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Secret to Selling your Business: Financial Housekeeping

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Improve your chances of selling your business for maximum profit by presenting buyers with accurate and complete financial statements. Even if you have an upscale office, first-class employees and great branding, buyers will balk if they don’t see impressive and verifiable numbers on your financial documents.

If you don’t have a CPA working for you, hire one to assemble and double-check your finances. Selling a business creates complicated tax issues, and an accountant knows how to lower taxes, which means you’ll keep more of your post-sale money.

An accountant, along with a business broker, will help you fine-tune your company’s financials. Prospective buyers will have their own accountants looking over your financial documents. If you prepare financials without professional help, you run the risk of losing or delaying a sale.

At the first meeting, you may want to discuss basic financial information and let the potential buyer observe how your business operates. Let them come to their own conclusion about the company’s financial health. If you have a cash business, like a deli, you can also write a pro-forma estimate for a potential buyer. It should be clearly marked as a “projected” total to protect your interests. This is a temporary solution –  you’ll still need to get your books in order for future negotiations and due diligence.

Your accountant should prepare at least two to three years worth of financial statements. For extra leverage with prospects, gather financial statements from the last five years. You can show buyers compiled, reviewed or audited statements.

  • Compiled statements aren’t checked for accuracy. You simply hand the accountant your income statement, balance sheet and other financial records and he or she organizes them.
  • Reviewed statements are compared to the average profits and performances for businesses in your industry.
  • Audited statements are checked for accuracy by your CPA, who may go over accounts receivable records and inventory to ensure there are no mistakes in the original numbers.  

Be honest. Buyers can see through incomplete or exaggerated information, so admit mistakes and tidy up your business financials   


What is Financial Recasting?

Your business broker may recommend financial recasting of your accounting statements. This process improves transparency, Compiling financials is fine as a first step, but when it becomes apparent a buyer is interested, there’s no room for error on your financial statements.

Financial recasting is a fancy way of adjusting your income statements to tell potential buyers what they want to know about your company. Here are a few changes your accountant might make when recasting a financial statement:

  • Take out interest payments made on business loans
  • Write off uncollectible accounts receivable
  • Adjust rent and owner’s salary to market rate
  • Strike debt that won’t be assumed by the new owner
  • Remove income and expenses that will cease after the sale

Indicate changes made to your original documents. This will increase the buyer’s faith in you and expedite the due diligence process. Your accountant may make changes to your income statement and balance sheet when recasting. Changes to the balance sheet indicate cash you’ll keep for yourself after the sale.



Buyers want to know how a business compares to other businesses in the same industry. Return on assets and return on equity are common ratios used in most businesses; check with your industry’s trade association to find out what ratios should be used for your business.


What Do Buyers Look For in Financials?

Buyers are more likely to make an offer to businesses that pay their accounts receivables within 30 days and have an increase in net worth for the last few years. They’ll also check the gross margins for your products to see if margins are increasing or declining.

Most small businesses prefer to use compiled statements during the sales process. This won’t harm negotiations with the buyer if you’re sure the initial figures are correct. If not, audited statements may prevent objections during due diligence.

Get expert advice on improving your business and financials for a fast sale by hiring a business broker.  Call 1-800-BIZ-BROKER or visit us online at We’ve created a searchable database of business brokers and merger and acquisition specialists who want to work with you to sell your company for the best price possible. Contact us today for more information.

5 Accounting Tips to Increase the Value of your Business

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1.  Stop minimizing taxes; instead maximize reported profitability

Many small businesses utilize the cash-basis of accounting rather than the accrual basis.  Doing so enables businesses to accelerate expenses into the current tax year and defer revenues to the following tax year.  This is a very aggressive method of minimizing taxes, and it follows that this method minimizes earnings and unfortunately minimizes business valuations.

