Tag: Ask

10 Questions to Ask Before Selling Your Business #business #books


#sell my business

#

10 Questions to Ask Before Selling Your Business

If you re thinking about selling your business, think twice. Selling a business should never be a spur-of-the-moment decision, says Curtis Kroeker, group general manager for San Francisco-based BizBuySell.com and BizQuest.com. business-for-sale marketplaces that have an inventory of about 40,000 businesses. You need to figure out things like if you should sell, when is the best time to sell, and what you need to consider before selling, among many other considerations.

So, should you sell your business? Here are 10 key questions to help you figure it out.

Is my business ready to sell? Kroeker recommends at least two years of preparation before putting your business on the market. Make sure you can produce two to three years of tax returns that are accurate and show maximum profitability to get the best price for your business, he says. You can t start putting things together the month before you sell.

How is a buyer going to value my business? Particularly with family ownership, companies sometimes run everything through the business, such as country club dues and car allowances, says Robert Kibby, section head of the corporate and securities group at Dallas-based Munsch Hardt Kopf Harr Attorneys and Counselors. Loading the business with tax write-offs can make you appear less profitable and cause a buyer to undervalue your business.

Who should be on my team when I sell? It s important for entrepreneurs to figure out whose services will bring them through the sales process and help them get the best price for their business. Do you need an accountant? How about an appraiser, attorney, consultant and business broker? The buyer is typically going to have a good team to go over your business, so you should, too, Kibby says.

Is it the right time to sell? Many people wait till their business is on the decline to sell. That s the exact opposite of what you should do, says Debbie Allen. a Phoenix-based business and brand strategist and consultant. You want to sell when you are at the top of your game peaked out, she says. Some will say, I m making good money now. Why should I sell? That s thinking like a business owner, not an entrepreneur.

Is the market right? Before selling, look at current market conditions for your industry. Selling a home improvement business in 2006 showed a pretty good return. Fast forward a couple of years and many roofing, siding, home financing and other housing-related companies had lost a big chunk of their value. I saw companies who turned down an offer in 2005 who couldn t get three-quarters of that price a few years later, says Allan Siposs, a managing director of FMV Capital Markets in Irvine, Calif. which offers services for mergers, acquisitions and divestitures. Wait until market conditions are better to sell.

Can I cope with the changes on the horizon? Rapidly changing technology, increasing globalization and other business trends can prove too much for some business owners. Keep your eyes trained three or four years down the road, and if you don t believe you can keep up, sell before your failure to adapt catches up with you. Some people find it hard to leave, but if you wait too long, the industry may pass you by, Allen says.

Can my business thrive without me or without a key customer? If a buyer is concerned that a business is too dependent on the owner or a single customer, he may take his offer elsewhere. A good business can operate when the owner is on vacation and has good revenue diversification, where no one customer represents more than five percent of the business, Siposs says.

Would I be willing to stay on if the buyer wants me to? Sometimes you can seal a deal by agreeing to stay on in a consulting role for a period of six months. But first, you need to determine whether it s really worth it to you. If you re willing to stay on, it might reduce the risk to the buyer and increase the value of the company, Siposs says.

What are the potential deal breakers? Unresolved issues can rear their ugly head and interfere with a sale, particularly in areas such as company ownership, accounting and intellectual property rights. For example, an owner may have used a contractor to write software for the company without requiring him to assign his rights to the company. This can create questions about who possesses critical rights, which can scuttle the deal, Kibby says. So, consider what your potential deal breakers are and try to resolve them before you re near to closing a deal.

Would I consider alternatives to an outright sale? If an outright sale isn t right for you, a CPA or investment banker can help evaluate other options. How about structuring a deal to pass on the ownership to employees through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP)? Would you consider selling a percentage of the company to a private equity fund? Or would you do a leveraged recapitalization, which is a loan that puts a portion of the proceeds in your pocket?


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Ask a small business advisor #franchise #business #opportunities


#business advisor

#

Alberta Government

Ask a small business advisor

Small business advisors provide free advice to small businesses and entrepreneurs navigating provincial regulations and business support programs. Use the form or contact information below and a small business advisor will provide information, answer questions, direct you to various resources and, where possible, connect you directly with the experts who can help.

