Selling My Business Next Year

Getting a business ready for sale is both advisable and prudent.  Waking up one day and deciding you want to sell your business tomorrow may not be a good idea.  Deciding that you would like to sell your business as an exit strategy and putting together a plan is likely to maximize your gain from the sale of your business.

You could easily Google Preparing your business for sale and find many many articles/list and sources of information.   I had written a related article in the past as well.  But beyond the list- what of these methods are most important?  Are all of these measures necessary or are they just guidelines?

I had sold my own business of 20 years, I had entertained several offers over the years, I went thru various stages of decisions as to how I would exit my business.  At some point I realized that my exit strategy would be to sell my business if I could find the right situation.  But from my perspective the most important part of my approach was to commit to running my business as if I would own it  perpetually.

Sell A Business

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So many businesses that try to sell- don’t sell.  A business owner needs to realize this and allow this fact to influence their thought process.  Currently I am a business broker in Florida and work with Florida small business owners with the process of buying and selling a business.

Be Realistic When Deciding On Selling Your Business

Many components and aspects of your business should be looked at from a realistic standpoint, critiqued,  and adjusted as needed when preparing your business for an eventual sale.  Some important areas to address when looking to sell your business include:

  • Either develop, establish, or refine your business operational procedures, practices, and methodologies and have them documented
  • Does your business rely on you the business owner?  If so, make changes to reduce that reliance.
  • Clean financials-  Does your Income statement and Balance Sheet make sense ?

But the question to pose is what of these measures is most important or essential as it relates to preparing for the sale of my business?

In my opinion it is accurate , sensible, reliable Financial records.

The Importance Of Reliable Financial Records

Financial Records

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Typical financials involved with the sale of you business can include Profit/Loss or Income Statements, Balance Sheets and   Tax Records.  Further into the due diligence process of your business good  Sales Journals, Customer Information, Inventory Info,   all can go a long way to maximizing the value of your business.

Clean financial records are so essential to all parties involved with the acquisition of a business. And all involved includes the Seller, the buyer, and possibly a bank, lender or third party investor.

So when looking to Sell your business-

If you have a great business that is producing great margins, produces a great bottom line, and a very high owner benefit- but the financial records do not support this – what do you have?

If you have a business that you own and run it semi-absentee, great systems, increasing sales, good industry but poor financial records- what do you have?

If you have the nicest looking, shiniest looking store, website, equipment, office or vehicles, but your financial records don’t make sense- what do you have?

Looking to sell your business next year?  Start working on your financial records today.


7 Ways to Exit Your Business-Choose One

Ways To Exit Your Business

There are several ways one may exit their business.  Business Owners may want to exit a business they have owned for decades just because they just no longer have an interest.  Or a small business owner may “get out of their business” after a short period of time of just owning it a year or 2.  

Most all entrepreneurs and small business owners  think long and hard before they decided to buy a business or start a business.  So often so little thought goes into an exit strategy.  A small business may be the result  ones passion or burning desire to provide a certain service or product.

A small business can also be and usually is one of the largest asset a small business may own.  It can be a passion but it also is an investment. A significant investment.  Most investments one enters into an exit strategy should exist before the investment is made.

Exiting Your Business

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You buy a commercial property to rent out with the intention to rent it for 10 years, hope for market appreciation and  plan to sell in 10 years.

You buy a stock.  You buy at $10 a share and plan to sell if stock goes to $15  (unless the company fundamentals change).

You decide to start or buy a business, it gets going and does well- is your plan just to run it forever? Well you cant, because none of us are here forever.

Emphasize On Making Plans For Your Business

If your plan is to start a business grow and run the business until you are 65 and then sell it- you have a plan and are ahead of most.  It is so easy to start and buy a business and spend a lot of time preparing for that acquisition or start up, then get wrapped up in the transition or start-up, then get wrapped up in the day to day, and then one day you get real sick, and you have no one in your business that knows how to run your business, and laying in bed decide that you may need a plan- it may be to late then.

