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Virtual Due Diligence

One of the webinars from Business Brokerage Press on May 7, 2020 was Structuring Transactions Post-Coronavirus — COVID-19 Virtual Roundtable.  https://www.axial.net/forum/structuring-transactions-post-coronavirus-covid-19-virtual-roundtable/

The roundtable was led by Axial CEO, Peter Lehrman, and included 10 middle market deal professionals. Kristina Mayne, Director of Events for Axial, has written up notes from the webinar.

Here are a few questions and answers from the panel regarding virtual due diligence that are helpful for business sellers and buyers.

 How are perspectives on virtual diligence evolving?

  • It can be challenging but you can still check the four C’s of credit (capacity, character, collateral, cash flow) in a virtual environment.
  • It comes back to knowing the sponsor and spending enough time with management on the phone or video call and expanding your breadth of contact — you can still validate integrity in an old school way through a virtual format. Background checks are also imperative.

 How much diligence can be done virtually? Will you close a deal without meeting in person?

  • In person is critical — won’t submit any bid without meeting the management team several times.
  • Will perform diligence but not close without multiple in-person meetings. The assumption when submitting LOIs is that there will be multiple visits in person in June or July. Sitting across the table is a key part of relationship building and making sure everyone is aligned.
  • Sellers are offering virtual tours of plants in order to try to get deals done.
  • Most are assuming that it will be weeks before travel opens up, and counting on that to be able to get deals done.
  • It’s all about relationships right now — going back to people you know who you’ve worked with before rather than entertaining new vendors.

 New standards for environmental health and safety due diligence post-COVID   

  • SRP Environmental (an environmental, health and safety consultant) is being brought in to verify that manufacturing facilities are providing training and doing deep industrial cleaning for COVID. This has held up deals.
  • This work has replaced a lot of work they historically did in the oil and gas space.
  • This work will be a fundamental addition to due diligence for buyers of manufacturing facilities; also doing the work for office buildings, stadiums, and other facilities as everyone looks to open the economy. All the work has to be done on site.

Jeff Moody, CBI and managing intermediary for ECBI had this to add:

“While we have seen that many things can be accomplished virtually, the nature of a business transfer will require several in-person meetings. It is not like buying something online.”

 

10 Reasons Why You Should Hire a Broker When Selling Your Business

Transferring ownership of a business is complicated. If you go it alone, you can expect to spend a lot of time and energy on the process, or you can hire a business broker who will work alongside you to make sure the entire experience is well-executed. While every broker offers slightly different services, at Emerald Coast Business Intermediaries  we work to make the business sale easy. Here are 10 benefits of hiring a broker when selling a business.
You Should Hire a Business Broker When Selling a Business Because…
  1. Brokers know the local market. Business brokers assist in numerous business sales, typically in one particular area. A broker will help you with your valuation so that you’re competitive, and they will position your business as unique in the local market.
  2. Brokers find the right buyer. One of the most important aspects of selling a business involves finding someone who wants to buy it. A broker is familiar with local business owners who may be interested in diversifying by adding your business. They also work to promote your business to those who are best suited to run a business like yours.
  3. Brokers can devote their time to selling your business. If you try to sell your business on your own, you’ll be working to sell it while running your business. Hiring a business broker allows you to devote the proper amount of time to the business sale.
  4. Brokers offer a database of many businesses. These databases draw potential buyers, exposing your business to a wider range of buyers than you could on your own.
  5. Brokers prescreen buyers. Through a series of interviews and screenings, a broker will help ensure that you don’t waste your time with unqualified buyers. A broker will interview a buyer to make sure funding is available and that their interests align with your business.
  6. Brokers maintain confidentiality. During a business sale, a broker will provide a confidentiality agreement to protect your business. In most cases, you don’t want employees, customers, suppliers, or vendors knowing about the sale before the time is right. Confidentiality ensures that your day-to-day operations are not affected by listing your business for sale.
  7. Brokers work as the buffer during negotiations. As you go back and forth on terms with the buyer, a broker will be your buffer. You’ll likely have to work with the buyer after the sale for a period of training, so you’ll want to keep that relationship intact and let your broker do the negotiating.
  8. Brokers help with paperwork. The paperwork can be overwhelming during a business sale. A broker will work to make sure the right paperwork is completed on time.
  9. Brokers will get you the most profitable price. Along with properly valuing your business, a broker will make sure you get the most profitable selling price by working with qualified interested buyers and making the most of the negotiations.
  10. Brokers coordinate closing requirements. During a business sale, there are many interested parties, from attorneys, title companies, lenders, insurance companies, and more. A broker will work to coordinate this process.
So there you have it – a whopping 10 reasons why you should hire a broker when selling a business! So are you ready to contact one of our experienced advisors? If you’re ready to sell your business, let’s set up a confidential consultation today! Contact the Emerald Coast Team to find you the perfect buyer for your business.