Telephone

Monday to Friday, 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM (Mountain Time)

  • For your small business needs, contact a Business Advisor at The Business Link

1-844-422-7705 Toll free public number (Canada only)

  • For technical/website questions, contact the Help Desk

    Send Message

    The only information collected that is used to identify you is information you give voluntarily. When you submit a question or comment, you may be asked for your name, e-mail address, or other information. This information is only used to process and respond to your question or comment and is collected in compliance with section 33 (c) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIP) Act. This information is not disclosed except to authorized personnel who need it to answer your question.

    Ask a small business advisor


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  • Affordable Self Storage in Hampton, VA #affordable #self #storage, #reviews, #ratings, #recommendations, #best, #worst,

    #

    Affordable Self Storage

    Information about this business (4 )

    6 locations to serve you6 va locations to serve youavailable-boxes andceilings-truckscobbs creek shacklefordcontrolled unites-highgloucester matthews hampton poquoson safe-clean-climatethe friendlier morethe friendlier more affordable alternative 223910attr:climate controlledstorage household & commercial

    Posted on May 08, 2015. Brought to you by localcom.

    Affordable Storage Inc is located at the address 1635 W Pembroke Ave Ste A in Hampton, Virginia 23661. They can be contacted via phone at (757) 723-6551 for pricing, hours and directions.

    Affordable Storage Inc has an annual sales volume of 0 – 500K. For more information contact Dan Bolkhel, Owner or go to www.affordablestorageva.com

    Affordable Storage Inc provides Dry Storage Units, Self.

    Posted on September 02, 2014. Brought to you by chamberofcommerce.

    We offer self storage to keep your personal items safe while you are moving, haveing work done to the house, TDY, or just need a place to put your access items till you can make room for them. We are open 7 days a week and will stay later if needed to assist with your move in. We are the friendlier more affordable storage company.

    Posted on July 20, 2014. Brought to you by facebook.

    Posted by Anonymous on June 30, 2009. Brought to you by merchantcircle.

    Average Rating 20

    I rented a unit for one month back in July 2007. As of today, March 4, 2008, I have not received my $10.00 deposit. I have spoken to them several times. I will not stop until I get my money. Are there others who have not gotten their deposit?

    Posted by jj9801 on March 03, 2008. Brought to you by localguides.

    Business description (5) view all

    Affordable Storage can be found at W Pembroke Ave 1635. The following is offered: Warehouse Storage. The entry is present with us since Sep 9, 2010 and was last updated on Nov 14, 2013. In Hampton there are 6 other Warehouse Storage. An overview can be found here.

    Posted on September 20, 2015. Brought to you by opendius.

    Business, Climate Controlled, Home, Packing Supplies, Personal

    Posted on November 03, 2014. Brought to you by merchantcircle.


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    10 Questions to Ask Before Committing to a Business Partner #business #address


    #business partner

    #

    10 Questions to Ask Before Committing to a Business Partner

    Like a marriage, a business partnership often begins with enthusiasm and high expectations — only to end in acrimony and legal proceedings. It s important to know as much as possible about a potential partner, including how his or her finances and family life may affect the business, before signing on the dotted line.

    Here are some questions to ask before deciding if partnering is a good idea:

    1. What do I need from a business partner?
    You should look for a business partner who brings something different to the table than you do. If you re creative, maybe you need a more detail-oriented partner. If you have money to invest in the business, you may want to look for a partner with access to a market, or with great connections. Or if you re shy, you might need a good people person to balance the equation. If they re similar to you, it might be more comfortable, but it may not be what you need, says William M. Moore, founder of the Moore Firm in San Diego, a law firm that serves entrepreneurs. You need someone who complements your skills and personality.

    2. What is your potential partner s financial situation?
    It is important to have an understanding of someone s financial status and commitments before getting into a venture together. It is tough to ask what they are currently spending on a house or in payments to an ex-spouse, but someone s prior financial commitments shape the decisions they will make in the short term, says Gregory Kratofil, an attorney and shareholder with the law firm Polsinelli Shughart in Kansas City, Mo. who specializes in small business interests. If he has large outstanding obligations, but says he can get by on $35,000 salary, it is a red flag.

    3. What are the potential partner s expectations on the time involved?
    Partners don t have to spend the same amount of time, but it is important that they are on the same page as to each other s expected time commitments. How many hours a day does your partner expect to put into the venture, and do his expectations meet yours? It is equally important to level set your partner s expectations on your time commitments, Kratofil says. The age old adage that it s better to under-promise and over-deliver applies here.