I am currently a business broker  based in Florida and find my role of meeting with small business owners brings awareness to the need for an exit strategy.  I had owned my own small business for 20 years and realized how ensconced with the day to day one can get with their small business.  There are several ways to exit ones business- I primarily work with small business owners looking to sell their Florida business, but observe some of the other exit mechanism and have been personally involved with several of these methods.

These are a few methods a small business owner may utilize to exit a business.  Some are good, some not so good.

The Good, the Bad and Ugly Ways to Exit Your Business:

  1. Sell at profit- can include “merger with other companies
  2. Sell at Loss
  3. Close your doors-bankruptcy, long term negative cash flow.
  4. Poor Health, Significant Injury, Death
  5. LBO (Leveraged Buy Out)
  6. Successfully grow it to such a size and take it public
  7. leave to children

Or some combination of the above- one could die and leave the business to the children

But when you look at the above list you recognize that some of the exit strategies you choose on your schedule and others are “chosen for you” and you have less control over the time frame.  Your plans can change and often do, but I suggest you plan to have a plan

How to Double Your Customer Base Overnight-Buy a Competitor

As a business owner for 20 years I was involved in an industry that was expanding and rapidly growing. The  size of the “pie” my competitors and I were  competing over was getting larger as the industry grew and we all sought to get our share of this bigger “pie”. So we increased our customer base as the market grew, and we also grew our customer base by buying competitors which resulted in many successful synergistic acquisitions.

In today`s economy in so many industries people are needing to spend less, cut back and therefore the “pie” is staying the same size or the “pie” is getting smaller. So you have business owner competing for their piece of a smaller pie .  As you have the same amount of competitors competing for a smaller pie either all get less, some get more by pricing or efficiencies, but those getting more, results in other competitors getting less and or so much less that they no longer exist.

Buying A Competitor

Today as a business broker based in Florida.  I am working with several business owners looking to keep afloat and looking for exit strategies that meets their needs.   Selling their business and going to work for the acquirer  is an interest I have heard on several occasions as an exit strategy that they would welcome. (Also work with several business owners that have solid business models that are doing well).

Buying A Competitor

A fast and often cost effective way to gain a bigger piece of the pie is by buying a competitor. Growing your customer significantly “overnight” by  buying a bigger “piece of the pie”.  Buying a business in a growing industry and or economy is a solid and effective way to grow a business.  I had utilized this approach on multiple acquisitions to add to our own organic growth.  Buying a business, or buying a competitors business in a recession can also be an effective means to grow your customer base and grow it fast.

Often most business owners dont consider acquisition as a possible way to grow a business because they feel they do not have the funds or resources to make such acquisitions.  But:

1)possibly you can find a struggling competitor that may welcome the opportunity to escape the burden of trying to run a struggling business

2) possibly you can buy a business of a competitor that offers Seller financing.

3) possibly part of the purchase price can be the assumption of debt on trucks and or equipment that may be assumable and may be affordable thru the synergistic cash flow of the business

4) possibly offering the owner of the business you may buy long term employment.  A small struggling business that may have a few employees-  who may be the last person to get paid?- the owner.  An owner may welcome the premise of steady and consistent compensation.

5) Possibly you can secure outside financing- An approach I always used as my last choice but may fit your situation

Furthermore, would you be “just buying a failing business”? No.   Syngergies that can be realized can be plentiful and the cost saving that follow may help or completely finance the acquisitions.

Cutting The Costs When Buying A Competitor

You have an office space or shop so does the competitor.  Can you and your competitor both operate under one roof?  When you eliminate the need for 2 spaces you also eliminate so much of the lease cost, utilities, insurances, phone, internet and other Fixed Overhead cost associated with that space.  Also by adding these customers your customers,  density may increase  and you may be able to increase efficiencies in service and maybe you need 1 less employees or more, along with the benefit cost that goes along with the employees.

Advertising does not need to be duplicitous,  maybe some equipment of vehicles are also puplicated and can be potential cost savings.  As a business broker I try to look at buying selling a business from the perspective of a business owner and see that during this recession improving your position thru acquisition may have many long term beneficial results.

