How We Do It
It Is Not About What Your Business Sells For; It Is About What You NET!
At Sunbelt, we are focused on the bottom line, the NET, of your transaction. So we begin with the end in mind, determining your personal and financial goals. Why are you thinking about selling? What are your plans after you sell? Are you using the funds for retirement? Are you going to leverage the proceeds into another business venture? Can you afford to sell after closing costs and taxes? What are the intangibles we need to consider, such as employees, relatives, etc.? Just as importantly, what’s your motivation, your human, not financial, reason for selling your business?
Normalizing / Recasting Your Financials
If you are like most business owners, you don’t pay any more taxes than you have to. Therefore, your financials likely do not reflect all the benefits your business pays you. Normalizing your financials is one of the most crucial steps in selling your business. Because businesses often sell for a multiple of earnings, you can’t afford to make mistakes in the recasting process. Simply put, every dollar that is found in the recasting process equals multiple dollars added to your price.
A business is worth what a willing and able buyer is willing to pay, and a willing and able seller is willing to accept. A valuation will help you and your Sunbelt representative understand the value of your business, and just as importantly, illustrate the hidden value drivers every business has.
Price, Terms and Financing
Once we have a valuation, it is important to determine not only price, but just as significantly, terms. You may need to retire debt or have a certain amount of cash at closing to achieve your post closing goals. We’ll work with you to set a price and terms that will achieve your goals AND attract the maximum number of buyer candidates. If you need to maximize cash, we’ll work with you and business lenders to determine financing options that will pre-qualify buyer financing that we can package with your business when we bring it to market.
Determining the Target List of Buyers
We work with buyers and sellers everyday and we understand that every seller and buyer is unique. Determining the profile of the ideal buyer for your business will help us determine where to focus our marketing dollars and time in selling your business. Our target group of buyers includes: Strategic Acquirers, Private Equity Groups and in some cases, individuals. Employees and competitors are often seen as likely buyers for businesses; however, they are least likely to pay a premium. Our goal is to approach buyers willing to pay for knowledge. While not all businesses can be marketed outside of the local region or acquired by a strategic buyer, we always start with the viewpoint of finding a strategic buyer who is willing to pay for knowledge and/or a geographic presence in a new market.
Confidential Business Profile
Our proprietary and copyrighted Confidential Business Profile is used to illustrate the unique value and Growth Opportunities of your business to potential buyers. A professional business profile is critical in positioning your business for sale. Outlining your Growth Opportunities is even more important as buyers tend to value your business based on historical and current performance but they actually decide to pull the trigger based on future opportunities.
As your advisor, Sunbelt will approach potential buyers without revealing your identity. Unlike most business sale firms, Sunbelt doesn’t just send a letter, we directly outbound call to the parties we identify as strategic acquisition candidates. In all business sales, Sunbelt uses a dozen business sale websites, including its top ranked proprietary website, direct mail, targeted e-mail campaigns and 300 offices worldwide to reach out to the market-place for interest in your business. As the largest business broker in the world, no one has more marketing reach than Sunbelt.
Offers / Negotiations
The Sunbelt system is designed to solicit offers early from buyers, before you invest significant time in providing detailed and sensitive financial information. Unlike many of our competitors, we will not show your financials, customer lists, employee rosters and other sensitive data, until there has been a contingent offer accepted by you. Our system is designed to minimize your accounting and legal fees until we help you and the buyer reach an agreement on price, terms and major conditions.
Due Diligence – Protecting Your Price & Keeping the Deal Alive
Most deals fall apart in due diligence. The reasons are many and usually relate to the seller, who is proficient in his or her business, but has never sold a business before and doesn’t understand the important subtleties of due diligence. These subtleties are critical to maintaining price, terms and finally closing the deal. It’s not just what you disclose, it’s when and how. The Sunbelt due diligence process offers a systematic disclosure that maximizes the number of offers made while minimizing the time the business seller spends away from his business. Just as importantly, we limit access to employees, vendors and clients of the business. Other reasons deals die include: a change in the business or its market; loss of a key customer or employee; the buyer’s financing falling through; or a personal tragedy for the buyer. Sunbelt has dealt with all these problems and many more. We are experts in the art and science of deal making. We help anticipate these problems and solve them as they occur.
Closing and Post Closing
How you handle the closing and announcement of the sale is critical to the future success of the business. Sunbelt will work with you all the way to closing AND will be available to you after closing for post closing help.
Working With Your Team
As a business professional, you have a trusted team of advisors in place. Your Sunbelt Business Advisor is eager to work with your attorneys, accountants and financial planners to make sure buying or selling a business is the right decision for you. As business intermediaries, we’re experts in buying and selling businesses. We enjoy working with other experts to ensure every aspect of your business purchase or sale is considered. Think of a business intermediary as another addition to your team – one more trusted advisor on your side to help secure your future.