    4. Is your potential partner s commitment to the business as strong as yours?
    I don t care if it s a coffee house or a design firm, the business partner s commitment has to equal yours, says Bob Phibbs, consultant and CEO of The Retail Doctor. a site that provides information to small and medium-sized businesses. A partnership — especially one between friends — can start off with fun and excitement, but within a short time, the slog of every day catches up with you. If they re not as committed to the business as you, they may lose their enthusiasm and may actually be damaging the brand every time you open your doors.

    5. Is there something in your potential partner s family life that might make the business a secondary interest?
    If your potential partner has a pregnant wife or is taking care of an elderly parent, he may be distracted from the business. That s why you have to be brutally honest when thinking of forming a partnership. The partner can say, My wife is behind me 100 percent. But I want to talk to the wife, Phibbs says. If they re too distracted by a family issue or their family isn t behind them, the business may be doomed from the start.

    6. How would he or she handle a tough situation?
    It s important to know what your potential business partner will do if he has his back up against the wall — and it will happen, Phibbs says. The best way to discover this is to look at what he s done in past business ventures. If he couldn t meet payroll, for example: Did he do the right thing and dip into savings or borrow from a credit card or a friend? Or did he pay employees late, or not at all? Or worse, did he skip paying payroll taxes? It all comes down to character issue, Phibbs says, adding, Payroll taxes are a federal obligation. If that s negotiable, you can bet your partnership is also negotiable.

    7. What questions do they have for me?
    If a potential employee doesn t ask any questions in a job interview, you might be less likely to hire him because of a perceived lack of interest. The same applies to a potential business partner, who should want to know about your character, reliability and expectations. I want them to ask me the same tough questions I ask them. If they say it doesn t really matter, it could mean two things: their expectations are too high or they might be kind of flighty, Phibbs says. Things may be fine now, but in a month or two, they may want to change things or even get out of the deal.

    8. What is the potential partner s standing in the community?
    A lot of people seem good at first, but that may be their skill — seeming good at first, Moore says. Once they get their foot in the door, it may be difficult to get them out. Talk to former employees to see what they were like to work with, or for. If you re looking for someone with money connections, verify that they have money. If they say they have great connections, see if those connections go beyond just being recognized and given a slap on the back. A business partnership is not a marriage, but there should be some sort of courtship process that you can verify that they are who they say they are, Moore says.

    9. Are they willing to put everything in writing?
    Many partnerships are cemented with a handshake, but this can be a recipe for disaster. It s crucial to put it on paper — not only what is expected of each partner, but the consequences if expectations aren t met. There s something about actually putting it in writing that exposes the potential problem areas in the partnership, Moore says. If someone has a family emergency and disappears the first six months of the business — even though it may not be through any fault of his own — are you still expected to give that person a certain percentage of the business? If someone simply isn t pulling his or her weight, you need to be able to get them out without destroying the business, he adds. And if it s in writing, there s no arguing it.

    10. Do I really need a partner?
    If you can get someone to do something without giving them a stake in your business, it s always better, Moore says. People get wrapped up in the idea of needing to work with someone, but it s not always a good idea. Sometimes you need somebody to show up from 9-5, work hard and go home, he says, adding. If you re cash poor, or it s a startup and you don t expect to make money right away, taking on a partner might be the better option. But if you can just pay somebody to show up and work, it s generally a better option than giving them a stake in the company.

    And now a bonus question.

    What happens if we can t work it out?
    Most people don t envision the rough times ahead for a new venture, so this question is probably the hardest to remember to ask and the beginning. Yet, the best time to address potential problems with your partner is at the beginning before emotions run high. You can t predict every potential problem, but a good startup lawyer can help you work through some of the common problems and put a framework in place to help address unforeseen circumstances, Kratofil says.


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    What Do You Want To Know About The 2017 Honda Civic Si? #2017 #honda

    #

    (Image Credits: Honda)

    We’re all rubbing our mitts together for the imminent release of the superhero Honda Civic Type-R. But don’t forget there’s a new 2017 Civic Si coming out now too, and that also has the potential to be a lot of fun. It’s also a little more grounded in reality. So what do you want to know?