2.  Eliminate excessive personal expenses and skimming cash

Similarly, if you run personal expenses through your business to minimize taxes, that practice is counterproductive to the value of your business.  Although some of those expenses might be able to be “sold” as add-backs to arrive at seller’s discretionary earnings (SDE), buyers often fight those adjustments and lenders will not consider them at all in determining the value of the business

3.   Stop expensing capital expenditures

Another tax minimization strategy used by some businesses is to record capital assets they acquire into expense accounts rather than into asset accounts.  By doing so, they expense 100% of the cash outlay in the year the asset is acquired versus having to depreciate the asset over several years

4.  Improve your inventory accounting system

Yet another area of tax minimization is the handling of inventory.  When the value of inventory is understated, the cost of goods sold is overstated and earnings are thus understated, which negatively affects the business valuation.  Inventory accounting in small businesses is notoriously poor, which represents a significant risk for buyers.  By making improvements in your inventory accounting, you can minimize buyers’ risks while also improving the quality of information which you can use to further improve your business operations.

5.   Track key business metrics

Tracking key business metrics on monthly comparative reports can help spot negative and positive trends and identify opportunities for improvement.  The nature of key business metrics will vary from company to company.  Some common metrics are: leads to close percentages, gross margin percentage, payroll percentage, overhead percentage, average sale, sales by product line, average monthly sales, seasonality percentages, average accounts receivable collection period, average inventory levels and turnover rates, working capital levels, salesperson percentages, bad debt ratio, customer percentages, etc.  To improve your business value, tracking metrics is insufficient by itself.  You must take action to make improvements and then monitor your progress using the metrics.

Prior to selling your business, there is considerable opportunity to increase its value by reviewing and improving your accounting systems and procedures.  In most instances, the further in advance you begin to address these issues, the greater the value improvement opportunity.

Call a business broker for a free consultation. We offer no-charge, no-obligation evaluations of small businesses. We can provide a broker opinion of value and help you identify obstacles to a successful sale as well as opportunities for improvement to increase the value of your business. That is a great way to start planning for a successful and profitable exit from your business.

Sell your Business Confidentially

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Keeping the sale of your business confidential is paramount to not disrupting your day-to-day business operations.  However, how do you find a buyer for your business, without alienating your key employees or losing important customers?

When you use a business broker from 1-800-Biz-Broker, you can be assured that they are experts at confidentially marketing your business for sale.

Some of the practices we employ are using “blind listings”, and non-disclosure agreements.  For example, if “Mike’s Downtown Cleaners” in downtown LA is for sale, we might promote it as an “Established Dry Cleaner in a Major Southern  California  City.”  Then when a potential buyer contacts us, we promptly request that they complete and Buyer Profile and Confidentiality or Non-disclosure Agreement.

Completing a non-disclosure agreement is also a critical part of pre-screening potential buyers, which is another important step in finding the right buyer for your business.

If you are thinking about selling your business, give us a call.  Our Business Brokers are experts at confidentially marketing your business for sale.  You can reach out to us in complete confidence, just use the contact form or call 1-800-Biz-Broker today.


Top 20 Businesses that Sell

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As a Business Broker, I have found that a business will sell when the following three items are true:

  1. The business has good books (well organized and verifiable)
  2. The business is profitable
  3. The business can be improved and grown

Without regard to the industry, if I represent a business that satisfies the above 3 conditions, experience has taught me that I will find a buyer.  However, I have also found that certain industries do sell better, sometimes faster, and more often than others.  Restaurants come to mind. is one of the leading websites that lists businesses for sale, has just published their annual “BizBuySell Insight Reports”.  BizBuySell analyzes sales and listing prices of small businesses across the United States based on approximately 45,000 businesses for sale and those recently sold..  You can find the whole report here.

I used Excel to arrange the data from one of the tables that presented the number of businesses sold in 2016; as reported by sellers and business brokers.  These are the top 20 business types that sold in 2016 (by number of closed transactions).



