Vodcast: Everything you need to know about selling your business but never asked.

From The Vault: Back in 2010, Dr Greg Chapman, Director of Empower Business Solutions spoke to Zoran Sarabaca about how to sell a business. The result of that interview is a series in-depth, common sense pieces of advice that EVERY business owner should know.

The vodcast covers everything from what buyers are looking for, to how to calculate goodwill, to marketing approaches, to what you should be doing 12 months in advance of selling. A full list of topics can be found at the bottom of this page by clicking here.

Part one is packed with awesome tips and advice for business owners and sellers and if you’re really keen there’s a link at the end and below the vodcast to Part 2 where the advice and tips continue.

Watch the video bellow for Part 1. At the end of the video you can click the link for Part 2.
Interview conducted by Dr. Greg Chapman (MBA)
Suite 22 / 738 Burke Rd,
Camberwell, Victoria 3124
www.gregchapman.biz

If you would like to speak to Zoran Sarabaca about your personal business sales situation please don’t hesitate to call us on 02 9817 3331 or fill in an enquiry.

- By Zoran Sarabaca
Principal of Xcllusive Business Sales
Sell your business with Certainty


Topics Covered In Vodcast Part 1:

  • What are buyers actually looking for in a business?
  • How do you price a business?
  • How is goodwill calculated?
  • What types of businesses get the best price?
  • What should you do to plan for you sale?
  • How do you sell a business that is dependent on the owner?
  • Planning 12 months in advance of selling?
  • How do you avoid a business on the market going ‘stale’?
  • How to market a business for sale. (Passive Vs Active)
  • The top 3 things to prepare before you sell.

Topics Covered in Vodast Part 2:

  • What problems occur during due diligence that can kill the sale?
  • How to manage the business handover?
  • Examples of past good business sales.
  • What are the costs involved in selling a business?
  • What is the 1st step to selling your business?
  • How do you tell the difference good and bad business sale advice?
  • Suggested resources for business sellers.
  • Where to go for more advice.

 

 

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The Top 5 Tips to Boost Your Success in Obtaining A Business Loan

Survey Results Part 1: The results are in and it seems that though your average buyer is confident that they will find the business for them, they’re unsure of how they’ll pay for it.

To take part in the survey click here.

When asked about the ease of funding a new business purchase, most prospective business owners responded negatively and it seems that their concerns are not without warrant. In September of this year The Australian reported that business lending in Australia had fallen from $739.9bn in July 2009 to $683.7bn in July 20101. Regardless of the reason, the fact remains that there are countless business buyers out there who are unable to obtain funding. Obviously having a good source of collateral is one of the main elements, but beyond that what else can you as a business buyer do to increase your chances of achieving a successful loan application?

1. Prepare Your Documentation

Prepare yourself as if you are going for a job interview. If you show up unorganised, your loan manager could perceive you as being a high-risk proposition. By the time you sit down in front of your loan manager you should already have the Profit and Loss statements ready (last three years preferable), a completed loan application, a cover letter, and if applicable a business plan. You would be surprised to what degree presentation matters so it may also be worth bringing promotional materials along also such as articles and brochures.

2. Prepare Yourself

You could have all the paperwork prepared, but if you aren’t ready to answer some questions, then your loan manager could perceive that you aren’t ready to borrow some money. Make sure you know as much about the business and your intentions as possible, and rehearse answering the following questions-

  • How much money do you need to borrow?
  • How long will you need to repay it?
  • Do you have a plan in you can’t procure the loan?

Know the answers to these questions before you sit down, and answer them with as much confidence as you can muster.

3. Prepare Your Wardrobe

It’s been said before, but presentation matters. Dress like you’re about to borrow and spend a lot of money.

4. Prepare the Truth

Show a loan manager a perfect business and they’ll show you the door. No business is without risk and if you don’t present these risks and how you intend to address them, the loan manager may rightly assume that you haven’t thought about it. Imagine you’re completing due diligence. As a buyer you dig as deep as you can to uncover any discrepancies with the business, because the potential investment represents your future lively hood. For a loan manager, you are the investment, and of all the risks they could take, perhaps the biggest one, is not knowing the risks.

