Category Archives: Blog Posts

Florida Offers a Great Business Climate

Florida is internationally known for its fantastic weather, beautiful beaches and diverse recreational activities.  The Florida Emerald Coast is also a great location to own your own business.  Florida has worked hard to have a welcoming business climate.  The state of Florida has NO personal income tax in addition to other tax incentives such as NO corporate income tax on limited partnerships and subchapter S- corporations.

The state of Florida’s infrastructure ranks 2nd in the United States.  The Florida Panhandle is blessed to have 3 commercial airports: the Destin-Ft. Walton Airport, the Northwest Florida Airport and the Pensacola International Airport.  The area also has numerous private airports and military airports located at Tyndall Air Force Base, Pensacola Naval Air Station, and Eglin Air Force Base, which is the largest air base in the country.  The Panhandle contains the East-West interstate, I-10, which intersects with I-65, I-75 and I-95 to provide transportation to all regions of the country.  US Hwy. 90 and the CSX Rail Transportation System, that runs parallel to Hwy. 90, are also excellent pieces of the infrastructure.  The Emerald Coast of Florida also has 2 deep water ports, the Pensacola Port and the Panama City Port.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics ranks Florida’s workforce as the 4th largest in the nation.  Florida provides a great pool of talent due in part to the 12 universities and numerous colleges and technical institutions that provide customized training programs. All residents live within 50 miles of a school of higher learning.

If you desire to own a business on the Emerald Coast, Florida will provide you with a business friendly government that works on legislative, fiscal and marketplace initiatives.  They offer a competitive cost of doing business, a pro-business tax structure, expedited permitting and many additional resources. Come to the beautiful area that continues to climb in tourism every year!

Some of the information for this article was drawn from Enterprise Florida, Inc.

Florida Income Tax

Learn all about Florida’s income tax regulations, along with helpful resources to use when tax time rolls around.

No income tax in Florida?

Most states collect both state income tax and federal income tax. Not Florida. It’s one of seven US states with no individual income tax. And, if you’re aspiring to own and operate a business in Florida, you’ll be happy to know that the state’s corporate income tax system consists of a flat rate of 5.5%—the 12th lowest among states with a corporate income tax. And, in 2007 the Intangibles Tax was repealed—resulting in Floridians no longer paying taxes to the state on intangible goods like investments.

All of this means that in 2013, Florida placed the 5th lowest tax burden on its residents and businesses. That makes it a GREAT place to live and own a business.

So how does Florida collect?
The State has to make money somehow, right? According to the Tax Foundation, Florida’s taxpayers pay $3728 per capita in state and local taxes.

Let’s look at some areas where you can expect to pay taxes in Florida, and at some tax resources for Florida residents and business owners.

  • Sales Tax. Florida charges a 6% tax rate on the sale or rental of goods (with exceptions like medicines and groceries). Counties can also issue local taxes on top of state taxes (in 2012, 55 of 67 counties levied local sales tax).
  • Use Tax. State sales tax has to be paid on items purchased online or other out-of-state purchase (even if no tax was charged at the time of purchase). This includes taxable items bought in Florida and items purchased outside of the state that were brought in or delivered.
  • Property tax. State government does not collect property taxes, but local governments get some of their funding through property taxes. Property tax rates are assessed at the local level and vary by county.
  • Other taxes. You’ll find that Florida levies taxes on several goods and services: Documentary Stamp Taxes are assessed on documents that transfer interest in Florida real property (warranty deeds, quit claim deeds, etc.); fuel; tobacco products; communications services; etc.

You can take a look at all potential Florida taxes here.

Buying a business in Florida

If you are planning to buy a business in Florida, there will be taxes that apply. Your business broker can help determine what taxes you owe and walk with you through the process. You can view potential business taxes here.

Resources for Florida Tax Information

For more information about Florida taxes, including the corporation income tax, sales tax, property tax and more, check out these resources.

Commercial Tax Information for All Businesses
Corporate Income Tax
Estate Tax
Filing Taxes Online
Florida Department of Revenue
Florida Tax Information for New Residents
Homestead Exemption Information
Local Business Tax Information
Property Taxes
Property Tax Calculator
Sales Tax Information
Tax Collector Offices by County
Tax Forms
Taxpayer Bill of Rights
Tax Refunds
Tourist Impact Taxes
Reemployment Tax

 

Business Buying Process

Get the simplified business buying process explained from experts in business acquisition.

