Consider These Prep Steps Before Selling A Business

If you think that you can go about selling a business with ease when the time comes, think again. A lot of preparation goes into selling a business, and you have to start well in advance if you want to close a successful deal. Even if you have a business broker helping you out with the process, there are some basics that you need to take care of. The following are some of them:

Be clear about the reason for selling a business

One of the first questions any buyer will ask you is the reason for selling your business. A buyer might wonder: ‘If the business is good, why is he/she selling it?' You need to explain your position clearly to the buyer. Your reason for selling a business may be retirement, need for money or a change in profession. Whatever the reason is, be articulate and explain it to the buyer and business broker, so that you are on the same level as him/her.

Get valuation done when selling a business

Getting your business valued guides you very well while you are selling a business. You can go to an expert valuation firm which will value your business and help you know its worth. If you don’t know which valuation firm to use, you can consult with your business broker, who will know a reputed professional to get your business for sale valued. Knowing the value of your business will help you price the business and know your market position while selling your business.

Price your business for sale reasonably

Set a price of your business for sale on basis of your business valuation. Many sellers make the mistake of pricing their business atrociously in hopes of finding a buyer who will fall for it. You should know that buyers are becoming savvy in their research and are using business brokers from their end as well, who will know the approximate value of your business for sale. While selling a business, price it reasonably, so you are able to attract serious offers from buyers.

Consider the matter of succession

After selling a business, will there be anyone the new owner can consult for advice in the beginning? You should have a trustworthy person in your business, who can help the new owner settle in. Many business for sale owners offer to stay for some time after the sale, so that issues like training, consultation etc. can be taken care of easily.

Take care of routine business

Once the decision of selling a business is taken, don't ignore your core business activities. Keep focusing on routine business even when you know you are going to sell business. You can hire an experienced business broker to take care of the promotion of your business for sale, so that you can continue running your business profitably.

Hire a business broker

A business broker is going to be crucial in closing a successful deal. Business brokers know the process of selling a business properly and will be able to guide you each step of the way. Not only will a business broker have a list of people looking to buy a business, he/she will also be in touch with other professionals like valuation firms, accountants etc. whose services you may require while selling a business.

The above mentioned are only some of the steps you need to take to ensure you are well prepared for selling a business. A professional business broker will be able to guide you further in this regard.

Merry Christmas 2009

Christmas 2009 is almost upon us! It's that time of the year when children wait for Santa Claus to bring them their gifts and adults look forward to the long holiday and the Christmas celebrations with friends and family.

SunbeltNE wishes all its clients a Merry Christmas 2009.

Selling A Business? Be A Confident Seller

Timing is of essence when you are selling a business. And selling your business when you are desperate is absolutely the wrong time to sell. Buyers can easily make out if there is a sense of urgency to sell a business through their interactions with sellers. If you are a business for sale owner, you may lose leverage in negotiations if you show any weakness on your part. If you want to successfully sell your business and avoid seeming desperate when negotiating, keep the following points in mind.

Take the help of experts

Business brokers are the most experienced people you can turn to if you want to sell your business successfully. You can seek advice from an experienced business broker to know what steps to take and how to act so that you can portray a strong and steady image. Expert advisors play a vital role in closing a successful business for sale deal. Ask your business broker a lot of questions and turn to him/her for advice when you think you are stuck in any situation.


Confidentiality is of utmost importance when you want to sell a business. Tell no one outside your trusted circle of family, friends and business broker that you want to sell your business. You may be tempted to tell as many people as you can that you want to sell a business, in the hope that you come across a potential buyer. However, this will also alert all your employees and customers of the potential sale of business and they may start seeking your competitor to associate with. This will, in turn, have a negative impact on your business. Consider working with an experienced business broker, who can help you maintain confidentiality related to your business for sale.

Entertain multiple buyers

You can avoid a desperation situation for selling your business by having multiple offers on hand. For that, you need to entertain multiple buyers at the same time. Having only one interested buyer on hand puts a lot of negotiation power in that buyer’s hand, which is not good for you as a business for sale owner. An experienced business broker will have a large database of buyers which he/she can leverage to attract multiple buyers. Multiple offers will help you bargain for the best possible terms and price for selling your business.

Pricing the business for sale

Pricing is one issue which needs careful consideration. If you price your business too high, you may lose buyers who might have considered a fair price. On the other hand, if you are willing to sell a business for too low a price, buyers might question the profitability of the business. A fair price for your business for sale will attract more buyers than if you hike or lower your business for sale price. A business broker can also help you with business valuation, so that you can price your business reasonably.

Hiring A Business Broker? Look Out For These Red Flags

If you are thinking of selling a business, you may be looking for a business broker who can help match you with an appropriate buyer. However, there are too many business for sale owners who have had their fingers burnt with wrong business brokers. We hence thought of listing down some red flags you should watch out for while looking for a business broker. Some of the red flags you should be aware of are as follows:

  • Huge Upfront Fees
  • Some business for sale owners have the bitter experience of paying upfront fees to business brokers and then regretting when, after months of being listed, their business still doesn't have any valid offers. Upfront fees may be a reasonable bet when one is dealing with the world's leading business brokerage firm. However, business brokers catering to the small business category normally charge per month or set up an agreement of commission on a successful deal. When selling a business, if a business broker asks for upfront fees just start looking at other business brokers.

  • Inability to Provide References
  • Another red flag about a business broker is his/her inability to provide a reference of past clients. References from past clients give you an idea of the methodology adapted by the broker in selling a business and the focus of the business broker in question. That too, from a seller's perspective. Feedback from past clients is an invaluable piece of information on basis of which you should decide whether to go for that business broker or not. If the business broker is unable to provide any such reference, forget him/her.