    The Civic Si has been a staple of the American sport compact car market since the 1980s. Debate still rages on Honda forms between whether its name is shorthand for “Sequential Injection” or “Sport Injection” or is just some made-up nonsense, but what matter is that the car has consistently been the driving enthusiast’s variant of Honda’s little people-mover.

    We’ve had Civic Si coupes, hatchbacks, sedans, and for 2017 there will be both two and four-door versions.

    All 2017 Civic Sis will run a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder rated to 205 horsepower at 5,700 RPM, and 192 lb-ft of torque coming on from just 2,100 RPM. That’s much lower threshold for peak power than these cars had when I first driving them. remember the 1999 1.6-liter Civic Si’s screaming 8,000 RPM redline?

    The new Si coupe weighs in at 2,889 pounds, just a couple hundred pounds heavier than the ’99 car.

    That Civic’s successor, the mini-minivan looking EP3 hatch, was the “new Si” when I was in high school but the aforementioned EM1 was the parking lot hero. My friend had one, I had a slightly older Integra, and we would get into all kinds of shenanigans with those things that I’m tremendously embarrassed by today.

    I’ve grown accustomed to the finer things. Finer Acuras, actually. But it seems like the Civic has too. It’s already been on sale for about a week with a starting MSRP of about $24,000 with a six-speed manual. If you want an automatic, shuffle along, because you won’t find one here. At least not yet.

    I just tested this thing in California and while reviews are embargoed for a bit longer, I want to know what you want to know. I’ll do my best to answer your questions here and in my First Drive report.

    Meanwhile, check out the complete specification sheet for details and digits.

    Recommended Stories


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    3 Negotiation Skills to Help You Influence Anyone #negotiation #skills,good #questions #to #ask,self-confidence


    #

    BRIAN TRACY

    The Top 3 Negotiation Skills of Persuasive People

    Some people are good at negotiating in their own interest, and some people are not. Which one of these types of people do you want to be?

    One of your main jobs in life, one that will lead to increasing levels of self-confidence, is to become more effective in influencing others by learning great negotiation skills and choosing good questions to ask.

    In the many studies that have been done on effective negotiators, we find that they all have basically the same qualities and characteristics.

    Negotiation Skills are Learnable

    Contrary to popular belief, top negotiators are not hard bargainers and tough-minded personalities. They are not aggressive and pushy and demanding. They do not coerce their negotiating partners into unsatisfactory agreements.

    The best negotiators are invariably pleasant people. They are warm, friendly and low-keyed. They are likable and agreeable. They are the kind of people that you feel comfortable agreeing with. You have an almost automatic tendency to trust someone with great negotiation skills and to feel that what they are asking for is in the best interests of both parties.

    The Top 3 Negotiation Skills

    Skilled negotiators are usually quite concerned about finding a solution or an arrangement that is satisfactory to both parties. They look for what are called “win-win” situations, where both parties are happy with the results of the negotiation.

    In negotiating of any kind of contract, whether buying or selling anything, there are some basic negotiating skills that you need to learn in order to get the best deal for yourself and to feel happy about the results.

    FREE Sales Training: Click here to get my Sales Prospecting Checklist.

    1) Choose Good Questions to Ask

    Good negotiators seem to ask a lot of questions and are very concerned about understanding exactly what it is you are trying to achieve from the negotiation.

    For example, in buying a house, both parties might start off arguing and disagreeing over the price. They begin with the position that the price is the most important thing and that is all that has to be negotiated. The skilled negotiator, however, will realize that price is only one part of the package.

    By using good negotiation skills, this negotiator will help both parties to see that the terms of the sale are also important, as are the furniture and fixtures that might be included in the transaction.

    Finding good questions to ask about a customer’s needs is the only way you will be able to find out in a negotiation what exactly is important to them and what benefits they are truly looking for. Price is not always the most important thing in a sale and it is important to show the customer other benefits they are receiving.

    2) Patience

    Good negotiators are very patient. They concentrate first on getting agreement on all the parts of the contract that the two parties have in common before they go on seeking for amicable ways to settle the other issues.

    They also take the time to prepare good questions to ask to get clarity and understanding on each point as they go along, so that there is no confusion later.

    3) Preparation is Key

    Preparation accounts for 90% of negotiating success. The more and better prepared you are prior to a negotiation, the more likely it is that the outcome of the negotiation will be satisfactory for all parties involved.