Do you have one of the Top 20 Businesses listed above?  Have you been thinking about selling your business?  Contact me today and I can help you get your business ready to market confidentially and for top dollar.  Call 1-800-Biz-Broker or visit

About the Insight Report

The BizBuySell Insight Report is a nationally-recognized economic indicator that tracks the health of the U.S. small business economy. Each quarter, BizBuySell analyzes sales and listing prices of small businesses across the United States based on approximately 45,000 businesses for sale and those recently sold. The BizBuySell Insight Reports focus on over 70 major U.S. markets and publish local, regional, state and national data for trending and analysis

Custom Neon Sign Business for Sale

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Asking Price: $299,990

Cash Flow: $113,071

What a great business for sale … profitable, no employees, get paid upfront, web business, work from home or anywhere, custom signs are drop-shipped, no inventory, & established over 10 years!

This is a website that sells custom neon signs. The site gets all of its traffic organically! Literally ZERO has been spent on Ad words in years.

Neon signs are sold to businesses and the general public. Huge list of repeat corporate customers including: Urban Outfitters & Forever 21.

Seller gets deluged with inquires daily. He responds with a custom quote and proof. If the customer approves, payment is up-front. Seller then sends order to one of his manufacturing partners. Signs are made and sent directly to the customer by the manufacture!

Sometimes the seller arranges for installation through other installation partners for an additional fee.

A nondisclosure agreement and buyer profile is required for additional information.

Thinking about buying or selling a business?  We are Business Brokers, we can help!  Contact us today.


Detailed Information

None. This a home based business. (Home Based)
This website ranks highly on Google searches for several relevant key words. ALL traffic to the website is organic.
Growth & Expansion:
1. You can add sales via Google Adwords 2. You can sell to the existing customer list (1800+ customers) 3. Add products… other types of signs, LED Signs etc..
Support & Training:
Yes. 4 weeks.
Reason for Selling:
Slowing down/ Semi-retiring
This business is Home-Based


A Good Exit Strategy Is Worth A Fortune: Selling your business for maximum profit

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You pay for insurance to protect your assets, why not implement an
Exit Strategy now for the same protection of your greatest asset?

Selling your business can be an organized process where each step maximizes profit and your advance preparation expedites the sale, or it can be a dismal failure full of gut wrenching interactions and tremendous amounts of your money left on the table at the close.  Fortunately the choice is yours.  A good Exit Strategy starts with simple awareness of the process of selling and can be implemented in advance in your day to day activities with little additional effort.  Thinking of the sale of your business in health terms, consider the sale with no preparation as last minute surgery with no anesthesia, and a properly done Exit Strategy as preventative medicine that will keep you out of the pain and cost of surgery.

Your Exit Strategy begins with awareness that one day you will sell your business. Reasons vary with each business owner and can be as simple as boredom with your own company that you have built, to complex issues such as health or divorce.   Only you know when it is time for you to sell. However having implemented a written Exit Strategy will assure maximum profit at the sale and great peace of mind should you be selling under less favorable circumstances such as the mental duress of a downturn in business or poor health.  You pay for insurance to protect your assets, why not implement an Exit Strategy now for the same protection of your greatest asset?

Once the decision to sell is made, the contacting of a business broker to discuss the market conditions and the various options you have to sell your business is imperative.  Most businesses are sold to other individuals through a broker who facilitates the transaction, working in your best interest.  Buyers can be entrepreneurs that have the same zeal you had when you started your business or industry players that will purchase your business to expand or enhance theirs.  A qualified business broker can be instrumental in helping you write a good Exit Strategy that encompasses the sale scenario viewed from every angle.

You will want to discuss a Buy/Sell Agreement with your business broker and other professionals like your attorney and CPA.  Existing agreements with partners, stockholders, landlords, and others will be examined to ensure your goals, expectations, and terms and conditions of sale are not remedied void and as few as possible conflicts arise during the due diligence process.  Due Diligence is the process of verifying the accuracy of the assertions made regarding your business.

View your Exit Strategy from the viewpoint of a buyer.  What would you be looking at and for if you were to buy your business?  Do your P&L’s match your Balance Sheets and Tax Returns?  Imagine the lack of confidence you would have to move forward as a buyer of your business if discrepancies arose in your financial documents at the due diligence stage of the sale.  What about the physical state of your facility ? If you were the buyer would you want to walk in to a facility that needed immediate attention or a facility that was clearly neat, clean, and organized, allowing you to transition easily into the pertinent matters at hand and not worry about disorganization and safety issues?  How is the attitude of employees and what would clients of yours say about you if they were randomly called?   Are your sales and profits on the increase and expenses on the decrease?  The purpose of the Exit Strategy is to apply a tiny amount of effort in the right direction each day to achieve maximum profit for minimum effort when you do sell.  Working on these issues a little bit each day brings huge profit and joy tomorrow.