Florida is a Leader with Women Owned Businesses

Women-owned businesses have had a major impact on the U.S. economic recovery since the recession of 2007 – 2009. A report from Womanable and American Express OPEN’s 2016 State of Women-Owned Businesses shows that there have been 1,072 net women-owned businesses started each day in the U.S. since 2007. Women-owned businesses have grown at a rate that is five times the national average for the last 9 years (9% increase of total businesses vs. 45% of women-owned businesses). Florida ranks first among the top 10 states to show the quickest rate of growth in women-owned businesses!

Additional information can be found in the article by Heidi Travis:

http://www.ballingerpublishing.com/the-economic-impact-of-women-run-businesses-in-escambia-county/

Florida Gets Major Benefits from New Residents

Florida is the top beneficiary of people relocating from other states according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau for 2018. The Sunshine State has been a popular destination for retirees (72% aged 55 and older) due to low taxes and affordability. High tax states such as New York, Connecticut and California have lost a lot of higher net-worth individuals over the last several years.

A Lending Tree study from 2016 showed that Florida had a net influx of $17.7 billion in adjusted gross income (AGI). $30.2 billion in income moved in and $12.5 billion in income moved out. People aged 45 to 54 were also a large segment of people contributing to the increased AGI. The data shows that the trend will likely continue since several states and localities continue to deal with onerous tax burdens.

Florida will not only benefit from the influx of movers bringing increased tax revenues, but it will continue to grow with new business activity. Established businesses and new start-ups will continue to increase due to the affordability of land, labor and capital in Florida. A sunny outlook indeed!

For more information, click on the article by Brittany De Lea: https://www.foxbusiness.com/economy/florida-income-american-movers

Freeport, FL, the New Hotspot in Walton County

Many know that Walton County is the fastest growing county in Florida right now. What many people may not know is that the rural area of Freeport could become the hotspot of Walton County. State Rep. Brad Drake, state Senator George Gainer and Freeport Mayor Russ Barley have discussed the town’s future and believe that the area could nearly triple in size in 10 years from 6,000 to 15,000.

In the article “Officials Foresee Economic Boom in Freeport”, Rep. Drake says, “South Walton is a very attractive choice because of the beaches, and Freeport is equally as attractive with the pristine waterways, the Choctawhatchee Bay and all the special tributaries that we have that make our area uniquely beautiful.” Many South Walton visitors learn about the area when they travel through the gateway of Freeport on the newly expanded 4 lanes of Hwy. 331.

Freeport’s master-planned community of Hammock Bay continues to grow. They house almost 4,000 of Freeport’s 6,000 residents. The development of three new subdivisions and an apartment complex are also underway. Several national stores and restaurants have opened in Freeport in the last 2 years. Freeport’s infrastructure is also growing and improving. Freeport is upgrading its wastewater treatment plant with 14 million dollars in grant money. The future definitely looks bright for Freeport and Walton County.

For more information, read the article by Nathan Cobb.

https://www.nwfdailynews.com/news/20190623/officials-foresee-economic-boom-in-freeport

Entrepreneurs Grow and Develop at the University of West Florida

The University of West Florida Center for Entrepreneurship was developed to promote entrepreneurial spirit, provide mentorship and influence economic growth. Dr. Ranelli, the center’s director, said, “… our first objective was to create a buzz for entrepreneurship among students on campus.”

The center sparks innovation by inviting local successful small business owners to share their stories in Wed. night Forums. The Idea Space at the center also hosts coaching sessions for the annual Da Vinci Innovation Celebration competition. In 2018, UWFCE sent graduate students to a national Masters-level case competition. The students had to apply their class management strategies to solve “an internal problem” for a NASDAQ company. UWF won second place! The center also provides a Job Shadow program where 50 local CEOs allow students to shadow them for a typical corporate day.

Dr. Ranelli believes that the students that are exposed to these interactions and mentorship with small business owners receive benefits that also extend into the greater community. For more information, read the following article from:

https://www.850businessmagazine.com/uwf-center-grooms-entrepreneurs-for-success/

Business Seller, Should You Hire an Intermediary?