    Preparation requires you do two things. First get all the information that you can about the upcoming negotiation. Second, think the negotiation through carefully, from beginning to end, and be fully prepared for any eventuality.

    The first kind of information you need is about the product or service, and the person with whom you will be negotiating. You obtain this information by choosing good questions to ask that are well thought out. In this sense, information becomes a form of power, and the power is always on the side of the person with the best information.

    Take Action and Gain Self-Confidence!

    There is nothing that raises your self-confidence faster than to feel that you have been successful in negotiating a contract and that you have gotten a good deal as a result. And there is nothing that will lower your self-confidence faster than to think that you have been out-negotiated into a poor deal that you will have to live with. Therefore, negotiating skills are an important part of your personality development and of your sense of personal effectiveness and self-confidence.

    When you are a good negotiator, your self-confidence is higher and you feel more positive toward yourself and others in everything else that you do.

    Thank you for reading my blog on negotiation skills and building self-confidence while learning them. Please share it with your friends and click the button below to download my free sales prospecting checklist .

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    About Brian Tracy Brian is recognized as the top sales training and personal success authority in the world today. He has authored more than 60 books and has produced more than 500 audio and video learning programs on sales, management, business success and personal development, including worldwide bestseller The Psychology of Achievement. Brian’s goal is to help you achieve your personal and business goals faster and easier than you ever imagined. You can follow him on Google+. Twitter. Facebook. Pinterest. Linkedin and Youtube .

    http://www.garrett-barry.com/ Garrett Barry

    Yes I especially agree with the preparation point. Having a clear outcome in mind going into the interaction creates an amazingly powerful result. That way you have something definite you are shooting towards and can adapt throughout the negotiation. Thanks again for the wonderful article! Garrett Barry

    Negotiations is an integral part of running a business. Whether you are making sales or buy a house, negotiation will be a valuable ally.

    Preparation is a must. Know what you want and know what you ll offer the other side. When you re prepared, you will often find your self in a win-win situation.

    Thanks for the great post, They are good tips to help you being more Persuasive.
    Another good advice is always be humble, arrogance is fastest way for people to despise you.

    Thank You!


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    10 Questions to Ask Before Committing to a Business Partner #work #from #home #business

    #business partner

    #

    10 Questions to Ask Before Committing to a Business Partner

    Like a marriage, a business partnership often begins with enthusiasm and high expectations — only to end in acrimony and legal proceedings. It s important to know as much as possible about a potential partner, including how his or her finances and family life may affect the business, before signing on the dotted line.

    Here are some questions to ask before deciding if partnering is a good idea:

    1. What do I need from a business partner?
    You should look for a business partner who brings something different to the table than you do. If you re creative, maybe you need a more detail-oriented partner. If you have money to invest in the business, you may want to look for a partner with access to a market, or with great connections. Or if you re shy, you might need a good people person to balance the equation. If they re similar to you, it might be more comfortable, but it may not be what you need, says William M. Moore, founder of the Moore Firm in San Diego, a law firm that serves entrepreneurs. You need someone who complements your skills and personality.

    2. What is your potential partner s financial situation?
    It is important to have an understanding of someone s financial status and commitments before getting into a venture together. It is tough to ask what they are currently spending on a house or in payments to an ex-spouse, but someone s prior financial commitments shape the decisions they will make in the short term, says Gregory Kratofil, an attorney and shareholder with the law firm Polsinelli Shughart in Kansas City, Mo. who specializes in small business interests. If he has large outstanding obligations, but says he can get by on $35,000 salary, it is a red flag.

    3. What are the potential partner s expectations on the time involved?
    Partners don t have to spend the same amount of time, but it is important that they are on the same page as to each other s expected time commitments. How many hours a day does your partner expect to put into the venture, and do his expectations meet yours? It is equally important to level set your partner s expectations on your time commitments, Kratofil says. The age old adage that it s better to under-promise and over-deliver applies here.

    4. Is your potential partner s commitment to the business as strong as yours?
    I don t care if it s a coffee house or a design firm, the business partner s commitment has to equal yours, says Bob Phibbs, consultant and CEO of The Retail Doctor. a site that provides information to small and medium-sized businesses. A partnership — especially one between friends — can start off with fun and excitement, but within a short time, the slog of every day catches up with you. If they re not as committed to the business as you, they may lose their enthusiasm and may actually be damaging the brand every time you open your doors.

