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Initial Common Questions Buyers Ask Sellers When Looking For A Business To Acquire

When looking for a business to purchase, most prospective buyers have an initial list of qualifying questions they ask an owner of a business they are interested in. In addition to this baseline information, buyers may use the first couple of meetings or calls to get a clearer understanding of the business and to assess its risks and upside aspects.

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Why Deals Fall Apart — Loss Of Momentum

Deals fall apart for many reasons – some reasonable, others unreasonable.

For example:

  • The seller doesn’t have all his financials up to date.
  • The seller doesn’t have his legal/environmental/administrative affairs up to date.
  • The buyer can’t come up with the necessary financing.
  • The well known “surprise” surfaces causing the deal to fall apart.

The list could go on and on and this subject has been covered many times. However, there are more hidden reasons that threaten to end a deal usually half to three-quarters of the way to closing. These hidden reasons silently lead to a lack of or loss of momentum.

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The 3 Ways To Negotiate

There are three major negotiation methods.

1. Take it or leave it. A buyer makes an offer or a seller makes a counter-offer – both sides can let the “chips fall where they may.”

2. Split the difference. The buyer and seller, one or the other, or both, decide to split the difference between what the buyer is willing to offer and what the seller is willing to accept. A real oversimplification, but often used.

3. This for that. Both buyer and seller have to find out what is important to each.  So many of these important areas are non-monetary and involve personal things such as allowing the owner’s son to continue employment with the firm.  The buyer may want to move the business.

There is an old adage that advises, “Never negotiate your own deal!”

The first thing both sides have to decide on is who will represent them.  Will they have their attorney, their intermediary or will they go it alone?  Intermediaries are a good choice for a seller.  They have done it before, are good advocates for their side and they understand the company and the seller.

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What Makes Your Company Unique?

There are unique attributes of a company that make it more attractive to a possible acquirer and/or more valuable. Certainly, the numbers are important, but potential buyers will also look beyond them. Factors that make your company special or unique can often not only make the difference in a possible sale or merger, but also can dramatically increase value. Review the following to see if any of them apply to your company and if they are transferable to new ownership.

Brand Name or Identity

Do any of your products have a well recognizable name? It doesn’t have to be Kleenex or Coke, but a name that might be well known in a specific geographic region, or a name that is identified with a specific product. A product with a unique appearance, taste, or image is also a big plus. For example, Cape Cod Potato Chips have a unique regional identity, and also a distinctive taste. Both factors are big pluses when it comes time to sell.

Dominant Market Position

A company doesn’t have to be a Fortune 500 firm to have a dominant position in the market place. Being the major player in a niche market is a dominant position. Possible purchasers and acquirers, such as buy-out groups, look to the major players in a particular industry regardless of how small it is.

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Get Out Of Town: Increase The Value Of Your Business

Vacation - it's often an elusive concept for the owners of small businesses. Even when owners do take time off, chances are they're still checking in constantly, which has become increasingly easy to do in this age of the smartphone and ever-omnipresent Internet connectivity. The ironic thing is that this constant owner involvement can actually be detrimental to the value of the business from the perspective of potential buyers.

 
An owner-driven business is not an attractive asset in a buyer's eyes. An in-place team that can provide continuity and assist in the growth of the business under new ownership IS. An enterprise with infrastructure guiding its revenue-generating capacity is much more appealing than one with a singular person holding the key to the revenue engine. It is important to have systems running the business and an experienced staff running those systems.

If you want to improve your business - plan an extended vacation! Your staff and family will be glad! It can help you see where the gaps are and where improvements need to be made in order to decrease owner dependence and increase business efficiencies and value.

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What Drives The Value of a Restaurant?

The valuation of a restaurant is much like any other business valuation. But, there are certain factors unique to the restaurant industry. The following are key elements that impact the valuation of food and beverage businesses.

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What Serious Buyers Look For When Looking For A Business To Purchase

Serious buyers want to carefully look at the financials of a company under consideration and all of the other major aspects of the company. However, there are a few other areas that the serious buyer will investigate that sellers may overlook. The Industry – The buyer will want to take a serious look at the industry itself, the customers, the suppliers, the competition, etc. This investigation will cover the strengths, weaknesses, threats from competition, and opportunities of the potential acquisition. With the growth of the “big box” retailers, much power has shifted from the manufacturer to the retailer. A manufacturer may want to increase prices, but if Wal-Mart says no, it’s a very powerful no. Discretionary Costs – Some sellers will reduce their expenses in discretionary areas such as advertising, public relations, research and development, thus making for a higher bottom line. However, these cuts will hurt the future bottom line, and smart buyers will take notice o ...

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Is It The Age Of Aquarius For Selling Businesses?

You may have been reading or hearing that conditions in the business-for-sale marketplace have been synchronizing and harmonizing. The stars are aligning, charting an agreeable economic climate in the acquisition universe for Baby-Boomer Business Owners.

 
Anyone reading our newsletters has been kept aware of the stats, and the numerous articles written on this subject recently from all the big-name business magazines, media news outlets, and others like us: "There's a perfect storm approaching for exiting business owners," "Why you should consider selling your business now," "Small businesses are selling faster than ever," and "Get set for greater intensity by serious buyers." 

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Supplier Concentration And Business Value

When buyers look at a company for sale, they look at risk. Supplier concentration is one of the top risk factors that are examined. Concentration in the acquisition world is a bad word. Businesses with high supplier concentration attract fewer buyers and this lowers the price. Be sure to read Master Ten Value Drivers To Sell Your Business At The Highest Price, that itemized the other factors that increase the value of your business.

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Don’t Fall For It: The 5 Mistakes Business Owners Make When Dreaming Of Selling Their Company

           By Mark Tepper If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my years of working as a Certified Financial Planner™, it’s that entrepreneurs are a special breed of people. They’re motivated. They’re inspired. They’re incredibly tenacious. They’re smart. They’re optimistic. And they know how to get what they want. On the flip side, many entrepreneurs are guilty of being a little pie-in-the-sky—especially when it comes to their own businesses. Unrealistic expectations of the exit process can both hinder the sale of a company and affect the morale of an entrepreneur getting ready to sell. Be wary of the mistakes below and you’ll enter the exit-planning process better informed, better equipped strategically, and more likely to enjoy your sale process.   1. Assuming They’ll Find Perfect Suitors Immediately Since most entrepreneurs have enjoyed a lot of hard-earned ...

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