This blog is all about buying, building, and selling businesses. Before 30 I’ve bought and sold 3 brick-and-mortar businesses and started a 4th. My blogs are the nuts and bolts of the whole buy, build, sell process. The majority of my blogs focus on the Building stage because that one has the most steps even though the Buying aspect is the most important.
If you’ve never bought, sold, or ran a business the difference between where you are today and where you want to be is knowledge and action. I’d be glad help you with both through my 12 Month Tune-up business coaching.
However, if you already have a brick-and-mortar business (not internet based) and want to learn how to grow it rapidly with a strong Marketing System, utilize Online Marketing, please take a few minutes to review how I help small businesses dominate online.
There are basically 4 steps:
- Preparing – What you need to know prior to getting started.
- Buying – How to find, value, negotiate, and purchase a business.
- Building – What you can do quickly to increase the value of the business.
- Selling – The ins and outs of selling your business.
Ironically, as my most recent blog has pointed out (it’s ironic because it took me 18 months to write the blog that I should have written first), the most important part is your mindset and your attitude. Next, you’ll also need to take the first 3 steps to becoming wealthy including, always spending less than you earn, understanding the difference between where you are and where you want to be is education, and framing your goals into Do x Be = Have context. Possibly most importantly, you need to have a clear motivation for being an entrepreneur (even if it’s different than mine) and you need to appreciate that the ethical route is always the most profitable. And make sure you’re able to get over your fear of failure in trying new things.
It’s important to understand that there’s no better, quicker way to go from very little money (let’s say less than $5,000) to a lot of money. You can even take it to the next level and setup a business to generate $1,000,000 per year if that’s your desire. Recently, as part of another blog, I’ve outlined a basic plan for how someone can go from $5,000 or less to $1,000,000 primarily through business. To stress the point even further that buy, build, sell is the best way to generate wealth for the average individual, review my suggestion to skip getting your MBA and just buy a small business for your business education.
In the buy, build, sell strategy, the part that will have the greatest influence on your profit is the purchase price so learn as much as you can for this stage.
First, you’ll want to know some basic questions to ask the seller about their business and maybe even what questions to ask about any given business idea. Then you’ll have to understand how banks value a business in case you need to go to them for financing and also how EBIDTA can tie into business values (since sellers and business brokers may reference it). As you start looking for businesses, you need to have some ideas of where to find businesses for sale for little money down and how to deal with the business brokers once you find one you’re interested in.
Before you start making any offers, it’s very important that you get the seller (or broker) to like you since then they’ll be more likely to accept your business valuation. It’s very simple to turn someone down you don’t like anyway. Once you’re ready to make an offer, make sure you only purchase the assets and then put them into an LLC filing as an S-corp. If you do that, you won’t have to spend nearly as much time fighting with lawyers. But since you may need one anyway here are a few tips for getting the best rates from your lawyer.
When you’re just starting out you may be considering a partner but make sure you don’t take on a business partner unless absolutely necessary.
In the building stage you’re going to need to know what to do your first 2 weeks onsite at a business you’ve just purchased. If you don’t already know the difference between profits and cashflow, I’m sure you’ll learn very quickly.
Immediately you need to work on polarizing your company’s culture, improving teamwork, and communicating effectively. Right out of the gate you need to start setting up your business for running without you through the effective use of technology, incentives, and empowering your team. If you don’t do that immediately, you’ll soon be asked to do lots of things “in” the business that will take away from you working “on” the business. This is vitally important because if you’re not working on the business you’re not taking the time necessary to double profits, improve marketing, teach your team the importance of NLP, create systems, processes and scripts, or improve closing ratios. In other words, your primary focus for building value in your business is going to entail 3 parts:
- Increasing Sales – through new and improved marketing and better conversion rates. In other words you have to make sure your system for taking a lead and converting it to a customer is top-notch. Don’t forget that your back-end sales (sales to existing customers) will always be your most profitable business. With that in mind, if you can buy an already profitable business that’s horrible at back-end sales you can quickly increase its value.
- Cutting Costs – look at all of your expenses and simply cut those that aren’t needed. We reworked our accounting and phone costs alone to save thousands of dollars per year.
- Improving Efficiencies – this is primarily about scripts, systems, and processes for every aspect of your business.
Don’t make the mistake I did and wait until cash gets tight to realize that cashflow is king and then start building recurring revenue while looking for quick, easy, cheap ways to generate immediate cashflow.
Chances are you’re going to run into some issues with team members so it’s helpful to know the proper way to fire someone without having to pay unemployment and effective ways to get your team members to do what they do best.
In summary, you need to have a game plan from day one including an exit strategy or else you might end up like one of the 300 businesses in NYC who failed because they failed to plan for success.
Since this blog is getting long and selling isn’t much different than buying I’ll keep this short. You need to basically understand 3 things:
- How to value your business just the same as discussed in buying so you can justify your price.
- Where to list your business which is again the same places where you’d go to find a business for sale (such as bizbuysell.com)
- How to foster relationships so that when it’s time to sell, you have a few personal contacts in mind.
With regards to the 3rd, you may want to get to know other business owners in your area who have complimentary (or even competing businesses). You may also consider hiring a leader who would like to take over and own their own business some day. If you have a franchise like mine, you will also want to stay in touch with owners in other areas as they might want to expand their operations.
The goal with this post is to organize and direct the many varied posts I’ve written about my adventure buying, building, and now selling my business over the last 18 months. As I add more posts I’ll try to keep this summary updated so you can always reference it for new material.
To your generating-wealth-through-business success, Bryan