    5. Is there something in your potential partner s family life that might make the business a secondary interest?
    If your potential partner has a pregnant wife or is taking care of an elderly parent, he may be distracted from the business. That s why you have to be brutally honest when thinking of forming a partnership. The partner can say, My wife is behind me 100 percent. But I want to talk to the wife, Phibbs says. If they re too distracted by a family issue or their family isn t behind them, the business may be doomed from the start.

    6. How would he or she handle a tough situation?
    It s important to know what your potential business partner will do if he has his back up against the wall — and it will happen, Phibbs says. The best way to discover this is to look at what he s done in past business ventures. If he couldn t meet payroll, for example: Did he do the right thing and dip into savings or borrow from a credit card or a friend? Or did he pay employees late, or not at all? Or worse, did he skip paying payroll taxes? It all comes down to character issue, Phibbs says, adding, Payroll taxes are a federal obligation. If that s negotiable, you can bet your partnership is also negotiable.

    7. What questions do they have for me?
    If a potential employee doesn t ask any questions in a job interview, you might be less likely to hire him because of a perceived lack of interest. The same applies to a potential business partner, who should want to know about your character, reliability and expectations. I want them to ask me the same tough questions I ask them. If they say it doesn t really matter, it could mean two things: their expectations are too high or they might be kind of flighty, Phibbs says. Things may be fine now, but in a month or two, they may want to change things or even get out of the deal.

    8. What is the potential partner s standing in the community?
    A lot of people seem good at first, but that may be their skill — seeming good at first, Moore says. Once they get their foot in the door, it may be difficult to get them out. Talk to former employees to see what they were like to work with, or for. If you re looking for someone with money connections, verify that they have money. If they say they have great connections, see if those connections go beyond just being recognized and given a slap on the back. A business partnership is not a marriage, but there should be some sort of courtship process that you can verify that they are who they say they are, Moore says.

    9. Are they willing to put everything in writing?
    Many partnerships are cemented with a handshake, but this can be a recipe for disaster. It s crucial to put it on paper — not only what is expected of each partner, but the consequences if expectations aren t met. There s something about actually putting it in writing that exposes the potential problem areas in the partnership, Moore says. If someone has a family emergency and disappears the first six months of the business — even though it may not be through any fault of his own — are you still expected to give that person a certain percentage of the business? If someone simply isn t pulling his or her weight, you need to be able to get them out without destroying the business, he adds. And if it s in writing, there s no arguing it.

    10. Do I really need a partner?
    If you can get someone to do something without giving them a stake in your business, it s always better, Moore says. People get wrapped up in the idea of needing to work with someone, but it s not always a good idea. Sometimes you need somebody to show up from 9-5, work hard and go home, he says, adding. If you re cash poor, or it s a startup and you don t expect to make money right away, taking on a partner might be the better option. But if you can just pay somebody to show up and work, it s generally a better option than giving them a stake in the company.

    And now a bonus question.

    What happens if we can t work it out?
    Most people don t envision the rough times ahead for a new venture, so this question is probably the hardest to remember to ask and the beginning. Yet, the best time to address potential problems with your partner is at the beginning before emotions run high. You can t predict every potential problem, but a good startup lawyer can help you work through some of the common problems and put a framework in place to help address unforeseen circumstances, Kratofil says.


    Tags : , , , , , , , ,

    10 Questions to Ask Before Selling Your Business #business #attire


    #sell my business

    #

    10 Questions to Ask Before Selling Your Business

    If you re thinking about selling your business, think twice. Selling a business should never be a spur-of-the-moment decision, says Curtis Kroeker, group general manager for San Francisco-based BizBuySell.com and BizQuest.com. business-for-sale marketplaces that have an inventory of about 40,000 businesses. You need to figure out things like if you should sell, when is the best time to sell, and what you need to consider before selling, among many other considerations.

    So, should you sell your business? Here are 10 key questions to help you figure it out.

    Is my business ready to sell? Kroeker recommends at least two years of preparation before putting your business on the market. Make sure you can produce two to three years of tax returns that are accurate and show maximum profitability to get the best price for your business, he says. You can t start putting things together the month before you sell.

