Price or Terms: The Structure of the Deal

An old saying in negotiating the sale of a business goes like this: The buyer says to the seller, “You name the price, and I get to name the terms.” Another saying used to explain the actual value of the term full price: “If we could find you a business that nets you $250,000 a year after debt service, and you could buy it for $100 down, would you really care what the full price was?” It seems that everyone is concerned only about full price.  And yet, full price is just part of the equation.  If a seller is willing to accept a relatively small down payment and carry the balance, a higher full price can be achieved.  On the other hand, the more cash the seller wants up front, the lower the full price. If the seller demands all cash, barring some form of outside financing, full price lowers – and, in most cases, the chance of selling decreases as well.  Even in cases where outside financing is used, such as through SBA, etc., the lender … [Read more...]

Considering Generational Strategies

When you are buying or selling a business, you might very well end up making a deal with someone from another generation.  Therefore, it only makes sense to take the time to understand that individual’s background and how that might cause behavioral differences.  It is important to understand and reflect upon where many of them are coming from and the collective experiences and trends that shaped their identities and perspectives.  At the same time, you can identify your own biases, strengths and weaknesses that may be caused by your own upbringing. The strategies in this article originated from Chuck Underwood who is considered a leading expert in the diversity of communication styles between generations.  He is the author of a major book on the subject as well as host of the long-running “America’s Generations with Chuck Underwood” on PBS.  Generational Sensitivity  Underwood’s perspective is that people of each generation … [Read more...]

Confidential Business Reviews Should Establish Trust

When you are selling a business, your business broker or M&A Advisor will likely create a Comprehensive Business Review, or CBR.  This comprehensive document can then be presented to prospective buyers once they have signed all necessary confidentiality documentation.  It is essential that this document builds trust between both parties, as this will go a long way towards achieving a successful deal.  Be Honest The bottom line is that your CBR will be 95% positive.  The majority of the document will be dedicated towards selling and promoting your business.   Therefore, it only makes sense to disclose some potential problems.  When handled correctly, the disclosure of problems can actually be a strong asset.  For example, current weaknesses of your business could become strengths in the mind of the buyer.  For example, a business with a very poor online presence represents a substantial opportunity for a buyer to improve marketing and … [Read more...]

What You Need to Know About Foreign Buyers

There is a potentially lucrative group of buyers that many sellers don’t initially think about.  We are talking about foreign buyers.  While there are some hurdles to working with these types of buyers, it is important to note that there are many huge advantages as well.  Let’s take a closer look. How Are Foreign Buyers Different?  At the top of the list of ways in which foreign buyers are different is that they are often seeking a visa.  Another commonality among foreign buyers, one that will surprise many, is that they may want access to the U.S. educational system.  It is common for foreign buyers to want to buy a business so that they can get their children into a particular U.S. school district or college.  Sometimes the desire to be eligible for state tuition also plays a role in the selection of a business and the decision-making process.  In this sense, business location takes on a level of importance that it might not have … [Read more...]

Essential Meeting Tips for Buyers & Sellers

The buyer-seller meeting is quite often a “make or break” meeting.  Your business broker or M&A Advisor will do everything possible to ensure that this meeting goes as well as possible.  It is vitally important to realize that rarely is there an offer before buyers and sellers actually meet.  The all-important offer usually comes directly after this all-important meeting.  As a result, you want to ensure that meetings are as positive and productive as possible. Buyers need to understand how the process of selling a business works and what is expected of them from the process.  Buyers also need to understand that following their broker’s advice will increase the chances of a successful outcome.  Sellers should be ready to be honest and forthcoming during the meeting.  They also want to be sure to not say or do anything that could come across as a strong-armed sales tactic.  Asking the Right Questions If you are a buyer … [Read more...]

The Main Street Lending Program

There is no doubt that the COVID-19 situation seems to change with each and every day.  The disruption and chaos that the pandemic has injected into both daily life and business is obvious.  Just as it is often difficult to keep track of the ebbs and flows of the pandemic, the same can be stated for keeping up to speed on the government’s response and what options exist to assist companies of all sizes.   In this article, we’ll turn our attention to an overlooked area of the government’s pandemic response and how businesses can use a whole new lending platform to navigate the choppy waters.  As the pandemic continues, you will want to be aware of the main street lending program, which is a whole new lending platform.  It was designed for businesses that were financially sound prior to the pandemic.  Authorized under the CARE Act, the main street lending program is quite attractive for an array of reasons.  Let’s take a … [Read more...]

Why Does Your Business Need Google Reviews?

In today’s business climate, reviews are the differentiator.  Years ago, people commonly asked for references when they were vetting a product or service.  But these days when people are searching for a local business to work with, they are likely to conduct research on their own and read online reviews.  Google reviews can give businesses a big credibility boost without having to spend a dime.  Let’s take a look at some of the key benefits. Increased Credibility & Trust According to statistics, approximately 91% of consumers read reviews to determine credibility of a local business.  In fact, 84% of consumers say the positive reviews have helped them gain trust.  Without the reviews, that level of trust would not have been established.  Needless to say, people trust Google.  The fact that these reviews are on a 3rd party website increases transparency.  These reviews have much higher value than testimonials posted on the … [Read more...]

Seller Financing: It Makes Dollars and Sense

An important component of selling a business is, frequently, seller financing.  Many potential buyers don’t have the necessary capital or lender resources to pay cash and, even if they do, they are often reluctant to put large sums of cash into what, for them, is a new and untried venture.  This is particularly true in the age of Covid-19 with an extra degree of uncertainty.  Seller financing has many advantages: Seller financing greatly increases the chances that the business will sell. The business will command a significantly higher price.  Industry statistics show that seller financing results in an average 30% higher price. The interest on a seller-financed deal can add substantially to the selling price. (For example, a seller carry-back note at eight percent carried over nine years will double the amount carried.  Over a nine-year period, $100,000 at eight percent will result in the seller receiving $200,000.) With interest rates currently the lowest in years, … [Read more...]

Negotiating the Price Gap Between Buyers and Sellers

Sellers generally prefer all-cash transactions; however, partial seller financing is often necessary in typical middle market company transactions.  Additionally, sellers who demand all-cash deals typically receive a lower purchase price than they do when providing some financing. 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.  Buyers view deferring some of the purchase price as providing leverage in the event that the owner has misrepresented the business.  An earnout is a mechanism to provide payment based on future performance.  Acquirers think there should be no problem with this type of payout if the business is as it is represented but the seller, who knows the business is sound under his or her management, will be concerned with the risk that the buyer will not be as successful in operating the business. Moreover, the … [Read more...]

Back to Business After the COVID-19 Pandemic

COVID-19 has clearly shown that not having a robust global system for dealing with disease and pandemics comes with a hefty price tag.  Despite our technological advances and the complexity of our society, disease can instantly change the course of history.  In the case of the Covid-19 economic crisis, the price tag will no doubt be in the trillions.  You cannot undo what has happened, but you can focus on what to do when the pandemic is over and life slowly returns to normal.  In his recent article, “How to Hit the Ground Running After the Pandemic,” author Geoffrey James explores what businesses need to do to jump start their operations once the pandemic is in the history books. We know that the pandemic will eventually end and we can be confident that the economy will eventually rebound.  Whenever that happens, business owners need to be ready to charge back in.   Almost everything about this economic downturn is unique.  Take, for example, the fact that the U.S. has just … [Read more...]