Richard J. Green

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    • Member Type(s): Expert
    • Title:Business Broker
    • Organization:Green & Co. Business Brokers
    • Area of Expertise:Business Broker
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    Pitfalls To Avoid When Purchasing Commercial Property With A Business

    Monday, July 15, 2019, 10:04 AM [General]
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    Many businesses that are for sale have commercial property attached to the deal. Purchasing a piece of commercial property in conjunction with purchasing a business is something that adds an additional layer of complexity, but your Broker will be equipped to help guide you through the process. There is a Commercial Real Estate Contract that will need to be executed, in addition to the Business Asset Purchase Agreement. The Due Diligence period will also need to include items relating to the commercial real estate transaction. We’ve outlined the most common items that can potentially cause issues in a commercial real estate transaction, but by no means is this a complete or exhaustive list. 

    Title or survey concerns. 

    The Seller will be expected to provide the Buyer with their current title insurance policy, as well as the most recent survey done on the property. If there isn’t a recent survey, then the Buyer will need to order one as part of the closing process.A title commitment will be given to the Buyer, once the title company or insurance company has completed all of their searches. A thorough review of the title commitment and all of the documents referenced in it is critical. Some title concerns may include: mortgages, liens, judgments or assessments against the property, probate issues, pending lawsuits or foreclosure suit. The Commercial Contract will provide a Buyer with a period of time for title review. Please note that it is normal for title companies or closing attorneys not to do their searches and provide title commitment until after the Due Diligence period has been completed, because many deals will fall apart during the Due Diligence process. The survey should be ordered as soon as possible after the contract is signed and should be reviewed in conjunction with the title commitment. This allows a Buyer to determine if there are easements, encroachments, or other matters that need to be addressed.

    Verify zoning and land use. 

    The Buyer will want to make sure that current zoning and land use classifications allows them to use the property as they intend to. Buyers should also find out the permitted uses for adjacent properties as well, if possible. A Buyer can request a zoning verification letter from the applicable municipality to obtain valuable information as to the pertinent zoning and code related matters. Making sure that the property can legally be used as intended is one of the most important things to verify during the Due Diligence process. If someone is buying commercial property that is owned by the business they are purchasing, the current owner would be responsible for making sure that it is operating legally, so any zoning issues should hopefully be able to be cured by the Seller before closing. If there are zoning issues that are not curable, then the Buyer would have the right to cancel their contract and receive their earnest money deposit back. 

    Environmental Concerns.

    It is important for a Buyer to identify if any environmental concerns exist at the property. Especially if it is an industrial site or a commercial property that has dealt with hazardous waste, like an auto repair or body shop. If there are questions of environmental concerns, a Phase I Environmental Assessment should be obtained. Depending on the results of the Phase I report, a Phase II or Phase III Environmental Assessment may be required. Do not assume that because the property has never been used as a gas station, dry cleaners, or other type of business that has a higher likelihood of contamination that there are no environmental concerns with the property. These environmental inspections and assessments should all be done during the Due Diligence Period. 

    Issues with liens, expired permits, or licensing.

    Buyers will want to investigate if there are any code enforcement liens, expired permits, unsatisfied development or easement obligations, unpaid municipal liens for such things as water, electricity, sewer or gas that may create potential legal liability for the new owner. The title company or closing attorney will do a search for liens, but it doesn’t hurt to personally look into all of these items individually. Also, if the business has complex licensing, like liquor licenses, there are professionals who specialize in helping Buyers verify and obtain the proper licensing to operate their business. When purchasing a business along with commercial real estate, the Seller agrees to assist the Buyer, at Buyer’s cost, with getting all of the licensing in order. If a Buyer doesn’t know all of the licensing required to operate the business they are purchasing, the Seller will always be one of the best people to ask, since they know what licensing they have been required to have. 

    Physical inspections of the buildings, equipment, and property.

    Are there any major issues with the building, roof, electrical, plumbing, fire sprinklers, elevator, HVAC, etc? Buyers should obtain inspections completed by licensed and insured professional inspectors, so they can evaluate any repairs that may be required. If repairs or replacements are needed, the buyer would then want to get quotes from appropriate contractors, so that they are aware of what those costs might be. Those quotes or estimates can then be used to go back in and re-negotiate with the Seller. If the repairs need to be done to legally comply with code or permitting, then the Seller will most likely need to make those changes before closing, since they are contractually bound to make sure that the business is operating legally. If the needed repairs are health and safety-related, then it might be something for the Seller to consider fixing before closing as well. At the end of the day, commercial property is sold as-is, so the Seller doesn’t have to agree to repairs (unless they are not currently operating legally), but the Buyer can always ask for repairs or a reduction in purchase price, so that the Buyer can make the repairs after closing. Sellers are most likely not going to agree to cosmetic improvements or repairs that aren’t health and safety-related. 

    The Buyer is ultimately responsible for doing any and all Due Diligence on the business as well as the commercial property, and they have the option to get other professionals involved to assist them, such as a CPA, attorney, building inspector, license expert, etc. It is then the Buyer’s option to either re-negotiate, cancel the contract, or move forward, lifting the Due Diligence Contingency. The Broker will be able to help with that portion of the process...

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    The Importance Of Getting The Asking Price Right

    Tuesday, July 2, 2019, 8:17 AM [General]
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    There is a lot of work that goes into pricing a business, and our Brokers spend a great deal of time and attention on the financial recast and researching comparative sold businesses, so that we can recommend that our Sellers list their businesses at the most realistic selling price. We don’t want to just list businesses for sale, we actually want them to sell, which is exactly what our Sellers are hoping for too. In order to successfully sell a business, the most important factor is to get the asking price right, from the very beginning, and here’s why.