    How is a buyer going to value my business? Particularly with family ownership, companies sometimes run everything through the business, such as country club dues and car allowances, says Robert Kibby, section head of the corporate and securities group at Dallas-based Munsch Hardt Kopf Harr Attorneys and Counselors. Loading the business with tax write-offs can make you appear less profitable and cause a buyer to undervalue your business.

    Who should be on my team when I sell? It s important for entrepreneurs to figure out whose services will bring them through the sales process and help them get the best price for their business. Do you need an accountant? How about an appraiser, attorney, consultant and business broker? The buyer is typically going to have a good team to go over your business, so you should, too, Kibby says.

    Is it the right time to sell? Many people wait till their business is on the decline to sell. That s the exact opposite of what you should do, says Debbie Allen. a Phoenix-based business and brand strategist and consultant. You want to sell when you are at the top of your game peaked out, she says. Some will say, I m making good money now. Why should I sell? That s thinking like a business owner, not an entrepreneur.

    Is the market right? Before selling, look at current market conditions for your industry. Selling a home improvement business in 2006 showed a pretty good return. Fast forward a couple of years and many roofing, siding, home financing and other housing-related companies had lost a big chunk of their value. I saw companies who turned down an offer in 2005 who couldn t get three-quarters of that price a few years later, says Allan Siposs, a managing director of FMV Capital Markets in Irvine, Calif. which offers services for mergers, acquisitions and divestitures. Wait until market conditions are better to sell.

    Can I cope with the changes on the horizon? Rapidly changing technology, increasing globalization and other business trends can prove too much for some business owners. Keep your eyes trained three or four years down the road, and if you don t believe you can keep up, sell before your failure to adapt catches up with you. Some people find it hard to leave, but if you wait too long, the industry may pass you by, Allen says.

    Can my business thrive without me or without a key customer? If a buyer is concerned that a business is too dependent on the owner or a single customer, he may take his offer elsewhere. A good business can operate when the owner is on vacation and has good revenue diversification, where no one customer represents more than five percent of the business, Siposs says.

    Would I be willing to stay on if the buyer wants me to? Sometimes you can seal a deal by agreeing to stay on in a consulting role for a period of six months. But first, you need to determine whether it s really worth it to you. If you re willing to stay on, it might reduce the risk to the buyer and increase the value of the company, Siposs says.

    What are the potential deal breakers? Unresolved issues can rear their ugly head and interfere with a sale, particularly in areas such as company ownership, accounting and intellectual property rights. For example, an owner may have used a contractor to write software for the company without requiring him to assign his rights to the company. This can create questions about who possesses critical rights, which can scuttle the deal, Kibby says. So, consider what your potential deal breakers are and try to resolve them before you re near to closing a deal.

    Would I consider alternatives to an outright sale? If an outright sale isn t right for you, a CPA or investment banker can help evaluate other options. How about structuring a deal to pass on the ownership to employees through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP)? Would you consider selling a percentage of the company to a private equity fund? Or would you do a leveraged recapitalization, which is a loan that puts a portion of the proceeds in your pocket?


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    10 Questions to Ask Before Committing to a Business Partner #penny #stocks


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    10 Questions to Ask Before Committing to a Business Partner

    Like a marriage, a business partnership often begins with enthusiasm and high expectations — only to end in acrimony and legal proceedings. It s important to know as much as possible about a potential partner, including how his or her finances and family life may affect the business, before signing on the dotted line.

    Here are some questions to ask before deciding if partnering is a good idea:

    1. What do I need from a business partner?
    You should look for a business partner who brings something different to the table than you do. If you re creative, maybe you need a more detail-oriented partner. If you have money to invest in the business, you may want to look for a partner with access to a market, or with great connections. Or if you re shy, you might need a good people person to balance the equation. If they re similar to you, it might be more comfortable, but it may not be what you need, says William M. Moore, founder of the Moore Firm in San Diego, a law firm that serves entrepreneurs. You need someone who complements your skills and personality.

    2. What is your potential partner s financial situation?
    It is important to have an understanding of someone s financial status and commitments before getting into a venture together. It is tough to ask what they are currently spending on a house or in payments to an ex-spouse, but someone s prior financial commitments shape the decisions they will make in the short term, says Gregory Kratofil, an attorney and shareholder with the law firm Polsinelli Shughart in Kansas City, Mo. who specializes in small business interests. If he has large outstanding obligations, but says he can get by on $35,000 salary, it is a red flag.

