Richard J. Green

    • Member Type(s): Expert
    • Title:Business Broker
    • Organization:Green & Co. Business Brokers
    • Area of Expertise:Business Broker

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    Southwest Florida Spotlight: Fort Myers

    Tuesday, August 13, 2019, 8:31 AM [General]
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    Fort Myers In A Nutshell

    With a growing population of about 80,000 people, Fort Myers is the county seat of Lee County, Florida. Fort Myers epitomizes the tropical laid-back Southwest Florida lifestyle. The Caloosahatchee River separates the city of Fort Myers and Cape Coral. Just off the coast of Fort Myers are 3 amazing barrier islands, Fort Myers Beach, Sanibel, and Captiva, which are very popular with locals and tourists alike. The Fort Myers River District, just south of downtown is abound with historic homes, including Thomas Edison’s and Henry Ford’s Winter Estates. Fort Myers is also home to two of Southwest Florida’s most popular educational institutions, Florida Gulf Coast University and Florida Southwestern State College. The largest international and domestic airport in Southwest Florida is in the area as well. 

    Things To Do In Fort Myers

    Fort Myers offers a fantastic downtown scene with bars, restaurants, shopping, and special events that are seemingly popping up every single weekend. Boating and fishing abounds, with easy access to the Gulf of Mexico via the Caloosahatchee River. There are beach opportunities on the barrier islands surrounding Fort Myers, and there are over 35 golf courses in the Fort Myers area, not including the various themed mini-golf options. Shopping is available in multiple areas of Fort Myers, including the Bell Tower Shops, Gulf Coast Town Center, the Sanibel Outlets, and much more. Visiting the Edison and Ford Winter Estates is a must, especially during the holiday season, when they are lit up and festive. If you like baseball, Fort Myers is the home to spring training complexes for the Boston Red Sox as well as the Minnesota Twins, so taking in a game or two during the beautiful spring weather is a great activity to enjoy. 


    With an average annual temperature of 75 degrees, the weather is perfect from November-May, when it is less rainy and only mildly humid. The summer months of June-September are hot and humid, but daily afternoon thunderstorms work well to cool things off.In fact, about two-thirds of annual precipitation occurs June through September. Late summer/early fall tropical storms and hurricanes cause occasional torrential downpours, delivering perhaps 6 to 10 inches in 24 hours. It's the amazing climate of the Fort Myers area that draws so many residents, visitors, and snowbirds to the area year after year. 

    The History Of Fort Myers

    During the American Indian Wars of the 1830s, the United States built Fort Myers as one of the first forts along the Caloosahatchee River; it was used as a base of operations against the Seminole because of its access to the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic. The Fort Myers community was founded after the American Civil War by Captain Manuel A. Gonzalez on February21, 1866 and the city is named after Colonel Abraham Myers.

    Business Opportunity In Fort Myers

    The Fort Myers area has been consistently ranked as one of the top areas in the nation for growth. According to the U.S. News and World Report, there are a ton of factors that are affected by the huge increase in people living in Southwest Florida. "Southwest Florida for by and large for many years has been a bit of a secret. It's not a secret anymore," said the director of commercial real estate for LandQwest, Brett Low. The Fort Myers area is at a 12 percent migration rate, among the highest in the country. It's a trend that experts estimate will continue for years to come. There is still lots of land available and it’s relatively affordable. Construction is booming, trying to keep up with the huge population growth that Fort Myers has seen over the last several years. Businesses are thriving and new businesses are popping up everywhere, as demand for goods and services grow.The employment rate is relatively low, because there is a high demand for more employees as businesses and industries grow here in Fort Myers...

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    Become A Business Broker With Green & Co.

    Monday, July 22, 2019, 10:02 AM [General]
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    Business Brokers have exciting careers. We specialize in selling businesses, slightly similar to the way a Real Estate Agent sells a house. Helping sellers confidentially market and sell their businesses to qualified buyers is our area of expertise. If the world of business interests you, you should consider becoming a Business Broker. A background working with small businesses and business financials will give you a great foundation to build from, so it’s good experience to have under your belt. Don’t have any experience actually selling businesses? That’s OK, because we fully train all of our new Brokers, offer ongoing training and mentoring, and most importantly, at Green & Co. we all work together as a team to give the very best service to all of our buyers and sellers. All you need is your FL Real Estate Sales Associate License, and we will teach you everything you need to know to be successful. 

    Unlimited Earning Potential

    A Business Broker works solely on commission, and at Green & Co. they have the ability to earn bonus commission on top of the normal commissions. That means that you can earn as much money as you want to earn. It is definitely possible for a new Broker to make a great income, even though the first 6-9 months are really spent filling your pipeline full of leads and getting your sales momentum going. New Brokers at Green & Co. are closing their first business deal within the first 6 months, on average. Once you finish your first year, have a steady stream of leads coming in, and have several businesses under contract, that’s when you will really see your career take off, because all of the fruits of your labor over your first 6-9 months are starting to show. It's your job to then keep that momentum going, so that your business stays steady. The opportunities to grow your income are endless, and if you put in the hard work, we will do everything we can to help you reap the rewards. When you win, we all win.


    Most Business Brokers work on their own, and they have to split their focus between marketing and advertising, listing businesses for sale, finding buyers, getting a deal negotiated, and once under contract, they need to be able to monitor and assist with all of the details during the contract to close process. All of these activities are very time-consuming. You know the old adage, jack of all trades, master of none? That’s our experience with the average Business Broker out there; they are spread too thin among all aspects of the job. That’s why at Green & Co. we operate as a true team, with specialists handling select responsibilities listed above. We are the only Business Brokerage, that we are aware of, who is using the team model. We feel that training our Brokers to be actual specialists in their areas of expertise makes for not only the most successful Brokers, but it also gives the highest level of service to our clients, who deserve the very best. We have people, systems, and processes in place so that everyone on our team can focus on exactly what they need to do: sell businesses and serve our clients. 

    Best Support and Training in the Industry

    We want all of our team members to be successful. In order to help our new Brokers thrive, we believe that our training program is essential. Because everyone on our team is a specialist, we teach you everything you need to know to get started and to begin earning as soon as possible. Our training program is based on years of proven successful sales and client-management practices. A requirement for all of our Brokers is to have their Florida Real Estate License (this is a legal requirement). So, that's the first step. Our Green & Co. Business Broker training program is a full 5 days, and after it's over, you will be prepared to hit the ground running. We offer continued mentoring and productivity coaching to all of our team members, ensuring that they are as successful as possible in their careers. We also operate quite differently from any other Business Brokerage, and you will learn how we are able to outshine our competition, while going above and beyond for our clients.

    Required Qualifications

    • Hold a FL Real Estate Sales Associate or Broker’s License (Required by FL Law)
    • Sales experience and desire to learn new sales techniques
    • Interest/background in the world of small business and entrepreneurship
    • Experience making phone calls to potential leads and converting them
    • Highly motivated, self-starter, driven to achieve
    • Enjoys helping people, customer-oriented
    • Desires to work in a team environment, full-time, in an office setting

    Next Steps...

    If you are interested in learning more about what we do or who we are, please feel free to give us a call, drop us an email, and make an appointment to have a coffee with us. We'd love to meet you...

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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!

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