Tag Archives: using a business broker

Which Business Owner Will You Be?

 which business owner c_optChoose to be Business Owner A and:

You Succeed in Selling Your Business

Businesses offered through business brokers have a much higher listing to closing rate than those offered through realtors or listed directly by business owners. We often hear that as owners trying to sell directly you become frustrated as you try to communicate the value of your business, or see potential buyers who walk away after you have spent a great deal of time with them. Our business brokers are trained to sell businesses. And that’s what they do!

You Deal With Qualified Buyers

Our business brokers know the market and have access to a database of active buyers—owner-operators, financial buyers and strategic acquirers—looking for businesses. We screen prospects for assuming your business so you won’t waste time with “tire-kickers.”

Our extensive network of professional contacts among accountants, lawyers, bankers, business coaches, consultants, wealth planners, insurance experts, venture and entrepreneurial sources also ensures that active buyers in the market are routinely, and in some cases exclusively, referred to us.

You Get Maximum Value

Small business financials do not tell the story. Experienced business brokers have the business and financial acumen to uncover the true benefits of ownership and illustrate them to the potential purchaser.

Our brokers have expertise in valuation principles, financial statement analysis, taxation implications, inventory, goodwill and so on. They know how to optimize the value of your business to move it up the value chain.

You Minimize Risk

The lower the perceived risk to a buyer, the more a buyer can afford to pay and the more a seller will receive.

We focus on finding the right business for the buyer—starting the transaction with a buyer that has the necessary experience, skills, ethics, financial resources, risk tolerance and passion is more likely to lead both parties to a successful outcome.

And we do it all confidentially. Telling the world that your business is for sale can cause it to lose employees, customers, suppliers and value.

You Save Valuable Time

Our process works for and protects both buyer and seller. While there are wide variations in the amount of time required to sell a business, a selling period of six to nine months is typical for a small business. And in the meantime, you can focus on running your business.

See our one-pager: Top 10 Reasons to Use a Certified Business Broker to Sell Your Business.

Consultez : Les 10 principales raisons de faire affaire avec un courtier d’entreprise pour la vente de votre entreprise  

Buying a Business with Help Every Step of the Way

Pirate Adventures, OttawaImagine a business where every day is Talk Like a Pirate Day! Well, that’s the case when you own Pirate Adventures. Meet Brock Harrison, owner (and sometimes pirate) of Pirate Adventures in Ottawa.

On multiple sailings each day during the summer season, Pirate Adventures stages theatrical pirate experiences. Departing from Parks Canada land near Mooney’s Bay Beach, the pirate adventure ship spends about 75 minutes cruising Mooney’s Bay and the Rideau River. During the sailing, the cast talk like pirates as they entertain the passengers on a fun adventure complete with a swashbuckling villain.

While the experience offered by Pirate Adventures is a hit with kids and families, Brock hopes to attract more pirate-inspired sailings for grown-ups and corporate groups.

In a wooden structure on site, Brock also has a small retail outlet where he sells pirate-themed merchandise that helps to create a shiver-me-timbers experience. Picnic benches allow party groups to serve food. Continue reading

Buying a business: tip #24

Keep an open mind

You may start out with a particular type of business—i.e. a restaurant—or industry—i.e. food services—in mind based on information you have read or seen online. But be prepared to consider something different if another existing or emerging opportunity presents itself.

Your broker may direct you to a difference business that also suits your interests, talents, and financial expectations.

You will still need to answer these key questions:

  • Can you see yourself in the business?
  • Is there a sound financial foundation?
  • What are the opportunities and threats?
  • Can you see ways to create value?
  • Will the seller provide financing for a portion of the purchase price?
  • Will you have enough cash—sufficient operating capital in addition to the down payment?

Turning experience into value

Sarmad Malik, Weldflow Metal Products

Sarmad Malik, owner and CEO of Weldflow Metal Products in Brampton, Ontario

For Sarmad Malik, being an experienced technical person with a PhD in mechanical engineering from the United States, owner and CEO of Weldflow Metal Products in Brampton, it’s all about adding value. A passion for taking a company and turning it around is what brought Dr. Malik into the marketplace for a business . . . and to Sunbelt Business Brokers.

