Thinking of buying a business?
Southwest Florida is growing rapidly and it is one of the hottest markets in Florida. Now is a great time to buy a business here!
Key elements of the purchase process:
1. Initial Meeting – Objectives, Needs and Requirements Review
In preparation for this initial meeting with your business broker, make sure you outline your specific personal goals and objectives. This will provide a good starting point to begin a detailed search of our large listing inventory. From there we will develop a selection of “target” businesses for your review. If you are not sure exactly what you want, you should discuss different options with your broker. The more information you can give to your broker the better. That way we can understand what it is that you are looking for, and we can help guide you in the right direction.
2. Review of Important Business Information
This is where our professional edge can really make a difference in a successful acquisition. We will make every effort to provide you with pertinent information on a target company’s financial performance, staffing, facilities, equipment, lease, inventory, customers and market areas served. In most cases we will have tax returns, profit & loss statements, etc. for confirmation. Where we cannot provide verification of information given to us, we will advise you accordingly.
Many businesses market their sale confidentially. In order to have the name of the business disclosed, as well as have financial statements provided to you, you will be required to sign a standard Confidentiality/Disclosure form which, in most cases, is required by the business owner.
3. On Location Visit
Arrangements will be made to visit the target business, normally, at a time that will not disrupt operations, in order to maintain confidentiality.
At this meeting with the business owner, the potential buyer can not only see the business in person, but also ask detailed questions regarding the operation of the business.
4. Purchase and Sale Agreement
We provide a standard Purchase and Sale Agreement that covers the necessary elements of a business sale in Florida. The basic agreement provides important contingencies to protect both buyer and seller as follows:
- Books and Records Review: The Agreement specifically calls for a complete review (due diligence) of all company records by buyer and/or buyer’s agent, CPA or accountant. The buyer must approve, in writing, the records of the company before proceeding toward a closing.
- Lease: The Agreement specifies that the leasehold rights will be assigned, or a new lease developed, in the exact manner as requested by the buyer.
- Equipment and Fixtures: The Agreement specifies that all equipment and fixtures will be in working order and free of liens at the time of closing.
- Inventory: The Agreement specifies that all inventory included in the sale is marketable and consists of the necessary quantity and quality to conduct the business in the usual manner.
- Training and Counsel: The Agreement provides for training and consultation, at no charge, by the seller for the buyer’s benefit.
5. Structuring the Sale
Deal structuring is the most difficult and least understood by the average business buyer.
We will discuss deal structures with you and recommend the most favorable arrangements for both parties.
6. Preparation of Closing Documents
We employ the same sophistication on a $100,000 sale that applies to a $10 million sale. We prepare clear, concise documents to protect all parties and consult with accountants and attorneys to provide an agreement of sale based on practical application of legal and tax issues.
7. Final Closing and Follow-Up
Following execution of the Purchase of Sale Agreement, we will arrange for a closing agent, oversee the closing preparations, and follow-up on post-closing procedures. All closing documents are provided to buyer and seller prior to closing with adequate time for review by their prospective attorneys. Business sale closing costs are quite reasonable and are usually split between buyer and seller. The buyer does not pay broker commission. The seller is responsible for the Broker's commission.
Why Use a Business Broker?
Here are the top 3 reasons to use a business broker:
1. Access to Businesses For Sale
Brokers can provide you with access to business-for-sale listings and details about the business that you may not discover on your own. Florida has a multiple listing service of businesses for sale, similar to residential real estate. However, not all businesses are listed publicly, due to confidentiality reasons. If you are looking for something in a specific industry or location, business brokers can also help find you businesses for sale that aren't advertised. For a serious buyer, good brokers will even search their contacts for off-market businesses that might be willing to sell.
2. Have A Buffer Between You and The Seller
Just like in residential real estate, business brokers will be a conduit to help deliver news and information to the seller. There may be instances where you have to retract or modify an offer and certainly times where you'll need to adopt an aggressive negotiating position. In many cases, you will need the seller to train you after the purchase, so it's a good idea to keep the relationship civil and cordial. Let the business broker deliver any negative message to the seller. Allowing the broker to be your buffer will help make the transaction as smooth as possible.
3. The Paperwork Is Overwhelming
A business purchase, no matter how small, requires a tremendous amount of coordination and document gathering. The data you'll need from a seller to evaluate a business, the documentation required to close a deal, and the overall chasing that must be done between buyer/seller and their professional advisers, can be astounding. A good broker will be an enormous help putting all of it together. They will even provide you with the standard Purchase Agreement paperwork, as well as a Buyer's Information Packet.