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Miami Business Broker Advises How to Sell Your Business

business broker miami

David Currea is a Miami business broker with over a decade of experience assisting both buyers and sellers in transactions ranging from tens of thousand of dollars up into the millions, across a wide range of industries.

As a business broker in Miami, I’ve picked up quite a bit of knowledge over the years that I can share with you to put yourself in a better position to sell your business.

Adhering to certain principles such as timeliness, transparency, and working with a buyer in a cooperative manner will greatly improve the speed and ease at which you sell your business. Having a business broker assist you in the sale is also highly recommended, for reasons explained below.

Heed the following advice, and you’ll be at the closing table collecting your check in no time.

 

Have All the Financial Information a Buyer Will Be Looking for Ready Before Your Opportunity is Even Listed

selling your business in miami

We often joke about being on “Miami time” here in South Florida – meaning showing up fashionably late –  but in the case of a business sale, you do not want to keep a buyer waiting when they are requesting further information on your business opportunity.

The worst time to reach out to your accountant for financial info is when you already have a serious buyer interested and close to making an offer. Making the buyer wait can cause them to lose interest in your business or find other businesses for sale in the meantime. As they say, “time kills all deals”, and unfortunately, this quite often proves to be true.

A good business broker will work with you and your accountant to gather all of the necessary financial info (as well as inventory, asset list, and any other info a buyer will most likely need) before the business listing is available to buyers online.

This information should also be used by your broker when pricing the business, so will need to be gathered early in the process anyway.

 

You Need a Set of Clean and Presentable Numbers That Clearly Reflect Your Business’s Real Operation

 

how to prepare business for sale

Ideally, you will have tax returns for the last three years readily available, where you declared every cent, and didn’t list any personal expenses as business expenses…

Ideally…

In a perfect world, all businesses would have this… If this is the case with your business’s tax returns, then that is fantastic. Best case scenario.

Tax returns are the most trustworthy source of numbers you can provide a buyer (other than bank statements of course). Pricing your business will be a breeze, as will showing it to any prospective buyers. Your business will also most likely qualify for SBA approval, opening the opportunity up to a larger pool of buyers who can receive a loan directly from the Small Business Administration to purchase your business.

However, I understand not all business owners have the same philosophy when it comes to how much they declare on their returns, and therefore, many businesses’ tax returns fall short — to varying degrees — of showing what a business really makes.

I see this quite often, and have come to know that “Tio Sam” is not always a favorite person for many business owners in Miami. I understand this, it just comes with the territory.

If this is the case with your returns, there are other ways to help convey and prove to a buyer how much your business makes –  internal profit & loss statements, bank statements, verifiable invoices to customers for cash payments, or any other internal financial record-keeping system you may have in place, will be needed.

Once again, you will want to work alongside your business broker and accountant to put all of this information into a clean, concise and understandable profit-and-loss statement reflecting the real operation of your business.

Your business broker will play a big role here, leading the way as to how to do this. A business broker will also determine what “addbacks” are found in the numbers, such as personal and non-recurring expenses, that can be added back to the bottom line so a prospective buyer can understand how much he’ll really be making if he purchases your business.

Note: Some sellers are wary of providing this information, out of fear of who will see it. When selling a business, proprietary information is not shared with a buyer until that buyer is thoroughly qualified, and they sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA), assuring that all information provided will be kept completely confidential and is solely used for the purpose of analyzing the business for purchase.

 

Be Realistic With How Much You Can Sell Your Business For

how much is my business worth

Early on in my career as a business broker in Miami, I took on any listing, however it came… even if the owner of the business was being unrealistic with how much they wanted for their business.

I spun my wheels and wasted way too much time for nothing, because in the end, while there is a range most buyers will pay for a business, if beyond that range, a sale is highly unlikely. Miracle sales rarely occur, if ever.

In order to get a realistic valuation for your business, a business broker should examine your financials to get an idea of its performance, and use historical data of other businesses that have sold in similar industries, in order to find what multiple of EBITDA businesses such as yours have sold for in the past. We take several other factors into account when pricing a business, but generally try and go out at the higher end of this range.

If you go out to market way beyond the realistic range of what businesses such as yours sell for, you will not only turn away serious buyers and likely waste your time, but the opportunity can also lose value in the eyes of the major “mover and shaker” business brokers who represent the best quality buyers, due to them seeing the opportunity for long periods of time on the system and no longer paying mind to it.

 

Providing Seller Financing on Part of the Purchase Price Will Get Your Business Sold Faster and for a Higher Final Price

seller financing benefits

Most of the time when a business owner first hears about seller financing, they don’t like the idea. However, there are several big benefits to strongly considering offering some financing on the price yourself — even if not a large percentage of the price or for a very long term.

It’s been shown that businesses where seller financing was involved sold for a higher price, and quicker.

Seller financing is a gesture of good faith that attracts and eases concerns of interested buyers as they see the seller is not just selling the business and taking off… he will have some skin in the game. This will provide the buyer with confidence that the seller is being honest in his description of the performance of the business as he will have to face him post-sale, and has faith in his business’s ability to pay back the loan.

