If you are a business owner in St. Joseph Missouri, there will come a day when you look at “how to sell my business” as the main question you ask yourself and perhaps the first thing to type in the search box in Google or your favorite search engine. When you type in “how to sell my business in St. Joseph ” I am sure you will find all kinds of information on just that. I have compiled 7 of the things most business owners don’t know about or don’t think about before that day (or the day of) that would certainly make the day you do sell your business a more profitable one. Most companies who visit with us are looking to find out what their business is worth first. Most business owners have no idea what their company is worth. Wouldn’t you like to know about what it is worth before you hire a St. Joseph business broker (we’re not brokers, by the way)?Before I go into all that let’s look at the 7 biggest mistake business owners make when they get to the point of asking “how to sell my business”1. They assume they “know” what their company is worth and make up a price – Look the first problem with this approach is that your business is usually “your baby”. If you have owned your business for a long time you know that you have spent more time with it than perhaps even your family, spouse and kids! It’s always there, even in the back of your mind………and sometimes it is hard to understand why someone can’t see your business worth the way you see it. That’s okay, but it is better to have a certified 3rd party give a certified opinion or appraisal of your business.Look at it this way, if you and I were going to go downtown and buy the Hilton Hotel, we would find a qualified appraiser to give us his professional opinion, wouldn’t we? We certainly wouldn’t take the owner’s word for it or even their accountant’s word for it. We would want an independent opinion and official analysis.But you say, hey my business isn’t worth that much to justify the cost. What? Even if your business is only worth $25,000, at least you would have an official 3rd party appraisal and a “floor” price you could start at. And with the discounts available when you go through someone like valuationbroker.com, you could literally add thousands if not tens of thousands to your sales price, and only pay a small percentage to have it done.I would not even consider selling any business without this step, no way, ever.You see, most business buyers are smart, like you, they have done a lot of right things to get where they are and unless they have recently inherited the money, they are sophisticated to a degree and will do their homework when looking for a company to purchase. The real advantage to having your company appraised first (by an independent 3rd party certified appraiser) is that you are the one driving the appraisal, not the buyer.2. They ask their accountant what their company is worth and use that number – You accountant is probably a very smart individual, however when coming to valuing a business or having one in on the sales process, I have one rule. I make sure they have been in on at least 10 business sales in the past 12 months, no exceptions. I have seen more deals killed by well meaning accountants. Don’t make this mistake.I don’t care what your accountant thinks your business is worth. I don’t care what MY accountant thinks your business is worth. I want to know what the market tells me.
So that’s why I want an independent look from a qualified third party to tell me the current “market value”. I have seen hundreds of business owners make this mistake and it can (and has) literally meant the difference of getting only half of what they could have! Half!What’s also most interesting about accountants is that they tend to favor using the book value of your business as a starting point and not the market value. Big big mistake. You’ll leave a ton on the table this way. Don’t do it!3. They take the number off their balance sheet and say that’s what their company is worth – You balance sheet tells you the hard value of the assets you have, that’s it! It doesn’t take into consideration what the value of your assets are that have already been depreciated or your blue sky value, or good name, or customer base……….all things that can add tremendously to the bottom line value of your business!4. They read a few articles in INC magazine and guess a number (even saying something like “companies in my industry are selling for 3 Times earnings”) They may even refer to their latest tax return for a number – Don’t be fooled by this! There are so many variables even with similar businesses in the same industry. The true value of your Missouri business is NOT the same as the guy down the street, even if you do the same thing! The true value of your St. Joseph business is NOT like real estate, where you can compare with the property down the street.That is like saying the space shuttle is like a bicycle. True they are both forms of transportation, but one is a bit more complicated than the other. Again, have it appraised by a “market appraiser”. Best money you will EVER spend. Ask ANYONE who has EVER sold a business! 5. They trust a FREE tool on the internet to give them the value of their business – While these free tools are valuable to help obtain a “range of value” (we have one too), they are not the complete answer and you can’t use them to justify your asking price. If you have a properly done market appraisal, it will include a “justification of purchase price” section that says, “this is what your business is worth in this market, and here is why it is worth that”That is such an important step. Buyers are smart and want to know how you came to the price you did. Now you know what to do so you can stand behind your price.
Plus you will know just what the market is doing. It isn’t the accountant or the balance sheet or your uncle attorney that dictates the price, it’s the market! So knowing this, it is important to know just what the market price is. I have seen market prices be twice what the accountant says the business is worth!6. They haven’t made their business run without them – This is a no-brainer, yet many business owners don’t think of it. Your business will be worth a lot more if it can run without you there. Otherwise whoever buys it will be buying a “job”. Nothing wrong with that, but realize, those businesses just are not worth as much when you go to sell them.7. They hire the wrong attorney to help them with the final paperwork (the wrong attorney could be their best friend) – This is just like the accountant, unless the attorney you use has closed 10 or more deals within the past 12 months, don’t use them! So many well meaning attorneys have killed countless deals, UNNECESSARILY!I wish you well and hope you take these things to heart (and action). I have seen so many sellers walk away with a lot less than they could have, had they JUST used these few tips!Good Luck, I wish you continued success! (don’t forget to get a certified third party, independent report for your business BEFORE you list it to sell) You’ll be glad you did! Buying a business? Use the same concepts! Cheers!
