Business Acquisition Consulting
Your Advocate When Buying a Business
A Business Broker works for the Seller. He does not work for you. His fiduciary responsibility is to the Business Owner and he works on a success commission. The bigger the success, the Bigger the commission. This is why it is essential to have a Business Acquisition Consultant to represent your best interest as you purchase a business.
ProBiz listed and sold over 100 businesses in the Raleigh area and assisted 2,500 buyers in their search for their next opportunity. Having experience representing both buyers and sellers, Probiz focuses our efforts where it is needed most – on the buyers.
Probiz has worked with thousands of buyers who want to buy a business but don’t know where to start.
Are you purchasing the right business for your goals?
Is a business being priced fairly?
How do you deal with a Business Broker?
Concerned about being taken advantage of?
Confused or intimidated by the process?
Contact ProBiz for support as you navigate this complex process.
A Buyer’s Representative works for you, the Buyer.
A Business Broker works for the Seller. He does not work for you. His fiduciary responsibility is to the Business Owner and he works on a success commission. The Bigger the success, the Bigger the commission.
What Does a Buyer’s Representative Do for You?
A Buyer’s Rep. is your Advocate and helps you navigate the business buying process.
- It begins with finding a business you like. One that suits you. One you can qualify for. One that cash flows! I’m a second set of eyes.
- Often a Buyer will see an Ad and then, what?
- Dealing with the Broker. I have an entire page devoted to this.
- Requesting Information. Do you know what to ask for? Or if you are being sent a bunch a fluff? I’ll help you sort through this.
- It’s not just about the numbers. There are at least 10 critical issues, such as “If it is so good, why is it for sale?”
- The numbers are critically important. Does it cash flow? Can you trust the numbers you are shown? Is it priced fairly?
- You benefit by having someone on your side.
- Saving money. A Buyer’s Rep. will often save you a multiple of any fee you pay. In my experience, it is often 10 times the fee in savings you might not otherwise have achieved. (I have saved Buyer 50-100 times my fee in some cases).
- Due Diligence. This is a true minefield. Most transactions die here. This is where you definitely need outside help. Someone who knows the ropes. I have been on both sides.
- Dealing with CPAs, Lawyers, and other “deal killers.” It’s very important to have these professionals serving your best interests, but unless you are very careful, regardless of how good the deal is, they can do such a good job that it can kill a deal.
- Financing, SBA, and Seller Notes. (I have an entire page on this also)
- Paperwork and Closing. It’s enough to make your head spin. Again, I am here to support you and be your second set of eyes.
Providing Information and a Guide!
ProBiz Consulting is Pro Business and takes the “Consultive Approach.”
Whether you are a business owner or are wanting to become a business owner, it is a matter of time before you become overwhelmed and need guidance and support. Much like a minefield, the process of buying a business is full of uncertainty and a misstep can blow up even the best deal. It is a wiser option to seek advice from someone who has successfully navigated the process hundreds of times before.
That being said, Business Brokers seem to be lurking around every corner. Their earnings are based on commission, so they benefit when the sale price is maximized regardless of whether it is a fair deal for the buyer. It is essential to have a buyer’s advocate when buying a business who will diligently work to protect your interests.
Recent Success Stories
- A Sweet Deal. A small ice cream shop in a strip mall. The owner worked it himself and had no employees. He barely pulled $25,000 out of it for his labor after paying all his expenses. Of course, this was NOT all that obvious. It appeared to be three times more profitable on the surface and would have been a disaster if someone had paid the initial asking price. I was able to help both the owner and the buyer come to a fair position. It only took a week to complete the transaction and the price went from $100,000 to $65,000 at closing. That’s how much the Buyer saved.
- Doing Right by All. A second example was an Overhead Garage Door company. The Husband was the prime mover and shaker and had passed away. In previous years, it did more than a Million Dollars in revenue and had a 15% net profit. The widow was trying to keep it going and was losing money badly. It was all but unsaleable by the time she engaged me. Helping Widows is a soft spot for me, but I would not recommend this to any Buyer in the state it was in. Instead, I contacted a competitor. Both parties got a square deal.
- Business Valuation. I was called in to consult with a law firm who needed help with the valuation of the firm for an inside sale between partners. A typical appraisal fee can range between $15,000-30,000, but I was able to conduct a simple business valuation for under $10,000. This saved them thousands of dollars.
- Save the Buyer as Much as Possible. In another situation, a Buyer had found a business and had already engaged with the Selling Broker. He was asking $3,500,000. The Buyer wanted it but knew the price was inflated and the Selling broker was looking at a sweet six-figure commission. He needed help on the Buyer side. I was engaged for a simple $2,500 to engage with the Selling broker, to talk the same language and help him help his Client “get real.” The Buyer felt the SBA would only go as high as $2,800,000. My role was then expanded to “save the Buyer as much as possible.” I was given a 2.5% incentive and succeeded in getting more than One Million Dollars off the asking price. In his case, the Selling Broker still made six figures, as was his contractual right. Pro Biz’s 2.5% reward was about $35,000.
