Acquisition Advisors | FAQ | Frequently Asked Questions | Help Center | Advisor of Choice for Sellers and Buyers
Acquisition Advisors Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) and Help Center.
Acquisition Advisors, Advisor for Sellers, Business Broker Oklahoma, Advisor for Buyers, Advisor of Choice for Sellers and Buyers of Profitable, Mid-Size U.S. Companies, tulsa acquisitions, acquisitions in oklahoma, Business Buyer Assistance, Business Seller Assistance, Management Buyout Assistance, Business Valuation, Exit and Divesture: Strategy Planning, Value Enhancement Planning, Business Purchase, Business Sale, Business Valuation
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Divesture Investment Advice

HELP CENTER

SELL A BUSINESS

From a business or financial (or economic) standpoint, sell when revenue and profit is up. Preferably, when you have strung three or four consecutive years of growth. Typically, that’ll be when the broader economy is well into an expansionary economic cycle. If you’ve recently enjoyed some positive press or recognition, all the better. Businesses have a cycle. Don’t wait until times are tough.

From a personal standpoint, sell when you’re not having fun any more. Life is too short. We own businesses for the benefits we can enjoy from them. When the business becomes the beast and you exist simply to serve it, the proverbial cart is in front of the horse.

The short answer is: whomever you wish. If you want the highest price, we will find that buyer. If you want a buyer that will let you keep some equity and also continue to run the business, and also pay a good price, we will find that. It starts with your goals and priorities. We serve you and yours.
Typically, sellers will have some buyers they want to exclude. Fine. You’re the boss.

In contrast to what most people believe, there are tons of buyers “out there.” We maintain a database of buyers of all types. The issue is not “finding a buyer,” it’s finding the right buyer. Rather, a handful of the right buyers — so we can have some negotiating strength.

In short, there are three types of business buyers – individual, industry and private equity. Going after the right type of buyer can make all the difference in price, terms, and what is done with your business and employees after the sale. Further, the search technique is different for each.

The only way to absolutely ensure confidentiality is to not talk to anyone about selling. But if you wish to sell, the question is: what can we do to minimize the odds of a “leak?”
First, we work hard on it together. And make a plan. The plan usual contains the following:

> Even though we are working on this project together, there is nothing to tell anyone at this time. There is no news. If something definitive comes of it, maybe there will be news to share at that time.
> Neither the business owner nor advisor tells ANYONE that does not absolutely need to know.
> Identities and confidential information is shared only with persons that agree to strict terms of confidentiality, verbally and in writing.
> Only disclose the opportunity to buyers that are well qualified, capable and interested.
> Move swiftly and close the deal in a timely manner. This requires talking to all the best approved buyers simultaneously.

Confidentiality is important, but it’s a key element of the plan – not the entire plan. Buyers must be contacted if we are to accomplish our goal of selling the business for the best terms possible.

Good question.

So many people want to become owners. Want to find a business to buy. Why would someone sell?

I think there is also a bit of a stigma to selling. A feeling that one should or would want to “keep it in the family.”

I have found that the most common reason business owners sell is personal. The owner is ill, or wants to retire. Wants to do something different. Or has lost confidence in his or her ability to continue to run it successfully.

Being a business owner is a part of the so-called American Dream, but what people really want is happiness. Quality of life. To many, that means freedom. Owning a business can be pretty demanding. Restricting. And often, there is no one in the family that wants to, or is really capable of, taking it over. And even when there is, the seller needs or wants the sale proceeds to fund retirement or the next venture (or adventure). Of course, in some older businesses, the ownership structure can span to many family members that are not involved in the business. This can cause stress and friction. Many just want their payday. Sometimes a sale, or a buyout of partners, is a sensible solution.

I’ve also seen very unhappy sons and daughters of founders that are pressured to carry on the dream or accomplishment of their parent. Should they not be free to live their own dream? Their own vision for their life?

Less common, from my experience, is the seller that is simply making a rational decision to sell when things are good. Adhering to the old adage, buy low and sell high. These are deals we love to see, however, as they are typically companies that are having great success and of significant value.

Finally, it’s the business owner that needs to sell because things are not going well. This is always unfortunate because struggling businesses rarely garner prices that are attractive to the seller. It’s a catch 22. But we aim to help wherever we are needed. Give us a call.

If you have a buyer identified and simply want our assistance, we charge an hourly rate ($250 currently) for any assistance you desire. Sometimes, if you wish, we can exchange a lower hourly rate for a small bonus upon successful completion.

If you want us to assist you from “I think I’d like to sell” through to closing – including development of the offering documents, buyer sourcing, and negotiation/deal structure assistance – we work substantially on a contingency fee (percentage of the transaction) basis, but ask for a few progress payments as key milestones are reached (primarily to ensure the buyer is committed). The percentage varies by the size of the transaction. In the event you have buyer(s) candidates but also want our full assistance, including our buyers, we can give a discount or credit if your buyer wins the deal.

