Thursday, May 9, 2013

Visit our New Blog site

We're growing!  Thanks for your interest.

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Sunday, April 21, 2013

Why I want YOU to Own a Successful Small Business

Why do I want you to own a successful small business?

Here's my list of 7:

  1. So you can go to your kids baseball games. You can control your time and not be controlled by someone else's schedule. Boss "Hey John, get on a plane and spend next week in Portland."  John, "Next week is my kids birthday party." Boss, "Sorry about that but you have to be there."
  2. So you can make your community a better place by supporting good causes that effect your neighbors. 
  3. So you can provide the services and products the community wants instead of decisions for Omaha being made in New York.
  4. So you can provide jobs for your friends, neighbors and family.
  5. So your kids can feel the security of a home that's in control of it's future and your kids don't hear you and your spouse talking about the layoffs that might be coming.
  6. So that you can have the security of being in control of your future
  7. So that I can buy products and services from my neighbors.

Please add your reasons in the comments section so we can move forward local small businesses in our communities

What's the Value of a Small Business?  Here's your easy to use guide to Small Business Value.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Common Characteristics of Profitable Businesses

As a Business Broker I've had the opportunity to meet with and analyze more than 2,000 businesses. I have come to discover that there are 6 basic characteristics that are almost always found in profitable businesses.

6 Characteristics of Profitable Businesses:

  1. The business owner has an firm grip on reality. They understand the good and the bad of their industry and their business.
  2. The business owner spends the money to get good advice. They have an accountant, attorney and financial adviser that is competent in the specific industry and size business.
  3. The business owner makes a good faith effort to have systems and procedures in place so that their product or service experience is repeatable. The vast majority of activity is done the same way each time. 
  4. The business owner is always trying to find ways to do #3 better.
  5. The business owner doesn't blame his employees and his customers for his results. It is shocking to me how often this is the case in bad businesses.
  6. The business owner owns the business for a reason other than it's just a way to make a living. The owner might want to sell the business to fund their retirement or next venture or pass the business on to their kids or create enough profit to fund a charitable cause important to them or operate a business to allow them enough free time and money to pursue an important cause.
Businesses and business owners with the above characteristics are much more likely to be profitable, more valuable and easier to operate than businesses without these characteristics.

Are there other characteristics that are important to you as a customer? Can you identify businesses with these 6 characteristics?

What's the Value of a Small Business?  Here's your easy to use guide to Small Business Value.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Sunbelt Completes the Sale of a Specialized Property Management Company

We are pleased to announce this successful transaction. The business is a 30 year old company operated by the same 2 partners since it's inception. Both partners were ready to retire.

The sellers were referred to Sunbelt by Steve Drake a well known Houston, Texas financial planner and host of his own financial radio show call Money Matters.

The business specializes in the management of Homeowners Associations.

The buyer had experience in working for an association management firm and was able to finance the purchase with a very attractive bank loan from Allegiance Bank utilizing the SBA Loan Guarantee program. Gary Henderson managed the process for Allegiance Bank.

The buyer will assure the business lives on long past the time when the founders were able to operate the company.

We are proud to be a part of this transaction that enables long time business owners to realize the value created in their business and retire in the comfort they had worked so hard to earn.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Outstanding B2B Digital Printing Business for Sale in Houston Texas

Well established business-to-business company that focuses on servicing other companies. Clients are strong companies who utilize this company's outsource digital printing services.

In business for nearly 20 years this business adapts to and leads the market in sophisticated, specialized niche printing and media services.

Annual sales are nearly $1,000,000

SDE (profit available to owner) is $235,000+

Asking price: $550,000 is extremely reasonable for this B2B Monday - Friday business.

A qualified buyer with approximately  $100,000 liquid for a down payment could obtain an SBA Loan for $500,000 (includes some working capital).Loan payments would be approximately $66,000.

For new owner a cash flow profit could be $169,000.

Click here for more details and contact information  or call 281.440.513

Sunbelt Business Brokers Houston Texas

Saturday, February 16, 2013

So you're in do you get out?

