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Relocating Your Business and Your Life for Business Owners

Small business Owners may face the prospects of relocating their business.  Sometimes moving a business may be a matter of moving your 1 person internet business, or may involve moving your brick and mortar, 25 employee business.  But usually when you are relocating your business you are also  relocating your life.    Ten years ago my family and I moved 1500 miles away from my business.  Subsequently I ran that business for 7 years remotely with the significant help of a qualified management staff and eventually sold that business.  My current status as a Dad and as a business broker in Florida has me and my family involved with another relocation.

Reasons For Relocating Your Business

People move for various reasons, and many aspects surrounding the decision and process relocating your business are surprisingly shared with share the decision process of buying or selling a business.  I have said in the past that there are many reasons one may want to sell their business or exit their business, but all those reasons can get reduce to 2 overall reasons. (reasons that your chose, or reasons that “choose you”)  You may choose to sell your business or circumstances make that choice for you (health, death, divorce, bankruptcy etc).  When you look to relocate yourself or your business, it may be a personal choice or situations around you may force/require such a move.

And like buying or selling a business you have a significant effect on your personal life, when you are relocating your business, your business activities, or your job, you are also relocating your life. A decision to move or relocate usually involves family, friends, significant others involvement. A decision to buy a business, sell a business, start a business directly affect your significant others.  You are not just relocating your business activities you are relocating the life that you are experiencing and significantly affecting the lives of those closest to you.

Relocating Your Business

Photo (c) multicube.com

I have always felt the decision to buy or sell a business can be a harder part than the actual implementation.  “Measure twice, cut once”.    In my previous business that I had owned we made several acquisitions.  I had spent many hours evaluating the accreted cash flow of an acquisition, how to afford the capital outlay, what assets we would keep or dispose of, what involvement if any we would have with the seller of the business after the sale, how we would integrate our billing, servicing, and support of the additional customer base that would come along with the acquisition.  

At some point the decision is made and now it becomes a matter of implementing the mechanics of integrating the acquisition. I believe the implementation was the easier part of the process.    If the decision to acquire was thought out the integration should be a fairly known process. Ten years ago when we made a decision to move our family 1500 away from our business and running it remotely, a tremendous amount of  thought and time  went into the decision, and the move worked out well for the business and my family.

About 2 years ago we contemplated moving due to a combination of personal reasons, and my business activities also entered into the decision.  The decision was more based on personal preference and family goals (my daughters education and school)  than business.   Approximately 1 1/2 year ago we made the decision to move 300 miles away to Northern Florida, from the Southwest barrier island we currently live on.  Subsequently, we have sold our home, found a new home, and the movers are loading up our life belongings in 3 weeks. 1 1/2 years ago I started preparing for the move as it relates to my  business activities.  Here  are some of the highlights and:

6 Measures to Take When Relocating Your Business

1. Plannin– yes the process of an effective move or relocation does share similarities with the process of effectively buying or selling a business.  Planning is so important in both matters.  When buying or selling a business I have always felt that if you are looking to buy a business or sell  a business or start a business in a year you should start planning yesterday.  Like Selling or buying a business, moving or relocating has so many moving parts and is a very involved process.  Dont really know how you can do too much planning for either.

2. Have that very important discussion and or  discussion regarding the pending move with your significant other early on.  Sort thru the personal, emotional, and logistics up front.  If it is a “voluntary” move make sure you both are on the same page.  If it is a move that is being brought upon you, make sure that is known to your significant other, as you should share a common goal to make the best of it.

3. Try to pre-emptively build develop or expand a client base prior to your move.  To me this was one of the more important steps I made in preparing.   Over a year ago I would travel about every other month to prospect, network and begin developing a presence in the new area.  As I developed clients I started travelling to the new area monthly and currently I go there every 2-3 weeks. I chose this route over moving to a new area and starting at square one to build a client base.  I now am moving into a new area  working with business owners looking to sell their Florida  businesses in this new location.  It is a smaller but developing existing client base.