So what do you do when you are trying to keep your piece or get a bigger  piece of a smaller “pie” ?

Buy another piece of that pie it may not cost you as much as you had thought.



Florida Business For Sale News 7.28.2011

Florida Business For Sale  Florida Businesses Sold Activity (June 7.28.2011)

I am a Florida Business broker working with business owners selling their Florida  business, and business owners looking for acquisitions.  Prospective business buyers I work with are located in Florida, US., and Business buyers in Europe and throughout the world.

As a  member of Business Brokers of Florida, which is the largest state Association of Business Brokers in the United States we have access to significant data regarding businesses being bought and sold .   Thousands of businesses for sale are represented by over 1000 business brokers that are members of this Association.  These business brokers list their respective businesses for sale and prospective business buyers on a centralized listing site and buyers and sellers of businesses are brought together.

Several thousand businesses for sale are listed, modified, and advertised thru this website.  Valuable information regarding Florida business for Sales and Florida Businesses Sold help me as a Business Broker Professional  keep track of the ebb and flow of the Florida Business Acquisition Market.  Understanding a business to assist in selling that business requires an understanding of the numbers behind  that business.  And understanding the marketplace in which this business may be sold is furthered by a review of the data surrounding businesses being bought and sold in Florida. The below are a few statistics, totals, and items of note surrounding the business acquisition and sales market in the State of Florida. Other businesses are bought and sold without the assistance of members Business Brokers of Florida, and that info is not included in this analysis.

Recent Businesses Sold in Florida Activity (as of July 26, 2011)

  • Businesses Sold in Florida through Business Brokers of Florida  in last 30 days  – 63 vs  48 in last documented 30 day period (up 24%)
  • Top 2 industries of  Businesses Sold in Florida through Business Brokers of Florida in  last 30 days:  15 Florida Restaurants Sold in Florida     5 Beauty Shops/Hair Salons Business sold in Florida
  • Avg Days it took to sell Florida Businesses Sold in last 30 days  – 277 days-  (9 months)- doesnt include businesses that were removed from market without selling

Businesses Currently For Sale through Business Brokers of Florida – 3336  vs. 3213 in last 30 day period

Business Currently for Sale in Jacksonville Florida Area with Adjusted Cash Flow Greater than $100,000