One concern sellers have is what happens if the buyer begins missing payments. There are several safeguards that can be put in place, such as a personal guarantee by the buyer backed by assets, or a contingency in the financing where, if the buyer misses a few consecutive payments, the business returns to the seller.

Of course, the larger the amount and the better the terms, the better these positive effects (and larger the pool of buyers who can purchase the business), but even financing 15 – 30% of the price can have a strong beneficial impact on the sales process.

 

Be Transparent with a Buyer – Share the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Your Business

No business is perfect.

Many business owners feel that they need to hide certain negative aspects of their business, fearing that these aspects may turn away a buyer.

Truth is, it’s best to lay your cards on the table. During due diligence, depending on how hard a buyer digs, the truth will most likely come out.

Perhaps share the cons after a good initial sales pitch of all the positives. However, being upfront about any downsides or issues with the business is much better than having them find out on their own, and asking about it later on in the process… Once this occurs, depending on what they discover, your credibility and the entire deal can be damaged beyond repair, sometimes after incurring quite a bit of professional fees.

Once the buyer has accepted whatever issue there might be with it, you can come up with a solution if necessary to fix the problem, and they can move on to just concentrating on the positives.

And if it’s a deal breaker for that buyer? You’ll find out nice and early, before incurring any expenses and wasting too much time.

 

Do Not Look at Negotiations like a Battle – Compromise with Your Buyer Where Necessary

Miami business broker

Many business sellers take an almost standoffish attitude towards the buyer, and vice versa. There is nothing worse for a deal than either party taking this stance.

Putting yourself in the shoes of the buyer helps you understand why they may be asking for certain things. Generally buyers – just like sellers – are only trying to cover their bases. Once you understand their position, it will put you in a better position to resolve whatever concerns they may have in a manner that won’t hurt you in the negotiation.

Also, in every deal that I’ve closed, both sides have had to make at least some concessions. The seller gives a bit, the buyer gives a bit, and both parties can come to an agreement.

That’s how businesses end up being sold in most cases.

 

Do Not Use a Regular Real Estate Agent / Realtor to Sell Your Business

Real estate agent for selling businesses

In Miami, where everyone and their cousin has a real estate license, I’m sure there will be no shortage of people who’d like to take on your listing.

You can make no worse decision then trusting someone who is not trained in selling businesses to sell yours. You want to hire someone who specializes in numbers and financial performance… not single family dwellings and condos.

Two completely different animals.

Even a commercial realtor without business sales experience — if they are only familiar with selling commercial properties such as warehouses or retail space / shopping centers — is not a good choice.

A non-business trained realtor will take your listing, and put it out at market most likely way off on price.

They will have no idea how to work with you to get your financial figures in order to be presented to buyers — they will share whatever financials you have readily available, and most likely misrepresent your business’s performance to buyers.

Business brokers also understand that the sale of a business is to be kept completely confidential – business owners do not want their employees, suppliers or competitors knowing of the sale. The business name and any other identifiable information should not be provided until a buyer is qualified and an NDA is signed. A realtor will put your business on the MLS, address, photos and all.

If in Miami, you want to make sure that whichever licensed real estate agent that lists your business (or their brokerage) is also a member of the Business Brokers of Florida association, as they will be trained in the sale of businesses, and have access to the BBFMLS, which is a completely separate and superior system for listing businesses and finding business buyers than the regular real estate MLS. If out of the state of Florida, your state should have a similar association and business MLS.

 

Other Key Benefits To Using a Business Broker When Selling Your Business

miami business broker

Besides knowledge on how to put your business’s financial information in order to best represent your opportunity to buyers, experience pricing businesses, and access to the best tools to confidentially market your opportunity to the right buyers, most business brokers from reputable firms will:

  • Be paid members to all of the most frequented “business for sale” type sites visited by buyers directly.
  • Qualify prospective buyers to ensure that they are financially capable before presenting them to you, saving you unnecessary time and stress.
  • Have access to all the most common legal documents used in a business sale such as NDAs, letters of internet and the standardized BBF business purchase contract.
  • Maintain contact with professional who can help facilitate the transaction, such as SBA lending agents in banks and affordable closing attorneys who specialize in business sales and ensure that all bases are covered in a sale.
  • Only get paid if business sells – commission basis

One of the most important benefits an experienced business broker can bring to the table is the knowledge they’ve acquired over the years about the sometimes tricky business of selling businesses.

This knowledge translates into an understanding of the concerns of both the buy and sell side in a transaction, allowing the broker to foresee and overcome any potential issues before they arise, as well as an ability to smoothly move the transaction through each step necessary to reach the closing table.

 

Looking to Sell Your Business? Contact David Currea, Licensed Business Broker in Miami & BBF Member

Miami Business Broker David CurreaDavid Currea is a Miami business broker, BBFMLS member and commercial real estate agent with Capital Business Solutions. David has been bring together buyers and sellers of businesses for more than a decade now, and has brokered transactions ranging in the tens of thousand of dollars up into the millions. If in the area of Miami-Dade County, and looking to sell your business, you can reach David Currea for a free consultation at (305) 331-9918 or dcurrea@capitalbbw.com.