  • No Reports or Updates
  • You need to know exactly what activity is being undertaken to sell your business. You need a business broker who actively calls prospective buyers and not someone who just posts on business for sale websites or sends out mass mailers. Ask for regular updates on who is being contacted in the form of bi-weekly reports or personal meetings so that you are in the loop. An unscrupulous business broker may waste your time unnecessarily if you are careless in your dealings with him/her. Unless and until you are aware of what is happening, selling a business is not going to happen.

  • Inability to Prove Industry Experience
  • One must-ask question to a business broker should be: have you sold any businesses in my industry? A business for sale process closes faster if the business broker has experience in selling similar businesses. He/she will have a database of buyers if they have dealt with a similar business in the past. They will also know how to approach a buyer and have an inkling of the negotiation process. However, not a lot of brokers specialize in a particular industry. So if the broker has a lot of experience in selling a business, you might have to let go of the 'industry-experience' factor.

A business broker is the most important person you hire for your business for sale process. The value you get after selling a business is totally dependent on the business broker you hire. Keep the above-mentioned red flags in mind so that you hire the right broker for selling your business.

Happy Thanksgiving 2009

It’s time to be thankful for all the good things in life: Thanksgiving 2009 is upon us. Thanksgiving holiday is the time when you gather with family and friends and say thanks for all the good things you have in life. It is a day for celebration, sharing and appreciation.

SunbeltNE wishes all its clients a very happy Thanksgiving 2009.

SunbeltNE takes this opportunity to thank all its clients for standing by it for so long and hopes this support will continue well into the coming years.

Selling A Business? Make It An Attractive Deal By Offering Seller Financing

It is a fact that lesser deals have been made in buying or selling a business during the past year due to the recession. However, this is not due to lack of buyers in the market. There was a lot of buying interest in the past year, but many deals didn't close due to lack of financing. In this tight an economy, a buyer needs all the help he/she can get for buying a business. As a result of this, sellers who offer any kind of seller financing find it easier to sell business. If you are planning on selling a business, consider offering seller financing, as it makes it a more attractive deal for the buyer.

When you offer seller financing while selling a business, you agree to the buyer making an initial down payment and carrying a note for the rest of the purchase price. While this arrangement has always found favor with buyers, it is considered even more important in today's tight credit scenario. With seller financing, you may find it easier to sell business. However, there are some points to keep in mind when you decide to sell business with seller financing.

  • Make sure you get a down payment
  • Many sellers make the mistake of refusing to take the down payment after offering seller financing. Even though you are confident while selling a business that it will be profitable enough for the new buyer to be able to pay you back eventually, a down payment reduces the risk that you face in the future.

  • Assess the risks
  • Seller financing is nothing but an investment you are making. And like most investments, it has its risks. After an agreement has been entered into while selling a business, you need to wait patiently while the buyer develops the business, makes profit and returns the rest of the amount back to you. Profitability under the new owner is also not guaranteed, and you might end up making a loss if the new owner is not a sound businessman. Take into consideration all this before you sell business, as you need to be ready to tackle difficulties which may arise in the future.

  • Get professional assistance
  • A business deal always has a lot of complications which you might not be able to handle alone. Selling a business requires the help of professionals like business brokers, who are experts at documentation associated with selling a business. If you are also offering seller financing, you may require legal and financial advisors to ensure that the paperwork is impeccable and there are no complications after you sell business.

  • Use financing to your advantage
  • You may think that offering seller financing is one way of selling a business easily. However, seller financing may also turn out advantageous for you in the long run. Not only may it help you find a buyer for your business for sale easily, it may also allow you to sell business for more than its valuation. A buyer may be willing to pay a bit more if a seller is offering seller financing in times of tight credit situations.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution when you are selling a business. In case you have doubts on whether you should offer financing for selling your business, you should take advice from a person who has already sold a business with seller financing. That way, you can ask relevant questions relating to your situation and then decide whether it is the right step for you. All said and done, the final decision will be completely yours. But be sure to check all avenues related to seller financing before you sell business, so that you don't miss out on any advantages it could offer you.


31st October, the Halloween day of 2009 is here! It's that time of the year when you can carve those pumpkins, wear your best Halloween costumes and go "Trick or Treat" from door to door. You can also look for special Halloween deals to get stuff you have been waiting to buy all year.

SunbeltNE wishes all its clients a very happy Halloween 2009.

Selling A Business? Keep These 5 Tips In Mind

Are you thinking of selling a business? Does the process sound complicated and confusing? Are you wondering where to start? What things to keep in mind? Well we have compiled some tips which will nudge you in the right direction and clear up some of that confusion. The following are five tips which will help you when you are selling a business:

  • Decide on a Realistic Selling Price
  • Many business sellers, in their zest to sell a business, over-price their businesses while listing it for sale. This is a huge mistake; business buyers now are smart enough to get business valuations and will immediately close any negotiations when they come to know that the business for sale is over-priced. Business buyers are also wary of under-priced businesses, which make them suspect that something is amiss. So when you think of selling a business, take the help of a professional for business valuation or a business broker, which will help you in deciding on a realistic selling price for your business for sale.

  • Keep your Terms Negotiable
  • The terms and conditions attached to your business for sale should be negotiable to a certain extent. Analyze the goals you wish to achieve by selling a business and then decide on the terms that you are willing to negotiate and those which you are not. If you are too rigid in your terms and conditions, you may not find a taker for your business for sale.

  • Focus on Running your Business Normally
  • Many business owners stop focusing on their business the minute they put it up for sale. If you are thinking of selling a business, remember that it may take anywhere from three to six months to close a successful deal. Within that time, if you let your business slip, the price as well as demand for your business for sale will diminish. Hire a professional like a business broker who can focus on selling a business for you, while you can concentrate on conducting business as usual.