- Discretion is Key. Lots of places repair computers but for laptop repairs, Absolute is “the place to go” in Raleigh, Cary and Wake County. But being so successful is a two-edged sword! How do you sell it, if you are the owner, and not have all the other computer dealers and vendors, many of whom are your wholesale customers, find out? The owner tried for over a year on his own and with a bad broker and became very frustrated. Enter ProBiz Consulting. It is now under new ownership thanks to the Consultative Approach taken by Lou Sauer and ProBiz.
- Bigger and Better. Lou and ProBiz helped an owner sell his Clayton Retail Carpeting and Flooring business, then when the new owner defaulted on the Seller Financed Note, helped him take it back. Lou consulted on how to reopen “Bigger and Better” and then sold it a second time for the Seller! And this second time, the Seller is staying involved and drawing an additional monthly check while making sure “all goes well.”With ProBiz’s help, the Seller was able get paid twice because the first package combined a substantial cash down payment as well as owner financing. The Seller then referred Lou to his uncle in Maryland whose carpet and Flooring business generates over $10,000,000. A typical business broker would have had to walk away, but ProBiz consults multi-states, nationwide.
- Consulting, not selling. The Owner of one of the largest sign companies in North Carolina responded to one of ProBiz’s marketing programs. In the initial interview, the Owner indicated he just wanted to sell his business and “become a beach bum”. As Lou dug deeper and performed a cursory machinery and equipment appraisal, it became evident that the greatest value of the business was the prime acreage it was sitting on. If the Owner waited until the proposed I-540 connection was completed, the new price would be 50-100% greater within 1-2 years. Then when Lou got the Owner away from his business and as he relaxed with a beer, he explained he and his wife had separated and that was why he wanted to quit and retire at the beach. Most brokers would have rushed into a Listing Agreement, but ProBiz takes the Consultive Approach. Lou advised him to try to reconcile with his wife, even if only for a year and hold out for the Bigger Payout. He did, they stayed together and he still owns the business which is bigger than ever. Sometimes the best advice is to not rush into selling!
- SBA Success Story. Here’s the story of a business that has an exclusive on a high-dollar software application used in the automotive industry. The Owner interviewed all the top-rated brokers in Raleigh and then selected and signed with ProBiz to sell his unique business. The problem was that it would take a large SBA loan to fully fund the Million Dollar sale and at that point in time, getting a SBA loan was more difficult than getting a seat on the last Space Shuttle flight. To make matters more difficult, the Chicago Software Company was being purchased by one of the nation’s leading Automotive Franchisors. The chances of a business broker, even one of the most skilled, overcoming and solving these deal-stoppers was next to zero. Enter the Consultive Approach of ProBiz Consulting. “This had to be one of the hardest to make happen transactions I ever consulted on,” said Lou. “I think we got one of only a dozen approved SBA loans the SBA handed out in 2010. The intensive negotiations over the SBA and the obtuse Software Company mergers got so heated, that in the end, the Seller didn’t even say ‘Thank You’ to me for closing the impossible deal! But the Buyer did.” And, most importantly to this story, it did close.
- Split Business. Whole Success. Here is a type of transaction that would turn a broker’s hair white and it happened more than 5 years ago. The Owner of Edgecombe Electric passed away, leaving his wife to try to figure out how to run a large commercial electrical contracting business. She called me and I drove out to have a meeting with her. After consulting, we decided to split the business and just sell the Industrial Belting and Supply Division (IBS) of Edgecombe Electric Service, Inc. She had a good management team and kept the core business “in the family” With some consulting IBS was purchased by Industrial Supply Solutions, Inc., (ISSI) who was their primary client or vendor. The challenge was to keep the sale of this division of Edgecombe Electric Service confidential until after its completion. (It can be discussed now after 5 years) That closing took place on December 31, 2008. The seller continues to operate Edgecombe Electric Service which is now an entirely separate entity. Edgecombe Electric benefited from the transfer, and it frees up the owner to devote more time to the core company. The Consultative Approach was the correct approach.
*These are true-life examples of what a Buyer’s Representative can do for a Buyer.
This is not magic and fees can vary, but I hope this will give you some guidance.
Code of Ethics
Canons of Conduct
- We will at all times deal fairly with all parties to a transaction.
- We will pro-actively assist our clients with all legal and ethical means in helping them achieve their goals.
- We will stay informed as to the conditions and trends in our marketplace so as to be able to intelligently advise our clients.
- We will limit our practice to our areas of expertise and will refer clients to other professionals as the need arises.
- We will keep separate and inviolate any funds entrusted to us in escrow and will provide prompt accounting and disbursement in accordance with our agreements and applicable laws.
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