    Increase your chances of selling.

    The statistic that we are given by our professional association is that only 1 in 4 businesses in Florida that are listed for sale will actually sell. 1 in 4! Those odds aren’t great for a business owner who is hoping to sell their business and cash in on all of their hard work. Of course, businesses don’t sell for a number of reasons, but what we have found is that most businesses on the market that are just sitting there and not ever selling are priced incorrectly. Why go through all of the effort to get it valued, have it listed, and then never sell it because the asking price is unrealistic? It doesn’t make sense to us either. That’s why we work so diligently to get the asking prices of our listings to the most probable price that it will actually sell for. First and foremost, we are always honest with our Sellers, and we sometimes have to be the bearer of bad news that a Seller doesn’t want to hear: their business isn’t likely to sell for what they were hoping for. However, we will work as hard as we can to get them the most money possible for their business. If you really want to sell or in many cases, need to sell, then setting your list price correctly will more than double your chances of finding a qualified buyer and closing the deal...

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    Grow Your Business Via Acquisition

    Tuesday, June 25, 2019, 11:36 AM [General]
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    There is no better way to expand and grow your current business, than by purchasing another existing business to merge with your own. We will outline the top 5 reasons why growing via acquisition is one of the smartest decisions you could make to push your business forward. 

    1. Fastest way to grow your business.

    Instead of adding new customers the old-fashioned way, 1 by 1, transaction by transaction or visit by visit, if you purchase a business that has a large existing customer base, then you will be able to grow your business (and hopefully your sales too) by a much higher multiple and much more rapidly, than by just working on gaining a few customers at a time. When you buy an existing business, not only do you get their customer database, you are also buying the goodwill and reputation of that business, as well as all of its assets. You should be able to take what that other business has already started, add it into your business, and launch yourself to the next level. 

    2. Immediately increase your bottom line.

    Rather than spending thousands of dollars on an upgraded advertising or marketing budget, in the hopes of capturing some new customers, acquiring an existing business that has a consistent history of positive cash flow will add to your profit on day one. If a hypothetical business is making $100,000 per year in owner benefit or seller’s discretionary earnings, then you should be able to easily add that onto your own owner benefit. Also, to take that owner benefit to the max, you could possibly absorb or erase some of the expenses that business has, and increase your bottom line even more. For example, if you already have an existing office with staff to run it, then you can just absorb the business operations into your existing structure, and eliminate those expenses entirely, adding even more profit to your numbers. So, in the end, the $100,000 in owner benefit per year in our hypothetical example could actually become $170,000 per year once those rent and payroll expenses are added back in. Also, you can even use leverage to purchase this new business. SBA backed loans for business acquisitions tend to be easier to get approved for, when the applicant is a business owner who already has a successful business in the same industry. In the right situation, acquiring a business to grow your own could make perfect financial sense.

    3. Add complementary businesses and diversify your offerings.

    We see this happen a lot in the construction industry. A general contracting company ends up subbing out a lot of their work to specialty companies, like roofing, plumbing, and electrical contractors. Many smart business owners have figured out that if their parent company could offer all of these contractor services, and keep all of the work “in house,” that they can get an even bigger piece of the profit. This also works for other small businesses too. Let’s say you have a lawncare company. If you are already going to houses once a week to cut their grass, do they have a pool you could clean as well? In one trip to the same customer’s home, you could double your sales by offering both services. Or you might own a pet shop, that is a retail outlet, but you wanted to add more services. You could purchase a grooming salon or mobile groomer and cross promote through both avenues of revenue. The options and examples here for business owners to diversity are truly endless, and in most cases, it just makes sense to sell more items or services to the customers you already have. 

    4. Add locations to cover a bigger geographical area.

    Your business might be dominating in your specific location or area, and you are serving as many customers as you possibly can. Business is booming, and you’d like to grow, but are limited, due to geography. This is an ideal situation to have, because all you need is another location in a different area, so you can cover more ground and capture a whole new population of customers. Buying an existing business that is in your industry, in your new target location is the fastest and easiest way to hit the ground running, and instead of starting from scratch, waiting for the profits to outweigh the expense of adding a new location, you can continue running the business you purchase, taking in profit as you transition that business into the successful brand that you’d like to replicate. You already have the blueprints from your first location, you just need to tailor this existing business to your design. 

    5. Take out your competition. 

    Competition in the marketplace is a struggle for most businesses. However, what if you could not only grow your business quickly, but eliminate the competition in the process? If you bought out a competitor, you would essentially be killing two birds with one stone. You’d have the benefits of acquiring an existing business: getting their customer list, buying their tangible and intangible assets, and reducing their operating expenses by absorbing some parts of their operation into your current business, but you would also eliminate that business as a competitor, which would hopefully work to increase your sales exponentially. 

    If you are thinking about possibly growing your business via acquisition, we have buyer specialists on our team who are dedicated to working exclusively with our clients who are looking to purchase a business. As a business buyer, you would pay zero commission to us for our brokerage services, which is a great perk for you. Give us a call today…we’d be happy to help!

    When Is The Right Time To Sell Your Business?

    Tuesday, June 18, 2019, 8:27 AM [General]
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    s your geographical area or industry growing or experiencing a boom? That’s a great sign that it’s time to sell. Many people wait until they are exhausted and ready to retire or their business is on the decline to sell. Ideally, that's the exact opposite of what you should do. You want to sell when you are at the top of your game – peaked out. Some will say, 'I'm making good money now. Why should I sell?' That's thinking like a business owner, not an entrepreneur. Below we will discuss 5 situations that would suggest that now is the time to think about your exit strategy. 

