Financing Facts

There still aren't too many ways to finance the purchase of a business. Here are the primary methods: Buyer Financing Some buyers may have the cash available to purchase the business. Some may elect to use the equity in their residence, or other real estate. Others may have other assets that they can sell or borrow against. Bank Financing Banks may lend against a buyer's assets as described above. They may also lend against the assets of the business, assuming there is sufficient value to support the loan. The business will also have to make sense to the bank, regardless of the asset value. In fairness to the banking system, many of the figures supplied by business owners have very little relationship to the actual earning power of the business. Venture Capital Firms These firms do not, as a practice, lend to small or even many mid-size businesses unless tremendous growth is anticipated. They also usually expect an equity position in the company. SBA Loans These have become … [Read more...]

The Advantages of Seller Financing

Business owners who want to sell their business are often told by business brokers and intermediaries that they will have to consider financing the sale themselves. Many owners would like to receive all cash, but many also understand that there is very little outside financing available from banks or other sources. The only source left is the seller of the business. Buyers usually feel that businesses should be able to pay for themselves. They are wary of sellers who demand all cash. Is the seller really saying that the business can't support any debt or is he or she saying, "the business isn't any good and I want my cash out of it now, just in case?" They are also wary of the seller who wants the carry-back note fully collateralized by the buyer. First, the buyer has probably used most of his or her assets to assemble the down payment and additional funds necessary to go into business. Most buyers are reluctant to use what little assets they may have left to secure the seller's note. … [Read more...]

Financing the Business Purchase

Where can buyers turn for help with what is likely to be the largest single investment of their lives? For most small to mid-sized business acquisitions, here are the best ways to go: Personal Equity Typically, anywhere from 20 to 50 percent of cash needed to buy a business comes from the buyer and his or her family. Buyers who invest their own capital (usually an amount between $50,000 and $150,000) are positively influencing other investors or lenders to participate in financing. Seller Financing This is one of the simplest and best ways to finance the acquisition, with sellers financing 50 to 60 percent--or more--of the selling price, with an interest rate below current bank rates, and with a far longer amortization. Many sellers actively prefer to do the financing themselves, thereby increasing the chances for a successful sale and the best possible price. Venture Capital Venture capitalists are becoming increasingly interested in established, existing entities, although this … [Read more...]

Financing the Business Acquisition

The epidemic of corporate downsizing in the US has made owning a business a more attractive proposition than ever before. As increasing numbers of prospective buyers embark on the process of becoming independent business owners, many of them voice a common concern: how do I finance the acquisition? Prospective buyers are aware that the credit crunch prevents the traditional lending institution from being the likely solution to their needs. Where then, can buyers turn for help with what is likely to be the largest single investment of their lives? There are a variety of financing sources, and buyers will find one that fills their particular requirements. (Small businesses - those priced under $100,000 to $150,000 - will usually depend on seller financing as the chief source.) For many businesses, here are the best routes to follow: Buyer's Personal Equity In most business acquisition situations, this is the place to begin. Typically, anywhere from 20 to 50 percent of cash needed to … [Read more...]

Friends and Family: A Financing Option

The first job facing many prospective business owners is rounding up the cash necessary to make the purchase. They may find that banks have made borrowing difficult (or all but impossible), and that even SBA loans have requirements too stringent to meet. One viable option is obtaining financing from the seller; another is to seek help from family and friends. Borrowing money from family members and/or friends is one of the most frequently-used methods of small business financing. The pluses are obvious--there is trust, familiarity, and a general comfort level when dealing with those you know. The drawbacks are self-evident as well: "doing business" with family and friends comes with cautionary notes of legendary proportions. Everybody knows that family ventures can be complex and stressful, stirring up "bad blood" and lingering ill will. However, by taking the right preventive steps, buyers can take advantage of friendly financial help. 1. Set up an informal meeting to introduce your … [Read more...]

Venture Financing: The Hard Facts

Government financing and venture capital financing account for less than one percent of all new business financing. Sixty-seven percent of all small to mid-sized businesses are financed by personal savings or friends; thirty-three percent are financed by lending institutions. The facts about venture capital financing are especially cold and hard... Venture capital is limited to high-growth potential, high capital-absorbing businesses. Venture capital benefits as few as 1000 businesses a year, and then... The average investment is $2.3 million, divided between 3-4 venture capital funds, which take 40-50-60 percent or more of the business's equity. Venture capital investors expect the business to grow to $25-50 million within 5 years--at which time the business will go public or be sold. … [Read more...]

Negotiating the Price Gap Between Buyers and Sellers

Sellers generally desire all-cash transactions; however, oftentimes partial seller financing is necessary in typical middle market company transactions. Furthermore, sellers who demand all-cash deals typically receive a lower purchase price than they would have if the deal were structured differently. Although buyers may be able to pay all-cash at closing, they often want to structure a deal where the seller has left some portion of the price on the table, either in the form of a note or an earnout. Deferring some of the owner's remuneration from the transaction will provide leverage in the event that the owner has misrepresented the business. An earnout is a mechanism to provide payment based on future performance. Acquirers like to suggest that, if the business is as it is represented, there should be no problem with this type of payout. The owner's retort is that he or she knows the business is sound under his or her management, but does not know whether the buyer will be as … [Read more...]