5 M&A Myths and How to Deal with Them

Where your money is concerned, myths can do damage.  A recent Divestopedia article from Tammie Miller entitled, Crazy M&A Myths You Need to Stop Believing Now, Miller explores 5 big M&A myths that can get you in trouble.  Miller points out that many of these myths are believed by CEOs, but that they have zero basis in reality. Myth 1 The first major myth Miller explores is the idea that the “negotiating is over once you sign the LOI.”  The letter of intention is, of course, important. However, this is by no means the end of the negotiations and it is potentially dangerous to think otherwise.  The negotiations are not concluded until there is a purchasing agreement in place. As Miller points out, there is a great deal that can go wrong during the due diligence process.  For this reason, it is important to not see the LOI as the “end of the road.” Myth 2 Another myth that Miller wants you to be aware of is that you don’t have to take a company’s debt as part of the purchase price.  Many … [Read more...]

10 Questions Everyone Should Ask Before Signing on the Dotted Line

Before buying any business, a seller must ask questions, lots of questions.  If there is ever a time where one should not be shy, it is when buying a business.  In a recent article from Entrepreneur magazine entitled, “10 Questions You Must Ask Before Buying a Business”, author Jan Porter explores 10 of the single most important questions prospective buyers should be asking before signing on the dotted line.   She points out to remember that “there are no stupid questions.” The first question highlighted in this article is “What are your biggest challenges right now?”  The fact is this is one of the single most prudent questions one could ask.  If you want to reduce potential surprises, then ask this question. “What would you have done differently?” is another question that can lead to great insights.  Every business owner should be an expert regarding his or her own business.  It only makes sense to tap into that expertise when one has the opportunity.  The answers to this question … [Read more...]

A Step by Step Overview of the First Time Buyer Process

A recent article on Businessbroker.net entitled, First Time Buyer Processes by business broker Pat Jones explores the process of buying a business in a precise step-by-step fashion.  Jones notes that there are many reasons that people buy businesses including the desire to be one’s own boss.  However, he is also quick to point out that buyers should refrain from buying a business that they simply don’t like.  In the quest for profits, many prospective owners may opt to do this, but it could ultimately lead to failure. Step One – Information Gathering For Jones, there are seven steps in the business buying process.  At the top of the list is to gather information on businesses so that one has an idea of what kind of businesses are appealing. Step Two – Your Broker The second key step is to begin working with a business broker.  This point makes tremendous sense; after all, those new to the business buying process will benefit greatly from working with a guide with so much experience. … [Read more...]

Goodwill and Its Importance to Your Business

What exactly does the term “goodwill” mean when it comes to buying or selling a business?  Usually, the term “goodwill” is a reference to all the effort that a seller puts into a business over the years that he or she operates that business.  In a sense, goodwill is the difference between an array of intangible, but important, assets and the total purchase price of the business.  It is important not to underestimate the value of goodwill as it relates to both the long-term and short-term success of any given business. According to the M&A Dictionary, an intangible asset can be thought of as asset that is carried on the balance sheet, and it may include a company’s reputation or a recognized name in the market.  If a company is purchased for more than its book value, then the odds are excellent that goodwill has played a role. Goodwill most definitely contrasts and should not be confused with “going concern value.”  Going concern value is usually defined as the fact that a business will … [Read more...]

Determining Your Company’s Undocumented Value

Business appraisals are not one-dimensional.  In fact, a good business appraisal is one that factors in a wide range of variables in order to achieve an accurate result.  Indisputable records ranging from comparables and projections to EBITDA multiples, discount rates and a good deal more are all factored in. It is important to remember that while an appraiser may feel that he or she has all the information necessary, it is still possible they have overlooked key information.  Business appraisers must understand the purpose of their appraisal before beginning the process.  All too often appraisers are unaware of important additional factors and considerations that could enhance or even devalue a business’s worth. There Can Be Unwritten Value Value isn’t always “black and white.”  Instead, many factors can determine value.  Prospective buyers may be looking at variables, such as profitability, depth of management and market share, but there can be more that determines value. Here are … [Read more...]

