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.



Buying Selling a Business- Businesses For Sale Florida

Florida Business For Sale Activity (May 18,2011)

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.  An 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.

  1. Florida Business for sale Priced over $1,000,000- 298
  2. Florida Business Sold for over $1,000,000 in last year= 37
  3. Businesses Currently  For Sale in Florida through Business brokers of Florida –  3253
  4. Restaurants For Sale through Business Brokers of Florida – 663
  5. Businesses For Sale in Florida with Revenue of less than $500,000- 2315
  6. Businesses Sold in Florida through Business Brokers of Florida over last year (365) Days – 878
  7. Businesses Sold in Florida through Business Brokers of Florida over last month –  59
  8. Businesses For Sale in Florida requiring a Down payment of less than $50,000 -536


Along with the above statistical information a few  I include specifics of note

Highlighted Industry:     Lawn Landscape Business For Sale in Florida

  • Number of Lawn Services Sold in Florida in last 2 years -100
  • Number of Lawn Services Currently For Sale in Florida- 81

Currently I represent a Lawn Service business that we have an accepted contract on and are going thru the due diligence process. A Lawn service business can provide a very reasonable Owner benefit, and  entry  into the field can be made with a fairly minimal investment.  Looking to Buy a business in Florida?

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

Scott M Messinger



You Want to Sell Your Business Someday How to Prepare Today

Every Business Needs an Exit Strategy.  Do you want to Run Your Business Forever?  Do you Want to Sell your business?  Do you want to leave your business to your children?  Do you want to sell your business to Your Employees?  Do you Just want to close your doors and Move on?  How do you want to exit your business ?- And when?

Recently a good friend of mine that is a successful business owner contacted me about the prospect of selling his business in a few years. He asked me to contact him regarding what he may want to be doing now to prepare his business for sale.  He has a successful growing business, he has grown his number of employees from 10 to 75 over the last 18 months.  He is effective at gaining new contracts and growing revenue, but like so many  businessmen, he has never attempted to sell his business.

Devising An Exit Strategy For Selling Your Business

Normally during the startup of a new business the thought of an exit strategy is not even a consideration.  Then small business owners get so involved with the day-today operation of their businesses that again an exit strategy is either not even thought of or possibly just put on the back burner.  Taking some time to put some thought into your exit strategy can go a long way to increasing your odds of exiting your business the way you desire to.

Planning, gaining knowledge, and preparing  may be the 3 most important measures you can take when considering an effective exit strategy.

If your exit strategy involves an interest in trying to successfully sell your business in several years, what sort of measures or actions should a business owner take to make this successful:

  1. Make sure your financials are in order. Clean understandable Income Statements and Balance  Sheets will add value to your business.
  2. Systematize and document your operations and procedures.  Well documented policies, procedures and practices are a sign of a well run company and  probably would help your company run better, and add value. If you got hit by a truck tomorrow could someone use your documented practices to help continue run your business?
  3. Move your business towards a business that does not rely on you.  Do your customers do business with your company or do customers do business with you.  When you go to sell your business are you selling a business that is dependent on you the owner or a self-sustaining business based on a solid philosophy, solid customer service and reliable employees and practices. Or when you go away, does your business go away?
  4. Speak to your trusted advisers- let them know your intentions see if  they have any input suggestions that could help move you towards this goal.  Trusted advisers may include your attorney, CPA, financial advisor, business brokers.
  5. Learn by speaking to your trusted advisers what are the most important aspects that affect your business value.  How does one value your business? What is most important to business buyers?-  Your Assets, your cash flow, your sales, your number of customers, your patents, trademarks, your competitive advantage.  Learn what the real driving factors are behind raising the value of your business and work on them. Understand that not all businesses that attempt to sell actually do find a business buyer and sell.
  6. Running your business and concurrently, preparing your business for sale is a viable  approach towards business transition. It is not a” one or the other approach”.  Preparing your business for sale does not need to get in the way of running your business, and most measures improve your business. If you make needed improvements to your business and or operations and decide not to sell your business or exit your business, you still most likely will have a better business on your hands.
exit strategy




For planning purposes try to learn what the potential value of your business may be. Also educate yourself on the business buying or selling marketplace.  It is not always the same.  Selling a business during the 90’s was different than selling a business in 2006, and is significantly different than selling a business in 2010… and different than 2015 or 2020.

If you think you want to sell your business in 5 years for $1M, attempt to understand what realistically your approximate value may be today.  If your business may realistically only be worth $250,000- change your expectations, change your time frame, or maybe more importantly get to work on making necessary changes to your business.

Business Owner vs. Employee the Grass is Greener?-Business Broker Perspective

I am in the business of helping people buy and sell businesses.  So many future business owners currently work for someone else.  Very often the thought process is that one would enjoy their professional career if they “worked for themselves”.  During my professional business career after college I have been an employee of others for about 5 years and have been a business owner with as few as 1 employee to  25 plus employees for approximately 25 years. I feel I do have some perspective from both sides of the coin.

