance companies, or wealthy individuals. • Venture capital firms: Firms that use their investment funds to finance start-ups, often in their early stages and typically in the technology, life sciences, or telecommunications fields. • Buyout firms: They usually raise larger funds and invest them in more mature, later-stage companies of all kinds, often taking controlling interests and sometimes … [Read more...]

Women Business Owners: Coming on Strong

If there were any doubt that women owners are an ever-growing force on the independent business scene, new studies of leading female entrepreneurs around the world supplies incontrovertible proof. The National Foundation for Women Business Owners (NFWBO) has been hard at work, researching the small business climate for women and identifying strong trends. Fifty Top Women Show Trends In one study done jointly with IBM, the NFWBO used as its subjects 50 top women business owners (plus 10 more up-and-coming) to compile these findings: These women owners cover a wide range of industry categories, for example: 27 percent in manufacturing, 25 percent in retail trade, and 10 percent in real estate. Slightly less than half (46 percent) of these women inherited their businesses, and more than half began their own: 34 percent by themselves, and 17 percent with others. As a group, the study subjects generate $139 billion in revenue and employ more than 150,000 workers. And, the numbers keep … [Read more...]

Saying “Hello” — More Important than You Think

The telephone rings, the caller receives a message welcoming them, then she is asked to dial the extension of the person she wants to talk to. Since she doesn’t know the extension, she has to wait and listen to the office directory; then presses the extension number only to discover that the person being called is not there. Most Americans have called a credit card company, their bank or any other large company only to get lost in the maze with no way of talking to an actual person. Then there is the “hold music,” the commercial while you wait, with more “amusements” popping up all the time. Who knows what the future holds in telephone communication. While it used to be that the telephone was a visitor’s first contact with your business, that tradition is changing. Now it is your Web site. Today’s busy buyer now goes to the Internet to look for whatever he or she is considering purchasing. It is even easier for potential clients or customers to find your telephone number from your … [Read more...]

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