  • Have Impeccable Financial Records
  • Financial records and books of accounts are the main considerations for people looking to buy a business. Healthy books of accounts and impeccable paper work will help in selling a business more than any amount you spend on advertising a business for sale. A clear picture of your business's finances is the best selling point for your business for sale and will help the buyer decide whether your business is worth buying or not.

  • Help the Buyer Out
  • Take it upon yourself to be as helpful to the potential buyer as you can. Selling a business is only successful when you give all the information to the person thinking of buying it. The more information the buyer will have about your business, the better he/she will be able to judge it. Be as helpful to the buyer as you can. This will not only help you break the ice with him/her, it will also help him/her in making the decision; it might hence aid in closing a successful business for sale deal.

Selling a business is a complicated procedure, which you need to be careful about, if you want to achieve your business selling goals. Keep the above-mentioned tips in mind when you put your business up for sale, and it will ease the process a bit for you. Also take the help of a professional business broker who can ensure that your business goes in the right hands and you achieve the goals you have set for yourself.

Selling A Business Through A Business Broker? Some Pros And Cons

For businessmen who are keen on selling a business, the prospect of using a business broker is an exciting one. As a professional, a business broker is more than just a middle man for the deal; he/she helps in business valuation, marketing the business for sale as well as retaining the attention of an interested buyer. Using a business broker for a business for sale deal is a very good idea for a number of reasons as listed below:

  • Business brokers, with their experience, can not only market your business for sale in the right manner, but they can also find the right buyer and get a great price for your business for sale. Good business brokers have great negotiating skills, which they employ to get the maximum possible price for your business. You can hence achieve your goals of selling a business with ease.

  • The right business broker can help with the valuation of your business for sale, so that you know what price to expect and sell your business for. Pricing the business right is crucial for closing a successful business for sale deal; a business broker is a vital help for this purpose.

  • Professional business brokers are also a confidential lot. They work in a confidential manner, ensuring that news does not leak out that you have put up your business for sale. You can hence rest assured that your customers, employees, competitors or others do not know that you are selling a business.

  • In addition to making your business for sale look like an attractive deal, the business broker can also use his/her network and alert the majority of buyers that your business is up for sale. The business broker then acts as an intermediary between you and the buyer until a successful deal is etched out. Along the way, the business broker will also advice you as to which steps are in your best interest. With such a professional dedicatedly working for your cause, you will be less worried about selling a business and can concentrate on growing your business until it is sold.

Having discussed the pros, there are also some cons of working with a business broker which need to be mentioned here.

  • Sometimes the fees or brokerage of business brokers are so high that many sellers consider trying to sell a business on their own. Brokers charge anything between 5-20% as fees, which some business for sale owners may be unwilling to pay. However, despite the high fees, the experience of a business broker is an advantage a seller cannot afford to ignore.

  • Another point to consider is the challenge in finding a good business broker, who keeps in mind your interests rather than his/her own fees. If you are thinking of selling a business, always remember that the competency levels of different business brokers are different. Landing up with an incompetent or inexperienced professional can cost a business for sale owner more than the high fees of a good business broker.

Working with a business broker for selling a business can be a very advantageous decision for your business for sale. You just need to select a good business broker who is experienced in selling businesses and has your best interests at heart.

Selling a business? Learn to spot a good business broker

You may have considered availing of the services of a business broker if you are thinking of selling your business. Although hiring a business broker is the best step you can take, it is important to differentiate a good business broker from a bad one. A lot of businessmen fail to spot the shady business brokers from the really experienced ones, assuming that all brokers are honest and experienced. But this is a wrong assumption. As a business for sale owner, you need to realize that there are some unprofessional business brokers out there, and only if manage to find a good one will you be able to sell your business successfully. The following are a few factors you can take into consideration for judging a business broker:

  • Morality or Ethics
  • Lack of ethics is a classic characteristic of a bad business broker. Major botch ups related to selling a business are due to the fact that the concerned person failed to adhere to commonly-accepted ethics in the industry. However, there is no tested way of measuring the concerned person's ethics. The most you can do to ensure that your business broker is sound in ethics is ensure that he/she is a Certified Business Intermediary (CBI) from the International Business Brokers Association (IBBA). This is in no way a guarantee of morality, but at least the business broker will follow the code of conduct set by a professional body like IBBA.

  • Integrity
  • Again, the integrity or honesty of a business broker is not easy to judge. But if you want to sell your business successfully, you need to assure yourself that your business broker will be honest with you throughout the deal. You can question the concerned person in detail and judge him/her by the answers you receive. Was the business broker clear in their answer? Was he/she willing to sit down with you and discuss all issues? Was he/she vague or forthcoming in the answers?

  • Capability for Promotion
  • Selling your business is totally dependent on your business broker's promotional capabilities. If he/she is not able to market it properly, prospective buyers will not even come to know that your business is up for sale. Discuss with your business broker how exactly your business for sale is going to be promoted. Unethical business brokers merely post your business details on the internet and charge you a hefty fee for nothing. As opposed to this, good business brokers have a set procedure which they follow for promotion, which includes sending the information via email and post to their list of buyers, networking with them etc. Only through constant exposure to potential buyers will you be able to sell a business successfully.

  • Established Network
  • Experienced business brokers who have been in the industry for a long time will have listings of buyers whom they can get in touch with immediately. They will also have network of professionals who will know who is in the market, looking to buy. Selling your business will be a success only if this network is put to work for your business for sale.

  • Reputation
  • A good business broker's reputation will not only be verifiable through his/her past clients, but also other professionals who are involved in the business selling process, like accountants, investment bankers, attorneys etc. Talk to other people who are not related to the business broker directly but are likely to have an idea regarding his/her reputation. What other people think of the person concerned will say a lot about his/her professional capabilities, reputation and experience.