Tax consequences and what you will do with both money and time after the sale is finalized need to be considered.  Many times to close a deal you will be asked to help in some capacity with the transition.  You want to decide in advance with the help of your tax attorney or CPA how the proceeds of the sale will be best distributed and conserved.  The financing arrangements and or cash at closing will greatly affect your tax position and all options should be considered.  Can you get more for your business by offering terms on a carry-back note and still protect your interests and save on taxes?  Being proactive at this stage will greatly enhance profits at the sale.

With your plan laid out and preliminary players like a CPA and a business broker identified, you can now break it down into bite-sized pieces that can be a part of your everyday business routine.  This process of implementing little daily routines produces maximum profits at the sale of your business.   If your business sells for 10% more due to this organization and planning, you may have just put $10,000, $100,000, $1,000,000 or more in your pocket by simply being prepared.

It is my job to orchestrate this process and help you achieve your goal.  When the time is right for you to start, I’ll be there to help.  Please feel free to call me with questions and or assistance.

Pablo Fonseca, MBA

Spectrum Business Advisors


Selling your business, Closing Considerations

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The Importance of a Quick Closing When Selling Your Business

Closing your sale means officially signing over your business to the buyer. The buyer gives you check and you hand over the keys. That sounds simple enough, right? Yes, if you spend time to prepare documents for closing and ensure nothing is overlooked.

The process of selling a business is complex. There are federal, state and local laws you need to follow, tax concerns and confidentially issues to deal with involving prospective buyers and employees.

Once you’ve maneuvered through this maze and agree on terms with a qualified buyer, don’t let a typo, minor slip-up or omission interfere with a quick closing. Prepare a generic template for the end of the sale before you’ve even placed an ad to sell the business. This reduces the likelihood a buyer will balk at a mistake or omission and delay the sale – or worse yet, walk away from it.

Prepare for a Final Run-Through

The buyer may want to do a final run-through before closing to check equipment, inventory and other physical assets. You may need to modify the purchase price if any inventory has been sold or fixtures need replacement since the initial sale price was set.

Scheduling the Closing

Choose a closing day that works for all parties involved, and sign documents with lawyers present in an escrow office or your lawyer’s office. An escrow agent may be used for a “step-by-step” approach instead of a formal closing.  Parties sign closing documents and forward them to the escrow agent over days or weeks. Once all signed documents are received, the agent releases funds to the seller to close the deal. The end results are the same regardless of the method you choose. You get the money and the buyer gets the keys.

Write a Pre-Closing Checklist

Before you sit down to close the sale (or begin the closing process with an escrow agent), make sure you have completed these documents. Ask your business broker about additional paperwork you may need for your closing :

Sales Agreement

A legal form with attachments noting the terms of the sale

Closing Sheet

A closing or settlement sheet contains all financial transactions agreed upon before closing.

Loan Documents

These documents include a promissory note, UCC financing statement and security agreements.

Building Lease

Gather copies of lease and amendments to lease. Most commercial building leases have a transfer or lease assignment clause. If a new lease has been negotiated instead, make sure documents indicate this and that all parties agree to the terms.

Employment/Consultation Agreement

If you are staying on as a consultant during the transition period, this document indicates the terms.

Bill of Sale

The bill of sale is proof of sale and shows the business has been transferred to a new owner.

Furniture and Equipment Sale List

Identify leased items and assets to be retained by the seller.

Motor Vehicle Titles

If you’re transferring work vehicles to the buyer, include the corresponding paperwork.

Intellectual Property

Include forms to transfer ownership of copyrights, trade secrets, patents and trademarks if thee intangible assets are part of the sale.