    3. What are the potential partner s expectations on the time involved?
    Partners don t have to spend the same amount of time, but it is important that they are on the same page as to each other s expected time commitments. How many hours a day does your partner expect to put into the venture, and do his expectations meet yours? It is equally important to level set your partner s expectations on your time commitments, Kratofil says. The age old adage that it s better to under-promise and over-deliver applies here.

    4. Is your potential partner s commitment to the business as strong as yours?
    I don t care if it s a coffee house or a design firm, the business partner s commitment has to equal yours, says Bob Phibbs, consultant and CEO of The Retail Doctor. a site that provides information to small and medium-sized businesses. A partnership — especially one between friends — can start off with fun and excitement, but within a short time, the slog of every day catches up with you. If they re not as committed to the business as you, they may lose their enthusiasm and may actually be damaging the brand every time you open your doors.

    5. Is there something in your potential partner s family life that might make the business a secondary interest?
    If your potential partner has a pregnant wife or is taking care of an elderly parent, he may be distracted from the business. That s why you have to be brutally honest when thinking of forming a partnership. The partner can say, My wife is behind me 100 percent. But I want to talk to the wife, Phibbs says. If they re too distracted by a family issue or their family isn t behind them, the business may be doomed from the start.

    6. How would he or she handle a tough situation?
    It s important to know what your potential business partner will do if he has his back up against the wall — and it will happen, Phibbs says. The best way to discover this is to look at what he s done in past business ventures. If he couldn t meet payroll, for example: Did he do the right thing and dip into savings or borrow from a credit card or a friend? Or did he pay employees late, or not at all? Or worse, did he skip paying payroll taxes? It all comes down to character issue, Phibbs says, adding, Payroll taxes are a federal obligation. If that s negotiable, you can bet your partnership is also negotiable.

    7. What questions do they have for me?
    If a potential employee doesn t ask any questions in a job interview, you might be less likely to hire him because of a perceived lack of interest. The same applies to a potential business partner, who should want to know about your character, reliability and expectations. I want them to ask me the same tough questions I ask them. If they say it doesn t really matter, it could mean two things: their expectations are too high or they might be kind of flighty, Phibbs says. Things may be fine now, but in a month or two, they may want to change things or even get out of the deal.

    8. What is the potential partner s standing in the community?
    A lot of people seem good at first, but that may be their skill — seeming good at first, Moore says. Once they get their foot in the door, it may be difficult to get them out. Talk to former employees to see what they were like to work with, or for. If you re looking for someone with money connections, verify that they have money. If they say they have great connections, see if those connections go beyond just being recognized and given a slap on the back. A business partnership is not a marriage, but there should be some sort of courtship process that you can verify that they are who they say they are, Moore says.

    9. Are they willing to put everything in writing?
    Many partnerships are cemented with a handshake, but this can be a recipe for disaster. It s crucial to put it on paper — not only what is expected of each partner, but the consequences if expectations aren t met. There s something about actually putting it in writing that exposes the potential problem areas in the partnership, Moore says. If someone has a family emergency and disappears the first six months of the business — even though it may not be through any fault of his own — are you still expected to give that person a certain percentage of the business? If someone simply isn t pulling his or her weight, you need to be able to get them out without destroying the business, he adds. And if it s in writing, there s no arguing it.

    10. Do I really need a partner?
    If you can get someone to do something without giving them a stake in your business, it s always better, Moore says. People get wrapped up in the idea of needing to work with someone, but it s not always a good idea. Sometimes you need somebody to show up from 9-5, work hard and go home, he says, adding. If you re cash poor, or it s a startup and you don t expect to make money right away, taking on a partner might be the better option. But if you can just pay somebody to show up and work, it s generally a better option than giving them a stake in the company.

    And now a bonus question.

    What happens if we can t work it out?
    Most people don t envision the rough times ahead for a new venture, so this question is probably the hardest to remember to ask and the beginning. Yet, the best time to address potential problems with your partner is at the beginning before emotions run high. You can t predict every potential problem, but a good startup lawyer can help you work through some of the common problems and put a framework in place to help address unforeseen circumstances, Kratofil says.


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    Ask a small business advisor #business #search #engines


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    Alberta Government

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