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Monthly Archives: April 2017

Know the Reasons Why Should You Buy a Business

1) The success rate for businesses purchased is much higher than the success rate for a new business startup. Just ask your accountant.

2) An established customer base means immediate cash flow! Enough said.

3) It is much easier to find capital to buy an existing business than to start a new one. Why? See reason #2 above. Bankers are not dumb. They know the statistics. Bankers are much more willing to lend money when there is an identified source of repayment already in place.

4) Many sellers are willing to carry-back financing at very reasonable terms. Why? For income tax reasons. They would prefer to defer any gain over a longer period versus taking a gain all at once. And if a seller is willing to carry back any part of the purchase price, it tells you the seller believes that the business will continue to succeed under your management.

5) Projections for a startup are nothing more than an educated guess. Projections for existing businesses for sale are based on historical results. Which is more reliable?

6) Startups always, I repeat, ALWAYS cost more to start than expected. For the money you will end up spending to start that new business (which may or not succeed) you could have probably purchased an existing business with immediate cash flow.

7) You may actually need to come up with less cash for your down payment plus working capital when you buy an existing business than you would need if you started your own business. Why? With owner carry financing and a performing track record, your existing business purchase is very bankable. A new startup is not very bankable. The cash required to get the new business to a cash flow positive is unknown. And it eats cash.

8) An established web site presence. Although each business will vary, most businesses rely to some extent on a business web site. The longer a web site has been established, and the more traffic that web site receives, the more value search engines place on that site. This is important as your web site ranking determines your placement in search engine results. In other words, building a new web site is not enough. Customers still need to find it. A quality, established web site can be a real asset, something that a new startup will not have.

9) Many businesses listed for sale are actually very fairly priced. One can often find a business for sale that will sell for three to four times cash flow. Think about it. Four times cash flow equates to a 25% annual cash return on investment. 25% will usually cover all debt service and still leave a decent return for the investor.

10) Less brain damage. Just ask anyone who has been “wrung through the wringer” by starting their own business. Always wondering if customers would really come.

 

Methods of Finding a Business To Buy

Word of Mouth

This method of finding the perfect business to buy is very much chance-based and consists of someone telling you about, or you driving around and seeing, a business that is for sale. Due to its nature, you are exposed to a very limited number of businesses. And unless you are very lucky that one of the few discovered in this fashion is exactly what you want, this method is not very effective at finding the perfect business to buy.

Classified ads in the local newspaper

The old-fashioned method of finding a business to buy is to look in the classified ads in the local newspaper and see if any catch your eye. This is a very difficult way to find a business to buy for several reasons. One, the number of businesses-for-sale listed in the classifieds is very small compared to the overall universe of businesses that are for sale at any time. Two, classified ads typically present you with only three lines of cryptic text to give you background on the business. And three, classifieds do not have a search function so you have to spend a lot of time looking through all of the classifieds to find those businesses that interest you. While classifieds can serve a purpose in buying a business, they are not very efficient or effective.

Business Brokers

Business brokers are typically very professional and knowledgeable in the art of buying and selling a business. Plus they are skilled at helping sellers sell their business. But therein lies the rub – they are contractually obligated to help the seller sell the business. They are not obligated to you as the buyer. Therefore, brokers will usually look out for the seller’s best interests first, which means they will often only show you businesses that they represent. This severely limits your exposure to the number of businesses that are available for sale at any one time, which makes it an inefficient method of finding the perfect business to buy.

However, more common these days are Buyer Brokers. These business brokers represent you, the buyer, in your efforts to buy a business. This can be very effective because the broker knows how to navigate the process of buying a business. However, you often have to personally pay the broker to help you buy a business, which increases your costs. Therefore, it is often best to conduct a search for a business on your own, and then hire an attorney or experienced broker to guide you through the purchase process. But where do you search for businesses on your own?