5. Prepare For Failure

Just because one bank knocks you back, doesn’t mean that another will. Your first business loan will most likely be the most difficult to procure because, having never borrowed this much money before, the banks can perceive you as being a higher risk (which is bad). Use the knock backs to practice and hone your presentation. Focus your efforts on banks that support business types like your own. For example, if you’re buying a SME, research banks that fund SME’s. Keep trying until you succeed, but it’s always important to have a back up plan in place if all else fails.

As a borrower, it’s important to keep in mind that banks make money off loans. They DO want to give them, but only so long as they can trust the borrower. Times are tough at the moment, which does make it harder, but it doesn’t mean you can’t get ahead of the pack. If you are prepared, confident and present well you can greatly increase your chances of obtaining funding. Good Luck!

By Zoran Sarabaca

1Glenda Korporaal, “Banks have been focusing on lending for houses at the expense of business”, The Australian, (http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/opinion/banks-have-been-focusing-on-lending-for-housing-at-the-expense-of-business/story-e6frg9if-1225928591880), September 24, 2010

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Why are Today’s Business Owners Turning Down Their Best Offers?

‘Holding Out’ can be a very successful negotiating technique, but when it comes to business sales, if you’re not careful, it could cost you more than just your hottest leads.

Six Months ago, I was approached by a client who wanted to sell her business. After the necessary preparation, it was placed on the market for $160,000 and the first wave of offers, though good, came in at around twenty percent less than she had wanted. Against our best advice, the seller contacted the buyers directly and instructed them to look elsewhere, choosing instead to hold out for better offers. Four months later, her business went into liquidation and was sold for stock. What did she do wrong?

This problem stems from, what can only be described as a limited buyer pool, a great example of which can be observed in the advertising undertaken for the business.

The business in question had a three-week run in the classifieds. The first week it received seven enquiries. The second week: three enquiries. The last week it received only one enquiry. Though this is a perfect example of buyer interest dwindling, it’s not the best. The best example of diminishing buyer interest was observed when a revamped advertisement was run again, three months later. Over the course of the three-week run, it did not receive a single enquiry.

In six weeks of paid advertising there were more enquiries in the first week than the following five.

This phenomenon isn’t reserved solely for newspaper advertising. It’s exactly the same story for web advertising and direct mail also.

What can be drawn from this is that the pool of buyers looking for  certain business types is not unlimited. At any given time, there are as little as fifty viable buyers in the market and this group isn’t self-replenishing. If your business has been on the market for six months, the people looking at it are, nine times out of ten, the same people who saw it on the market when it was first placed. The first wave of offers is usually the best because by the time the second wave comes, the buyers making those offers have been watching your business not selling.

At this point it would fair to ask what to do when the first set of offers doesn’t meet expectations. Keep in mind that if you receive an offer that is lower than your asking price, the buyer making that offer is not out to insult or swindle you; it’s just part of the game. Furthermore, it is this first run of leads that give you an indication as to what the market sees your business to be worth. As a seller, it’s your job to present your business in such a way as to show the buyers why you feel your business is worth what you say it’s worth. Work with them, as opposed to against them and nine times out of ten, you will find a price that’s good for the buyer, and good for you.

- Zoran Sarabaca

Principal

Xcllusive Business Brokers

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Shortage Of Good Businesses

With the fallout from the GFC finally beginning to settle, buyers are returning to the market, but leaving empty handed.

As it stands today, there are still not enough good businesses to meet the ever increasing demand from buyers. “Why is this the case?”

The current trends suggest that sellers have been reluctant to put their businesses on the market because valuations have dropped. Valuations, based primarily on trading profits, were strongly affected by the global recession in the 2008-09 financial year. Now however, with business confidence returning and financial indicators pointing to a good recovery in the Australian economy, the majority of business profit and loss statements are still reflecting the image of a far bleaker period; an image no longer indicative of their current value. Valuations under these circumstances, though certainly not incorrect, are more often than not, less than what the seller is looking for. This directly results in potential sellers being forced to to hold on to their business as they wait for profits to re-build.

As in a classic supply and demand scenario, well-performing businesses need not take that path. The ever increasing numbers in the buyers market opens the door for businesses that have performed solidly during the economic downturn.

Good businesses are selling and they are selling extremely well.

