When all other factors are equal, the presence of a significant concentration among customers, suppliers, and/or employees results in a lower business value than might otherwise be expected due to the underlying inherent risks associated with any or all of these concentrations.
If you intend to grow and sell a valuable business, the Great Resignation that kicked off in mid 2021 means everything. Everything that is if you care about the value of your business.
Business owners who address the three hallmarks of a valuable business are very likely to have more options for exit and attract multiple buyers.
When it comes to the sale of a business, there are a number of costs – both expected and unplanned – all business owners should understand before they agree to sell their business. A few of our Featured Advisors have weighed in, offering their expertise and perspective to explain the costs – from business broker fees and legal costs to hidden fees – as they relate to selling a business.
Our Comprehensive Starting a Business Checklist includes the steps for Pre-Startup, Business Formation and How to Establish your Startup. It’s your roadmap to launch a new business while protecting your personal assets and income.
Due to the wide media coverage over the availability of PPP Loans, the subsequent funding drought, and the numerous complexities involved in obtaining these loans, many business owners overlooked a different way to recover employee payroll costs if their business had been mandated to shut down by a governing authority or if their revenue had plummeted due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Employee Retention Credit, under the CARES Act Section 2301, offers a viable and alternative way to recover payroll costs for any type of employer, except state and local government entities, regardless of their size.
On Monday, May 3rd, 2021, the Small Business Administration (SBA) opened its application portal for the Restaurant Revitalization Funding (RRF) to certain restaurants, bars and other similar businesses that serve food and/or drink which have suffered a reduction in revenue in 2020 when compared to 2019 as a result of the pandemic.
Similar to the Paycheck Protection Program Loan (PPPL) program, this federally-funded program is intended to provide cash to businesses which have suffered revenue losses and if spent on the proper types of expenses within a specific period of time (the Covered Period), the loan may be fully-forgiven by the SBA.
Up until now, the PPP Loan proceeds for Schedule C filers was based on the 2019 net profit (referred to as the net earnings from self employment) plus payroll costs if employees worked in the business. The Interim Final Rule (IFR) effective on March 3, 2021 allows a business owner to use either their gross income or net income as the basis to compute its PPP Loan request amount.
What should a business owner do to prepare to sell his or her business some time in the near future?
Aside from right-sizing the business’s overhead costs to line up with its current level of revenue, and looking for opportunities the pandemic may be presenting, there are four things a business owner can do now to prepare to sell. And more importantly, doing these four things will mean that when a Letter of Intent is received from a buyer, the business will be very well-prepared to survive the due diligence stage of the sale.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) issued a Procedural Notice on October 2, 2020 which offers business owners and lenders guidance on how Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans are to be handled when a business has a change in ownership.
This post summarizes the notice and includes an Infographic to assist business owners. It includes the following topic:
When does a Business Sale Require the SBA’s Approval
Does a Business Sale Require the PPP Lender’s Approval or Notification
Required Steps Pre and Post-Closing for PPP Borrowers
SBA Timeframe to Approve a Sale or Merger when a PPP Loan Transfers
Does the EIDL Grant Impose Additional Steps When Selling a Business
In a previous post, we discussed how a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) company works, its many benefits, and the tax implications you may face if you hire one.
As a recap, a PEO is a service that small or medium-sized businesses may use to outsource some of their human resource, payroll, benefits, taxes, recruiting, and other management tasks. As you might imagine, there are both pros and cons in hiring a PEO.
Here, we’ll discuss the disadvantages of using a PEO, along with the associated costs of a PEO.
In our PEO series, we’ve talked about what a PEO company is and who is the employer in a PEO relationship. Here, we’ll discuss PEO for nonprofits, and whether or not using a PEO for your nonprofit might make sense.
On June 15, 2020, the Small Business Administration reopened the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) applications to businesses with no more than 500 employees and non-profit organizations operating and suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the pandemic in all of the U.S. states, Washington D.C., and territories.
Independent Contractors, sole-proprietors (with or without employees), gig workers and freelancers are also eligible to apply for the EIDL.
On June 5, 2020, President Trump signed into law the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act (PPPFA), which is the latest attempt to save struggling businesses from permanent shutdown.
The Flexibility Act offers business owners seven significant changes to the original Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan terms. The House and Senate were driven to make these changes due to the lengthy pandemic and the fact that many PPP Loan recipients have not been able to re-open their doors for business during the required eight-week ‘covered period’ set forth in the original PPP Loan Act.