Around the Web: A Month in Summary

A recent article from Divestopedia entitled “When is the Best Time to Sell My Business” explains that a business owner who is looking to sell should begin preparing for the sale three years before they plan to list their business on the market. The state of the market matters when listing your business, but what you can’t control this as a business owner. What you can control, however, is the state of your financial records, whether the business has any litigation outstanding, and the overall appearance and wellbeing of the business. In order to sell your business at the highest value possible, there are certain things that need to be taken care of before listing. By giving yourself about three years (the number of years of clean, verifiable financial statements you should have) to prepare your business for sale, you are giving yourself and your business the best chance on the market. Click here to read the full article.   A recent article from Inc.com entitled “Small-Business … [Read more...]

The Importance of Understanding Leases

Leases should never be overlooked when it comes to buying or selling a business.  After all, where your business is located and how long you can stay at that location plays a key role in the overall health of your business.  It is easy to get lost with “larger” issues when buying or selling a business.  But in terms of stability, few factors rank as high as that of a lease.  Let’s explore some of the key facts you’ll want to keep in mind where leases are concerned. The Different Kinds of Leases In general, there are three different kinds of leases: sub-lease, new lease and the assignment of the lease.  These leases clearly differ from one another, and each will impact a business in different ways. A sub-lease is a lease within a lease.  If you have a sub-lease then another party holds the original lease.  It is very important to remember that in this situation the seller is the landlord.  In general, sub-leasing will require that permission is granted by the original landlord.  With a … [Read more...]

What Should You Evaluate When Buying a Business?

Buying a business can be an exciting prospect.  For many prospective business owners, owning a business is the fulfillment of a decades long dream.  With all of that excitement comes considerable emotion.  For this reason, it is essential to step back and carefully evaluate several key factors to help you decide whether or not you are making the best financial and life decision for you.  In this article, we’ll examine five key factors you should consider before buying a business. What is Being Sold? If you hate the idea of owning a clothing store, then why buy one?  The bottom line is that you have to have a degree of enthusiasm about what you are buying otherwise you’ll experience burnout and lose interest in the business. How Good is the Business Plan? Before getting too excited about owning a business, you’ll want to take a look at the business plan.  You’ll want to know the current business owner’s goals and how they plan on going about achieving those goals.  If they’ve not been … [Read more...]

Interested in Buying a Business? Check Out These 3 Commonly Overlooked Areas

When it comes to buying a business, nothing is more important than the factor of due diligence.  For most people, this investment is the single largest financial decision that they will ever make.  And with this important fact in mind, you’ll want to leave absolutely no stone unturned. Let’s examine the three most commonly overlooked areas when it comes to buying a business: retirement plans, 1099’s and W-2’s, and legal documents. 1. Examine All Legal Documents While it may sound like a “pain” to investigate all the legal documents relating to a business that you are vetting for purchase, that is exactly what you have to do.  The very last thing you want is to buy a business only to have the corporate veil pierced.  Everything from trademarks and copyrights to other areas of intellectual property should be carefully examined.  You should be quite sure that you receive copies of everything from consulting agreements to documentation on intellectual property. 2. Retirement Plans Don’t … [Read more...]

Key Elements for Every Partnership Agreement

You should never forget that your partnership agreement is, in fact, one of the most important business documents you will ever sign.  Many people go into business with loved ones, relatives or lifelong friends only to discover (once it’s too late) that they should have had a partnership agreement.  A partnership agreement protects everyone involved and can help reduce problems that may arise.  Outlining what will happen during different potential situations and events in a legal framework can help your business keep running smoothly. What Should Be in a Partnership Agreement? Every business is, of course, different; however, with that stated, any partnership should outline, with as much clarity as possible, the rights and responsibilities of all involved.  A well written and carefully considered partnership agreement will keep small problems and disagreements from evolving into more elaborate and serious concerns. There are times to take a DIY approach and then there are times when … [Read more...]