4.  Make sure your email can follow you–  Back in the old day (and yeah my teenage kids eyes gloss over when I begin a statement in this way), but back in the old day, when you move you go to the Post office to have your mail forwarded or notify them of a change of address.  While that is still one of the items on the moving to do list, moving your digital address for your business can be  so much more important.  I have several emails, and one of my main emails is tied to the local cable provider in the area.  Make sure your email is portable, if not get a portable email address and start using it prior to the move.

5. Update Modify your website.  Does your website reflect your new contact information, your new business locations, your new geographic area of focus, if that has changed.

6. Out with the old and in with the new.  When relocating this is a good time to review old records to see what can be securely disposed of.  Why move all these records only to throw them out at the new location.  Storage and space is a valuable commodity no  matter where one is located.  Using the space around your efficiently is enhanced when unnded paperwork files are gotten rid of.  And it makes organizing at the new location that much easier.

Along with all the above business matters, we had to sell a house (in Florida, not so easy now adays), find a new house, find new location to operate business from, register for school for daughter, hire professional movers, help pack, etc. When you are relocating your business or your business profession you are also relocating your life. When buying or selling a business so many people think about the finanical and business side of the process.  But Buying or selling a business, like moving, has as much to do about the personal, family matters and lifestyle as it has to do about the business itself. Again, if you are thinking about buying or selling a business, or relocating your business next year, start planning yesterday.

Selling Your Business-2 Most Important Ingredients

Selling your business very often  involves many many moving parts and finding the right Buyer for your business can be a very involved process.  Do you use a business broker to sell your business?  Do you try to sell the business yourself?  These are just a couple of the initial questions a business owner must answer to begin the process of selling ones business.  When selling a business it is easy to think that I will sell my business to “the first person to comes along with enough money to pay my asking price” .

The Right Conditions For Selling Your Business

The sale of a business involves many terms and conditions by both the buyer and seller that must be met to consummate in a sale.  Very often as you go thru the process of due diligence by both the buyer and seller, wants and needs are uncovered, and potential roadblocks to completing the sale can occur. Two important elements have a very strong impact on increasing the likelihood of a successful sale of a business.

When trying to sell your business are you working with:

An Interested-Qualified Buyer?.

  • An Interested business buyer
  • A Qualified business buyer

As a business broker based in Florida, one of my more important responsibilities  when I represent a business owner selling their business is to qualify or “pre-screen” the various inquiries on the business for sale.  There are many people that inquire/ask about a business for sale and probably less than 5% of those buyer prospects actually buy a business at all.

Difference Between Qualified And Interested Buyer

A Qualified buyer can mean many things, but having the adequate available cash, equity, financing, special skillset, proper personal family and life situations are important to establish.

An Interested Buyer is one that wants to buy the business.  They have seen basic information on the business and based on that, if no significant negatives or unknowns surface, they want to buy the business.  There will always be a lot of due diligence, verification, questions and answers, but this buyers desires to see the process move forward.  If my wife and I were looking to buy a new home, and she finds a home that she likes- I am pretty much transformed into an Interested Buyer.

I may turn from looking to buy a home to working to buy this certain home.  Issues may occur when doing the due diligence on buying the home but I task these as issues to overcome, not reasons to get out of the deal- If I am a truly interested buyer (and or my wife really wants the house).

Selling Your Business

Photo (c) kathleenrichardson-mauro.com/

When going through proper due diligence many discoveries and discrepancies can be uncovered.  When you have a Seller that is truly interested in selling their business and you are working with an interested and qualified buyer, issues uncovered in due diligence are not “Gothcha” moments but rather are business related issues that both parties seek equitable resolution and or explanation on. Issues that surface become hurdles but not roadblocks.