    1) Your Business Is Performing Well

    Your business is at the top of its game. You are making more money than ever and operations are running smoothly. It’s time to set the cruise control, and just ride this wave of success, right? Maybe, but not necessarily. The absolute best time to sell a business is when the business is doing well, and when it has been doing well consistently for the past few years. Buyers want to see a solid track record of good owner benefit. When valuing a business, we typically look at the last 3 years of financial records, but a buyer will often request to see the last 3-5 years during Due Diligence. If you are an entrepreneur who likes to move from one project to the next, you know there is no better time to sell than while you are on top. Anything unexpected can happen to a business, which could possibly drag it down, so that’s why cashing out while things are good can be the best thing a business owner could do, especially if you are thinking of getting out in the near future. 

    2) You Are Preparing For Retirement

    If you are starting to think about retirement, and how nice it would be to have the freedom to enjoy this next chapter of your life, just those thoughts alone should be enough to start exploring your options for an exit strategy. So many hopeful retirees that come to us for assistance to sell their businesses are tired, burnt out, and have waited too long to pull the trigger. In some of these cases, they have taken their foot off the gas, and the business profits have slowly been declining year after year, which in turn, makes the eventual sales price of their business lower. The business owners who approach us early, maybe a year or two before they are ready to retire, end up being in a much better position when it comes time to sell. We help them optimize and prepare their business for sale, which then gets them top-dollar for their business from a buyer. 

    3) You Have Health Concerns

    Unfortunately, we see this scenario more often than we would like. A business owner has received some bad news relating to their health, and they need to concentrate on getting better, rather than running their business. This is a tough one, because you don’t want to jump the gun and list the business for sale before you even know what you are really dealing with, in terms of the illness or injury. However, the worst-case scenario would be waiting too long, until you can’t run the business any longer, and you are forced to close the doors, rather than sell and get rewarded for all of the hard work you’ve put into your business. A medical situation that we have repeatedly seen is a business owner with either a high-stress or physically demanding business, being advised to make changes by their doctor. In those cases, we can sell their current business, and then, if they want to continue working, we have helped them purchase a business that is more “hands off” or less demanding. If you have questions about selling due to a medical reason, we are here to help during this challenging time. 

    4) Your Geographical Area Is Growing or Your Industry Is Experiencing A Boom

    Much like selling when your business is performing well, another good time to sell your business is when your location is growing or your industry is hot. If your geographical area is experiencing tremendous growth, then it shows that the area is prospering. More people to the area signifies a healthy local economy, which is of course good news for local businesses.  This should mean more customers, more sales, and a higher bottom line in owner benefit. This should be the perfect recipe to attract a quality buyer at top dollar. If your particular industry is experiencing a boom, then now is the perfect time to think about selling. As with any wave, you can only ride it for so long, before it breaks and crashes. Ideally, you would want to be able to sell your business before that happens. The last thing you want is to be selling the equivalent of video rental retail store in the age of Netflix and digital rentals. A booming industry also attracts more buyers, so your chances of actually selling your business are much higher.

    5) Your Business Is Sufferingup and getting out, before it’s too late. The truth is that you do still have a chance of selling, even if your business is not doing well or if you are losing money, especially if you have equipment that is valuable. Furthermore, there are some buyers out there who actively look for struggling businesses to purchase and rejuvenate. It seems obvious to say here, but if your business is suffering, do your very best not to “check out” and make sure you fully concentrate on keeping your business afloat for as long as you can. The average business in Florida takes about 280 days to sell, so give your Business Broker a fighting chance to sell it for you. Don’t wait until the last minute to list it, because if you only have a few months left before you are forced to close the doors, chances are you might not be able to sell in time. If your gut or your bank account balance is telling you that it’s time to abandon ship, get your business on the market as soon as you possibly can. A qualified Business Broker can assess your situation and give you their honest opinion. 

    If you've spent years, maybe even a lifetime, building a small business and are starting to think about retiring, cashing out, or changing paths, now may be a good time to sell up. Only you can decide whether or not now is the right time for you to sell. If you’d like to speak with us about your options, we’d be happy to chat with you. The most important thing is to engage with us early on, so that we can partner with you to create the ideal exit strategy...

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    Business Broker FAQs

    Wednesday, May 22, 2019, 4:18 PM [General]
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    We love talking to potential buyers and sellers about what we do and how we do it differently than every other Business Brokerage out there. We've compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions that we get from customers. Hopefully this question and answer session will give you some insight into the things that you might be wondering about as well. 

    How To Value A Business For Sale?

    Business valuations can be a tricky task, and everyone seems to have varying ideas of how to value a business. We've talked to sellers who have been told by their CPA that a business is always worth 3 times its annual sales revenue, or they've been told by a fellow owner in their same industry that they should be getting a certain dollar amount because their industry is "hot right now." The truth is that a business valuation really comes down to how well the individual business is performing. We offer free, confidential valuations to all sellers who are considering listing their business for sale with us, because if you don't know what it's worth, how can you make a rational decision about selling?

    In the world of selling small businesses, we value businesses generally in one of two ways. The most common way to value a business is via a multiple of the Owner Benefit or Seller's Discretionary Earnings (SDE). We will look at your last 3 years of tax returns or Profit & Loss Statements to calculate your true Owner Benefit or SDE. From there, we research sold comparable businesses to get a realistic industry multiple. Using that multiple we will calculate the price that will give a business owner the most accurate estimate of value for their business. The second most common way to value a business is using the asset value. In this case, the value of the business is based on the fair market value of the tangible assets (equipment, inventory, etc) that the business owns. 