Before he immigrated to Canada, Dr. Malik already had extensive experience as the CEO of manufacturing businesses in the Middle East and in the Far East. In Canada, Malik worked in the field of manufacturing, heading operations and being part of a top management team. His goal then became to become an owner in the manufacturing or distribution industry.

Research is key

In 2008 and after doing research, Malik started looking for possibilities. In the process, he met Rob Mitchell, regional vice-president of Sunbelt Business Brokers and the broker/owner of the Sunbelt office serving the Kitchener, Waterloo, Guelph, Brampton, and surrounding communities. Because Rob is also an engineer, Malik related well to him and the two men established a good business relationship.

Among a few other properties, Sunbelt uncovered Weldflow Metal Products.  For Malik, the property fit the bill for a good opportunity to add value. Founded in 1975 as a precision sheet metal manufacturer, Weldflow was run by a hands-on owner/operator with just a couple of other technicians, making it the right size for Malik’s vision. Continue reading

One business purchase became two

Peter Mohr, ShoetopiaOne person’s “never in a million years” is another person’s “this is the opportunity for me.”  The twist on the old proverb about trash and treasure applied to Peter Mohr’s purchase of Shoetopia Footwear Outlet.

Peter understands businesses; before joining Sunbelt, he had owned two of them.  In Shoetopia, he saw an opportunity.  Even though he hadn’t been involved in the shoe business, his experience was very transferrable.

As a certified intermediary with Sunbelt Business Brokers in Ottawa, Peter had showed a client the possibility for owning a shoe store in Fergus, 18 kilometres north of Guelph.  While the client didn’t want to move, Peter and his family were ready for just such a lifestyle change.  In addition, Peter himself was ready to create value in a business.

Carrying family footwear and leather accessories, the family footwear store was well placed in a strip plaza in Fergus, Ontario.  While showing signs of underperformance, Shoetopia was a good business with a good location.  Peter knew he could overcome the challenges he saw.

The first thing he did was install a point-of-sales inventory system.  In April 2011 when we first interviewed Peter for his success story, he had completed the modernization process.  Previously, all the store had were cash registers and manual counting.

The next thing he did was to raise the quality of the product lines with a greater emphasis on fit and comfort.  This change in marketing strategy was designed to meet competition from the arrival of Walmart and then of Target.

Peter also brought new life to Shoetopia’s marketing efforts.  While he maintained the store’s radio presence in the community, he also expanded his use of special events to drive sales.  He also uses Facebook and Google, allowing Shoetopia to benefit from the power of social media.  The store’s website at shoetopia.ca now has full online shopping capability.

Shoetopia has become a more prosperous business, even in the face of competition from larger competitors and from uncertain weather, which affects the sales of shoes.

In fact, Peter has been so encouraged by his experience that he’s buying another shoe store, Lashbrook’s Shoes in Waterloo.  Featuring quality, fashionable shoes, Lashbrook’s also presents challenges of underperformance that Peter feels confident he can manage and turn around.

Peter has a few tips to pass on to new buyers of business.  First, use a professional business broker like Sunbelt to find the right business.  Second, particularly if you buy a business in the retail or similar sector, be prepared for long and varied hours of work.  And third, make sure you have good staff to back you up.

Peter believes in the unique role that Sunbelt plays in the buying and selling of business properties.  “As a network of professionals, Sunbelt can help buyers look for substantial, better quality businesses.”

Peter appreciates that Sunbelt brokers have a better understanding of the value of a business.  They can professionally assess factors such as inventory, revenues, and the value of physical assets.

According to Peter, what makes Sunbelt unique as a business broker is that “it exposes buyers to other similar businesses in the region.”  By looking at comparable businesses, Sunbelt makes it easier for buyers to make the right decision about an investment that’s going to change their personal and financial lives.

Brokering a deal so you don’t have to

Sunbelt  brokers sale of Theriault Groceries in Bathurst, NBAfter owning and running his father’s grocery store for over 40 years, Donald Thériault and his wife, Edna, were looking to retire; they didn’t want to close the store but had no one to pass it on to. Thériault’s Groceries had been in the family for three generations and was originally started by Donald’s grandfather in the 1930s during the Great Depression.