The Business Buying Process Explained

Many people looking to purchase a business are doing so for the first time. Maybe you have experience at starting your own business from the ground up, but buying a business is a completely different process with a unique set of requirements.

Buying a Business in 8 Steps

Hire a Broker. Yes, you can buy a business without the help of a broker, but it is a complicated undertaking made  much more manageable with the help of a qualified professional. They’ll do most of the difficult work for you: prescreening businesses, helping match you with businesses that meet your interests and goals, assisting you with paperwork, and the toughest part–negotiating with the seller. If you’re considering purchasing a business in Florida, contact the experts at Emerald Coast Business Brokers to get moving in the right direction.

Identify the Business. In many cases prospective business owners have an idea of a location,  industry, and specific businesses they’re interested in. If you don’t, you’re not alone. Business brokers specialize in matching you with businesses that are a good fit.

Sign a Confidentiality Agreement. Once you have identified a business to purchase, both you and the seller will sign a confidentiality agreement. This agreement ensures discreetness throughout the entire process. In most cases, the business’ employees and customers are unaware of the pending business sale, so a confidentiality agreement helps a seller proceed with confidence.

Review the Business. This is the process through which you (with the direction of your broker) will analyze the business to make certain it meets expectations and goals. During this phase, you will examine records and ask all questions you have about the business. This is typically where you will have financial advisors, attorneys, etc., assist.

Negotiate. This is the phase where an unbiased broker is most needed. Both parties will work to negotiate the terms of the sale–including price and additional terms of the takeover, including exclusivity periods and any training required after the transfer.

Make an Offer. A written offer is required to purchase a business–and in many cases this should come in the form of a purchase agreement or contract of sale in order to keep the seller from entertaining other offers (and to encourage the buyer to take your offer seriously). Normally once the offer is accepted, a deposit is required.

Due Diligence. After the seller has accepted your offer, before you prepare closing documents, you will perform due diligence. This involves reviewing the last three years of financial statements, including tax statements, monthly expense reports, balance sheets, cash flow statements, and employee records. The more records you are able to review, the more successful you will be at due diligence. Once you are satisfied with the details of the business, you can move to preparing the closing documents.

Complete the Deal. Your broker will assist in making certain all parties involved (lawyers, accountants, etc.) are pleased with the paperwork prior to closing.

Is the business buying process really that easy?

While buying a business is a complicated process, with experienced brokers on your side, success is definitely attainable. Emerald Coast Business Brokers will walk you through purchasing an existing business from start to finish. Contact us for help through the process.

 

 

Business Ownership

Business ownership in today’s market can be stressful. The experts at Emerald Coast Business Brokers can help you manage the buying and selling process.

Own your own business along Florida’s Emerald Coast

What better place to take on the adventure of business ownership than in one of the beautiful coastal towns along Florida’s Emerald Coast? The area has so much to offer! And if that is the direction you are interested in going, there are some great questions to ask before you start your search:

  • How do I find a quality business that matches my requirements?
    Of course, before you can answer this question, it’s important to first identify your requirements. Where do your interests lie? What type of business would make you want to get out of bed in the morning? Do you have an expertise? What type of atmosphere do you prefer? You may already have a business in mind, but if you need assistance determining your requirements, a business broker can help. And once you know the type of business you’re looking for, a Business Broker will help you find a business that matches your requirements through their database of business listings.
  • What is that business really worth, and how much financial information can I get from the owner?

If you’re serious about buying the business, part of the Due Diligence process includes access to all financial information – this, of course, is to help ensure you are making a sound financial decision. And this is another place where a qualified business broker is ideal.

  • What strategy should I use when making an offer?
    Naturally you will want to buy a business at the relatively lowest cost to you, which requires strategy, good planning, knowing your local market, and knowing how to trade intelligently. Your business broker will help you identify the best strategy.
  • Do I need an accountant or an attorney involved in the purchase?
    In almost every case, yes. A prospective business owner will work with a team that consists of attorneys, bankers, CPAs and insurance companies to complete the business transaction. Your business broker will guide this team.

 

What exactly will Emerald Coast Brokers do for me?