The primary hurdle within the business sales sector, until now, has been restoring buyer confidence. With the proper preparation a good business will sell high, and sell fast.

The past 12 months have been exceptionally good for clients of Xcllusive with the sale of several businesses occurring within a matter of weeks from being placed on the market. Good brokers everywhere will tell you similar stories, but the one common theme sung over and over again is that these businesses were priced correctly and adequately prepared for sale. The sellers knew what they were selling and the buyers knew what they were buying. When it comes down to it, if you have a strongly performing business, with the right preparation, you will find a buyer, and you will find them fast. The shortage of good businesses on the market assures it.

-From Xcllusive Newsletter Autumn 2010

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What’s your business worth in the current economic climate

In spite of reports that consumer spending is buoyant, governments around the world, at their highest levels, are not prepared to forecast a date for full recovery from the current Global Financial Crisis.  So, how is ‘near recession’ impacting on the worth of your business?

The economic situation has killed the market, When the bottom fell out of the US stock market in August, 2008, the global shockwave brought everything to a shuddering halt. When we tracked inquiries from buyers in our office we found that inquiries dropped 80 per cent last year.

This is good news for businesses surviving the current economic downtown. Businesses experiencing steady or increased profit margins could be worth even more than they were before the financial crisis.

It is true that the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) knocked the stuffing out of the share market when it hit in 2008. and it is true that there is no leading economist prepared to forecast an end to the current ‘near recession’. It is also true that the value of most business has declined. however, good businesses could still hold their price.

For businesses deciding to sell, the good news is that financial uncertainty always breeds investors and potential business owners who see tough times as a chance to get a good deal. And if your business is surviving these tough times, the news gets better.

As long as it is not going down and makes a sustaining income, the business is valuable and buyers will always have you on their radar. Purchasing any business during a financial slowdown is often motivated by the desire to realise a good profit when times get better. The downside is that when selling now you will have to be even more realistic about your price. This does not mean giving away your business to bargain hunters. It means truly satisfying yourself that you are getting what it’s worth.

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You will close the deal if you let the buyer see everything

Playing your cards close to your chest may be the way to go in business, but not if you are trying to sell it for the best price.

So you have a potential buyer for your business. Congratulations! Marketing or advertising your business has paid off…so far.

Only when a prospect is sure that your business is going to go on making money into the future will you be able to close the deal. So the mantra is: “Don’t look as if you are holding back. Give them everything.”

Getting people to look at the sale of your business more closely is admirable, but getting the deal across the line is a whole other ball game. It usually means full access to all paperwork. Be prepared to go into everything, so the purchaser of your business can see where the good supersedes the difficulty.

Transparency

Your business operations must be transparent. If it’s all too much homework, raises too many questions or just looks too har, the chances are you may lose your buyer.

If they don’t understand your business quickly they will lose confidence.

You can give a buyer “everything” without having to give away your best trade secrets if you focus on what’s in it for them. Brush up your track record. Lay out your business potential. Reveal hidden strategies and point out where further savings can be made.

Zoran Sarabaca

Principal

Xcllusive

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Cheap Coffee is Hurting Business Value

Today’s Coffee shops and restaurants are more popular and busier than ever. To see evidence of this just walk down any of the popular eating places in Sydney’s Inner west, Eastern Suburbs or any other popular eating area in Sydney and you will hardly be able to find a place without reservations. 

Both supply and demand for these types of businesses are high yet the prices they sell for are very disappointing for the owners that have put in many hard working years of their life building them. 

So why is this the case?  Because, the price of coffee and restaurant food hasn’t followed the inflation rate, increase in rents and labour cost. 

Over the last decade the rise in commercial property value has pushed commercial rents up, especially retail rents, not only in the shopping centres but also on the street. The increase in rents together with increase in labour cost has made margins for the small retailer much lower than a decade ago. 

Nowhere is this squeeze more obvious than in the family owned restaurants and coffee shops. Goodwill of these businesses is tightly connected to the location, which makes rent negotiation very hard for the tenant when the lease comes up for review. They are also highly labour intensive. 

The logical step to combat shrinking margins would be to increase the prices to compensate for the increasing costs. However, because of the personal connection felt between the business owner and their customers and the unfounded fear of losing them to the competition if the price of coffee is lifted by a few cents has made many owners absorb this cost over the years. 