  • Skills and Experience
  • Interview potential business brokers personally. The way they answer your questions will tell you a lot about their skills as well as experience. Their knowledge about business buying and selling will also reflect in the way they handle your inquiries. Talking to past clients is also a must for judging skills related to selling a business. Make sure you get in touch with them and discuss the pros and cons of working with the business broker in question.

Following the above-mentioned steps will ensure that you have at least an idea of what kind of business broker you are dealing with. But rest assured that when you finally find a good professional, your partnership will result in you selling your business successfully.

7 Steps Of Selling Your Business

Closing a successful business for sale deal is a tough task and will require a lot of your time and effort if you are planning to sell your business. The following are some pointers which should guide you through the process:

  1. Get your business for sale valued
  2. Valuation of your business for sale is the first step in getting the process of selling a business started. You should get an expert valuation firm into the picture which can give you a realistic idea of your business worth. You can get your business valued through a number of sources like experienced business brokers, investment banking firms etc. On basis of this valuation, you can decide the asking price, the terms and conditions and also know the market position your business for sale holds.

  3. Be aware of why you are putting up your business for sale
  4. Why are you putting up your business for sale? This is a question business brokers as well as buyers will be interested in getting an answer to. "If it is doing so good, why are you selling?" is a valid question from any buyer. You may be selling your business because you are thinking of retiring, changing your line of business or simply because you need funds. The reason you are putting up your business for sale has to be clear in your mind right from the start.

  5. Have your financials in order
  6. The business for sale process actually gains momentum when a buyer takes interest in buying your business. The interested buyer will generally require at least three years' financial information for your business in order to judge its feasibility. Hence, if you want to successfully sell business, your books of accounts need to be perfectly maintained by a professional.

  7. Have reasonable expectations
  8. Some businessmen put up their business for sale with such high expectations regarding price and terms that finding a buyer to meet them may become tough. Enter the market with reasonable expectations which match with the level of your business. If you expect $1,00,000 for a business which has a valuation of $60,000, you are never going to be able to sell your business. Consult a good business broker who will help you set realistic goals.

  9. Make a good first impression
  10. When you meet potential buyers, you need to make a good first impression. Your business should be organized, well-managed and profitable to be able to convince the buyer to invest in it. Before you put up your business for sale, ask yourself this: Is my business attractive enough to capture the interest of a buyer? Or does it need to be organized in a better way before I put it on the market? Make necessary changes to your business if you think it will make a difference in selling your business successfully. Your business broker will be able to guide you about the expectations of buyers and whether your business meets them or not.

  11. Keep focusing on your business for sale
  12. Once you make a decision to sell business, don't neglect it. Don't focus on sale of business so much that the profitability deteriorates and buyers get a chance to offer you a lower deal. Consider the business your own and run it efficiently until the moment it changes hands.

  13. Hire a professional to help you
  14. And finally, get the help of a professional business broker who can guide you step-by-step until you sell your business successfully. Business brokers have a detailed idea about the business for sale process and will also be able to answer any queries you have along the way.

Keeping these points in mind will ease the business for sale process for you and help you close a successful deal.

Selling a Business? 4 Characteristics You Should Look For In A Good Business Broker

Selling a business is a once in a lifetime occurrence for many small business owners. If you are a small business owner thinking of selling your business, you might be thinking of hiring a good business broker to help you achieve your goals. But how do you go about selecting the right one for you? How do you identify the characteristics YOUR business broker should come with? We thought of making the task easier for you by compiling some essential characteristics of a good business broker.

  1. Track Record or Experience
  2. This is the first and foremost characteristic you should judge any prospective business broker by. The experience of any business brokerage firm is very important aspect in selling a business. Extensive experience in selling a business will ensure that the process for selling business is well designed and successful. It also means that the business broker will have an established network or a list of buyers, increasing the chances of making a successful business sale.

  3. Background
  4. Some questions that you should ask a business broker regarding his/her background are: What type of businesses have you dealt in till now? Which industry have you sold most businesses in? What qualification or business education do you possess?

    The business broker you require should be well qualified as well as have experience in selling businesses in your industry or domain. If this background of the broker matches with your requirements, you can rest assured that you have an expert at work for selling your business.

  5. Proactive Approach
  6. Only if your business broker goes out there proactively to search for an appropriate buyer for your business will you be able to successfully sell your business. Once the broker has understood your requirements for a buyer, he/she should start aggressive marketing to bring your business to the attention of buyers. A good business broker has the ability to get your business constant exposure to potential buyers, which increases the chances of a successful sale of business.

  7. Compatibility
  8. In order to close a successful deal, you need to ensure that your business broker is compatible with you. Ask yourself whether you will be able to work with the person in question till the deal is finalized and whether he/she understands your goals properly. In the lengthy and complicated process of selling a business, many deals have failed to materialize due to the non-compatibility of the sellers and their business brokers. Avoid this problem by interacting with the business broker in question several times and observing his/her demeanor to ensure compatibility.

Finding an appropriate business brokerage firm is half the task done; the firm will then become a powerful tool for your search for the right buyer for selling your business. Select a business broker keeping the above-mentioned points in mind, and you will be one step closer to a successful deal.

6 Mistakes a Business for Sale Owner Should Avoid while Selling a Business

Putting up a business for sale is a life-changing decision, one that has the potential to accomplish your life's goals. You want to see the business you built from scratch go into the right hands at the price you deserve for it. But closing a successful deal for a business for sale is not as easy as it sounds. The entire business selling process is a complicated one. We've compiled some commonly observed mistakes which you can keep in mind while planning to sell your business.

Not Enough Preparation for the Sale

Selling a business requires a lot of planning and preparation, at the end of which you can expect to close a successful deal. Before even considering putting up your business for sale, you need to evaluate your goals and what you wish to achieve through the sale. Once you have your goals chalked out, you can go about finding out how to achieve them. Remember, it takes anywhere between a few months to a year for a business sale to take place. Without preparation, it may take even longer or result in no deal at all.