The Best St. Joseph Missouri Business BrokersSo, you're considering selling your business. If you haven't done it before, most likely, you're not aware of all options and possibilities of selling. Let me help you to organize your thoughts and make the right choice. First, you have to decide whether you're going to do it on your own or hire a broker. You have to be aware that the process of selling a business takes a lot of time and knowledge. Simply placing ad on Craigslist won't do you any good. If you, like most business owners, have pretty hectic schedule, it will be very hard to combine running a business with servicing buyers. Every buyer assumes that she is the only one and requires your undivided attention. With every buyer you have to do the following. assure confidentiality pre-qualify financially and professionally provide your business' profile and financial statements. Additional information may be requested follow-up, follow-up, follow-up... schedule business tour negotiate terms of the purchase agreement prepare documentation and submit to escrow maintain a log of activities and current status for every buyer In the current buyer's market you have to be very prompt with your communication otherwise buyers lose interest, turn around and start looking for other opportunities. When they turned away, it's practically impossible to win them back. If it seems like too much work to combine with running your business, you have to seriously consider hiring a business broker. Qualified business broker will take over all the above activities and considerably minimize your interaction with buyers, as well as helping you with their expertise. Obviously, you have to pay commissions for broker's services, around 10-12% for businesses priced under $1 million, with declining percentage as price goes up. BEWARE OF HIRING A REAL ESTATE AGENT WHO OCCASIONALLY SELLS BUSINESSES. THEY DON'T KNOW SPECIFICS OF SELLING BUSINESSES AND WON'T BE MUCH HELP TO YOU. ASK AGENTS IF SELLING BUSINESSES IS THEIR FULL TIME JOB. Now, lets review services offered by business brokers, The process starts with business valuation (appraisal) and analysis. It is very important to correctly determine the purchase price. On one hand, you don't want to overprice the business because it won't sell. Do not try to "test waters", it never works. Only correctly-priced business will sell. On the other hand, you don't want leaving any money on the table either. Some business brokerage firms offer business valuation services free of charge to the clients who decided to list with them. Our statistics reveals that it pays off to spend more time on preparing business for sale. It increases chances of selling and conditions of sale are much more favorable to the business owner. Our business brokers work very closely with business sellers gathering necessary information, preparing Business Profile and re-casting financial statements, thus presenting your business in the most attractive way. Means of advertising vary greatly depending on business type, size and geographical coverage. Majority of businesses are advertised with internet business listing services, like bizbuysell.com and businessesforsale.com. However, sometimes it may require to advertise with trade magazines or contact potential buyers directly. Marketing team of business brokerage firm creates descriptive advertisement and determines the best advertising strategy for each client individually. It's worth mentioning that advertising with one business listing service can easily run about $40-70 per month. Good business broker publishes ads with 8-10 business listing services at no additional cost to clients. Having intermediary involved is very important for preserving confidentiality of the transaction. You don't want business buyers starting questioning your employees, vendors or customers for information about your business operation. It may start a rumor mill, cause vendors to revoke credit terms, employees starting looking for new employment, etc. Professional business broker never reveals client's business name or location until proper confidentiality agreement is signed by the buyer. It's not a secret that around 50% of buyers inquiring about a business for sale are not qualified to buy it, one way or the other. Multiply it times 25-30+ buyers and you can see how much time can be wasted. It is very important to pre-qualify every buyer early and eliminate tire-kickers. One would assume that once inquiring about your business for sale buyer will continue their communication until he or she makes final decision. One week later, still not hearing anything back from the buyer, you start wondering what's going on: if she is still interested, did she get the information that you sent her via email, etc. You would probably call and ask, however, you may be afraid that your call may be considered as a sign of despair, and you would expect that buyer should be calling you, not the other way around. Besides, if you're working concurrently with several buyers, you have to keep a very clean record of each communication, current status and follow-up activities. Yes, follow-up is very important, and organized record keeping is very important too. Business brokers use proprietary database for record keeping and scheduling follow-up activities. As a neutral third party they can communicate with both sides without weakening your position. It's not a secret that all business owners are trying to minimize their tax liability. Sometimes small business owners charge their personal or family expenses to the business too. It may work to their benefit while they're running the business, however works against them when they decide to sell. When selling, you'd like to maximize your income, thus increasing the purchase price. Business brokers do necessary adjustments to your financial statements, reflecting correct unbiased performance of your business. Business intermediaries will professionally prepare Confidential Business Profile, recast financial statements and compile all necessary information about your business that may be requested by buyers. Properly orchestrated negotiation can make a difference between deal and no deal. There is a lot of tension and agitation when people discuss money. Simple misunderstanding may cause an argument and terminate the deal. Having business intermediary as neutral third party mediating your negotiations will bring calm, business-like atmosphere and assure successful outcome. After purchase agreement is executed by both parties most business sale transactions are finalized through escrow. Majority of escrow companies do not perform "bulk sale transfer" operations, under which business sale is processed. There are only a few selected ones with no more than one escrow officer qualified to perform this duty. Having knowledgeable and responsive escrow officer is very important. She can not only save you money, but also help with drafting necessary documentation and keep informed about escrow progress. Experienced business broker can suggest you well-tested escrow company.Finding knowledgeable and dedicated business broker isn't easy. Don't rely entirely on reputation of the firm because, after all, you're working with a particular person and your success depends on her and her alone. Ask the agent how many deals he or she closed within last year and ask for references. Ask if you have the right to terminate the agreement if you're not satisfied with their service. Walk away if you don't have such right. Ask to report to you every ... "Hooold on, we're getting to the next topic." How to select a business broker will be subject of my next article. So long, Jacob Berenfeld