Nearly 80% of all business owners, even highly successful ones, admit that they don’t have a plan for exiting their businesses.

Owners often fail to make succession plans because they have assumptions about the future which may or may not be true.

For example, a business owner may believe that his business will naturally pass to his spouse or other family member. What happens, though, if that designated family member is unwilling or unable to take the reins?

Another common assumption owners make that causes them to avoid succession planning is the idea that they will be able to run the business until they die. They don’t put a plan in place because they don’t like to think about the possibility of having to leave the business sooner than planned, perhaps due to ill health or family problems.

What happens in the absence of proper exit planning is that am owner can find him or herself in the unanticipated position of having to sell quickly, perhaps for less money than they need in retirement.

Frustrated, tired, stressed, and sometimes ill, business owners who need to sell make what they feel is a logical decision and turn the process over to their local business broker.

Over the years, my partners and I have reviewed over 300 selling deals and have come to the conclusion that using a business broker might be the worst decision any seller can make.

We began to question the entire sales process, wondering why most businesses in America never sell, and those that do sell often do so under extremely unfavorable terms for the sellers.

Looking for common threads in those deals, we eventually came to the conclusion that a major culprit hindering the business selling process is the typical business broker.

This came as a surprise as we initially assumed the logical fallacy that someone with the title “broker” is sctuslly experienced in facilitating deals.

The vast majority of business brokers we have run across, however, have disproved this assumption time and again.

Here are just a few of the reasons that I believe you should NOT engage the services of a business broker if you are trying to sell your successful business.

  1. Most business brokers have never owned a business themselves.
  2. They are often more motivated by commissions than they are by doing what’s right for both buyer and seller.
  3. In most states, brokers are not required to have any training, licensing, or continuing education, unlike real estate or insurance brokers.
  4. Many of them are super at selling their services, but poor at actually providing those services once you’ve paid.
  5. They could care less if they get referrals, so they don’t care if clients complain about them to others.
  6. A lot of times they are simply lazy and don’t do much of anything to help the seller.
  7. Many brokers lack basic financial literacy, business intelligence, and organization that is essential to a successful outcome.
  8. They don’t know how to plan and excute a successful sales strategy.
  9. They try and cover their lack of knowledge and training with slick self-serving rhetoric that makes them look better than they really are.
  10. Many brokers get into business because they’ve failed at other ventures.
  11. They often have no clue of how to properly valuate a business, thus potentially cheating the seller out of thousands of dollars or causing the sale to drag on longer than necessary.
  12. They don’t understand risk.
  13. Often business brokers let sellers think a business is worth whatever the seller wants, however unrealistic that figure may be, just to get the listing. They then pass the buck to the potential buyer, who is made out to be the bad guy for showing the seller the business isn’t worth anywhere near that much.
  14. Business brokers often ignore confidentiality agreements.
  15. Many are willing to lie, as long as it serves their purposes.
  16. Commission-hungry business brokers are obsessed with getting mass listings because they know that without a listing there is NO possibility of getting a commission.
  17. Focusing on mass listings means they don’t have the time to push the listings they get, causing listings fall through the cracks.
  18. Many business brokers don’t understand due diligence.
  19. Most brokers will never tell a seller the truth about their success rates: 87% of listings NEVER sell at all, and of those that do, 3 out of 4 FAIL to meet the sellers initial goals. Sellers have less than a 4% chance of a successful exit.
  20. Brokers have been known to lie about their personal track records. Many brokers are lucky to complete just 2 successful deals in a year, much less the 10-20 about which they will brag to you.

These are only a few of the reasons why I urge potential sellers of businesses to avoid using business brokers.

Instead, it is much better to seek out the advice of a business acquisition specialist; someone who has experience in the process of buying and selling businesses, who thoroughly understands valuation, and who is not focused on getting as many listings as possible but rather on the needs of the seller and buyer.

Having such a mentor can assist you in developing a viable business exit plan. This means that you will not be forced into making hasty decisions if you are forced by circumstances to sell.

A good business acquisition expert does not work on commissions, and has the best interests of both buyer and seller in mind. He or she also has a tried and true process for selling and a verifiable record of success, along with references and client testimonials.

My suggestion is that before you ever need to sell, you should contact a business acquisition expert first. Most selling specialists are more than wiling to give you a free telephone or in-person consultation.