Not wanting to give up his families’ store to just any buyer, Donald approached Tracadie-Sheila business broker Camille McLaughlin to help them find a suitable owner.

Thanks to Camille and new owners Norman Tardif and Jennifer Arsenau, Donald and Edna are now easing into retirement.

Easing the load of paperwork and legal jargon

Norman Tardif and his wife, Jennifer Arseneau, were looking for a way to purchase a business for a more financially sound future.

“I guess we were just looking for something where we could work together and grow it,” said Norman about their new acquisition. “More for a retirement plan as well.” They were not originally looking at purchasing a grocery store but were eventually swayed by location, reputation and some help from Camille.

“I just Googled ‘New Brunswick businesses for sale’ and there was a website that listed a lot of businesses for sale,” said Norman. “So we talked to Camille and he mentioned to us that he had a meat-grocery store for sale and we had also seen it online.”

Norman and Jennifer officially took over the business in mid-March. Jennifer is particularly happy with their new acquisition and is “cautiously optimistic” about the future.

“I guess they say the first five years are the key,” Jennifer jokes. “If we make it five years we’ll be okay. I am very confident. His meat is fantastic, haha!”

Norman said that choosing a broker, “made things easier and not as confusing for us,” saying “there were a lot of things we did not know or were not sure of.”

“All in all it was very satisfying.”

Note: this text was adapted from an article that appeared in the March 19 edition of the Northern Light, N.B.

Making a sound investment

ROVIS owner Bill Kenney with Bizerba slicer

ROVIS owner Bill Kenney with Bizerba slicer ready for return to local Metro’s deli

Bill Kenney’s friends told him not to buy a business.  But he did. And that worked out so well he bought another, three years later.

Bill, you see, had just retired after 35 years in scientific instrument sales, much of it on the road, covering accounts in Canada and the New England states. At 66, he wasn’t about to “sit home and read newspapers.”

“My friends thought I should just take it easy, but that wasn’t my modus operandi,” he recalls.

“I retired on Thursday, flying in from Boston,” he continues. “Driving down Riverside Drive (Ottawa) early the next week, I saw the Sunbelt Business Brokers sign and went in.”

Local broker Olga Nadjakova became his guide to locating and buying the business that met his needs.

I went to seminars and looked at franchises first, says Bill.  “But what I wanted was an established business that was locally owned.”

Olga connected Bill with ROVIS and it fit the bill.

“I knew nothing about the food service equipment repair,” says Bill. “But I was attracted to the business—it’s relatively recession-proof. Equipment still breaks. And companies may delay the repair but eventually they get it fixed.”

Bill saw the business as a sound investment—much less risky than the stock market. Continue reading

Buying a business: Sunbelt Canada tip #13

Be patient. Trust the process.

  • Your business broker will help you find the business that best meets your profile and objectives. When you are working closely with a Sunbelt intermediary, you may even discover new opportunities before they are in the public domain.
  • Commit the time to accomplish the many tasks.  Negotiating the right deal takes time and effort, typically some three to nine months.
  • Don’t get discouraged if the deal doesn’t work out. You may need to find more than one business to pursue.  A seller has to typically meet with four buyers before finding the right one.
  • If the right business hasn’t materialized, it’s likely your broker will find it in the near future. Trust the process.

Finding and buying a business: who you know counts!

New owners of the Rustico Express, Laval

Michael Mastrogiovanni (left) tempts with tiramisu, one of the new items he and Pietro Lomascolo (right) have added to the menu at the Rustico Express

Finding a job often comes down to who you know. The same could be said for locating and buying a business, where a Sunbelt business broker might become your next best friend. And customer!

Such was the case for Michael Mastrogiovanni and Pietro Lomascolo, whose timely connection with Sunbelt business broker Tony Raimondo helped them find and purchase the bistro they now own in Laval, Quebec.

“We’d been looking for a few months without finding anything,” explains Pietro, a former systems analyst. “Then we saw a listing for a cafeteria, which led us to Tony’s office. He told us he had something nearby that was a better fit for our needs and suggested that the three of us check it out. A short walk around the corner and we were at the Rustico Express having coffee. It seemed to be everything we were looking for.”