To compensate, operators are working longer hours and increasing services that they are offering. Restaurants and coffee shops that in the past have never offered takeaway food or space for functions are doing so now. Establishments that have been operating with one or two days off during the week are now open seven days. Yet you still in Sydney can find coffee for the same price that you could ten years ago. So when the owner decides to sell their business, they receive a rude shock when they realise that their business is worth less than what it did when they bought it 10 years ago.

A decade ago they were working normal hours and making good money. Today they are burned out by the hard work and long hours and still making the same amount of money, except that the average wage is much higher today than what it was when they started so their good earnings then are not so good now. This directly affects the business sale price and pushes it downwards. 

So in order to achieve a good price for your food business, good margins must exist. Good margins will ensure that the owners work reasonable hours and achieve good financial reward for the hard work they put into running their business. It is inevitable that the price of food and coffee in restaurants and coffee lounges have to go up. Even if this may prompt the Australian Reserve Bank Chairman to raises the interest rates again to stop inflation from getting out of control.

Zoran Sarabaca

Principal

Xcllusive

Sydney Business Brokers

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Buying a Business – Fear and Desire

The business-buying-decision is heavily biased towards perception of risk as well as understanding the benefits of a business. This means that you must help buyers understand the real risks in your business – you must try to minimise their fear of the unknown. The more they understand the real business risks the easier it is for them to appreciate the benefits. 

The benefits for buyers are not only financial. Benefits may include personal success, independence, or self-fulfillment. They are looking for a particular type and size of business that fits their needs, skills and experience as well as their future plans. 

A buyer will be concerned about a range of issues. They may be concerned that goodwill and intellectual property are linked to the owner and won’t transfer after a sale – or perhaps the business has a bad reputation in the market. The buyer may perceive the cost of acquiring goodwill as too high. 

Then there are human resources issues: what if there is a large turnover in staff after the sale; what if the managers leave; what are the staff’s long service leave, superannuation and workers compensation liabilities. 

Xcllusive uses a model to explain how the two opposing thoughts compete. The overemphasis on risk due to the fear of the unknown creates mistrust. The feelings of mistrust dominate the buyers understanding of the business and their desire to achieve its benefits.

Over the sale period we seek to reduce the buyers’ mistrust and increase their understanding of the benefits. This should help them to make a balanced decision to buy your business.

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What is Due Diligence?

In contents of the business transaction, Due Diligence (DD) is a term used for an investigation or audit of a potential business that a purchaser is looking to invest in. 

Due diligence serves to confirm to a purchaser all material facts in regards to a business. Due Diligence is always done before entering in the agreement for the purchase of the business. Its purpose is to prevent unnecessary harm to all parties involved in the transaction, especially the purchaser. 

The facts verified during DD process will vary for different types of businesses. The most common areas of concern are financial, legal and compliance. It is common to use specialist outside adviser for each of specific areas of due diligence.

The cost and timing of DD will depend on the complexity and size of the business being investigated. If any anomalies or undisclosed facts are discovered through the DD process, the purchaser will ether attempt to re-negotiate the price or decide not to proceed with the business purchase.

Zoran Sarabaca

Principal

Xcllusive

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How long does it take to sell a business?

In a recently undertaken survey of 100 businesses that have been offered for sale by business owners 2 years prior to our survey, of those businesses participating in the survey that were sold, we have found that the average time  it took to sell the business was 8.6 months. The advertised price range of the businesses that sold was between 45K and 790K.The data collected has reviled that 47% of the businesses were sold within 6 months, another 35% between 6 months and 1 year and 18% of the businesses took over 1 year to secure the sale.

The following are points that you should pay attention to in order to reduce the time it takes to sell your business.

  • Make sure that your business is priced right and not overpriced
  • Present your business to buyers transparently
  • Have all paperwork and financial records ready for inspection
  • Address all issues and uncertainty prior to putting or your business on the market
  • Be co-operative and make it easy for buyers to inspect your business

A good business agency or a broker can make the business selling process not only shorter but also help you achieve a sale result that you will be happy with.

Zoran Sarabaca

Principal

Xcllusive

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