Prior to this meeting, be sure to write down all your questions, your goals for the sale, even your fears and apprehensions about the process. This will help you make the most of this initial consultation and get a gut feeling for how this particular business solutions provider operates.

If your primary reason for meeting is to ask for business succession planning assistance, discuss fees and expectations and ask for some professional references.

This will help you determine if this is the kind of person you want partnering with you on one of the most important changes you will ever experience in your life.

If you’d like to learn more about the selling process and how to be successful with it, please download the free resources on the website or email me at info@deltabusinessservices.com

Delta Business Services is the leader in business acquisition processes. Our highly-trained staff is competent in every nuance of selling a business and has a particular expertise in attracting qualified, motivated buyers.

We are not business brokers, but rather acquisition professionals who understand and respect the needs of both buyers and sellers. Most importantly, we are actual business owners who have completed dozens of successful deals ourselves. The Delta Solution™ is the result of years of painstaking research and real life experience.

Learn how you can avoid making mistakes selling your business that could cost you thousands of dollars and cause you a lot of headaches as well.

Call us at 210-369-4161.

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Most business owners ignore these… until it’s too late.

If you are like most business owners, you’ve occasionally found yourself wondering what your life would be like without the stress and hassles inherent to business ownership.

Perhaps you are facing personal challenges, such as divorce, a death in the family,or other issues that need your full attention.

Maybe you have health concerns that prevent you from engaging in your business as fully as you would like.

Or, it could just be that you are ready to try something new, go back to school, buy a home in the islands, or devote more time to a hobby or interest that you’ve had on the back burner for far too long.

Whatever reason you have for contemplating the sale of your successful business,you must understand that selling a business is a process for which you can fully prepare.

The first place to start in those preparations is to recognize some of the warning signs that let you know it is time to plan your exit.

  • Life changes are causing you to lose focus. It’s difficult enough to run a successful business without the added stress of unforeseen life events. Situations such as divorce, illness of a family member, or the need to care for elderly parents can upset any work/life balance you think you have achieved. If you feel overwhelmed and depleted trying to focus on both the business and family matters, you might seriously consider selling.
  • You have a hard time getting up in the morning and going to your workplace. Everyone in business experiences episodic burnout. However, if you have a regular pattern of looking for any excuse not to go to the office, it might be time to sell. Forcing yourself on a daily basis to engage with your business can have a negative impact on your financial, physical, and mental well-being. Your attitude can wind up costing you lots of money, time, and effort.
  • You spend a lot more time thinking about retirement than you do about your company. There’s no shame in doing this. Many of us look forward to a life without work. However, spending inordinate amounts of time watching the travel channels on television and visiting trip planning websites might point to your deep-down desire to get on with the rest of your life.
  • Your kids don’t want, or are incapable of running, your business. Even if your children or other family members have worked with you in the business for years, this doesn’t mean that they necessarily want to take it over when you leave. As badly as you may want the company to stay in the family, you can’t make assumptions. Junior may love working with customers at your pool company during the summer, but he might very well have bigger plans for his life. Even more painful to contemplate is the fact that your chosen successors might not be capable of running the business, even if they want to do so.
  • Everything has grown stale and you’ve run out of ideas to keep things moving. Years ago, when you started the business, creative thoughts spewed out of your brain with the speed and intensity of a high pressure hose. You had tons of ideas about how to differentiate your business and make your brand unforgettable. These days though, you feel stuck and the idea well is bone dry. Without improvements and innovations, your company’s growth will stagnate. If you can’t re-ignite the idea machine, it could very well mean that it is time to sell.
  • You need to pour tons of money into updating your business. If you are in a highly competitive niche that is continuously evolving, you might find that you’ve fallen behind and need to do an extensive (and expensive makeover) in order to stay profitable. Even if you are currently making a nice income, it might not be in your best interest to spend money to stay in business, especially if you aren’t having fun with it anymore.
  • You get an offer you’d be foolish to refuse. This happens more than you might think, even during a down economy. Someone out there has his or her eye on your business and they like what they see. Out of the blue, they make you an offer that is considerably more than current valuation. In most of these situations, it would be crazy not to sell.
  • Interest rates are lower than ever before. I am writing this article in 2014, a time when interest rates are historically low. There has never been a better time to leverage other peoples’ money. For investors, it makes sense to borrow like crazy and snatch up any and every appreciable asset they can, especially companies which, if managed properly, will generate nice returns.
  • You have an opportunity to participate in another venture. Most business owners, even those who are only marginally successful, are constantly approached by purveyors of new “business opportunities.” These can range from hyped-up multi-level marketing positions to Ponzi schemes to legitimate investment opportunities. I am sure you’ve probably been approached by more than your fair share of people pitching these kinds of things. However, once in a while a really good opportunity manages to come your way. Maybe it’s a chance to partner with another successful entrepreneur in your local area or it’s a start-up with amazing potential. When you find something like this and your gut feeling is that you want to be in on the action, then it might be time to sell your existing business and try something new.