The Emerald Coast Team is made up of well-educated, accomplished professionals who not only know the ins and outs of buying and selling a business, they are also well-acquainted with the local market. Here’s what you can expect:  

 

  • We’ll pre-screen businesses to help you avoid unnecessary risk.
  • We’ll handle negotiations on your behalf.
  • We’ll help ensure all necessary paperwork is completed in a timely manner.
  • We’ll be your expert on the local market.
  • We’ll coordinate efforts between CPAs, financial institutions, attorneys, insurance companies, etc.

 

Places that Emerald Coast Brokers serves

The gorgeous Emerald Coast is perfect for vacationing, but it’s also an amazing place for business ownership. If your dream is to own a business here, the Emerald Coast Team can help you find a business in these areas:

 

 

Have a location in mind that isn’t listed? Let us know! We can service all of Northwest Florida and beyond.

 

If you have questions about business ownership along the Emerald Coast, contact the professionals at Emerald Coast Business Brokers today! We look forward to helping make your dreams come true.

 

 

Businesses For Sale

If you are looking for businesses for sale in North Florida, learn about possibilities and find out how to buy a business.

North Florida Businesses for Sale

Sure, you can buy a business anywhere. But the Emerald Coast area of North Florida is an ideal place to live and work; it’s the prime location to look for businesses for sale. If you have spent much time researching, you’ve read that buying an existing business is typically better than starting one from scratch. Banks are more likely to lend money to buy an existing business that’s for sale, rather than give startup funds for a business idea. But how do you find businesses for sale in Florida, and how do you go about buying a business?

Types of Businesses for Sale

Basically any type of business you can imagine can be bought and sold. Examples of businesses for sale that you may consider are auto mechanic shops, restaurants, hotels, pool companies, computer businesses. In Florida, if you can dream it up, you’ll probably find a business for sale that matches those dreams.

Businesses are put on the market for a variety of reasons. The owner may want to retire, start a new business, or relocate to a new city. When they want out of the business, they list their business for sale with reliable business brokers, such as those at Emerald Coast Business Brokers.

Brokers like the Emerald Coast Team list businesses for sale, then market them to potential buyers. Similar to how a real estate agent would show properties to meet unique needs and budgets, business brokers can show you a variety of businesses for sale and work to help you meet your goals.

In the North Florida area, we have typical businesses you would find around the country, along with many more tourism-centered opportunities. You can also find businesses that meet the needs of local residents, like gyms, spas, and tanning salons.

How to Locate and Purchase Businesses for Sale

At Emerald Coast Business Brokers we prescreen businesses for sale, and then we work to match your interests, skills and goals with businesses that are listed for sale in the areas you are interested in. To begin your search for the perfect business opportunity, contact one of our experienced advisors today.

Buying a Business in Florida

Florida is the right choice for business ownership!

After spending year after year vacationing in North Florida, then finally making it home, I can say with confidence that buying a business in Florida is one of the best decisions you’ll make. There aren’t many other locals in the US where you can experience beautiful weather year-round, a booming tourism industry, and a thriving real estate market and economy (not to mention amazingly gorgeous sugar-white beaches) all in one place.

 

So my first words of advice are, “go for it!”

 

Once you’ve decided that Florida is the place, the next step is to find a business broker to guide you through the process. And you don’t want just any business broker. You want one you can communicate with directly, someone who knows the market well, and most importantly, someone who clearly understands your interests, goals, strategy and expectations.

 

Emerald Coast Business Brokers is that team.

 

At the beginning of the process of buying a business in Florida, the advisor who is assigned to you will determine your needs by asking several questions including:

 

  • Why do you want to buy a business?
  • What type of business would you like to buy?
  • What prior experience do you have in managing a business?
  • What has been your career path?
  • Is there anything you’ve always wanted to do that doesn’t feel like work?
  • How long do you plan to own the business?
  • How do you plan to finance the business?
  • What is your purchase timeline?
  • What is your ideal location for owning a business?
  • What size businesses are you interested in buying?

 

With this information, we can then help you discover potential businesses that meet your needs. Once you identify a specific business that you are interested in, we will then walk through the important process of evaluating the business. Through this process we will provide things like financial records for review, a list of assets and inventory, property and equipment lease agreements (and related documents), loan and debt schedules, service contracts, key vendors, and key employees.