Online marketplaces

Online marketplaces typically contain an exhaustive list of businesses that are for sale. Plus, it is easy to search these thousands of businesses instantly to find only the ones that meet your criteria. This makes online marketplaces the most effective, efficient and comprehensive method of finding the perfect business to buy.
There are many online marketplaces to choose from, but they are far from equal. Some have inadequate search functions, others are just interested in collecting listing fees from business sellers, and others do not offer the buyer tools to help make your search process easier. As a result, selecting a good business-for-sale marketplace is critical in your search for finding the perfect business to buy.

 

How to Find Qualified Buyers

Some people say the quantity of buyers that are interested in buying your business is most important. Others say the quality of buyers is most important, regardless of quantity. But the correct answer is both are very important. Here’s why:

If you have 50 buyers interested in your business, then you have plenty of quantity. But if you are selling a $1,000,000 manufacturing business and these buyers can only afford a business that costs less than $300,000, or if they all prefer a service business, then this “quantity” of buyers is a waste of time. You will spend hours talking to unqualified buyers about your business when they have no interest in actually buying it.

Conversely, say you only have 2 buyers interested in your business and they are looking to spend at least $1,000,000 on a manufacturing business. You have good buyer “quality” but not enough quantity. On average, you need at least 10 or more qualified buyers to look at your business before you can reasonably expect to sell it. And the more buyers you have looking at your business, the higher the sales price typically is.

In a nutshell, the more qualified buyers you have looking at your business, the faster you will sell your business and the more money you will make on the sale. But how do you get both quantity and quality of buyers interested in your business? The key is to employ several methods of effective advertising that don’t cost you a fortune.

Word of Mouth Advertising

This method of advertising is very spotty and should not be considered a core form of advertising. Due to its nature, your business is exposed to a very limited number of buyers that probably aren’t qualified. As a result, this method of advertising provides neither quantity nor quality, which makes it very ineffective at helping you sell your business.

Classified ads in the local newspaper

The old-fashioned method of advertising a business for sale was to place a classified ad in one or more newspapers and hope enough qualified buyers would stumble upon it. This method is not very effective because you only have a few short lines of text to tell your entire story and attract interest in your business. This not only reduces the overall quantity of buyers, but you also end up wasting time on a lot of unqualified buyers. As a result, classifieds are not very effective at generating a high quality or quantity of buyers.

Business Brokers

Business brokers are typically very professional and knowledgeable in the art of buying and selling a business. Plus they are skilled at helping sellers sell their business. They will prepare your business for sale and handle all discussions with buyers on your behalf.

In addition, brokers will help generate interest in your business from buyers through their relationships with other brokers, as well as listing your business for sale on their website.

However, to get maximum quality and quantity of buyers interested in your business it is best to complement a broker’s services with additional advertising efforts. You can do this either in conjunction with the broker’s efforts, or on your own.

Online marketplaces

Currently the most effective method of getting both the highest quantity and quality of buyers interested in your business is by advertising on an online business-for-sale marketplace. These marketplaces are searched by hundreds of thousands of buyers each month, and can generate a staggering amount of interest in your business.

There are many online marketplaces to choose from, but they are far from equal. Some have inadequate search functions, which mean your quality of buyers will decrease. The better the search functions the site offers, the more precisely buyers can search for what they want. And when a buyer finds your business, you know they are highly qualified.

Other business-for-sale marketplaces are just interested in collecting listing fees from you, regardless of whether or not they help you find a buyer. These sites charge a monthly listing fee that is not tied to performance of any kind. As a result, they may or may not bring you any qualified buyers, and they really don’t have any incentive to do so.

The most effective business-for-sale marketplaces put their money where their mouth is and only charge sellers on a pay-for-performance basis. With these sites, you list your business for sale on the site and it appears in buyers’ search results when they search for a business that meets your criteria. But you are only charged a small fee if the buyer actually clicks on your listing and views its details. And you can set your own budget to determine the quantity of buyers you want.