I was meeting with a business owner the other day and he said to me "When I started this business I never gave any thought to how I would get out of it, never crossed my mind."

His business now does over $3 million in sales and has significant value....but no where near the value he thinks it has.......for one reason.

He's never looked at his business the way a buyer for the business would look at it.

I see this nearly everyday. Business owners don't understand, or at least they don't have an appreciation for, the difference between a good business for them and a business that would be valuable to someone else.

A perfect example was the business owners (let's call him John) strategy as it relates to the real estate the business utilizes.

John started the business 10 years ago, it grew quickly and started generating good profits. About 6 years ago John decided he needed a new, bigger, building for his growing business. John also decided he wanted exposure on a major freeway so everyone would be able to see his business.

John located a great building with an excellent location. He went to his bank who was willing to give him a commercial real estate loan to buy the building because the business had the cash flow to pay the note. Everything was great. He moved into his new, bigger business and life was good.

However, John was only focused on making the note payments on the building. As he said to me "the business paying down the debt on the building is my retirement fund." 

Now fast forward to today. 

John's business is generating a profit for himself of $10,000 per month or $120,000 per year. Pretty good, wouldn't you say?  Maybe......maybe not.

The area around John's business has grown and property values have increased while Johns note has stayed the same. Good right? Not necessarily.

John's note is $8,000 per month which the biz can afford...BUT  the real estate is now worth much more than he paid for it. If John were to lease the property out at today's fair market value he could lease the building for $15,000 per month.

But remember John's biz profit is $10,000 per month. If John was getting fair value for the property he would get $15,000 per month which is $7,000 per month more than the $8,000 monthly note payment.

If we adjust John's monthly expenses to reflect fair value for the building then John's monthly profit drops from $10,000 per month down to $3,000 per month ($10k - $7k).

John is now stuck.  His business can't afford a fair rent but he needs the building to run his business. John's real estate value makes his business value very low. A buyer who pays fair value for the real estate won't have enough cash flow from the business to pay the note and a reasonable salary for himself.

John came to me thinking he was in a great situation and left thinking his situation was not nearly as good as he thought.

Do you have a business that one day will need to be sold? What concerns do you have as you look ahead to that day?


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Virtual Assistance | Delegating Your Social Media

Guest Post from Professional Virtual Assistant Susan Poirier 

(Disclosure: I use Susan's VA services and I am not receiving any compensation for this post.)

In today’s ever competitive business climate, social media is not a passing fad or simply a source of amusement for the younger generations. It represents an essential platform as part of your marketing mix. Consumer buyer behavior now reflects their consistent quest for up to the minute information about your company’s products and services. People buy from people and customers prefer the immediacy of the web, the data they can search, the recommendations they find and a community for their voice. You need to not only have an online presence but to be actively listening to your prospects, colleagues, partners, competition and clients.

Social Media (SM) is a key facet in your viral efforts to drive business to your website, enhance company recognition, build your brand, create market segments, meet your clients and prospective client needs for information and customer service, join communities, disseminate news, press releases, product launches, improve customer service, troubleshoot issues and listen to the chatter about your company.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Business Library of Excellent Books

Suggested reading:

Run Your Family Like a Business

Here's a Wall Street Journal article that helps tie the process of creating software with raising a family. Using Agile process principles for a family. Interesting concepts worth consideration.

Run Your Family Like a Business

Sunday, January 6, 2013

20,000 days...give or take...... that's all we have.......

Live with purpose.......................

Click here for a guide.

Top 8 Things Business Owners Do To Crush the Value of their Business

Business Value Can be Managed if the Business Owner Can Manage Themself 
If you read too many business magazines you might find yourself believing that creating a valuable business is more luck than skill. Business value can be managed and if you manage the value you will become more profitable.
Small business owners often confuse business earnings or profit with the actual value of a business. All profits are not created (or valued) equally. A fundamental method of measuring the value of a business is applying a multiple to earnings. Take two businesses that have the exact same earnings of $100,000. Will they have the exact same value to a business buyer? No.