Wrong Timing

The right time to sell a business is not necessarily when your business is not doing well; it is when your profits are at its best. The timing is a crucial factor in making or breaking a business for sale deal. So don't wait for your business performance to move southwards before you start thinking of selling it. Putting up a business for sale when it's not doing well can make it a hard deal to bargain for. Instead keep the sale of your business always on your mind, especially when it is doing well. If you sell at a time when you have no other choice, you will lose the winning edge for making the deal. A great profit statement is hence your best selling point.

Over Pricing or Under Pricing your Business

Pricing is another issue which breaks deals many a times. While looking at a business for sale, a buyer will look at its turnover, profits and financial situation to judge how much he/she should pay for it. If you demand an unreasonable price, the buyer will be put off even before negotiations begin. Many sellers also make the mistake of under pricing their business for sale, thinking that it will attract more buyers. In fact, all an under-priced deal does is put the doubts regarding the feasibility of the business in the buyer's mind. Ask your business broker to get a fair business valuation which will give you an idea of the asking price to put on your business for sale.

Lack of Financial Details or Information

A buyer judges the potential for a business for sale through the financial documents and information that you provide him/her with. Lack of such details is a deal killer. So have all business documents and financial details prepared in advance so that the buyer may judge the feasibility of the deal quickly and you can sell your business with ease.

Selling to the First Bidder

In one's haste to close the deal, it is very tempting to accept the first bid for a business for sale. But having only one offer makes the seller lose ground in negotiations and doesn't necessarily bring in the best price. Consider all the options you have and select the buyer you think will be able to run your business successfully in the future.

Trying to Sell without a Business Broker

This is a mistake many businessmen make while putting up their business for sale. Managing your business efficiently and trying to sell a business are both full time jobs. It's difficult for one person to juggle both since each needs a dedicated person to look after it. If you try to do both at once, one of the 2 things will happen: you will either be unable to look after your day to day business while looking for a buyer or you will be unable to find the right buyer. The solution to this dilemma is simple: hire a professional business broker. A business broker will not only know how and where to look for people looking to buy a business, he/she will also be able to handle tough negotiations on your behalf. The cost of a business broker will be worth it when you will have made a successful deal, with your business sold to an appropriate buyer.

Avoiding the above-mentioned mistakes while selling your business will go a long way in eliminating the hurdles to a successful business for sale deal.

Selling a Business: The Minutiae of the Process

There is a flood of people who are interested in selling their business in the market right now. On one hand, the recession has forced many businessmen to reconsider their goals and many are opting out of the businesses they started with much vigor. On the other hand, the baby boomer generation, which is now in its early to mid sixties and forms a major chunk of entrepreneurs in the United States, is thinking of retirement.

But the process of selling a business is not so simple for entrepreneurs in this sinking economy as it was some time back. Businessmen may have spent months preparing for the sale of a business and still not manage to get a good deal meeting their terms. So what are the strategies that drive successful sale of businesses? As per Satish Patel, CEO and President of SunbeltNE, franchise of the world’s largest business brokerage network, “It is necessary to implement some strategies in order to ensure that selling your business ends on a successful note.” The following are some points one should keep in mind while preparing to sell a business:

Prepare for selling your business well in advance

Depending on the nature and success of your business, the industry you are in, the complications related to getting the finances, the price you are looking for your business and various other factors - it may take anywhere from a few months to a year or so to sell your business. Business owners should start sale preparations well in advance and consult with an experienced business broker or investment banker to handle the nitty-gritty of the sale of business.

Develop and grow if you want to successfully sell your business

Smart business owners do not stop focusing on their businesses while they are looking for people to buy a business. Instead, they focus harder and try to attain more success for their business. A growing graph convinces a buyer to buy a business more than any other marketing method. Also be prepared to finance the buyer when you are selling your business so that in a credit-crunched market like now, you make a strong case for yourself.

Sell your business at a reasonable price
sell-a-businessIn a harsh market like now, you cannot have unreasonable expectations like a 100% cash deal or getting 20-25% in grace value of your business. You should expect to sell your business at a reasonable price, close to the valuation it actually has. A fair price is likely to attract a buyer and also form a good working relation in case you plan to be involved in the business after the deal is done.

Using a business broker for selling your business

If you try to go the ‘do-it-yourself’ way, you will probably miss out on important issues regarding the sale of your business. The paperwork of a business for sale is highly complicated and a business broker would go a long way in easing out the process for you. The right business broker will bring to the table a database of qualified buyers. This gives you the choice of picking out the best one. It will be worth hiring a professional business broker considering that he will ease the process of selling your business and will have your best interests in mind.

You can always keep these strategies in mind when you are planning the sale of your business. They will ensure that you are successful in etching out a great deal for yourself.

Sunbelt New England was Very Well-Received in the New England Xpo for Business

- The expert business brokerage firm connected with visitors and helped solve their doubts at the Xpo -

New England hosted the Xpo for Business for the first time on 19th May this year. Sunbelt Business Sales and Acquisitions, New England (SunbeltNE), one of the top franchises of Sunbelt Network participated in the highly anticipated B2B show. The Xpo had over 400 exhibits of innovative products and services which visitors could tap into for information. Visitors appreciated the chance to interact with experts in small business and have their doubts solved.

“The Xpo for Business has become a brand name in itself and we were glad that New England could host the show this time around,” said Satish Patel, Founder, CEO and President of SunbeltNE. “We had the opportunity to learn about the major problems small business owners face. A lot of visitors came to us with their doubts and we are glad that we were able to help them. Our participation at this Xpo has gotten us a phenomenal response.”