The PPP Loan Flexibility Act will make it much easier for business owners to achieve full, or nearly full, loan forgiveness.
The new law provides business owners with seven significant changes to the original law and those include:
If you are wondering what a PEO is and whether or not this type of outsourcing may be a good option for your small or medium-sized business, this first article in our series of four posts will help you decide if it’s the right move for you.
In this post, we cover everything you need to know about a PEO company including:
• What’s the meaning of PEO?
• PEO payroll
• PEO benefits
• PEO tax implications, and more.
The Small Business Administration announced on Thursday, April 16th all federal funds set aside for the Paycheck Protection Plan (PPP) Loans have been allocated to those business owners who were persistent (and fortunate) enough to get through the application process and receive an official registration number from the SBA via its bank.
In simple terms, the PPP Loans are out of money to assist business owners.
If you’re considering the sale of your business, or possibly the acquisition of another competing business, it’s important to understand the selling/buying process.
An often overlooked and important first step during the process of buying or selling a business involves the negotiation of certain terms the buyer and seller will ultimately agree to at the closing table once the due diligence phase of the process is completed.
If either party ignores the importance of the initial terms’ negotiations, they can often end up with a bad deal or no deal at all.
One of the greatest risks any buyer faces is what will happen to the business’ best customers post-sale. Will the top customers celebrate the founder’s great accomplishment or maybe decide it’s a good opportunity to negotiate better pricing or payment terms with the new owner? Or worse yet, will they be spooked by the new owners and find an alternative vendor?
Astute buyers measure this risk quickly. Typically, one of the first questions experienced buyers ask the business broker is about the presence or lack of a customer concentration.
For the business owner considering the sale of his business in the near future, having a clear understanding if a customer concentration exists is vitally important. In fact, the lack of a customer concentration is a great selling point.
Depending on the circumstances and objective of the owner, the value of a business can vary considerably. For instance, upon sale to unrelated party, an owner would expect to receive the maximum purchase price for their business the unrelated party is willing to pay. However, that same sale to a family member or employee may need to be structured so the cash flow of the business can support the purchase price.
For a closely held business, owners generally have little idea about the value of their business, or whether their business is generating an adequate return on investment, and what drives its value.
For many businesses, the ultimate goal is to sell the business. Can you picture it? Walk away from the daily stress and aggravation with a fat pile of cash. Hop a plane to your favorite tropical destination and spend the rest of your days lounging a white sandy beach, sipping pina coladas out of a coconut, without a care in the world.
Well, friends, the above scenario is the ideal scenario. I like sipping cold drinks on a beach as much as the next guy, and I hope that happens for you. But if you clicked on this article, you may be looking at a much different scenario.
And that’s what this article is going to cover: the less-than-ideal scenario.
In this post we will be addressing how to protect your business name and whether filing for a DBA, registering a trademark or copyright, creating a URL, filing a patent application, and registering your business in your state of operation is appropriate, and most importantly why.
Understanding the differences between the various methods used to protect your intellectual property allows you to be prepared to make the best decisions possible for your new business. By doing so, the fence around your valuable business will be strengthened!
When things go wrong with the sale of a business the parties involved look for remedies in the liquidated damages provisions established in the purchase agreement. Such provisions are included when a purchase agreement has been signed in advance of an actual closing when the business is transferred and a purchase price is paid.
When working through a business sale, an inordinate number of resources on both sides of the table are dedicated to drafting and negotiating the Stock Purchase or Asset Purchase Agreement. This is true especially in the last one-to-two weeks before the closing. In fact, I’ve had clients remark that during their entire tenure as an entrepreneur, they never spent as much time speaking to their advisors as they did during the last week of their business ownership journey!
Do you have a website? Do you have images on your website? Do you know where those images came from? Truly, do you? If you didn’t create the images yourself or you didn’t license the images from their owner, you are probably violating copyright infringement laws. It doesn’t matter if you didn’t know; innocent infringement is still infringement!
To sell or not to sell, that is the question many business owners ask themselves at least once during their tenure as business owners. Sometimes, the decision to sell is easy if the owner is ready to retire or has decided to pursue a new career or business opportunity. However, in many cases, business owners struggle with this critical decision. Fortunately there are several steps you can take to make an informed and stress-free decision on whether to sell your business now, later, or not at all. In all cases seek the advice of several third party professionals such as a Business Attorney, Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Business Appraiser and/or Broker, and a Financial Advisor as well as consultants in your industry.