Listing No.  Location  Category Detail  Price  Down  Adjusted Net  Sales 
BBF-74703237 Saint Johns, Florida USA Pet Grooming 259,000 259,000 166,444 300,454
Listing No.  Location  Category Detail  Price  Down  Adjusted Net  Sales 
BBF-74703089 Duval, Florida USA Trailer Sales
79,000 79,000 144,886 1,130,000
BBF-74703142 Duval, Florida USA Auto General Repair 189,900 100,000 101,659 444,290
BBF-74703302 Duval, Florida USA Auto Salvage 350,000 175,000 117,944 475,180
BBF-74703250 Duval, Florida USA Auto General Repair 980,000 500,000 180,833 437,467
BBF-73900330 Duval, Florida USA *Lender Pre-Qualified* Auto General Repair 989,000 989,000 185,820 425,015
BBF-74703182 Duval, Florida USA Tire Dealer 1,500,000 1,000,000 183,057 949,000
Beauty/Personal Care
Listing No.  Location  Category Detail  Price  Down  Adjusted Net  Sales 
BBF-74703188 Duval, Florida USA Hair Salon
/Day Spa
295,000 210,000 125,834 300,163
Business Services
Listing No.  Location  Category Detail  Price  Down  Adjusted Net  Sales 
BBF-74703194 Duval, Florida USA Valet Parking 275,000 175,000 121,903 410,000
Listing No.  Location  Category Detail  Price  Down  Adjusted Net  Sales 
BBF-73909310 Saint Johns, Florida USA Dry Cleaners 175,000 175,000 119,234 340,616
BBF-74703162 Duval, Florida USA Coin Laundry 599,000 300,000 111,538 304,038
Listing No.  Location  Category Detail  Price  Down  Adjusted Net  Sales 
BBF-74703176 Duval, Florida USA Contractor Gutters 199,000 199,000 103,473 275,470
BBF-75609055 Duval, Florida USA Contractor A
/C & Heating
275,000 220,000 115,929 664,768
BBF-75609043 Duval, Florida USA *Contract Pending* Contractor General 995,000 645,000 351,079 3,009,376
BBF-75609042 Duval, Florida USA Contractor General 1,645,000 1,295,000 351,079 3,009,376
BBF-74703234 Duval, Florida USA Site Preparation 6,000,000 6,000,000 501,324 16,385,479
Listing No.  Location  Category Detail  Price  Down  Adjusted Net  Sales 
BBF-72002137 Duval, Florida USA Dist-Computer Software 1,000,000 950,000 293,839 2,794,019
Listing No.  Location  Category Detail  Price  Down  Adjusted Net  Sales 
BBF-75609093 Duval, Florida USA *Contract Pending* *Lender Pre-Qualified* Engineering Environmental 138,000 25,950 138,396 318,970
Financial Related
Listing No.  Location  Category Detail  Price  Down  Adjusted Net  Sales 
BBF-16412029 Duval, Florida USA Collection Agency 825,000 825,000 225,125 560,875
BBF-75609032 Duval, Florida USA Banking
5,350,000 5,350,000 754,624 8,653,570
Listing No.  Location  Category Detail  Price  Down  Adjusted Net  Sales 
BBF-74703201 Saint Johns, Florida USA *Lender Pre-Qualified* Fitness Center 249,000 45,000 102,316 301,857
BBF-74703100 Saint Johns, Florida USA Fitness Health Club 399,000 399,000 176,418 636,532
Food Business Retail
Listing No.  Location  Category Detail  Price  Down  Adjusted Net  Sales 
BBF-74703240 Duval, Florida USA Deli
119,000 60,000 100,984 380,000
Furniture Retail
Listing No.  Location  Category Detail  Price  Down  Adjusted Net  Sales 
BBF-74703219 Duval, Florida USA Furniture Store 89,900 50,000 104,000 200,000
Gas Station
Listing No.  Location  Category Detail  Price  Down  Adjusted Net  Sales 
BBF-74703101 Duval, Florida USA Gas Station
175,000 175,000 142,139 529,000
BBF-74703292 Duval, Florida USA Gas Station
499,000 350,000 391,129 1,528,161
Listing No.  Location  Category Detail  Price  Down  Adjusted Net  Sales 
BBF-74703146 Saint Johns, Florida USA Jewelry Retail 595,000 595,000 287,069 703,214
BBF-74702968 Duval, Florida USA Jewelry Wholesale 1,399,500 1,399,500 875,000 1,240,000
Listing No.  Location  Category Detail  Price  Down  Adjusted Net  Sales 
BBF-74703279 Saint Johns, Florida USA Tree Service 249,000 249,000 150,000 500,000
Liquor Related Biz
Listing No.  Location  Category Detail  Price  Down  Adjusted Net  Sales 
BBF-74703267 Duval, Florida USA Sports Bar 139,000 60,000 112,750 396,000