    If you're selling your business, ultimately, it's only worth what a buyer will pay for it. So, getting the pricing of your listing right is the key to finding a buyer. 

    If you'd like to get a FREE valuation of your business, please click HERE

    How To Price My Business For Sale?

    Once we have an understanding of value, then we can strategically look at pricing your business for sale. We want to help you get the most for your business, but we also want to make sure that we advise all of our sellers as to what the most probable selling price would be, in order to set your listing up for success. At Green & Co. Business Brokers, we don't want to just list businesses for sale, we want to actually sell them for the business owners who have put their faith and trust into us. In order for us to get a successful sale, the listing price needs to be right from the start. There is also typically less negotiation room in a business sale, if the business is priced correctly, so there is no need to pad a listing price with lots of "wiggle room." 

    Pricing will also depend on how motivated you are to sell. The average business for sale is on the market for 282 days, so if you want to sell your business faster, it needs to be priced much more competitively that all of the other similar listings out there.

    We will help to suggest pricing that reflects market value, as well as your goals and desires, and we will always do our very best to get you the best deal possible. 

    How To Sell Your Business In Florida?

    We get a lot of questions about how the sales process works here in Florida. Here is a general overview of the main elements:

    1) Business Owner wants to sell

    2) Business is Valued

    3) Business is listed for sale by a Business Broker and marketed confidentially through multiple methods, to potential buyers

    4) Buyer Signs Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA)

    5) Buyer Reviews Confidential Business Review (CBR)

    6) Buyer/Seller Meeting

    7) Offer & Negotiation 

    8) Under Contract

    9) Due Diligence 

    10) Lease/Commercial Real Estate Purchase

    11) Loan Commitment

    12) Closing

    If you want to learn more about selling your Florida business, we wrote an entire eBook on the topic. To download our FREE eBook, "Selling Your Florida Business: The How-To Guide" CLICK HERE

    When you are buying or selling with Green & Co. Business Brokers, we help you through each of the elements of the sales process. We are experts at selling businesses and we are very familiar with the process. Let our knowledge and expertise work for you. 

    How To Sell Your Business To A Competitor?

    Sometimes competitors are the most qualified buyers that you’re ever going to find. Competitors are already business owners, which means they have verifiable finances and a vast reputation in the business community. Also, by selling to a competitor, you are selling to someone who can run your business properly, because they already have a similar undertaking of their own in the same industry that they are running too. So, they know the ins and outs of the market and how to bring in more customers. That way, you can be sure that you’re leaving your business with a buyer who isn’t going to run it into the ground as soon as you leave.

    For the right businesses and industries, we will target competitors as potential buyers for businesses that we have for sale. Of course, this is done with the full buy-in and permission of the seller. If a seller would like us to confidentially search for a strategic buyer or competitor who’s possibly interested in growing their business via acquisition, then we have strategies and methods for testing the interest of competitors, without letting them know any details of the business that is actually for sale. 

    How To Purchase A Business?

    At Green & Co. Business Brokers, we LOVE working with buyers. The majority of Brokers in our industry shy away from working with buyers, and they prefer to work with sellers. We've solved that issue by having Brokers on our team dedicated to working only with buyers or only with sellers. That way, our buyers get the attention and care that they deserve. Did you know that working with a Broker to help you purchase a business is 100% free for a buyer? That's right...the seller pays the commission in a business sale transaction, and the Listing Broker splits the commission 50/50 with the buyer's Broker. Why not have a Broker in YOUR corner to get you the best deal possible? 

    If you are looking to purchase a business, first, find a great Broker to work with (it's free...you don't pay anything for their services). Then find a great business that peaks your interest. You will need to fill out a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) for EACH business that you inquire about. Once that's done, you will receive a Confidential Business Review (CBR) or buyer's package with detailed information about the business that's for sale. From there, you might have questions that you'd like to ask the seller. That is the perfect time to have your Broker schedule a buyer/seller meeting. At the buyer/seller meeting, you should get your questions answered, and decide whether or not you want to move forward in making an offer on the business. Your Broker will work with you to write up the offer and submit it to the seller. The negotiation process then commences. If a meeting of minds is reached between buyer and seller, then you will go "under contract." Once that happens, Due Diligence starts. Due Diligence is your chance to ask in-depth questions, and request financial documentation to prove the numbers you were given on the CBR or buyer's package. If everything looks good, you will then move past Due Diligence and onto the other elements of the closing process. Your Broker will help to guide you through each of these elements. Hopefully you will arrive at the closing table, and own your new business. You will be off on an exciting new adventure as an entrepreneur!

    We also wrote an eBook for potential buyers, which is called "Buying A Florida Business: The How-To Guide" and you can download it for free HERE!

    How To Choose A Business Broker?

    The best way to choose your Business Broker is to check out Brokers in the area. Don't limit yourself to just your immediate city, as Business Brokers often work a large geographical area of multiple counties. Look at their online presence. How does their website look? Are they in touch with what's happening with today's marketing technology? Do they have customer reviews posted? Are they advertising their business listings well? Then, we would always suggest to interview more than one Broker, to see which one is right for you. All Brokers are definitely not created equal, so ask them how they are different and what makes them the Broker that you should choose to work with. 

    If you are a buyer or seller, looking for a good Business Broker, we would appreciate the opportunity to earn your business. 

    How To Become A Business Broker?