Asset Acquisition Statement

IRS Form 8594, which shows an identical allocation, must be filed with buer and seller’s income tax forms.

Close the sale of your business faster by contacting a business broker through Search our database to find a business broker, lease negotiation expert or mergers and acquisitions specialist in your area. Would you rather use the phone to find a broker? Call 1-800-BIZ-BROKER to find a professional skilled in all aspects of selling a business. You can also check out for more information about the ways business brokers can help you sell your business.

Should you sell your business?

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sell-your-business-business-brokerShould You Sell Your Business?

The decision to sell your business shouldn’t be taken lightly. You may have other options, including riding out a poor economic climate or hiring a consultant to tweak your business operations. However, if you’re facing one or more of the following issues, it’s time to start thinking about an exit strategy.

 1) Your Business Has Outgrown Your Skills

 Has your company outgrown your managerial skills? Entrepreneurs often start businesses for financial independence, but find themselves unprepared when profits exceed expectations. When running the day-to-day operations of your business seem like a chore, and you are unable to give it the attention it needs, you can either sell the company or hand over the leadership reigns. If you’ve made smart hiring decisions, you’ll find a new CEO among your current managers. Once you pass the torch, you’ll remain as a behind-the-scenes owner.

If there’s no one to assume the leadership position, you may be better off selling your business, especially if it’s in internet publishing or another growth industry.

 2) You are Going Through Major Life Changes

 It can be hard to keep your personal and business life separate, especially if you are going through a divorce, facing major surgery or dealing with a death in the family. During tough times, you may consider selling your business and using the money to manage your personal crisis. If your employees are able to run the business smoothly during your absence, you may opt to hold on to the business and use the steady income to take care of your life issues instead of selling the business. However, selling a business is often the best choice for older owners close to retirement age or individuals who are burnt out from years at the helm of a company.

 3) You Receive an Offer Way Above Your Business Valuation

Few business owners pass up unexpected and lucrative purchase offers from investors. Businesses in trendy industries or popular companies with stellar reputations are always sought after, even if owners aren’t actively seeking buyers. No matter how attached you are to your business, an offer way above your company’s valuation is impossible to ignore.   By the way, do you know how much your business is worth?  A business broker can offer you a business valuation, usually at no cost.

4) You Have Better Career or Business Opportunities Elsewhere

 New business or career opportunities abound, and you may find greener grass (and more money) in another field. Most entrepreneurs don’t stop innovating with the first business or idea – they’re always coming up with new and more creative concepts. Serial entrepreneurs maximize profits from one business, sell it, and use the money to fund another project.

 5) Disputes with a Business Partner

 If you are constantly arguing with your business partner, it may be a good time to sell your share. Enmity between partners detracts from progress and profits. When all efforts to settle your differences have failed, partners may opt to sell their share in the business to a third party or another partner. They may also decide to dissolve the partnership or sell the business and split money received according to the partnership agreement.

6) The Business is Struggling

 You started your business with the best of intentions and lots of hard work, and you’ve weathered the recession, changes in your industry and personal problems to keep it going. Unfortunately, certain business ventures continue to under-perform despite your best efforts. There are always entrepreneurs willing to buy struggling businesses, breathe new life into them, and adequately compensate the exiting owner with a decent offer. If you have an under-performing business and want to sell it for the highest price possible, talk to a business broker.

Regardless of the reason you’re selling, a skilled business broker will help you get the maximum sale price for your business. Visit  or call 1-800-BIZ-BROKER to learn more about business brokers and find one in your area. Attract the best buyer for your company with guidance from an experienced business broker by calling 1-800-BIZ-BROKER today.

Selling your Business: Overcoming FEAR

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selling your businessBusiness sales are not easy venture, and selling a business takes guts. Placing your business for sale is a difficult decision for many business owners. It is hard to leave a place you value and have spent years developing. Even harder, is to risk losing money in the process. A sense of fear is created around the thought of selling and holds many business owners back from placing their business on the market. Outlined here are some of the biggest fears and obstacles we have heard over the years.