About SunbeltNE

SunbeltNE provides advisory services for buying and selling business across the U.S. and is one of the most renowned business brokers of the New England region. SunbeltNE also holds franchises for the states of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. With SunbeltNE, sellers can derive the maximum value for their business while buyers get access to varied buying options. To know more about SunbeltNE, visit

5 Tips to Sell your Business through a Business Broker

Does the process of selling your business seem lengthy and confusing to you? Get professional help with an experienced business broker. The advantages of working with business brokers for selling a business are many:

  • They know the process of a business sale thoroughly that saves your time

  • They possess strong negotiating skills to get you the best price for your business

  • Business brokers have the knowledge and expertise for a successful deal close

For selecting and hiring the right business broker for selling a business, the following tips will help you out:

  1. Before you actually go looking for a business broker, you need to be clear in your own mind of the objective behind selling your business. Is it just the money crunch, the eagerness try something else or are your personal priorities forcing you to exit? You should address key issues like: the type of valuation you want for the business; whether you want to stay on after the transfer of ownership; whether you are open for seller financing etc.

  2. Business Broker
  3. Equally important is deciding which type of business broker will work the best for selling your business. You can determine the type of business broker you want by their experience, team of advisors, track record of successfully closed deals, exposure to your industry etc. For example, if you have a $1 million company, a large business brokerage firm would probably not be interested in selling your business.

  4. Once you actually start looking for a professional business broker, give importance to the compatibility factor. Ask yourself whether you will be able to work with him/her to sell your business successfully to get the best possible deal. You have to explain your objectives of selling your business to the business broker and then judge whether he/she understands your goals properly.

  5. Ensure that you understand the process of selling your business completely by discussing it in detail with your business broker. You should be comfortable with the process as well as confident that it will result in the successful sale of your business.

  6. Make sure that you obtain a detailed quote from the business broker and understand the basis of the charges and expenses mentioned in it. You don’t want to be arguing for unjustified charges for selling your business. Ask the business broker specific questions in case of doubts, and clarify them before confirming him/her.

These tips will help you find a business broker who will have your best interests at heart. Otherwise, you will spend a lot of time searching for and negotiating with the right buyer to sell your business. A good business broker will increase the value of the transaction and justify the fees he/she charges.

3 Questions to Ask your Business Broker Before Buying a Business Franchise

Franchises are a Great Concoction for Business

Consider buying a business franchise with a little help from your business broker in case the current recession is tipping you towards entrepreneurship rather than undertaking an unstable job. A franchise has all the ingredients for a successful business: a tried and tested business formula which can be easily duplicated; a well-established reputation and brand name; a loyal customer base; and over and above all, minimum risk when one is buying a business. If you are new to doing business, buying a business franchise is a great way to enhance your entrepreneurial career. What’s even better is buying an existing franchise, which lets you hit the ground running right from day one. That way, you can combine the best of both worlds: the track record of an existing business and the concept of a franchise.

An established franchise for resale is hard to find when you are looking to buy a business. For your search, you can enlist an experienced business broker to help you out. Business brokers have listings for businesses for sale, and you might find a seller who wants to sell a business franchise. Business brokers are also aware of the various types of business franchises in the market and will be able to help you find one that matches with your business skills and expectations.

How to Research for Buying a Business Franchise Business Brokers

Once you identify your preferred brand you for buying an existing business franchise, undertake some research in conjunction with your business broker so that you become aware of the market conditions and success strategies. Only if you interact with your business broker and other franchise owners will you be able to judge whether buying a business franchise of that brand is in your best interest or not. Some key questions to ask your business broker and other franchisees are mentioned below.

Ask your business broker the following 3 question before buying a business franchise:

  • What is the number one focus of the franchisor?

    You want to buy a business franchise of a franchisor that has your best interest in mind, so the answer you are looking for is “His number one focus is the success of all his franchisees.” If you get an answer like “The franchisor’s core focus is his own profitability”, it shows that the franchisor is only concerned about his own benefits.

  • What problems do the other franchisees face?

    Your business broker will also be aware of some of the problems franchisees face. While buying a business franchise, you should be aware of the problems commonly faced by other franchisees and how to deal with them. The business broker is the best person to talk to regarding this.

  • How does the franchisor resolve conflicts?

    Your business broker will most probably know the franchisor’s ability to solve conflicts within franchisees. Buy a business franchise only if you are convinced of the franchisor’s ability to resolve conflicts and his total dedication to the business.
Additionally buy your business franchise after asking the following 3 questions to other franchisees:
  • What preparation did you undertake when you took the plunge?
  • What kind of marketing campaigns attract customers to the franchise?
  • What kind of financial implications does buying a business franchise have?
Such interactions with the business broker and other franchisees will help you make a decision on if that particular brand of franchise is the right one to buy. After all, buying any business is a life changing decision and will remain with you for years to come.

Selling a Business? Get into the Buyer’s Mindset

If you are looking to sell your existing business, you need to find the right buyer. And in order to find the right person to buy your business, you need to get into the buyer’s mindset in order to figure out what factors influence their buying decision. Such an insight will help you best customize your selling pitch accordingly. But how do you figure out what a buyer is thinking while buying a business or franchise? What factors influence him/her in making the decision? Which are the factors you need to be aware of in order to convince the buyer to buy your business? The answer to these questions is important in making sure you can successfully sell a business to the right buyer.

Some of the common factors that influence the buyers to buy a business are:

Selling a Business

  • Entry into a new market: an acquisition of your business may be a means to enter the market for the buyer. For example, buying a business in the restaurant industry may be a way for a food manufacturer to get into the main street business.

  • Elimination of competition: if you are a competitor who takes away a significant value of business from the buyer, he/she might decide to buy the business from you. That way, for the buyer, another business from the same industry can be integrated into the existing business as well as the competition can be eliminated.

  • Merger and acquisition: if expansion is on the agenda for the business, the buyer might look for merger and acquisition opportunities by buying a business. This way, the market share of the buyer will increase and expansion can be possible.