Pietro and Michael came back two days later to check it out further, and confirmed that the business met their expectations.

“The business needed the right person, or in this case, persons,” says Tony, owner of Sunbelt’s office in Laval. “We always spend time with prospective buyers determining what businesses would work best for them given their skills, interests, financial resources and experience as well as their personal and financial goals. It often happens that they end up purchasing a different business than the one they came in for. It’s important that we find the one that’s the right fit.”

“In this case we were able to negotiate a decent five-year lease with the landlord and that added further security to the purchase.”

Both Michael and Pietro appreciate the assistance they received from Tony. “It was like asking a friend for help”, says Pietro. “He’d call us back on the weekend, always professional but friendly, guiding us on everything that was needed. Everything fell into place.

The Rustico Express now offers a fresh, expanded menu showcasing Italian grilled sandwiches and including soups, salads, pizzas and other ready-to-go meals. The business is open five days a week, 6 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Savouring a warm chicken/asparagus/Dijon/brie panini and sipping an expresso, you might forget you’re in a main industrial and office centre. It’s a clientele the partners hope to engage further, by adding a terrace and offering catering services—where Michael has hands-on experience.

And for Tony, a two-minute walk to buy a great grilled sandwich is pretty sweet!

By Karen Runtz

Sealing the deal: new Moncton business owner taps Sunbelt’s resources to buy his business

Serge Savoie tapped Sunbelt's resources to buy his Moncton business

Serge Savoie and Monique Hebert-Savoie

Serge Savoie is pumped.

Five months into ownership of A1 Plumbing, he has the heightened energy that comes with knowing that every sale he completes is money into his own business.

“Every problem is mine, too!” he smiles.

Serge admits that his first week of ownership had him panicked, but with that behind him, he’s now able to sleep like a baby.  For him, it comes down to “getting something that runs well,” an established business with a proven record of success.

Admittedly, Serge had an insider’s view of the Moncton, New Brunswick, business he purchased from previous owner, Dennis Poirier.  Serge worked alongside Dennis in the business for some 15 years.

Owning the business, though, was never something he thought possible.  Meeting Sunbelt business broker Dave Barnett changed everything.  Dave, owner of Sunbelt Moncton’s office, helped pave the way for Serge to secure the bank loans he needed to seal the deal, including financing from the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC).

Finding financing

A1 Plumbing is a hub within a hub within a hub. With thousands of polished, gleaming plumbing supplies interspersed with appealing displays, Serge’s plumbing showroom is a focal point in the core shopping area of Moncton, the geographic centre of the Atlantic provinces.  Moncton has the largest catchment area in Atlantic Canada with 1.4 million people living within a three-hour drive of the city, the fastest growing urban region east of Toronto, Wikipedia notes.

“We do very well,” Serge comments on his business, one of the largest plumbing suppliers in Eastern Canada. While there are “always ideas”, he doesn’t plan or need to change the formula that clearly works, continuing the business’s reputation for quality products and great customer service.  Over the next few years, he’ll be keeping pace, adjusting products and suppliers with the industry and refreshing the aesthetics of the showroom.

“Owning a business is a good way to make a living,” Serge sums up.

Yet, while they had talked about it, the purchase of a business was not something that Serge and his wife, Monique Hebert-Savoie, a high school teacher, believed they could realize.  We had no idea how to even approach financing,  recalls Serge.

“Dave made it all possible.  He helped structure the deal, managed the loan application process, helped with documents and managed the needs of the lenders.”

“Since everything was put together at the time of application the turnaround time at the bank was kept to a minimum,” adds Dave.

Most people who purchase a business are first-time buyers, like Serge.  Business brokers can provide insight into all aspects of buying a business including financing– down payments, cash operating requirements, vendor financing, bank financing and private financing.

To get more information on buying or selling a business, please contact your local Sunbelt office. We have existing businesses for sale in all sizes and locations.

You might be interested in our blog post on this related topic : can you afford to buy a business?

By Karen Runtz