Debt Service Coverage Ratio compliance often is required or necessitated by covenants in a bank loan agreement. A bank loan covenant regarding the debt service coverage ratio will specify the amount of income a business and/or its guarantor must generate relative to the debt principal and interest payments on an annual basis to remain in compliance with the covenant. The business owner, or his or her CFO or Controller, should monitor this ratio carefully on a monthly basis so the covenant is not unintentionally broken.
Indemnification allocates the risk of various post-closing losses between buyer and seller. For this reason, the indemnification provisions of your purchase agreement will very likely be among the most heavily negotiated provisions in your purchase agreement.
People often overlook the attitude of the buyer and how greatly it can affect the outcome of the deal. Confidence is key.
There are many pitfalls to avoid and precautions to be taken when contemplating the sale of your business to a competitor. In particular, selling a business to a competitor can have tricky antitrust implications that require much care prior to closing.
Many entrepreneurs faced with the demands on cash of a growing business are tempted to sell equity to outside investors, or perhaps give away stock to retain a valuable employee. Diluting your stake in this way may solve the immediate problem, but it can have unforeseen consequences when the business eventually is sold. Stockholders’ personal circumstances evolve in different ways over the lifetime of a company, and whatever the original intention everyone may not be on the same page when you are ready to sell.
You have endured multiple meetings with potential buyers. You’ve written dozens of emails and suffered through several rounds of negotiations to secure the best price and deal structure. At last you have decided on the offer to accept. That’s the worst of it over then? Think again – you have yet to experience the joys of due diligence and sale contract negotiation.
If a customer’s total revenue for the year represents 8% or more of all revenue for the same year, you have a customer concentration risk.
The reasons for selling a business are many and varied; in the end, however, the desired result is the same – money. So how does one go about maximizing profit when selling a business?
Check out the website of your favorite fast food chain and you will see most have multiple business entity structures noted in the fine print. For a large business, this practice has been commonplace for decades. It involves layering one form of a business entity either alongside or in conjunction with an operating business.
According to the Fair Labor Standards Act there is a distinct difference between an independent contractor and an employee. This difference lies mainly in the way they are paid and the way taxes are withheld. Understanding the difference between them and times when both are appropriate to use can help business owners determine which is best for their situation.
Often, business owners ask me one of those “quick questions” – what can I do to maximize the sale price of my business? The answer? Not as simple as you may think. But there are 4 factors that can increase the value of your sale price.
The Bank Workout Group is a department in a bank that handles what is known as the bank’s special assets. Banks send their troubled loans to this department to handle negotiation and management of the bank’s forbearance agreements.
If you have ever endured the process of selling a business with the assistance of professional advisors who specialize in mergers and acquisitions, you will agree with me that this is not something to try at home!
The DBA is often misunderstood, but it can be a valuable way to promote your business and gain some protections of your rights as a business owner. However, you need to make sure you know the limitations of a DBA to protect your intellectual property and trademark rights.
A copyright protects the particular ways by which people expressed themselves. A copyright gives an owner the exclusive legal right to reproduce, publish, sell, or distribute an original creative work.
One of the most common questions I get from small business owners is, “when do I need an employee handbook?” In a perfect world, an employee handbook would be part of the startup protocol, but that usually isn’t the case. In the midst of building a website, working on business development and actually putting together a sellable product, writing policies and procedures is not top of mind.
In the recent Apple-Samsung case, the jury found that Samsung infringed six of Apple’s patents. While we think of Apple as having such technological superiority, three of the patents that Samsung were found to infringe were design patents. Unlike utility patents which cover any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof; design patents cover any new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture.
Proprietary information such as customer lists and recipes are intellectual property. However they are not formally protected in the same way as are trademarks, copyrights or patents. These and other types of confidential information can only be protected if they are treated as trade secrets.
The many years of hard work and long days at the office may be about to pay off—you have just received an offer from a potential buyer to acquire your business. Just as you developed and followed a detailed business plan to build your business, now you need to develop a well-thought out plan covering the sale of your business, paying proper attention to the due diligence process.
It takes a special kind of person to start a business: a rare combination of drive, ambition, creativity, tenacity and impatience for action. But even within the community of business experts and entrepreneurs there is a special breed of person known as a “serial entrepreneur.”
One of the most crucial, yet subjective, aspects of any business valuation is determining the specific company risk premium of the business being appraised. The specific company risk premium varies with each company and is intended to be an adjustment to reflect a variety of circumstances inherent in the company and its industry.
Intellectual property is a concept that is not obvious to most people; you probably have heard of it, but what is it really? Intellectual property is the result of human ingenuity and creativity and the law provides mechanisms through which creativity can be protected. Intellectual property can be broken down into three parts.