It is never too soon to plan for the eventual sale of your business, especially if any of these warning signals sounds familiar to you.

As the starting point for planning your exit, seek out real business experts who, unlike the majority of business brokers, have actually bought and sold businesses.

Such experts will help you gain an understanding of the business selling cycle from A-Z and learn methods to avoid common pitfalls associated with the process.

I believe that the greatest legacy you can leave to your family is a company that you have converted into a money-creating machine, protected by design against erosive elements such as taxes and inflation that threaten to consume your wealth.

Consulting with experts enables you to do just that by showing you exactly how to design a custom plan that lets you to sell your business, get cash flow for life and pay no taxes.

Imagine how much peace of mind you would gain by incorporating this kind of proven business exit plan into your business- before you need it.

Successful business transitions don’t come about by accident. They are the result of painstaking planning under the guidance of seasoned business professionals who know how to get the job accomplished with outcomes more favorable both to sellers and buyers.

Savvy business owners realize that the complexities of selling a business are many and that it makes sense to partner with people who have been in the trenches.

Delta Business Services offers a free initial consult to successful business owners who are looking for expert advice on the process. We can help you exit your business on your own terms, gracefully, from a position of strength.

Call us today at 210-369-4161 to arrange a phone consultation.

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There’s no doubt about it… The process of selling a business can be lengthy, frustrating, and overwhelming, especially if you don’t understand how to attract the most qualified buyers. A sell-worthy company’s value is determined by a compilation of factors such as sales, performance, market outlook, key personnel and management, and net book value.

Value can also be influenced by intangible assets such as community standing, brand image, and good will. If these factors are present when you honestly evaluate things, then you have a company that can be sold.

Being honest with yourself about your true motives for selling will go a long way toward helping you do the right things to attract good buyers,

Once you’ve clarified your goals for selling the business and determined the type of buyer you want, you can put together a plan to attract those kinds of buyers.

Establishing the highest value

For both seller and buyer the bottom line is “what is the business really worth?” This is why valuation is such an important part of the selling process. Establishing a reasonable value and supporting that value with the data is a crucial step toward attracting more and better prospects.

For many buyers, the future is a top concern, so this means that not only do you need an established track record of 3 or more years of profitability, but you must be able to illuminate your vision of the future by presenting clear opportunities for both the near-term and long-term growth of your company.

You need to frame this potential in such a way that buyers see your business’s future is promising and which allows him or her to know that they are buying, not only the last couple of years of your company’s performance, but are also getting what the company will do for years to come.

Presenting a well-thought-out strategic plan for capitalizing on your vision of the future is one thing you can do to attract buyers and get them enthusiastic about your company. Another way to assist in establishing your business’s highest value in a buyer’s eyes is to focus on key components such as products and services, cash flow, vendor relationships, management and customer base.

Products or services Buyers have a choice when it comes to products or service. They can either build what they are considering buying from scratch themselves, which takes a lot more capital investment, time, and resources, or they can buy a company that is already doing what they want to do.

Potential buyers who know what kind of business they want, especially those who have bought businesses before, can bring a critical eye to your competitive position. Chances are they have studied the kind of business you own, and have a good idea of how well you do what you do.

Are your products or services the same old same old, or are they different and unique? Do you have a process or protocol that makes the way you do things more effective and lucrative? If so, then be sure to showcase this to potential buyers..

Cash flow Take time to organize all financial records you will need in order to prove that you produce a stream of solid revenue each and every month. Buyers want to see exactly what is going in and out of a business. Good business records are an essential tool in attracting the kind of buyer you want.

Vendor relationships Certain businesses are very dependent on their supply network. An outside vendor who fails to perform might mean a huge financial blow to the company or perhaps cause the loss of a key customer.

