I'm worried that if it gets out that I want to sell my business, my customers could seek other suppliers or my key employees might start looking for other jobs.
We understand. Confidentiality is actually most seller's number one concern. It's ours too. We protect your privacy from the moment that you contact us. We'll ask you for the best phone number to contact you at and what time is best for us to call you. And if you prefer to be contacted at home or at your business. If we do need to leave a message for you, we'll make sure that it's discreet. At The Herold-Lambert Group, confidentiality is our business. We place our reputation on it.
Why should I use a business broker? Can't my attorney or accountant or real estate broker handle this for me?
Good question. Your lawyer, accountant and real estate brokers are all professionals, but are they the best choice to handle this transaction for you?
A professional business broker is specifically trained - and has specific experience - in valuing and selling your business. Your business broker does this every day, not as a "one of" or a "sometimes" occurrence. A big plus is that your business broker has access to qualified, motivated buyers locally, regionally and nationally. And a bigger plus is that an experienced business broker will have a step-by-step process that is proven to get you the best price, in the shortest time, while maintaining your confidentiality.
And after all, buying or selling a business is a life-changing transaction. Don't you want someone who has the experience -- and the expertise -- to guide you through your choices?
When you say that you "package" a business for sale, are you giving any advice to the seller on what he can do immediately to help make his business more attractive?
Packaging mostly refers to presentation - how it will be written up, positioned, and presented. In some cases there are recommendations as to what they can do for "curb appeal" but usually it isn't much (buyers are most interested in the numbers), too late, or very specific (unlike residential real estate) on a case-by-case basis. If they are actually just getting general information because they want to prepare to sell in 2-5 years, then we have a separate report that we can give them.
When you package the business for sale, do you do a competitive analysis? Is it a local analysis or an industry analysis?
Yes. Local, regional and/or national as appropriate for the specific business/industry.
What do you mean that the tax returns and financial statements are "recasted?" Can you give an example? Why would this be necessary?
Most small business owners try to pay as little tax as possible, so they push the envelope as to what is charged as expense to the business. The most common are their car, family member cars, family cell phones, travel and entertainment (taking the spouse out to eat once a week and vacations, not truly to support the business), excess insurance, family members on payroll that don't really work, etc. I have seen people charge their home maintenance and cleaning as office cleaning as well.
The point is we go through every line item and pull out all of those things charged as expenses that are not truly necessary for operating the business. It is necessary to show buyers what the real owner benefit is over and above what is on the tax returns.
As a business broker, do you work for the buyer or the seller?
Almost always I represent the seller, regardless of whether I am the listing broker or I am bringing a buyer to someone else's listing on a co-broker basis. At times I am approached by a sophisticated buyer or company looking for something specific and they simply want me to help them find it, I will work for those buyers to do a search for a fee.
Should the buyer and the seller each have a lawyer to represent them?
Traditionally the buyer would have his attorney draw up the documents and submit them to the seller for his attorney to review and comment. The problem is the buyer's attorney usually draws up a one-side agreement that over-protects the buyer to the peril of the seller, so it takes a lot of effort to get balance and agreement - it goes back and forth several times (making lots of money for the attorneys). For larger transactions this is usually the case.
For smaller transactions, we recommend using an independent attorney (who technically represents the broker) to draft the documents and give them to both the buyer and seller for review.
This is much more efficient (and less expensive for both the buyer and seller) because the documents start out fair and balanced so it is quicker to get agreement.
When you're serious about selling your business and want to get the best possible price, call Lou Pereira at 603.890.6628 or contact us directly via e-mail.