The Sales process is structured to explore all of our Seller’s options and to ensure we bring to you the right buyer with the right price and terms. All aspects of the process is held in strict and complete confidence
Interview and Questionnaire Process
Understanding your firm thoroughly is the key to positioning your business correctly and finding the right Buyer. We’ll discuss your practice and the business segments, clients, staff, financial statements, realization by employee level, qualifications, credentials, goals and expect.
Determining Next Steps
The outcome of the Interview and Proprietary Questionnaire determines our next steps together. In some cases, we will immediately proceed through the remaining phases of our sales process. In others, we may recommend some short-term adjustments to your business to better position it for sale. Many sellers decide to start to consult with me years before they actually plan to sell.
With an understanding of your business and goals, next I’ll evaluate your core market(s) to document key factors that may affect the perceived value of your business:
o Is your market area growing or declining?
o Are any of your competitors interested in expanding?
o What factors are prospective buyers utilizing in their business acquisition?
Valuation of the Business
In most circumstances, I begin with a baseline price of 100% of the industry standard multiple of gross billings. Then I rely on our practical experience to adjust the price according to factors such as size of staff, type of work performed, profitability, business reputation, and market trends. This would more than usual yield either a 90% or 110% of gross billings.
Each situation is unique; therefore, I will always collaborate with our clients and focus on their goals when calculating the price. Some of the goals that affect price may include:
o Requiring a large down payment
o Seeking a quick cash sale
o Waiting for the highest price the market will bear
o Pursuing a secure income stream
I fully understand that putting a price on their firm/practice office is a challenge for all business owners. In addition to personal factors and the terms of the deal, the amount is a concern. If a price is too high, buyers will not be interested; if the price is too low, sellers will not get the return they should. My combination of analytical data and real-world experience presents your business at a fair price to potential buyers.
Once the prior steps are complete, our staff will prepare a comprehensive Business Sales Presentation. This confidential document is the cornerstone of our presentations to your potential buyers. It details the core aspects of your business and the information the buyer needs to make a purchase decision.
Marketing and Advertising
Once we have finalized the Business Sales Memorandum, we are ready to market your business to qualified buyers through a variety of channels:
o Mining our database of screened and qualified buyers.
o Networking with our extensive contacts to generate leads and referrals.
o Purchasing high-end industry lists to reach new prospective buyers.
o Conducting integrated marketing campaigns to contact prospective buyers.
o Listing your business on our site, exposing it to thousands of prospective buyers worldwide.
o Advertising in leading multiple business listing services, accounting and tax industry journals and newsletters.
o Building relationships with potential buyers through our webinars, workshops and accounting and tax industry seminars, meetings and conferences. This includes the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants (FICPA) and the Southwest Florida Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) as well as the South Florida Financial Executive Institute (FEI).Our goal is to find multiple buyers, as this will increase your options when negotiating price and terms.
The first step here is to obtain an executed Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) from prospects.
Maintaining confidentiality is essential to retaining employees and preventing clients from looking for another practitioner prior to your sale. Any potential buyers should sign non-disclosure agreements before receiving detailed confidential or proprietary information about your practice (including your specific location and identity), and before meeting with you or entering serious discussions / negotiations with you.
• How do you protect my confidentiality?
• How will you identify / promote my sale and maintain my confidentiality?
• What amount of information will be given to prospective buyers through the stages of the sale?
Our screening process measures prospects on two levels: 1) How serious is the prospect about buying, and if they are financially capable to acquire, and 2) How will the prospect fit within your business structure and environment.
This screening process ensures that you only speak with the prospects that are ready, willing and able about buying and will provide a successful transition for you, your clients, and your staff.
With the pre-screening process complete, next we focus on the following factors to generate multiple offers from qualified prospective buyers to position you well for the negotiation stage:
o Which prospect has the skills and ability necessary to continue your business?
o Are the down payments large enough and terms adequate?
o Do the prospects have good credit?
o Is there good synergy between the Seller and Prospect?
o Is the acquiring form capable in sustaining the business level and beyond?
We manage all negotiations with prospects in consultation with you, asking the tough questions and finalizing a win-win agreement for both parties. The end result after all business issues and payment terms have been agreed upon is a Letter of Intent (LOI) provided by the Buyer to Seller.
It is the buyer’s responsibility to perform any investigations prior to closing the sale. We can help organize the Due Diligence process.
The Purchase Agreement
A well-written agreement that includes everything; price, terms, etc. can be the difference between a deal that sounds good in theory and one that is enforceable in writing. We work with many credible attorneys, escrow and closing agents locally.
Our standard industry Purchase Agreement is very comprehensive and covers:
o Non-competition agreements
o Down payments
o Protection of the unpaid balance
o Repayment schedule
Transition and Integration
Once your deal is closed, it is important to adequately transition the buyer into your practice. We assist you in this process by helping you plan conversations with your staff and clients, providing sample client correspondence, and acting as your sounding board as questions arise. We also are able to assist you in the integration stage in ensuring all the systems are properly joined from a cost benefit standpoint. This includes health and retirement plans, information technology systems and software compatibility for accounting and tax.