Buy a Business | FAQs
Choosing to buy a business is a major decision, one that will affect you financially and change your lifestyle. Based on years of experience helping people buy businesses, Sunbelt has identified several commonly asked questions. The information below is designed to aid you in identifying a business you like and understanding the business purchase process. If you have any questions about buying a business, please contact us.
1. Why should I buy an existing business?
A big advantage in buying an existing business, versus starting a new business, is that an existing business typically has existing cash flow, established customer and vendor relationships, trained employees and market-proven products and services.
2. What things should I know as a business buyer?
At Sunbelt Business Brokers, we are advocates of finding a business that you like and will feel comfortable managing. You, like every other prospective buyer, have a vision of being your own boss and calling your own shots.
Let’s assume that you find a business that you like and its location is ideal. However, because of poor management, the business may not show the greatest track record. Purchased for the right price and on the right terms, this business could become more successful with proper management, making it a great way to achieve your vision of being in business for yourself.
As a prospective business buyer, you will be concerned as to why the business owner is selling the business. Business owners sell for a variety of reasons: retirement, poor health, relocation or simply being ready to move on. If it is a good business for you, the reason for the sale doesn’t matter.
Finally, be aware that most businesses sell for less than their listed price. Therefore, if it’s a business you like, don’t be afraid to make what you consider to be a reasonable offer.
Remember, Sunbelt Business Brokers are trained, experienced professionals. Utilize your broker’s talents and call your broker whenever you need assistance or have questions about buying a business.
3. Why should I use a Sunbelt Business Brokers?
Sunbelt Business Brokers are dedicated to providing you with superior service throughout the entire buying process. Sunbelt’s in-house process makes the transition from prospective business buyer to new business owner smooth and less complicated. At any given time, we have thousands of business for sale listings throughout our Sunbelt Network, and over 120 in-office. Our brokers work with you to find the business that best matches your goals and financial needs, while also providing key benefits to you as a buyer:
- Business brokers save you time and money.
- Sunbelt protects your confidentiality when you buy a business.
- Business brokers keep the buying process moving.
- Sunbelt has more business for sale listings than any other network.
4. How can Sunbelt Business Brokers assist me in locating and purchasing a business?
A Sunbelt Business Broker will provide you access to thousands of business-for-sale opportunities and then help you identify businesses that suit your monetary and lifestyle requirements and are appropriate for your business skills and experience. Sunbelt will also help you understand and navigate the complexities of the buying process, facilitate negotiations between you and the seller and oversee the due diligence and closing process.
5. What are Sunbelt Business Brokers’ fees?
In most cases, your Sunbelt Business Broker is a representative of the seller and is paid by the seller; there is little or no direct cost to the buyer to utilize a Sunbelt broker. Because of Sunbelt’s market presence and expertise, buyers often engage a Sunbelt broker to perform a targeted search for a business not currently listed for sale but with an owner willing to consider a purchase offer. Under this circumstance, the broker is a representative of the buyer and the buyer is responsible for paying the broker his/her fee. For a targeted search, you can typically count on a minimum retainer of $5,000 and a percentage success fee at closing.
6. What information do I need to provide in order to learn more about a particular business?
The information you will be required to provide in order to obtain detailed information on a business listed for sale will vary depending on the size of the business, the complexity and competitiveness of the industry, the disposition of the seller and other factors. Under any circumstance, safeguarding the confidentiality of the seller is absolutely essential. It is a responsibility that Sunbelt Business Brokers takes seriously. Imagine the potential erosion in value a business could experience if its key employees, vendors, customers or competitors discovered it was for sale. For this reason, each and every prospective buyer must provide the following items (at minimum) before receiving additional information on a business that interests them:
- Confidential Business Buyer Profile: This document will help your Sunbelt broker evaluate business opportunities that best suit your background, experience, financial and lifestyle goals.
- Personal Financial Statement: In conjunction with the Buyer Profile above, your Sunbelt broker may require this document to determine business opportunities that suit your personal financial circumstances. This information will also be necessary to structure purchase offers and obtain financing when buying a business.
- Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure Agreement: These documents identify your responsibilities and obligations as a prospective buyer concerning any confidential information disclosed about a business listed for sale by Sunbelt.
- Credit Check Authorization or Recently Obtained Credit Profile: Sellers do occasionally require an up-to-date credit profile as a prequalification to disclosing confidential information to a prospective buyer. Furthermore, it will be required as part of a purchase offer that involves any sort financing or lease agreement.
7. What are the requirements for SBA loans?
Even though the SBA-qualifying standards are more flexible than other types of loans, lenders will generally ask for certain information before deciding to use an SBA loan program. Generally, lenders will need the following documentation to evaluate your loan request:
Business Profile: A document describing type of business, annual sales, number of employees, length of time in business and ownership. Sunbelt Quad Cities will help provide this information.
Loan Request: A description of how loan funds will be used, which should include purpose, amount and type of loan.
Collateral: Description of collateral offered to secure the loan, including equity in the business, borrowed funds and available cash.
Business Financial Statements: Complete financial statements including income statements and balance sheets for the past three years and current interim financial statements. SBA will also require cash flow projections indicating how much cash an owner operator can expect to generate to repay the loan, as well as accounts receivable and “payable aging” statements. Your Sunbelt Indiana Broker will request this information.
Personal Financial Statements: Statements of owners, partners, officers and stockholders owning 20% or more of the business. The strength and accuracy of your financial statements will be the primary basis for the lending decision, so be sure that yours are carefully prepared and up-to-date. The most important documents in your financial statements are:
Source: Small Business Administration, www.sba.gov.
8. What are the steps of the due diligence process?
Due diligence is an extensive and thorough process. While your business broker can walk you through the steps of the process, we strongly recommend consulting your attorney and accountant for a complete explanation. A sample list of topics reviewed during the due diligence process are listed below:
- General Information
- Organizational Matters
- Litigation Issues
- Regulations and Permits
- Intellectual Property
- Financial and Accounting Matters
- Budgets and Forecasts
- Material Agreements and Documentation
- Sales and Marketing
- Employee Compensation and Benefits
- Environmental Matters
- Permits and Licenses
- Lease / Real Estate Matters