 

As you can see, buying a business in Florida can be a complicated process, but it is certainly made easier through the expertise of a qualified business broker who is familiar with the market.

 

If you have questions about buying a business in Florida, or you are ready to get the process started, contact us today for a confidential consultation. We look forward to helping you make your dreams come true!

Florida Small Business Loans

Looking for help getting a small business loan in Florida? Get the most important resources here.

Small Business Loans in Florida

Do you need a loan to purchase a small business? Or do you need additional funds to grow your existing business? No matter why you need a small business loan, there are resources available in Florida. There are many ways to obtain loans, from private lending institutions to government agencies. Whether you need short term funding or want to buy a business, let’s cover some options for small business loans.

Government Agencies

The US Small Business Administration offers many programs to small business owners—for loans, financing and bonds. They can help you get a third party lender, guarantee a bond, or help you locate venture capital. In 2013, the SBA delivered more than $30 billion in loan guarantees. The Florida SBA not only provides Florida small business loans, but it also works to provide counseling, capital, contracting, disaster assistance, and advocacy. If you are in need of financial assistance for your business, you can find the Florida SBA here.

Private Lenders

Banks may be able to offer you a line of credit or a small business loan—if you do personal banking at a Florida bank, start there; you may be able to get a great interest rate since they are familiar with your financial history. But, of course, it is also a good idea to check rates with competitors. Most banks have a small business specialist, so start there. It’s important to note that getting a loan to start a business from scratch can prove difficult. They are normally more apt to loan money for purchasing a business that has proven successful. Having the expertise of a qualified business broker, like Emerald Coast Business Brokers, on your side can increase your chances of qualifying a small business.

Outside Investors

Outside investors would be anyone with the means and money to invest in your business. An investor differs from a partner because an investor gives you money in the hopes that you will use it to grow your business and repay them a percentage where a partner takes an interest in the day-to-day running of your business. An investor is looking for you to work to repay them, while a partner is willing to work with you. Money from an outside investor is essentially a private loan. Finding outside investors may be difficult, but if you network and talk with your contacts, you may find someone interested in providing investment funds to your small business—this is where a Business Broker can come in handy.

Additional Resources

For more resources for Florida small business loans, check out these helpful links:

Enterprise Florida
Florida Economic Information
Small Business Resources from the SBA
Florida Department of Financial Services

 

How to Buy a Business in Florida

Looking to purchase a Florida business? Find out who to contact and what steps are involved.

Buying a Florida Business

Each year, the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Economic Competitiveness does a regional and national study of economic growth. In 2013, they forecasted Florida economic growth for 2014-2017. In that forecast, they predict that retail sales will grow at a pace of 4.2% during 2014-2017, and that the labor force will grow 1.5% annually. Both of these predictions make Florida a prime spot to buy a business. Florida is primed for growth in the coming years. So how do you buy a business in Florida? Don’t go it alone.  Contact Emerald Coast Business Intermediaries. Here’s how it works.

How to Buy a Business in Florida with Emerald Coast Business Intermediaries

The experts on the Emerald Coast team are not only business advisors, but we’re local experts. When it comes to Florida businesses, we know the local market. It can be nearly impossible to purchase a business alone—the process is complex without the help of someone who’s been there before. Emerald Coast Business Intermediaries will be advisors and collaborators with you throughout the whole process.

Prescreening Businesses for Sale. For starters, we begin working before you ever call. We prescreen businesses to help make certain they are good investments for the buyer.

When you’re ready to purchase a business in Florida, you can browse our listings. We offer businesses for sale throughout Florida, specifically in popular destinations like Destin, Fort Walton Beach, Rosemary Beach, and Pensacola.

Matching You with a Business. The Emerald Coast Team is unique compared to other brokers. Sure, you can look through pages of businesses for sale, but our expertise comes in matching your interests, skills, and goals with businesses for sale. If you’re looking for the perfect business venture, contact us today!

Research and Negotiations. The Emerald Coast team will help ensure you have all of the paperwork and information you need to evaluate the business for sale. And we’ll negotiate with the seller on your behalf .

Closing the Sale. Before closing, we’ll work with your lenders, attorneys, insurance companies and other interested parties to create paperwork and documents to close the business sale. We’ll make sure the deal meets all Florida legal requirements as well.