    All business Brokers in Florida are required to hold a valid Florida Real Estate License. The reason for that is because we do sell commercial real estate, if it is owned by a business that we are selling. You also need to have a background working with small businesses, and working with business financials, such as Profit and Loss Statements and Tax Returns. You have to enjoy working with people, and you also have to be good at thinking outside the box when problem solving. Experience working in sales is also a great asset for the contracts and negotiation parts of the sales process. 

    Interested in learning more about becoming a Business Broker with Green & Co.? Click HERE to learn more. 

    Do you have more questions or a specific question about your business or situation? Give us a call or send us an email, and we'd be more than happy to chat with you. 

    The Team

    Monday, May 20, 2019, 3:23 PM [General]
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    At Green & Co. Business Brokers, our team is growing, and we want you to get to know all of the wonderful people here, who are passionate about our customers and about selling businesses.

    Southwest Florida is one of the best places in the state to own and operate a small business. When it comes time to either sell your business or buy a business, we want to be the ones to help you do it. Not only are we very successful when it comes to confidentially marketing and selling a business,  but we are unique in the fact that we have Brokers on our team who specialize in working exclusively with buyers.

    If you are a seller or a buyer, we've got you covered with a team of expert Business Brokers. We also pride ourselves in having the highest level of communication and customer service in our industry as well, so when you do work with us, we will make sure that you receive the great service you deserve.

    Meet Our Team...

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    Richard J. Green 

    Richard J. Green is the Lead Listing Broker and Co-Founder of Green & Co. He works exclusively with business owners who are looking to sell their business. He brings a wealth of knowledge from his 30 years in the business arena, and he uses it to his sellers’s advantage. Richard’s clients claim that he is a great negotiator, an excellent communicator, and he goes the extra mile to deliver outstanding service, producing great results for his sellers. 

    Fun fact about Richard: He was a foreign exchange student, and came from London to Orlando in 1984-1985 to complete his senior year of high school.

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    Elise Green 

    Elise Green is the Buyer Specialist Team Lead, Broker, and Co-Founder of Green & Co. Business Brokers. She works closely with the Buyer Specialists on our team. Elise is responsible for training, productivity coaching, and mentoring. She also oversees all of the company’s marketing efforts. Elise has a background as a Business Broker, specializing in working with Buyers, as well as many years of real estate sales in the commercial and residential sectors. She is passionate about all of the people who work for and work with Green & Co. Business Brokers. 

    Fun fact about Elise: She worked for Disney for 16 years. First as a dancer at Disneyland, then she came to Orlando to take a promotion at Walt Disney World, and went on to work at sea with Disney Cruise Line as an Entertainment Manager.

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    Michael A. Candela

    Michael A. Candela is a licensed Business Broker and Buyer Specialist on the Green & Co. team. Before moving to Florida and becoming a Business Broker, he worked for 15 years in the finance and banking industry. Michael specializes in assisting buyers who are looking to purchase an existing business. His background in lending is a great advantage, and he can put his expertise to work for all of the buyers that he helps. He prides himself in being responsive, professional, and reliable.

    Fun fact about Michael: Born and raised in Michigan, he is a die-hard University of Michigan fan, GO BLUE!!!

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    Chase Cotton 

    Chase is our team’s Marketing Coordinator, and he is the driving force behind the media division of Green & Co. He is responsible for all of the advertising, video production, and digital media that drives Green & Co. Born in Australia, Chase grew up on the east coast of Florida, and then graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from Florida Gulf Coast University. He enjoys promoting Green & Co’s listings, and helping our sellers get the confidential exposure they need to sell their business. 

    Fun fact about Chase: He's traveled to 79 countries around the world and he speaks Danish!

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    Logan D. Lee

    Logan is a licensed Business Broker and Buyer Specialist. Before becoming a Business Broker, he had a successful career as an executive recruiter. Logan specializes in assisting buyers who are looking to purchase a business. He is truly fascinated with the intricate details, thinking outside the box mentality, and perseverance that’s required to make a business sale successful. Logan values each and every buyer that he assists, working diligently to help them achieve the results that they expect and deserve.

    Fun fact about Logan: He lived and studied in Costa Rica for a short time, and he speaks Spanish!

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    Rick Ramnarine

    Rick is a licensed Business Broker and works exclusively with Sellers, as a Listing Specialist. After moving to Florida from New Jersey, Rick worked with franchisees and local business owners to successfully grow their businesses. With his years of experience in the medical sales field, and his go-getter attitude, Rick has transitioned seamlessly into his career as a Business Broker. His management experience, people skills, and caring attitude is exactly what Rick’s customers appreciate when working with him.

    Fun fact about Rick: He was a martial arts instructor and taught Muay Thai , Jeet Kune Do, and Wing Chun gung fu styles at the YMCA and competed in various events and competitions.

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    Zane S. Stearns

    Zane is a licensed Business Broker and works exclusively with Sellers, as a Listing Specialist. Before Zane began his career as a Business Broker with Green & Co. he was trained at one of Google’s Entrepreneur’s Hubs, specifically focusing on how to own and operate a small business, so he knows what it takes to run a business. Zane’s customers would say that he is hard-working, knowledgable, and that he genuinely cares about what is most important to them. 

    Fun fact about Zane: He used to be a competitive slalom skier!

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    Tammy Heisler 

    Tammy is our Green & Co. Business Brokers secret weapon. She is the glue that holds our team together. Tammy efficiently carries out the roles of Office Administrator, Listing Coordinator, and Contract-to-Close Manager. She is a licensed Business Broker and real estate professional, with many years experience closing deals for high performing teams like Green & Co. Sellers will be communicating with Tammy a lot once they list their business with us, and then again when the business goes under contract with a buyer. In her free time, she enjoys going to the beach, yoga, and spending time with her dog Berkley. 