Repairs- your business needs repairs, and you really don’t want to invest the time or money right now. While it is true that buyers will pay top dollar for a business in pristine condition, you do not have to repair every last thing in order to get your business sold. The key is to focus on improvements that will add value to your listing. After all, there really is no point in spending time and money on something you will not see a return for. However, keep in mind that the big-ticket repairs, like equipment and the business’ overall appearance (i.e. fresh paint, new flooring, a deep cleaning) are areas well worth addressing prior to placing your business on the market.

Overworked- running a business may already take up majority of your time, and now you will have to somehow incorporate a mile-long to-do list into it. Once the business is show ready, then the task of marketing it to prospective buyers, and making time to show it and speak with them. Then to figure out what paperwork to file and when, as well as coordinate efforts between lawyers, CPAs, bankers, insurance agents, etc. Needless to say, it can become overwhelming, especially when you take into consideration it is not something that can be done in one weekend, maybe not even within a few months.

Debt- clearly, if you owe more than your business is worth, it would not be a very profitable sale for you. However, if you have been relying on online estimates to determine the value of your business, you might not have an accurate picture of what your business is really worth. It is best to get a free comparative market analysis from a business broker in your area. You might be surprised at how much your business would truly value at.

For most business owners, the sale of their business is a once in a life-time deal. Hiring a qualified professional can assist you in overcoming your fears. The business professionals at 1-800-BIZ-BROKER have the expertise and experience to get a business sold for the right price, to the right party, and with the least amount of disruption to the operation. If you are thinking about selling your business and would like to know more about how to maximize your sale, we can put you in touch with a professional business broker who has earned the 1-800-BIZ-BROKER seal of trust in your area. Call or visit our website at

Leaving Your “Groundhog Day”, Business Sale Behind

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FILE - This Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013 file photo shows Groundhog Club Co-handler Ron Ploucha holding the weather predicting groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, after the club said Phil did not see his shadow and there will be an early spring during the Groundhog Day ceremony in Punxsutawney, Pa. Authorities in still-frigid Ohio have issued an "indictment" of the furry rodent, who predicted an early spring. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)

(AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)

Have you ever seen the movie Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray? Where his character gets stuck repeating the same monotonous day over and over again? “I wake up every day, right here in Punxsutawney, and it is always February 2nd, and there is nothing I can do about it.” Poor guy, right? You may be asking yourself how this movie relates to business sales, and where I am going with this. Well, if you really think about it, there is something to be learned from the movie’s ridiculous story line. We can all relate to the feeling of repetition. At some point in our lives we have longed for life to move forward, and felt that nothing we were doing was actually making a difference.

One of the biggest areas we experience this time loop is in our careers. As a business owner, you have probably spent your career building your business, growing it and making it successful. Now that you have finally made the decision that it is time to sell your business, you are probably looking forward to what new opportunities the future will bring once you do. Unfortunately, it’s been months, maybe even years, and you have been unable to make the actual sale. You may have met with several prospective buyers who claim to have an interest in your business; spent a considerable amount of time showing your business to them, answering their questions, meeting with them, only to discover that the great majority of these so-called buyers lack either the money or common sense to even purchase the business. Showing your business has probably lost its excitement and become repetitive; you may start to question if the effort is even worth giving if it is not really making a difference in the outcome.

A major challenge faced by business owners who are independently selling their business is the time spent showing their business to prospective buyers. Most specifically buyers who claim to have an interest and money to make a purchase, but who are actually not qualified.  These types of buyers waste so much of a seller’s valuable time, and can compromise the selling effort by violating the non-disclosure rules. It is important that a seller avoid working with unqualified buyers because they never actually lead to a sale. However it may be very difficult for a business owner to identify the time-wasters and unqualified buyers from the serious and qualified buyers. A professional business broker has expertise in not only identifying qualified buyers, but also the right buyer for your business. Consulting with a broker can save you not only a considerable amount of time and aggravation, but also bring an end to your Groundhog Day sale.  For more information on how a business broker can help you, contact one of the professional business brokers by calling 1-800-BIZ-BROKER or by visiting

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