Is It Better To Be An Employee Or A Business Owner?

I think you could talk with business owners and find that there are several that feel being employee has many benefits, and if one talks with employees you can find many that would like to be their own boss.  And of course there are the group of those that are happy or satisfied being either an employee or a business owner.

But so often we are tugged by the concept that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.  Many prospective business buyers that I work with are ready to do something on their own.  They have had very reasonable business careers working for others but are ready make the move to buy a business or start a business and no longer be an employee.

Why may an existing employee want to buy a business or start a business

Business Owner

Photo (c) reachvision.org

  • want to do it my way
  • feel I can do it so much better
  • feel being an employee is too limited
  • No longer believe in the company I am working for nor my job
  • Want to make more money ( maybe this should be at the top of the list)

Why would a business owner consider working for someone else as a good thing.  Again part of my role as a professional business broker in Florida is working with business owners looking to sell their businesses.  Part of the process of what I do is the discussion regarding  what one may do after selling their business.  The responses I get are very dependent on ones age and the amount of money one may gain upon the sale of their business.  Age is a very strong determinant.

Looking At The Long-Term Goals

But when we all get excited upon the idea of starting a new business or buying a business, its hard to “fast forward” and visualize a long term business owner that is somewhat exhausted by the demands of owing a business- and working for someone else is a pretty good option. Maybe not as good as selling your business and sitting next to a pile of cash sitting on the beach drinking frozen cocktails. But this option is not always possible.   Selling your business and going to work for others may bring on the following feelings and thoughts-

  • Liberating- The thought of not having to carry  around the strains that go with running and owning a business for many years can be very liberating
  • As a business owner the thought of collecting a paycheck on Friday instead of worrying about making payroll is appealing
  • As a business owner you get to make all the important decision.  Not having to make the important decision may seem like a good thing
  • As a business owner you find that employees get paid 1st you get paid 2nd.  At times that can be very rewarding, other times dealing with the unknown is difficult
  • When an employee crashes a truck your workload/cost may have just skyrocketed.  As an employee this event may result in no more than idle banter in the break room.

All of us business owners and employee out there knows the list can go on and on.  Want to buy a business?  Want to Sell a business?  Want to Start a business?  The grass is not always greener on the other side, but very often we need to jump the fence and see for ourselves.

How to Sell Your Business for More

At some point a business owner considers selling their business.  Sometimes it is just a fleeting thought.  Sometimes its a thought of  “I don`t need this anymore, get me out”.  Other times its a well planned out progressive process.  You want to sell your business- how do you sell it for more.

This sounds like a fairly straight forward approach, but just as the selling of a business process can be very involved, the question of how to sell it for more firstly needs definition.  I am a business broker based in Florida and speak to many many business owners about the potential sale of their business.  I also sold my own business several years ago.

Selling Your Business When The Time Is Right

Just consider the simple analogy of having a rusty bike in the garage with flat tires that you want to sell today.  You put it out at the end of the drive way put a For Sale sign on it- what do you think it will sell for?  How can you sell that bike for more tomorrow than you can today?

Selling Your Business For More:

  • Selling your business for more can be a very good thing and very reasonable goal.
  • Trying to sell a business for more than it is worth can ultimately result in your business not being sold at all.
  • Setting the Goal today to improve your business, prepare it for sale so that it is worth more after your improvements is probably your best approach
  • Wanting to sell your business for more than “what you heard a local competitor sold for” can also be a mis-guided path.

Preparing Your Business For Sale

So selling your business for more is a reasonable and understandable goal.  How do you get more for your business?  Start today preparing your business for sale.  Like so many of your other important business decision, prepare yourself a to-do list and systematically address those items.  Below are some items you will want to include on your to-do list to help ready your business to sell for more. Ask and honestly answer these questions about your business.

How  are your financials?  Are there some unusual entries on your P/L that have escaped needed adjustment?  Are all sales accounted for?   Do you have a good clean P/L statement?  For smaller businesses Do you have a P/L and Balance sheet?

How reliant is your business on you.  What can you do today to help your company be more about your company and less about you.?

How documented are your systems, procedures, policies, pricing structure?

Right Customers Base

Photo (c) discoverytraining.co.za

Is your customer base as diverse as it should be?  How reliant is your business on a few key customers.  And again do those customers do business with you the business owner or with the company?

Do you have the opportunity to add recurring revenue streams to your business, but elected to not pursue?  Do you have some contracted customers that you just haven’t updated contracts with?

Spend some time to meet with some of your trusted advisers.  Dont rely on information you hear through the grapevine about this person selling their business for this amount.  Talk to your attorney, your accountant , or visit with a business broker start to really learn the marketplace.   Have you scraped the rust off your bike?, painted it ? oiled the chain? pumped up the tires?  put an ad in the newspaper? on the Internet?- Is your bike worth more today than it was yesterday?

How do you sell your business for more tomorrow or next year  than it is worth today?  Start today preparing your business for sale.