Training. After the sale, we’ll arrange for the seller to work with you for any training necessary. You’ll work together to create a post-acquisition plan to set you up for success in your new company.

Buy a Florida Business with the Help of the Experts

If this process seems easy, it’s because Emerald Coast Business Intermediaries makes buying a Florida business simple. We are experts in both large and small business purchases, and can walk alongside you through the process. Contact us to learn more about how to buy a Florida business and find the perfect business for you. Let’s set up a confidential consultation today!

Welcome to the Emerald Coast Business Brokers Blog

Emerald Coast Business Brokers Launches Blog

Welcome to the official blog of Emerald Coast Business Brokers. We’re glad you stopped by!

Our purpose is to provide helpful resources for those in the market to buy and sell businesses along Florida’s Emerald Coast. The Blog will feature educational and entertaining posts, written by experts, that are designed to coach you through the process of buying and/or selling a business in Northwest Florida.

So, whether you’re new to business ownership, or you’re an experienced pro, we invite you to participate in the Emerald Coast Team’s growing community. We hope you’ll make the most of the information our seasoned professionals and your fellow business owners have to share. We welcome questions, and look forward to reading about your experiences. Together, we can change the way people buy and sell businesses in Northwest Florida.

If you have questions that the Emerald Coast Business Brokers haven’t answered in a current or past post, our friendly, professional team is ready to assist you. Simply ask your question in the contact form, and we’ll respond as quickly as possible.

— The Emerald Coast Business Brokers Team

Business Brokers

What are Business Brokers?

Simply put, a business broker’s job is to guide business buyers and sellers through the process of buying and/or selling a business. They bring the buyers and sellers together with a goal of helping them negotiate a mutually beneficial business transaction; and they do this by providing expertise and advice throughout the entire process.

For the seller, business brokers set the valuation price, prepare your business for the marketplace, guide the paperwork and legal requirements process, customize a marketing plan, conduct buyer searches, negotiate with potential buyers, work with the closing team to execute a smooth selling transaction, and maintain confidentiality throughout the sale.

For the buyer, business brokers pre-screen businesses, provide the information you need to evaluate them, negotiate with the seller on your behalf, and prepare the paperwork and documentation required to complete the transaction.

And the type of business broker you want is one that does these things in a timely manner with excellent communication throughout the duration of the sale.

Should I use business brokers?

The short answer is, “yes.” And here’s why:

For the Seller

  • When you’re busy working in the business, it can be difficult to step outside of your every-day responsibilities to place a market value on it. This is where an experienced Business Broker’s expertise lies. They’ll work to evaluate your business to set a selling price that is workable in the local market, has realistic terms and conditions, and is in line with your goals.

  • If you don’t have the marketing skills to attract quality buyers, a successful business broker does. They’ll identify your target buyer and conduct a comprehensive marketing campaign that includes online and off-line efforts — finding the right buyer at the right time.

  • Most owners don’t have time to meet with every person interested in their business. Business brokers will interview and screen potential buyers to keep you from wasting your time; you’ll only meet with those who are a match for your business and are expected to make an offer. And, most importantly, they’ll do the uncomfortable part; negotiate on your behalf.

For the buyer

  • Finding the right business for your needs and goals is of utmost importance, and it’s what Business Brokers specialize in. In the initial consultation they’ll help determine the type of business you’re interested in, and do the work to find exactly what you’re looking for — a business that fits your personality and your lifestyle.

  • The negotiation process can be uncomfortable. Business Brokers understand your financial needs and they will negotiate with the seller on your behalf, with the goal of a mutually beneficial transaction.

  • They walk with you throughout the entire transaction. Buying a business is a complicated process that requires help from experienced professionals who know the exact steps you need to take. They’ll help prepare of the paperwork and documentation required for the sale.

Emerald Coast Business Brokers

The ideal Business Brokers are those with experience who have walked in the same shoes you’re walking in. Understanding the ins and outs of business ownership is imperative. If you’re buying or selling a business along Florida’s Emerald Coast, that’s exactly what you’ll find with Emerald Coast Business Brokers. The Emerald Coast Team is comprised of experienced entrepreneurs who have very successfully started, bought, and sold businesses. They know exactly what it takes to turn your dreams into reality. If you have questions about buying or selling your business or if you want more information about what experienced, professional business brokers can do for you, contact us today.