    Fun fact about Tammy: Originally from Pittsburgh, PA she is a huge Steelers and Penguins fan...

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    Selling To A Competitor

    Monday, April 29, 2019, 8:45 AM [General]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    The decision to sell a business is never an easy one. Perhaps your company is not doing well and you want to get out of it before it collapses or you may just want to move on from the business and try something new in your life such as retirement or starting another business. In certain industries and niche markets, sometimes one of the best options is to sell the business to one of your competitors. It may seem like a strange idea to some business owners, but sometimes, a competitor will be your best chance of selling.

    Protecting Your Business

    It can be hard to tell if a competitor wants to take a serious look at your business to buy it or just to get access to your customer list, so cautiously releasing your sensitive data is a good strategy. Other than a casual discussion, it's best to say little, if anything, until you have a confidentiality agreement (or Non-Disclosure Agreement) in place that protects your information. By signing the document, the potential buyer agrees not to share or disclose any private or confidential information that they have obtained. Buyer naturally want to ask lots of questions upfront, to learn as much as they can about your business, but items like projections, strategies, and detailed financial data, shouldn't be shared until you have a signed purchase agreement and are going through the Due Diligence process (the buyer’s chance to request financial and operational documents and ask questions about the business to determine whether or not they would like to continue with the purchase). Even then, controlling the buyer's Due Diligence will help you to protect your data, just in case. Really sensitive information that a competitor would be most interested in, like employee, vendor, and customer lists shouldn’t be shared until closing or right before closing once contingencies have been lifted. During Due Diligence, it will be important for the buyer to see how many employees you have and what their roles are, but they don’t need their names or contact details. A buyer might want to know how many customers the business serves, where they are generally located, or what the average customer spend is, but they can get general or masked customer lists (Customer 1, Customer 2, etc.) during Due Diligence. Regulating what the buyer should be seeing at different points of the process is something that we know inside and out, so having a good business broker to ensure that this process runs smoothly is one of the best ways you can protect your business if it’s for sale. 

    How We Protect Confidentiality

    As business brokers, protecting the confidentiality of a business we have listed for sale is our paramount concern. We have many layers of protection in place to ensure confidentiality. It can be difficult to market a business confidentially, but we have our strategies honed and perfected. Then, when a buyer makes an inquiry on your listing, they are put through a barrage of questions to verify their intent, motivation, identity, and ability to purchase the business. Only when they have passed our initial screening are they issued a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) and written Buyer Questionnaire to fill out, sign, and return. We also take the time to verify the person’s identity before they are sent any information about the business whatsoever. We definitely want to make sure that the information they provided us with is true, and they are who they say they are. We are keenly aware that competitors will inquire about listings for sale in the area, and some are not interested in purchasing, only in getting inside information about the business that is selling. That’s why when we uncover that an interested party is actually a competitor, we will always get permission directly from the seller, before sending over confidential information about the business.

    Types of Competitors

    There are three types of competitors that every business has: direct, indirect, and near competitors. Direct competitors are these that cater to the same market and customers as your business. Indirect competitors only share a little bit of the market with you, and near competitors utilize a different section of the market than you. The type of competitor you choose to sell to depends on a variety of factors. Often times, business owners will want to sell to near competitors because they aren’t typically out to hurt your business like the other two types of competitors are. Regardless, you must always take precautions when selling to any type of competitor. 

    Why Sell To A Competitor

    If you’re selling your business because it isn’t doing well, then your competition is likely the reason behind this. So, why sell to them? The truth is that selling to a competitor is probably the easiest way for you to get a sale. After all, a competitor is in the same business that you’re in and they understand how to run a business like yours. And since your business already has loyal customers behind it, this gives your competitor the opportunity to purchase your company and bring these customers over to their side. There is no other group of buyers out there who have more to gain from purchasing your business than its competitors. On the other hand, you must be careful that you aren’t negotiating with a competitor who is just out to steal information from you to help their business.

    Benefits of Selling to a Competitor

    Sometimes competitors are the most qualified buyers that you’re ever going to find. Competitors are already businesspeople which means they have verifiable finances and a vast reputation in the business community. Also, by selling to a competitor, you are selling to someone who can run your business properly because they already have a similar undertaking of their own in the same industry that they are running too. So, they know the ins and outs of the market and how to bring in more customers. That way, you can be sure that you’re leaving your business with a buyer who isn’t going to run it into the ground it as soon as you leave.

    We Can Target Competitors

    For the right businesses and industries, we will target competitors as potential buyers for businesses that we have for sale. Of course, this is done with the full buy-in and permission of the seller. If a seller would like us to confidentially search for a strategic buyer or competitor who’s possibly interested in growing their business via acquisition, then we have strategies and methods for testing the interest of competitors, without letting them know any details of the business that is actually for sale. If we do find a competitor that’s interested, then we will go through the entire process described above, to ensure that confidentiality is protected. This is just one of the ways that we go above and beyond for our sellers...

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    Buyer Preparation For Closing

    Tuesday, April 23, 2019, 12:17 PM [General]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    You’re buying an existing business. What happens after Due Diligence is cleared and you are waiting for the closing date to come around? This will be a very busy time of preparation for the buyer, and it is time to collaborate with the seller to get much of this prep work done. During a business sale, buyer and seller work closely together to get the business prepared for the sale and the handover to the new owner. There are many things that need to happen during this process, and it is really down to the seller to communicate to the buyer everything they need to do and need to get set up, in order to be ready to take over operation after the closing date. 