If this is the case in your business, be prepared to show the strength of vendor contracts you have in place and to discuss past performance of those vendors. Remember, buyers don’t like surprises. They want to know that critical vendor relationships are strong and will remain intact after the sale.

Management Some buyers interested in your business will want to bring in their own management team and systems. Others are less hands-on and will want to keep the current experienced management team in place. Either way, having a seasoned, effective management team in place is a valuable asset that you can use to attract buyers.

Customer base A company whose bottom line is dependent on only one or two large clients is not as attractive to a potential buyer as a business with multiple repeat customers. Be able to show that your top clients have done business with you for several years and show a track record of increasing sales to those customers.

Creating profiles of key customers is a good way to prove your retention rate to a potential buyer and allay fears they might have that you have too few customers.

Be sure to keep files of good reviews your business has gotten, letters from satisfied customers, and photos and videos of any client events you’ve sponsored. An enthusiastic, happy customer base can considerably raise your company’s value in the eyes of a potential buyer.

Find the flaws and polish them smooth There’s a conversation going on in the head of even the savviest business buyer. Actually, it’s really more like an argument where they are looking for every possible reason to talk themselves out of buying. Remember that human fear of risk? Well, it’s a hard fear to completely quell so you can count on your prospects to run a fine tooth comb over every inch of your business, looking for flaws that might equate to risk.

Your job as seller is to locate the flaws long before they do and do everything possible to correct them. Some things of concern might include: environmental issues and permits, pending lawsuits, product liability, outstanding workers’ compensation claims, patents and intellectual property issues, etc.

This is where pre-sale planning under the direction of a seller-focused expert, such as Delta Business Services, can make a difference.

Don’t even think about selling your company until you have talked to Delta Business Services.Working with Delta is very simple.  We have a streamlined process for business owners who would like to sell their business.  We aren’t brokers, but rather a collection of experienced, savvy business buyers. We’ve made all the mistakes buying companies and now we have decided to help others avoid making those same mistakes; mistakes that cost them time, money, and lots of frustration.

Take advantage of our expertise.  CLICK HERE.

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Are you a business owner or entrepreneur? Imagine if you had to put your business on the market. Your business is something you’ve put years and years of blood, sweat, and tears into. Imagine if you lost control during the sale, and had to compromise on the terms. How would you feel? Would you feel cheated or helpless?

Many business owners find themselves in this exact situation. Every year in the United States, over 200,000 businesses go on the market. But of those only a fraction- around 24,000- actually wind up being sold, many times under terms and for amounts that are unfavorable to the business owner.

Working with Delta is very simple.  We have a streamlined process for business owners who would like to sell their business and a free report with more information.

LEARN MORE HERE

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Danny and Jen Baumgartner owned a small business for 17 years. They were proud of the construction & manufacturing company they had built. It had afforded them a nice lifestyle over the years, paid for the house, put their son through college and even grad school, but it was getting to be time to retire. Their son, Alex, had been Operations Manager for 7 years, and Danny and Jen had been grooming him to take over the business. It was their ideal exit strategy… or so they thought.

After the diagnosis, Alex began treatment for cancer. After 5 long, battle worn years, he finally succumbed. His parents were devastasted. Their only child was gone. The emotional toll was absolutely brutal, not to mention the fact that Danny and Jen’s exit strategy was extinguished, leaving them clueless as to what to do. The couple regrouped. They got organized, strategized, and began talking with their advisors to get input. During a 3 way call their financial planner, Jen vented, “We’re at our wits end. We don’t know what to do.”

Tera, a veteran financial planner for over 15 years probed, “Tell me about your business.”

Danny and Jen filled in the gaps. Tera responded, “I have someone who is perfect for your business.” Keith was a seasoned entrepreneur of more than 20 years. He had business ownership experience in over a dozen different industries, construction and manufacturing among them. Tera gave him the back story, and after exchanging a couple of emails with the Baumgartners, Keith phoned to discuss possibly

purchasing their business. “So how does this work?” Danny quipped. Seventeen years as a business owner had given him healthy skepticism in any deal. “Our process is simple. I buy to hold and grow. My team and I have created a package that gives sellers the certainty of success they need to move on to the next chapter of their lives.”

Jen’s ears perked up when she heard “move on”. That’s what she and Danny needed to do, move on.

“The problem is that the traditional methods of acquiring small businesses leave a lot to be desired,” the seasoned veteran began to speak. “The sober reality is that selling a business the old fashioned way winds up creating other problems for sellers, and doesn’t really fully address their needs.”