  • Increasing the value of the original business: if your business is on the same lines of the buyer’s existing business, he might want to buy your business to increase the value of his own business.

  • To fill gaps in products or services: in case your business is well established, has a brand name or offers a better product or service offering than the buyer’s own business, he/she might consider buying your business to fill gaps in their own products or services.

  • To add intellectual or physical property to their rooster: if you possess a valued intellectual or physical property, it might become an attraction for the buyer. This way, the buyer’s business value as well as market offering is liable to increase.

  • Company reputation and brand name: most buyers consider a well established business a good investment. So if your company has experience, is well respected and has a brand name, it will become a major pull and will be a convincing factor to buy your business.

The factors mentioned above cover the most common reasons for buyers to buy a business. However, in case of individuals, there might be other factors which lead to the decision e.g. emotional factors, finance etc. These factors differ from person to person and are very individualized. You can consult with a professional business broker for guidance for finding a right buyer and get the right value for your business.

You need to be aware of the factors mentioned above when you are on the lookout for a buyer for selling a business. If you are successful in getting into the mindset of the prospective buyers, you will be able to better understand them as well as their buying requirements and will be able to convince them to buy your business.

Do you need a Business Broker for Selling your Business?

If you are thinking of selling your business, there are probably many issues you are worrying about. After all, selling your business is a critical decision: you want to get the right price for your life’s work as well as want it to go in the right hands. Due diligence, business valuation, deal financing, legal and accounting issues, and most importantly, finding the right buyer for your business: these and many more are issues that will need the guidance of an expert business brokerage firm. A business broker will be able to help you sail through this entire process with ease. If all the above-mentioned information sounds Greek to you, read on for a detailed explanation.

Business Broker If you are unaware of the minutia involved in selling a business and still want to hit the ground running, you should hire the services of a business broker or an intermediary. Do not be leery of relying on an expert business broker, because he or she is an experienced professional in buying a business or selling a business, and will be the best guide on how to find you the perfect buyer. So let’s cut to the chase and examine why you need a business broker.

3 things the business broker has that you don’t have:

  • Huge Listings of buyers and a strong network of contacts

    The listings the business broker has will help you find the most appropriate buyer for your business as well as get the best price for your business. Expert business brokers generally have a strong network of contacts which enables them to get an update on the people who are looking to buy an existing business.

  • Experience in buying and selling a business

    You don’t buy and sell a business every few months, but your broker does. Trust his experience and his valuable insights to find the perfect buyer for your business.

  • Niche skills for closing the deal

    Business brokers are aware of the processes involved in buying or selling businesses. They will not only get you an interested buyer with the best quote for your business, but will also help you overcome every hurdle related to the accounting, tax and legal matters.

But how do you know who should be your right choice for a business broker?

Don’t miss to ask these questions before you chose to hire a business broker:

  • What kind of team does he/she have?

  • What has been his/her ratio of successfully closed deals in the past one year?

  • How many years is his/her overall experience as a business broker?

  • Which type of businesses has he/she been highly successful with?

  • Can he/she provide you with references of some recently closed deals?

  • What kind of buyer listings does he/she have?

  • What would be his/her brokerage fee?

Selling a business can be a very daunting task but if you search for a business broker on basis of the above-mentioned guidelines, you are most likely to find the right business brokerage firm to help you through the entire process.

Getting to the Heart of Business Valuation - V (Tips to increase Value of Business)

‘Getting to the Heart of Business Valuation -5 part Series’ helps you grasp the core fundamentals of business valuation procedure. Areas covered were selecting the right business valuator, types of business valuation, checklists of documents and information to keep ready for business valuation and finally we discussed the business valuation process.

Business ValuationWe conclude this mini 5 part series, with this last topic which highlights essential tips to increase value of business to ensure business sale is favorable.

Check out the following healthy signs, and then listen to the heartbeat of your own business and its leadership style:

Optimistic Attitude

Many business owners today are more pragmatic and take pride in being less of an “incurable optimist.” In a world driven by technology and scientific analysis, it’s easy to forget the importance of the right attitude. If business owners aren’t positive, how can they expect customers and employers to be? The owner who believes business is bad will probably not see it getting any better.

How to project a positive attitude? Begin with the easiest. Sprucing up the place of business with fresh paint, newly-cleaned carpeting, well-stocked shelves, for example, will say a lot for the health of a company. Less visible, but highly important, is a positive outlook on the future of the business. Business owners should be prepared to spend what it takes to generate new business, and should take the time to outline new possibilities for long-range success. If the company currently has no mission statement or business plan, creating one will speak volumes about owner’s enthusiasm for the future of the operation. This will make the overall profile very attractive to prospective business buyers.

Healthy Managerial Style

In the modern workplace, where you can hardly see the business through the forest of “managers,” it’s good to get back to basics. Too often owners get bogged down in busy work, or in “managing the managers.” Owners who put themselves in the trenches are in touch with the business -- and this first-hand understanding will be evident to anyone taking stock of the company’s worth.

An equally healthy approach to managing is preparing for contingencies. The owner’s style should include appropriate delegation of duties and a backup managerial plan in case of unforeseen calamity.

And finally, owners should project a general sense of well-being and energy. Give valid reasons to make a killing at the negotiation table and sell a business at good price by showing futuristic opportunities to grow. Anyone taking stock of a business will draw a quick impression from the very posture and tone of voice the owner presents.

Conspicuous Image

To foster the image of an on-going, healthy business concern, business owners need to keep their image prominent before the public. Advertising can build image at the same time it attracts business. Anything from a display ad within the yellow pages listings, to a monthly company newsletter, to the offering free seminars, can portray the business as more than just the sum of its products.

Community Involvement

To further promote the business -- and its owner -- as a rock-solid and permanent part of the local scene, there are opportunities just waiting to be tapped. Taking an active role in the Chamber of Commerce, trade or service associations, and sponsorship of worthy local events is great public relations.