    Buyer and Seller Need To Communicate

    As business brokers, we can’t possibly know everything that a buyer needs to do in order to be ready to operate the business they are purchasing. There is one person that knows everything that the buyer needs to get done, and that is the seller. In fact, in most cases, the seller is contractually obligated to assist the buyer with certain things, such as licensing and permitting, so the two parties must work cooperatively together in order to get the preparation done. The following list is provided as a courtesy, and is just a general example of some of the items that a buyer needs to address and/or ask the seller about, in order to prepare to take over the business, once ownership of the assets are transferred. 

    Form Your Business Entity

    If you don’t already have a Florida corporation or LLC, you will need to form one prior to the closing. It’s good to make sure this happens immediately after Due Diligence has been cleared, because the contract and all of the closing documents will need to be assigned to this new entity as the buyer. The fictitious name or the public name of the business is most often sold with the business assets and will need to be transferred to the new owner upon closing. The buyer should verify that this happens. 

    Sort Out Your Tax Responsibility 

    The first thing that the buyer should do is get an EIN (Employer Identification Number) from the IRS. You will need this to open bank accounts, etc. The business should also be registered with the Florida Department of Revenue. If the business you are buying sells products, then you might need to register to collect and pay sales and use tax, and if you are going to hire employees, then you will most likely need to register for Florida re-employment tax, which is a type of unemployment tax. The seller or your personal CPA/Accountant will be the best resource for whether or not these items will apply to the business you are purchasing.

    Set Up Banking and Credit

    Once you have your EIN number, then you can go to your favorite bank and set up your business bank account. You will want all of your business funds to stay separate from your personal funds. This makes bookkeeping and accounting so much easier. Also, you might want to consider applying for a business credit card, so that your new business can start building up credit, which will make borrowing easier in the future. Also, the business credit cards these days offer fantastic points and rewards programs, that can give you nice perks and extras. Consult your CPA or banking professional for the best options for your particular situation. Furthermore, if this business takes credit card payments, you will need to set up your point of sale provider, or transfer the current point of sale contract to your account, while also attaching your bank account to it. If you forget to do that, the seller will continue to get your credit card income after the sale, so make sure to tick this box off of your to-do list. 

    Have An Accounting Plan

    Find out how the seller handles the accounting. Do they use QuickBooks or other accounting software? Do they hire a bookkeeper or pay their accountant to keep all of their financials up to date? Decide whether or not you want to do the same thing as the seller or if you would prefer to handle the books in a different way. If you have employees, you might also want to consider if you are going to use a payroll company or cut payroll checks and pay employee taxes on your own. One of the biggest mistakes that business owners make is that they fail to keep good financial records. Make sure that you stay on top of this and when the time comes for you to sell your business, you will be ready with all of your numbers. 

    Apply For Permits and Licenses

    As mentioned above, the seller is contractually obligated to assist the buyer, at the buyer’s expense, to apply for all of the required licenses and permits that are necessary to operate the business. Some businesses don’t require complicated licenses, and would only need to apply with their city and/or county for operating licenses and permits. Some businesses, like bars or construction will be more complex due to the state licensing required. As business brokers, we are not experts in the area of permitting and licensing, and we are unfortunately unable to help with this part of the process. However, if a buyer feels overwhelmed and wants to enlist the help of a permitting expert, then that can be a smart move to make. We have permitting and licensing specialists that we can recommend in these cases. Their services won’t be cheap, but they will do all of the research and applications on the buyer’s behalf and help navigate a sometimes-tricky application and approval process. 

    Secure Proper Insurance

    Ask the seller what insurance they carry in order to operate the business. Verify with insurance experts (an insurance company or insurance broker) that you don’t need any other coverage, and then get quotes for all of the different policies that you will need to carry. Also, does the current owner provide any types of benefits or health insurance for the employees? You will need to decide if you will follow suit, and if you will, you need to set that up as well. 

    Set Up Utilities 

    At least a week before closing, (ideally a few weeks) make sure that you have contacted all of the utility providers that service the business. You will need to set up your own accounts or transfer current accounts where possible, to be active as of the closing date. For expenses, typically the closing date is the responsibility of the buyer, but it is up to buyer and seller as to what they would like to agree to. Some utilities, like water service, can take some time to get turned on, so make sure that you don’t wait until the last minute to schedule your utility changeovers. 

    Handover & Familiarization 

    Finally, you and the seller will need to agree as to when the vendors and suppliers are notified of the sale, so that you can set up accounts or transfer accounts with them. You might choose to use the same vendors as the seller, but you also might want to start new relationships with alternative vendors. It’s your decision who you want to work with, but for any existing suppliers or vendors, you will need to have the seller’s permission before you contact them to let them know that you will soon be the new owner. Suppliers can sometimes cut off credit to businesses if they find out they are selling, which can harm current operations, and that is not something that either party wants, so this can be a sticky subject. Also, you and the seller will need to come to an agreement as to how and when the customer lists will be handed over, so that you can begin servicing them. 

    This is by no means a complete and exhaustive list of what a buyer might need to do to prepare for possession of the business they are acquiring. It is meant to be a general outline and reminders, offered by us as a courtesy. We strongly advise all buyers to consult with the seller of the business, their accountant/CPA, legal professional or attorney, or experts in the areas listed above. We will always do our very best to offer resources to our buyers and sellers, and we can recommend professionals to help them through this part of the process...