Anyone who owns a family business is intimately familiar with the blood, sweat, and tears associated with building and then keeping the business viable. Nevertheless, it is not unusual for the business entrepreneur to postpone consideration of various issues involved in transferring the business to the next generation, including determining the value of the business.
Your worst nightmare comes true! You get an email on Friday afternoon from your largest customer indicating that they are changing suppliers for “strategic reasons.” They represent 20% of your sales revenue and 35% of your profits.
When you started your small or family business you more than likely developed a business plan. In this plan you laid out your purpose, vision, and strategy in great detail. As your business grew you created contracts, invoices, marketing materials, and other documents, all on paper, so that you had written evidence to signal agreements, to showcase your work, and to provide the necessary leverage should you ever have needed it.
It is a unique pleasure to find two equal partners or shareholders acting in harmony over selling a business. Unfortunately, when I say “unique”, I mean rarely ever. Please understand, it is not as if this never happens. It is just so unusual, that when faced with the situation, I find myself warning both parties before they proceed to sell their business.
When considering your business valuation and business risks in the hopes of selling that business, there are many factors to consider. One important factor to understand is the application of valuation discounts. The valuation of a controlling interest versus a minority interest within a privately held business can have different values, depending on the circumstance.
A patent is a governmentally granted monopoly that gives an inventor the exclusive right to make, use, or sell their invention for a limited time, in exchange for disclosure of that invention. There are three types of patents: design patents, plant patents, and utility patents. Generally utility patents are being referenced when you hear the word ‘patent’ and these will be the focus of the rest of this article.
When applied in a business situation, Pareto’s Principle likely will reveal to the entrepreneur that thier business is serving (at least) two very different sets of customers/clients. And in trying to do so, he or she and their staff will suffer anxiety, frustration, and the loss of company profit.
For every entrepreneur, a smooth transition of business ownership will be of importance at some future point. The Buy Sell Agreement deals with a specific exit strategy case. An agreement by and between business owners, it establishes a mechanism for the purchase of ownership interests following the departure of an owner due to a triggering event (i.e., death, divorce, disability, retirement, etc.).
When you sell a business, typically you will find language in the Stock or Asset Purchase Agreement that defines exactly what the Seller and the Buyer agree to do or guarantee as part of the transaction. In other words, each may agree to make the other party not responsible. The term used to identify this particular form of guarantee is indemnification.
The “indemnification basket” is one of the most important deal terms found in the Letter of Intent and ultimately in the Purchase Agreement and is often misunderstood by both the buyer and seller of a business. Buyers want the basket to be as low as possible and Sellers want it to be as high as possible. Baskets may be one of two types: a deductible basket or a tipping basket.
Throughout the lifecycle of a business, it is important for a business owner to remain focused on increasing the profitability, competitive advantage and market reach of the business. An entrepreneur typically accomplishes these objectives by (i) reinvesting the profits of the business to increase its workforce, customer base and cash flow and (ii) using business profits (along with other financing) to acquire competing businesses. Such business acquisitions typically serve two purposes by eliminating competitors and increasing the growth rate, product and service offerings, and market share of a business.
A typical entrepreneur invests a tremendous amount of time, effort and money in building a business. That is why it is so important for entrepreneurs to make sure employees and third parties who work with the business are prohibited from improperly using or disclosing any confidential or proprietary information of the business(e.g. customer lists, trade secrets and financial statements). Similarly, and in connection with the opportunity to sell a business, it is critical for the owner of the business not to provide any confidential information to a prospective purchaser until that party has signed a well-written non disclosure agreement.
Many people discuss the importance of pivoting in the context of a startup business. And I agree, once a business launches, the entrepreneur must be mindful of what is working and what is not. That’s when it is time to pivot the startup.
Bankers and Entrepreneurs rarely see eye-to-eye. Recently, my observation of this unfortunate reality caused me to chuckle as I sat with one of my clients and her business banker. What made me laugh was how two extremely accomplished individuals could define the term “special assets” so differently.
There are ways to improve the likelihood you will achieve a successful sale of your company if you take the time to develop ground rules with your business partners. The sooner you do so in the process of selling a company, the better.
It never ceases to amaze entrepreneurs how certain seemingly simple decisions, made during the early years of their business startup, can become fatal errors down the road. After meeting with many business owners across a broad spectrum of industries it’s common to find them enduring the consequences of the same, or similar, errors over and over again.