“Not to mention the fact that 87% of small businesses for sale never sell, and of the 13% remaining that do, 3 out of 4 of those fail.

Long story short, sellers have 4% chance of having a successful exit.”

“My word that’s horrible!” Jen exclaimed. “Why is it so bad?”

Keith responded, “The bottom line is because the people involved don’t really know what to do. Buyers and sellers are usually first timers.

They’re unfamiliar with the process and try to find their way by “feel”.

Obviously, this inevitably leads to mistakes and those become costly in a business acquisition.” Jen and Danny saw his point.

“The way to avoid that brain damage is to find out what the other principal really needs to have success in the deal. This is the key.” He went on to clarify,“ Retiring business owners want to sell, but they’re worried about getting hammered with capital gains taxes. They’re trying to get enough from the sale to create a retirement fund, but they’re concerned about out living that fund or altering their current lifestyle. They may have heirs they want to leave an inheritance to who are neither interested in nor prepared for running their parents’ business
. Furthermore, sellers need their retirement to be safe and secure.”

“Selling a business in the traditional manner will trigger tax consequences. Sellers will have to pay off liabilities, payables, cover commissions (if there’s a broker), and  transactions costs. It’s an all together expensive proposition to sell a business that inevitably leaves sellers scratching their heads when they walk away from the closing table wondering, ‘Why did I just do that?’”

“So, what’s your solution?” Danny asked directly.

Appreciating his directness, the businessman began, “Our approach solves your whole problem, and doesn’t create new ones.”

“With our solution, you can sell your business, get secure

3 Months Later…

The phone was already ringing when Tera walked into her office at 8:30am.

“This is Tera. Good morning.” A very excited voice was on the other end, “Hi Tera, it’s Jen Baumgartner. How are you?”

“I’m great, Jen. How are you and Danny?”

“That’s why I’m calling. Do you remember that gentlemen you referred us to for an exit strategy?”

“Of course. How did it work out?”

“Wow! What a great man! He bought our business and we’re calling you from our boat.”

“Hi, Danny,” Tera politely greeted.

“Hello, Tera,” Danny exclaimed and went on.

“He knew exactly what we needed and what to do. He gave us such a great package, it was impossible to say no. He freed us from our worry, allowed us to move on with our lives, and gave us secure income for our entire retirement.

It’s tax advantaged and there’s even an inheritance for Jen’s niece. The process was so simple!”

“I knew he was perfect for you,” Tera answered. “I’m so glad we found the ideal solution for your problem.”

“And that’s not all Tera!” “My golf buddies who own companies and want to retire all want to use him.” “I gave them his number and they’ve already called him.” “One friend has already begun the process.”

“My goodness alive! I bet Keith really appreciates the referrals.”

“Well he deserves them. That guy was so competent, we would have been insane to sell any other way.”

“He keeps in touch and informed us that the business is doing 35% better than it was 3 months ago. He included the report. I couldn’t believe it when I saw it! ”

“That is fantastic you two. I’m so happy for you both.”

“Tera, we can’t thank you enough. After losing Alex like that, Danny and I were so afraid. We didn’t want to lose our other baby, too.”

“Every cloud has a silver lining.”

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The Psychology of Procrastination

Business owners attempting to map out viable exit strategies in today’s volatile and complex exit environment face daunting challenges. Dealing with tax, retirement, estate planning, and asset protection issues, not to mention finding a competent buyer, is sometimes an overwhelming experience for business owners who want to retire.

Sellers often wonder, “What do I do?”, “How do I do it?”, and “Who do I know who has already been through the process who can help me avoid making mistakes?”

If you are like most business owners contemplating an exit strategy, such questions are reflective of much deeper issues that remain unaddressed in many cases. One of the core precepts in business is: know the rules of the game and develop the critical skills and tools for creating the success you desire.

Unfortunately, however, sellers of businesses encounter problems exiting because they lack the critical skills and tools it takes to get them what they really want. They often have trouble even articulating exactly what they want to accomplish and in what manner they wish to achieve it. These unexpressed desires create a cloud of pain and frustration for business owners when the time comes to sell.

What happens in the human brain with respect to this phenomenon is amazing. One of the rules of neurology is that “neurons that fire together get wired together”. Learning happens and habits are built when this occurs.

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