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    The Benefits of Seller Financing

    Thursday, April 11, 2019, 10:56 AM [General]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    When I first mention offering seller financing, many business owners who are listing their business for sale are reluctant to consider the idea; they brush it aside, and say no immediately, without understanding the benefits to them. The business owners who take the time to learn about what it is and how it can bring them a quicker sale and bonus cash are generally in a much better position in the end. With seller financing, the seller will hold a note on a portion of the purchase price of the business. Seller financing is sometimes also referred to as seller carryback, seller carry, or owner financing. In a recent survey conducted by BizBuySell, 74% of business brokers, and 58% of business owners, reported that they believe seller financing to be either essential or important to closing small business acquisitions in today’s market.

    Benefits For Sellers

    Offering seller financing makes the business much more likely to sell. In fact, it is estimated that businesses that offer seller financing are 4 times as likely to sell than similar listings that don’t advertise owner financing. In addition to selling faster, sellers generally receive 11% more for their business. Based on an average multiple of 2.31 for businesses with at Least 50% seller financing, versus 1.84 for all cash transactions (Source: Toby Tatum’s Book “Transaction Patterns”). Furthermore, the interest earned by seller financing can provide significant proceeds to the seller. Just for example, interest over 9 years at 8% equals the principal. Also, receiving installment payments may provide significant tax advantages for the seller. Sellers will of course need to check with their CPA for financial advice on tax matters. 

    Benefits For Buyers 

    Businesses for sale who offer seller financing increase their chance of selling dramatically. By offering seller financing, it shows to potential buyers that the business owner believes in their business and they are confident that the performance of the business will be able to pay back the loan. This instills buyer confidence in the business, and also opens up many more possible buyers who might not have the entire asking price available in cash. Buyers also prefer seller financing to traditional financing, because no banks are involved, resulting in no bank fees for borrowing. 

    What Does Seller Financing Look Like?

    Typical down payments required by sellers are large. 50% down is the most commonly requested amount by sellers, but it is completely up to the seller as to what they would accept. In fact, we see 20-30% down payments happen frequently. The term length of the loan is usually very short. 3-7 years is what we see most often. Normally there is a balloon payment at the end of this short term, but monthly payments can be amortized over a longer period of time, to decrease the monthly payment amount. Interest rates are negotiable, but usually higher than a bank loan. However, there are no large closing costs involved or bank fees. We typically see 7-9% these days. The tangible assets are used as the security for the loan. If the buyer defaults, then the seller keep the buyer’s down payment, in addition to receiving the business and its assets back. Typically, the closing attorney will be able to draw up the promissory note for the parties to sign at closing... 

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    Selling A Business That Is Suffering

    Tuesday, April 2, 2019, 8:50 AM [General]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    From time to time, we are contacted by business owners who say, “Sales are suffering, can I still sell my business?” This is a tricky question, because businesses are normally valued based on past and current performance, and if the business is showing a loss or just breaking even, then it realistically won’t be worth too much to a prospective buyer on the open market. However, if the business has tangible assets, it could very likely be sold for the value of its assets. So, even if sales are suffering, yes, you can still possibly sell your business, but it definitely depends on the situation and the circumstances.

    It can be difficult to sell a business that is not doing well financially. How many buyers want to invest in a business that is failing? The truth is, not very many. I’ve come across only a handful of investors and entrepreneurs who look for and prefer to acquire troubled businesses. They enjoy the challenge of “flipping” them into profitable businesses. This type of buyer has to be confident that they can do a better job than the current owner, and they have to be willing to put the hard work in to turn it around. It is possible to sell a company that is suffering to a “flipper,” but they are going to expect a great deal and are most likely looking for a rock-bottom purchase price, in order to minimize their risk and maximize their return. The best chance to sell your business to a flipper is to list it with a professional Business Broker, as we have the marketing that can reach these types of buyers. 

     Selling Based on Asset Value

    If a business is not doing well, and it has tangible assets that are desirable, then it is often possible to sell the business at the value of the assets. Most often, these sellable assets are things like equipment or vehicles. For example, a restaurant is losing money and sales keep declining. The restaurant owner invested $200,000 in brand-new kitchen equipment and furniture only a few years ago, and spent a large amount of money on the leasehold improvements as well. He has 3 years left on his lease, and he wants out, because he is losing money each month. In this scenario, the business owner could sell his entire business to a new buyer for the market value of his kitchen equipment and furniture. A restaurateur looking to start her own restaurant might be interested in this opportunity, as she can assume the lease, and get all of the kitchen equipment, plus all of the furniture at a great package deal price. It would be much more expensive for her to start from scratch and buy all of the furniture and equipment piece by piece. The buildout of the restaurant has already been done as well, so it makes it an attractive option for her to acquire and bring her own concept to life.  

     Be Truthful About The Bottom Line 

    We have unfortunately been in the situation before where a seller wants to sell because their business is suffering, and they are not honest with us about the fact that it is failing. Trying to hide the fact that the business is suffering is never something that a seller should do. Being honest and transparent with your Broker, as well as any potential buyers that come along is always the best course of action. If you share all of the facts with your Broker, then they will be able to partner with you to sell your business for the best price possible in its current condition. If you are dishonest about your numbers, it will always come out during the Due Diligence process, and at that point, it is often too late to reverse the damage done by not disclosing the true picture of the business’s health. 

     Don't Just Close The Doors 

    Remember, just because your business is suffering, doesn’t mean that you can’t sell your business. Before you give up and just close the doors to your business, we'd like to share with you how to sell a business that is not at operating at peak performance. If you have questions about your specific situation, please give us a call. We always keep every conversation confidential, and we would be happy to assess your unique circumstances, to let you know what we think your options are. If we can help you, we would appreciate the opportunity to do so...

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