To find the real value of a business, go to its very heart: the attitude, work habits, managerial style, customer/marketplace savvy, and community reputation of the person in charge. The business owner or manager is the final, and most cogent, indicator of business worth.

Dollars and cents will always be important in establishing value, but it’s a kind of people-sense that will give the truest meaning for business value. Establish value for your business in truest sense and see the market value soar and overall win-win situation while selling business!

Getting to the Heart of Business Valuation- IV (Business Valuation Process)

After tackling issues like how to select the right business evaluator and understanding the various methods of a business valuation, and checklist of documents to be kept ready, this post will talk about the business valuation process adopted by SunbeltNE business brokers. Adopting a right business valuation process ensures the sale of business will bring in a better sale price compared to arbitrary valuation of business.Business Valuations

Step 1: The Broker meets with the client to determine what type of valuation is required.

Step 2: During the meeting, the Broker will assist in the completion of the Company Profile information needed for the type of valuation selected.

Step 3: Once the Company Profile has been completed and the required financial, company and other general documents and information are obtained, the package of information is mailed, faxed, or emailed to third party Valuation Analyst.

Step 4: The Valuation Analyst will review the documents and begin the valuation. During this process, if the Analyst has any questions or requires additional information, he will contact the Broker to obtain them.

Step 5: The valuation process for a Snapshot, Value Analysis, or Limited Formal will be taken with the help of required financial information. A completed Company Profile is then generated, and all questions that arise are answered. The Mergers and Acquisitions and all Comprehensive reports will take time due to the complexity of the valuation.

Step 6: The Analyst will issue a preliminary review of the valuation. This review is critical to the final report. It assures that all details have been considered and allows for any adjustments that may need to be made based on new information or further clarifications.

Step 7: Once the review with the Broker has been conducted, the Analyst will finalize, print, and send the final valuation report.

Step 8: The Broker will receive hard copies and an electronic copy (if requested) of the final report. This report is sent to the business seller/owner. Thus a planned business valuation involves lot of procedures and systematic planning to ensure the right value is found out to help sell business.

To know more information about SunbeltNE’s business valuation services.

Getting to the Heart of Business Valuation - III (Checklist of documents & information required)

Previous posts took you through a quick overview of how you can select the right business valuation professional, the various methods of business valuation to begin your planned exit strategy to sell a business.Business Valuations

Let us proceed to have a quick review of the documents and information to be kept ready to conduct a thorough and fair valuation of the business. Also note that all these information will also help the business buyer to conduct due diligence and make the process of selling a business quick and smooth.

Following is a checklist of documents and information that professional business advisors ask prior business valuation:

Financial Statements:

  • Balance sheets, income statements, statements of changes in financial position, and statements of stockholders’ equity or partners’ capital accounts for up to the last five fiscal years, if available.
  • Income tax returns for the same number of years.
  • Latest interim statements if valuation date is 90 days or more beyond end of last fiscal year and interim statement for the comparable period the year before.
  • Prepare a list of subsidiaries and/or financial interests in other companies (if any) along with relevant financial statements of such a company.
  • Equipment list and depreciation schedule.
  • Aged accounts receivable list.
  • Aged accounts payable list.
  • List of prepaid expenses.
  • Inventory list, with any necessary information on inventory accounting policies (including work in progress, if applicable).
  • Lease or leases (if lease does not exist or is not transferable, determine what new lease or rental terms will be).
  • Any other existing contracts (employment agreements, covenants not to compete, supplier and franchise agreements, customer agreements, royalty agreements, equipment lease or rental contracts, loan agreements, labor contracts, employee benefit plans, etc.
  • List of stockholders or partners, with number of shares owned by each or percentage of each partner’s interest in earnings and capital.
  • Compensation schedule for owners, including all benefits and personal expenses.
  • Schedule of insurance in force (key-man life, property and casualty, liability).
  • Budgets or projections, if available.
Company Documents
  • If a Corporation, articles of incorporation, by-laws, any amendments to either, and corporate minutes.
  • If a Partnership, articles of partnership, with any amendments.
  • List of existing buy/sell agreements, options to purchase stock or partnership interest, or rights of first refusal.

Other Information
  • Brief history and details of any changes in ownership and/or bona-fide offers received.
  • Brief description of business which includes position as compared to competitors and any factors that make the business unique.
  • Marketing literature (catalogs, brochures, advertisements, etc.)
  • List of locations where company operates, with details provided in terms of size, and whether owned or leased.
  • List of states in which the company is licensed to do business.
  • If customer or supplier base is concentrated, list of major accounts, with annual dollar volume for each.
  • List of competitors, with location, relative size, and any other relevant factors.
  • Resumes of, or list of, key personnel, with age, position, compensation, length of service, education and prior experience.
  • List of memberships with Trade associations or would be eligible for membership.
  • Information of relevant trade or government publications which features the company.
  • Collect existing indicators of asset values, including latest property tax assessments and any appraisals that have been done.
  • List of patents, copyrights, trademarks, and other intangible assets.
  • Any contingent or off-balance-sheet assets or liabilities (pending lawsuits, compliance requirements, warranty or other product liability, etc.)
  • List of any filings or correspondence with regulatory agencies regarding issues related to business.
  • List out major highlights of prior business transactions.

Don’t get bogged down by the long list. If you hire a professional business valuation firm they will already have a team of staff to help you gather all the relevant paper work to ensure business sale is smooth and favorable of the business seller. Next post we will discuss the business valuation process in brief.

Disclaimer: This blog is for information purpose only. It is intended to discuss in brief about commonly followed practice or industry-known principles, Applicability of this information is subject to change from time-to-time or might differ from case-to-case basis. Readers are requested to verify their case facts with a qualified Business Valuation professional.