BUSINESS BUYER ASSISTANCE

Of course. I will assume you don’t want just any business, but a good/fair deal. You want to find one you like and can “buy right,” so the first thing we will need to do is find you businesses to look at. Most will be overpriced, so we need to find a lot to look at, and make a lot of offers. Yes, it’s time-consuming.

When we start to work together, our first step is to establish the parameters for our search. These include geographic area, business type, industry, employee count, profitable or turn-around, and management situation. Next, we devise an outreach plan that identifies potential candidates. In short, we can help you execute a plan from desire to deal closing. We can help you locate and screen candidates, evaluate and value, conduct due diligence, secure financing, and close the transaction. Call us if we can help.

Of course. I know it’s a bit daunting if you have never done it before, but we simplify it for you. In fact, buyers waste a lot of time and money running inappropriate or inefficient processes, so we end up paying for ourselves through the cost-saving we bring to your deal.

We love deals. We have worked on hundreds. We are ready to support you and help you get your deal done. Call us.

Conservatively. As fellow Tulsan and KKR partner Henry Kravis says, “Any fool can buy a business. Celebrate when you sell it (for a profit).” Warren Buffet espouses, “Margin of safety!”

Anyway, we can help you set value, and explain to you how and why. We can even help you explain the “why” to the seller. I (David Perkins) also have a bestselling book on the subject, “A Concise Overview of Business Valuation.” It cuts straight to the point on what you need to know to value a business.

EBITDA

EBITDA is an acronym for earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization. So, it’s the net profit of the business — typically the current annual — plus the add backs. It’s important because it represents the profit of your business. Profit, or more importantly — cash flow — is what buyers want. It’s also the main driver of value and what buyers are willing and able to pay. With depreciation and amortization added back, it’s a surrogate for cash flow.

Interest is added back to show the earnings on a debt-free basis (and then buyers will apply their own post-closing debt finance assumptions. Similarly, taxes (income) are added back to show earnings before tax rates and structures are applied, and each buyer will apply their own.

EBITDA is a type of profit that provides buyers with a starting point for their analysis. And although multiples of EBITDA can be calculated for any business purchase/sale transaction, buyers don’t really value a business based on EBITDA. Again, it’s a starting point. Buyers take EBITDA and then burden the earnings by the amount of cash they estimate they will have to invest annually to maintain the productive capacity of the business, often referred to as maintenance capital expenditures (“maintenance capex”). Buyers will make other adjustments to EBITDA as well, such as adding and subjecting expenses so their own calculation of profit for the subject business reflects the cost structure once the new owner takes over. These are called normalizing adjustments and the result is normalized EBIT (as opposed to normalized EBITDA, assuming maintenance capex is subtracted from earnings).

Well, that’s a tough one. Buyers decide what they are willing to pay. The seller, and the process employed by the seller and/or her representative, impacts the price and multiple, but the underlying economics of the business is the primary driver. And things such as what is going on in the market served by the selling company; the timing relative to the broader macroeconomic cycle; the debt finance market; and characteristics of the company. Growing? Declining? Diversified? Concentrations risk? Earnings stability? Management willing to remain? Degree of importance of seller?

Sellers can dictate a price, but buyers will decide what they are willing and able to pay.

I don’t suggest going to market with an asking price as it can only limit the price a buyer might pay. Ask a crazy price, on the other hand, and you lose credibility and waste time. We like to ask buyers to tell us what they are willing to pay.

Multiples are all over the map. We’d have to look at your business in particular to give you a ballpark of what you can expect.

Lots of things. HOW you go about selling your business, for one. Studies have shown that business owners that represent themselves get lower multiples. Also, larger businesses garner higher multiples.

The #1 driver of value (price) is growth. High growth equals a high multiple. Other things the drive multiples:

> proven management willing to remain
> seller financing component of the deal structure
> low interest rates environment/aggressive debt lending environment
> proprietary products and services
> high growth industry
> defensible barriers to entry
> high asset values

Of course, one little thing nobody seems to talk about is, businesses with high assets and very slim profits (ebit or ebitda) can sell for high multiples. Of course, the price may only be asset value, or contain little goodwill, but the multiple looks sexy!

PUBLIC SPEAKING

Yes. David Perkins is available to share his knowledge and experience. He speaks regularly to groups and consistently receives high marks from his audiences. His topics are practical, about how to smartly buy and sell businesses, avoid common mistakes, value businesses and build value. For more information click here: Public Speaking Engagements

I (David Perkins) enjoy speaking, and I used to do a lot of paid speaking engagements. I received a fair bit of one-on-one training with a well-known speech coach, and was a member of the prestigious National Speakers Association (NSA) until I let my membership laps a few years ago. To qualify, I performed 25 paid speaking engagements in a single year (2005). I enjoy speaking on the topics of my interest and expertise, but speaking is a sideline to my core business (consulting and investing). I don’t promote my speaking other than on my website, and I don’t like all the travel required to remain “on the speaking circuit.” In moderation, however, I enjoy it. Audiences consistently rate me highly and it’s quite a lot of fun.