If you are a business owner and you are considering selling your business, what are you looking for in a business intermediary? Interview your candidates and have them walk you through their process and approach. Ask about their experience in selling businesses, and about the businesses in your industry. How do they target the buyers for your business? Will you be comfortable working through the marketing and due diligence process with them?

When selling your business consider who will be answering the following questions that Brent Beshore asks in his article, “Should You Hire an M&A Advisor to Sell Your Business?”

  • Who will source and vet potential buyers? (phone calls, buyer/seller meetings & site visits)
  • Who will gather the history of my business including detailed financials, customer and vendor contracts, employment and real estate agreements and legal actions.
  • Who will negotiate the deal? (the letter of intent, due diligence and final paperwork.)
  • Who will keep me emotionally in check during this whole process?
  • Who will be proactively pushing the deal forward on my side?

If you’ve never completed a transaction like this from the selling side, you might want to consider engaging an experienced and knowledgeable intermediary. Emerald Coast Business Intermediaries would like to sit down and discuss an exit strategy with you.

For more information, click on the following article:

Should You Hire an M&A Advisor to Sell Your Business?

 

Ready to Sell? – Make Sure You’ve Built Your Market Value and Improved Your Cash Flow

 


Brian Mazar, from Louisville, Kentucky and a friend of our Manager/Broker, Jeff Moody, discusses the key points that business owners need to address before selling their business. In his article for Divestopedia titled “When is the Best Time to Sell My Business?”, Brian recommends how to prepare for the sale of your business by building market value and improving cash flow.

Even in a strong national economy, owners need to build market value by doing the following:
     * Have clean and verifiable financial statements for the last 3 years
     * Have SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) documented and in place
     * Resolve and eliminate liabilities or liens
     * Make sure company equipment and the facility are maintained and in good operating
       condition              
     * Secure key employees with employment agreements
     * Eliminate non-contributing employees
     * Have a management team that can operate without the current owner
     * Add more customers to your base if you are relying on 1-2 large customers
Improve cash flow:
     * Reduce unnecessary inventory
     * Collect outstanding receivables
     * Renegotiate key supply contracts with more favorable terms
     * Reduce personal adjustments on income statements
     * Make sure financial controls are established

These recommendations are vital to allow potential buyers to see your business in the best possible light and help you to get the sale price you want.

For more information: https://www.divestopedia.com/2/4648/pre-sale/preparation/when-is-the-best-time-to-sell-my-business

 

The Revival of New Main Street Small Businesses

In an article written for Entrepreneur magazine by Kabbage’s Co-founder and CEO, Rob Frohwein, Rob predicts that “by 2025 a whole host of small businesses that once thrived on Main Street USA will be back with a vengeance—thanks to technology.” He says the new and not so new technologies and services are supplying small businesses with valuable tools in online marketing, financing, purchasing and fulfillment that enable them to compete with the larger online companies.
A Pew Research study shows that almost 24% of American adults have earned money in the online economy over the last year. Point of Sale systems and mobile apps, as well as platforms used by such companies as Uber and Airbnb, provide little or no capital investment along with flexibility and control.Frohwein goes on to say that millennials (people born between 1981 and 1996) will be important in the small business revival. A survey by Coldwell Banker Commercial found that almost 40% of millennials would support small businesses when making buying decisions. Another study by Small Business Development Centers found that 26% of millennials had made their total income from a small business. The study also found that 49% of millennials would like to start their own business in the next three years.

Rob believes that with the tools available today to support small business, along with the millennial generation’s entrepreneurial spirit, Main Street USA will be “bigger (or smaller) and better than ever!

For more information, read Mr. Frohwein’s article: “The New-Old Adage for Main Street 2025? The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same.”

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/311408

 

ECBI Statement on Hurricane Michael

ECBI Statement on Hurricane Michael

Please view the video at the link below:

https://youtu.be/xJ05Hu0cTWc

We wanted to let you know that all of our team is safe, and our offices were undamaged in the largest hurricane to ever make landfall in the Florida Panhandle. At the same time we are asking for your prayers and support of our friends to the East in Panama City, Mexico Beach, Apalachicola and inland up through the panhandle and into Alabama, Georgia, the Carolinas and beyond. Hurricane Michael was a tremendously powerful storm that caused massive destruction all along its track. Our area is strong, already helping with Hurricane Michael relief, and will come back stronger than ever. Please join us in helping the rebuilding efforts on the Northern Florida Gulf Coast and beyond.

Let us know if we can help you find or sell a business in this wonderful area.