BBF-74703295 Saint Johns, Florida USA Liquor Nite Club 249,000 249,000 268,333 1,174,560
BBF-74703193 Saint Johns, Florida USA Sports Bar 295,000 295,000 152,857 798,312
BBF-74703149 Saint Johns, Florida USA Bar
395,000 275,000 221,711 895,478
BBF-74703262 Duval, Florida USA Liquor Nite Club 425,000 425,000 110,000 350,000
BBF-74703044 Saint Johns, Florida USA Beer
/Wine Bar
495,000 275,000 218,922 415,877
BBF-74703212 Duval, Florida USA Adult Entertainment 2,400,000 1,900,000 650,000 1,200,000
Listing No.  Location  Category Detail  Price  Down  Adjusted Net  Sales 
BBF-75609119 Duval, Florida USA Mfg-Metal Products 1,150,000 975,000 199,323 1,777,176
BBF-75609120 Duval, Florida USA Mfg-Metal Products 2,000,000 1,825,000 199,323 1,777,176
Medical Related Biz
Listing No.  Location  Category Detail  Price  Down  Adjusted Net  Sales 
BBF-75351040 Saint Johns, Florida USA Medical Speech Therapy 350,000 350,000 120,022 412,187
BBF-75608123 Duval, Florida USA Non-Med Home Care 520,000 520,000 132,836 478,615
BBF-74703087 Duval, Florida USA Laser Clinic 1,050,000 800,000 401,744 925,000
BBF-74703095 Duval, Florida USA Medical Spa 1,050,000 800,000 149,676 829,108
BBF-40901900 Duval, Florida USA Medical Equipment 1,650,000 1,320,000 455,007 1,488,927
Listing No.  Location  Category Detail  Price  Down  Adjusted Net  Sales 
BBF-75609103 Duval, Florida USA Moving Storage Company 6,755,000 6,755,000 403,767 717,133
Office Supplies
Listing No.  Location  Category Detail  Price  Down  Adjusted Net  Sales 
BBF-72002134 Saint Johns, Florida USA *Lender Pre-Qualified* Office Supplies 275,000 275,000 101,162 508,621
Pool & Spa Business
Listing No.  Location  Category Detail  Price  Down  Adjusted Net  Sales 
BBF-74703303 Saint Johns, Florida USA Pool
/Spa Supply Store
279,000 279,000 138,786 647,042
Listing No.  Location  Category Detail  Price  Down  Adjusted Net  Sales 
BBF-72002133 Saint Johns, Florida USA *Lender Pre-Qualified* Printing Business 275,000 275,000 101,162 508,621
Listing No.  Location  Category Detail  Price  Down  Adjusted Net  Sales 
BBF-74920353 Duval, Florida USA Entertainment 465,000 465,000 144,740 687,542
BBF-73909338 Duval, Florida USA Game Room 622,500 622,500 415,103 1,597,605
BBF-26407049 Duval, Florida USA Casino Ship 5,750,000 5,750,000 2,951,895 8,778,545
Rental Business
Listing No.  Location  Category Detail  Price  Down  Adjusted Net  Sales 
BBF-74703259 Duval, Florida USA Rental Party Goods 650,000 400,000 214,053 540,611
Listing No.  Location  Category Detail  Price  Down  Adjusted Net  Sales 
BBF-74703256 Duval, Florida USA American Restaurant 99,900 74,900 102,433 335,232
BBF-74703097 Duval, Florida USA Italian Restaurant 190,000 95,000 109,572 414,186
BBF-74703207 Duval, Florida USA Breakfast Lunch 199,000 150,000 140,000 550,000
BBF-74703255 Duval, Florida USA Pizza Shop 225,000 225,000 112,839 455,755
BBF-74703268 Duval, Florida USA Italian Restaurant 250,000 150,000 141,778 564,583
BBF-74703306 Duval, Florida USA American Restaurant 250,000 200,000 148,825 827,520
BBF-74703056 Duval, Florida USA Pizza Shop 275,000 275,000 110,220 600,000
BBF-75609082 Duval, Florida USA Pizza Shop 295,000 145,000 190,354 682,930
BBF-74703156 Saint Johns, Florida USA Cafe Type Eatery 450,000 250,000 216,735 629,690
BBF-74703278 Duval, Florida USA Italian Restaurant 599,900 300,000 330,469 1,263,569
BBF-74703055 Duval, Florida USA Pizza Shop 699,900 399,900 204,958 1,515,000
Retail Miscellaneous
Listing No.  Location  Category Detail  Price  Down  Adjusted Net  Sales 
BBF-74703285 Duval, Florida USA Retail Tobacco Store 550,000 400,000 307,298 1,539,648
Listing No.  Location  Category Detail  Price  Down  Adjusted Net  Sales 
BBF-74703147 Duval, Florida USA Shoes Retail 299,000 149,500 100,100 400,816
Listing No.  Location  Category Detail  Price  Down  Adjusted Net  Sales 
BBF-75608126 Duval, Florida USA Medical Transport 520,000 520,000 132,836 478,615