Buying and selling a business is a process.  When Selling your business at some point in the process you ascertain that you are working with an interested qualified buyer.  From my perspective, having an interested Seller and recognizing that you are working with a truly interested qualified buyer are two important ingredients towards a successful sale of a business.

What Can I Sell My Business For?

As a Business Broker Based in Florida,   I talk with small business owners daily about their businesses.  Reliable and usable information on the small business owner that is selling their business , buying a business, or contemplating a potential sale or acquisition is usually hard to acquire.  What does the market for those selling a business in Florida and those looking to Buy a Business in Florida really look like?

Pricing Your Business

One or the benefits  of owning a privately held corporation is that you are private.  So information regarding small privately held small businesses that are sold and bought   is both minimal and hard to obtain, because of the private nature of the transactions.  I am a member of the Business Brokers of Florida (BBF) , which is the 2nd Largest Association of Business Brokers in the World.  I have for my own purposes reviewed and evaluated  Business Sales Activity in Florida, (figures obtained via BBF websites) along with trends of businesses sold in Florida, Cash flows, and business values of those sold by members of the Business Brokers of Florida These numbers involves thousands of businesses over several years.

As I plan going forward,  for my business broker activities, understanding these trends and activities is one of my 1st steps in my planning process.  Here are some figures and observations:

The number of  businesses sold in Florida in 2010 were 5% less than  2009.  The Price for a business was sold for in Florida in 2010 was lower than 2009.  Both 2009 and 2010 were down years in the business acquisition and sales market in Florida. Most business brokers I speak to  believe  business acquisition activity will increase in 2011.

2010- 860 Florida Businesses Sold

Sales Sold Price Adjusted Net Days on Market
592,931 232,120 107,427 222
2009 – 910 Florida Businesses Sold
Sales Sold Price Adjusted Net Days on Market
594,449 270,327 106,251 233

More Restaurants are Sold in Florida  than any other type of Business. Accounting for over 20% of all Florida Businesses Sold by Members of the Business Brokers of Florida.  Do you wonder why so many restaurants sold?  Currently, As of today- 693 Restaurants are for Sale in Florida thru BBF Members. !!

Restaurants 2010  Averages   (187 Total Sold)
Sales Sold Price Adjusted Net Days on Market
360,242 131,343 73,258 210


Restaurants 2009  Averages

Sales Sold Price Adjusted Net Days on Market
361,493 162,087 72,703 211

It could just be me, but I do speak to a lot of business owners that “feel “their business is worth $1,000,000.  Only 4% of all business sold in Florida thru members of the Business Brokers of Florida were greater than $1M.  Florida  business climate, while having some diversity, is very strongly service based with a lot of small businesses with 10 employee or less.

Businesses Sold in Florida for $1,000,000 or More (38 Total or approximately 4% of all sales)

2010 Averages  (38 Total or approximately 4% of all sales)
Sales Sold Price Adjusted Net Days on Market

2,739,402 1,894,700 576,038 378


2009 Averages
Sales Sold Price Adjusted Net Days on Market
2,748,466 2,132,351 574,604 391

Please Note- and this is an important fact- the Days on Market does not included businesses not sold and ultimately taken off the market.

2010 was a difficult year in the business acquisition and sales market in Florida.  Last Wednesday I attended an educational seminar that was attended by 70 plus professionals in the Florida business acquisition and business sales market.  Generally most all I spoke to were both guarded yet optimistic  about the industry prospects for 2011.

The above numbers speak to averages.  All businesses and industries have their own uniqueness.  Businesses generally are sold as a multiple of their adjusted cash Flow.  ( adjusted cash flow attempts to determine actual cash the business generates for discretionary expenses, owner wages, debt service etc.)  Each business and industry will demand a different valuation.  Determining your business value may be dependent upon what similar businesses in your same industry are selling for as a multiple of adjusted cash flow.  If you would like to know what businesses similar to yours are selling for, review a website such as mine, or contact a trusted business broker or other trusted advisor.