Caring for a Cause can be Good for your Business

Many business owners I encounter say they want to "give back" and will start doing so after they ...hit it big. I'm sure many of them mean what they say and I'm equally sure that many, many of them will never get to the point where what they've achieved is enough to start "giving back".
Should You make A Charitable Cause Part of Your Business Model Instead of Just a Part of Your Hopes?
There are many benefits to a business if they make a serious and genuine effort to support a charitable cause on a consistent and ongoing basis. A few well known businesses do this and many other lesser known companies do as well. Business charity is not only good for your's good for your business. Never underestimate the power of a good business plan.

Anatomy of a Successful Small Business Purchase

Although the names, location, types of businesses and other details have been changed for confidentiality purchases this Hub reflects real transactions in the world of buying and selling a business.
The Buyer
Susan, 45, had been employed in the corporate world for 15 years and had done well, worked hard and gotten good performance ratings. She felt like she would be with her company for a long, long time. She thought that right up until the moment when, on a Friday afternoon, she opened an email from the company CEO stating that the company had just agreed to be acquired and more details about what that means to individual employees would be forthcoming in the next few weeks and months.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

50 Things I Wish Someone had told me!

Go into business with your eyes wide open!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The 2% Solution for Disputes among Business Partners and Partnerships

Preparation Avoids Business Partnership Problems that could Kill a Business     

Many people start a business with friends, neighbors, relatives or spouses and it's often a partnership 50/50 arrangement. Rarely is there a written business partnership agreement and this can be a big mistake. These arrangements often work well until there is a problem but then...the problem could be a big problem and the dispute can spin out of control quickly.
Small business partnerships should come with a warning label "Caution: Partnerships work best when the partners document the problem resolution methods before entering the partnership."

How to Use an SBA Loan in Acquisition of a Business

When looking at businesses you might want to buy you should always keep in mind how you are going to finance the purchase of the business. Most small businesses are purchased using bank lender financing in the form of a small business SBA loan. This post discusses the Small Business Administration (SBA) loans that are available and what are the general requirements to qualify for an SBA loan. Keep in mind that specific banks may have slightly different requirements but the main issues will be the same across all banks. The SBA supports small business development centers throughout the U.S. which can provide information about the SBA Loan process.

What is an SBA Loan? What are the SBA guidelines for small business acquisition loans?
Commercial banks and the SBA agree to certain ground rules whereby if the bank adheres to the SBA loan rules, guidelines and regulations and makes a loan to a borrower under those rules, then the SBA will guarantee a significant portion of the loan (up to 90% in some cases). This SBA loan guarantee makes the loans very low risk for the banks and therefore the banks have an incentive to make these loans to small business borrowers. Not all banks participate in this program and it involves a lot of paperwork!
What do I need and what can I borrow?

Business Partnerships - The good, the bad and the ugly...

In my line of work we run into business partnerships every day and we are often the ones trying to figure out how to resolve the myriad issues, problems and crisis that revolve around the small business partnership dynamics. A wise person once said famously,

"Choose your business partner twice as carefully as you choose a spouse..because your spouse can only take half of what you have."
Business partnerships can be a wonderful thing, especially in the early stages in the life of a small business start-up. The sense of mission and teamwork can be addictive. But what we often see is that the business partners didn't really agree to anything before they become partners.
Often the partnership conversation goes like this:
Mary, "Bill, I have a great idea. I'm going to make ice skates that have training wheels."
Bill, "Cool, I have some free time, I can help. Want to be partners?"
Mary, "Sure 50/50"
Bill, "Awesome, let's go to Starbucks and noodle out a plan."
There you have it, you now have your business partner and, as long as the business doesn't succeed or fail things will likely be o.k. However, every business, over time, does exactly one or the other. It either succeeds of it fails.

Good Business Partnership Agreements are All About the "What ifs?"