Highlighted Industry:

Heating and Cooling Contractors for Sale in Florida, includes HVAC Businesses For Sale in Florida,  A/C Companies For Sale in Florida

  • Number of HVAC or A/C Businesses  Sold in Florida in last 2 years -6
  • Average Adjusted Cash Flow of  HVAC Businesses sold in Florida  – $155,000
  • Average  Sale Price of HVAC Businesses sold in Florida in last 2 years  $295,000
  • Number of  HVAC  Businesses  Currently For Sale in Florida- 21

HVAC businesses in Florida  are very good opportunities for both the strategic buyer, looking to grow revenues by acquisition, and  a  good business for one looking to relocate to Florida.  Recurring revenue, large demand for the A/C component of the business and the good cash flow these businesses can generate are  a few reasons buying a HVAC business in Florida may be a good fit.  Looking to Buy a business in Florida?

*All above info compiled from data available via the bbfmls website.

For more info or questions regarding the Florida Business Acquisition Market or Florida Businesses for sale please contact

Scott M Messinger



What Business Would a Business Broker Buy?

Many Business Owners will utilize a professional business broker to help sell their business.  Many prospective business buyers may hire a business broker to help them in their quest to find and buy the right business.  The perspective of a business broker will be different from the perspectives of both the buyer and seller.

The business broker has the perspective of being involved with reviewing many businesses and speaking with many prospective buyers and sellers.  A “normal” business buyer or business seller may only buy or sell a business one time in their business life.  But what sort of business would a business broker buy if he/she were buying a business?

  • What Business would a business broker buy?
  • Would  a business broker buy a franchise
  • Would  a business broker choose to start a business
  • Would a business broker  decide due to current market conditions to wait and defer the decision to buy a business until the economy improves

Just as every business buyer will have their own set of criteria for evaluating and making a business acquisition, every business broker will have their own criteria they deem as important.  As a business broker based in Florida,  and former business owner ,I always look at businesses for sale from the perspective as a prospective business buyer and ask myself “Would I buy this business at this price if I was buying it?”.   And if I ran across a terrific business opportunity that is a great value,  that met my lifestyle and financial requirements, I may be a business buyer again.

Business Broker`s Criteria For Buying A Business

What are the few basic conditions I would most look for in today`s business environment.

  1. Motivated Seller– I recognize the Seller really needs to want to sell.  Not that the Seller needs to sell, but rather WANTS to sell for what ever reason it may be.  Selling ones business is a process.  Many business owners have  been doing a certain thing for a long time, and continuing to run a business vs selling may be “ the path of least resistance’’,  Attempting to sell a business on a whim or buying a business from someone “kind of interested” in selling can be arduous .   For me, there needs to be a strong “want” when selling a business.
  2. Seller Financing– I want to buy a business that offers Seller Financing.   When Seller Owner holds a note on the business  he has a vested interest in your success.  To avoid not going thru a bank or other lender holds a high value to me and would be my first choice.
  3. A Good value relative to asking  price as a multiple of adjusted cash flow. A higher multiple may be ok but must be quantifiable.
  4. I  would be willing to buy a business that has poor financial  records yet feel numbers can be substantiated. I recognize different small businesses handle their “accounting” in so many different ways, and if I can find good value does exist within a  a company with poor records ,  I would have further interest. Some business buyers may be less comfortable  when records on the surface dont make sense.
  5. Recurring Income- Strong recurring revenue would be important to me.     Am I walking into ongoing sales or am I going to have to go out and get new sales each and every month.  And what is the cost to get that new business.
Acquiring A Business

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“A Rising Tide Raises all Ships. ” Now is a good time to buy a business. As the economy improves, I feel  value will be realized.   The process of buying and selling a small business requires certain individual criteria to be met.  My criteria will be different than the next persons.   What is important to others may be similar to the above criteria.  But if you are looking to buy a business you need to outline what is important to you.