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Services For Buyers

Buying a business is a major decision!

Maybe you are tired of the corporate rat race, or have always dreamed of owning your own business or perhaps have the fire of an entrepreneur.  Owning and growing your own business is a tried and true path to financial independence.  But, statistics show that for businesses started from scratch, only one in five survive three years.  Starting a franchise increases these odds dramatically but you still have the headache of starting from nothing and little, if any, income for many months.

We at The THOR Group are advocates of finding a business that you like and feel comfortable managing.  You, like every other prospective buyer, have a vision of being your own boss and calling your own shots.  An old saying in the real estate industry is … “The three most important things a buyer should look for are location, location & location.”  While location is important to a business buyer, be aware that track record and management round out the three components of a successful business.  Let us assume that you find a business that you like, and its location is fine, but because of poor management, the business may not show the greatest record of accomplishment.  Purchased for the right price and terms, this business could become more successful with proper management making it a good way for you to achieve your vision of being in business for yourself.   

Unlike the sale of real estate or franchises, the sale of an ongoing business is very confidential for both the seller and the prospective buyer.  All inquiries are held in strict confidence. Meetings are confidential, and we are available after hours and on weekends.

A big advantage in buying an ongoing business is that you, as the new owner, have an immediate cash flow and an established customer base.  You do not have to build a business; you simply take over an existing, successful business with the present owner’s assistance.  If you are ready to take this step, The THOR Group, LLC can help.  Below are some of the major services we offer to the business buyer.

Consulting on the Entire Process of Buying a Business

The THOR Group offers a no-cost, no-obligation consulting meeting to fully explain the details of buying a privately held business.  We will discuss the possible options available to you depending on your goals and objectives.  You will come away from this session armed with the information necessary to make your decision to buy and, if so, the best approach to take.

Assistance in the Purchase of a Business We Represent

The THOR Group, through its network of affiliates, has access to hundreds of businesses that are currently offered for sale.  If one of these businesses matches your profile, we can assist by obtaining confidential information, arranging visits, preparing offers, negotiating, and addressing the myriad details that must be dealt with in order to purchase a business.  In other words, using our experience, we manage the process of buying a business.

Buy-Side Consulting

Outside of our network of affiliates, there are many more hundreds of businesses that may provide a great fit for you and your requirements.  Most of the time, the best businesses are sold before they are ever marketed to the outside community.  In essence they are pre-sold.   The business intermediary who is representing the business already has a list of qualified, aggressive buyers before the business is brought to market.  The key to getting on this list is to be a Buy-side client.  The THOR Group can market you aggressively but anonymously to the brokers and intermediaries in your area of interest.  Once you get access to these businesses, we will stay with you through the entire buying process.

Targeted Search for the Right Business

Maybe it is that great business you drive by everyday or perhaps you read about a company in a great industry that happens to match your skill and interests.  Why not buy one of these businesses rather than one that happens to come onto the market? Well, for two good reasons.  One, the business is likely not for sale and two, if it is, the owner will likely want a big premium.  The solution to this dilemma is to widen your search.  It has been estimated that nearly 20 percent of businesses change hands in any given year.  Contact enough businesses and you will find an owner who is ready and willing to sell – especially to the right buyer.

The THOR Group has a huge database of businesses in the Baltimore- Washington Northern Virginia region.  We sit down with you, map out a search strategy, and find those businesses that precisely match your interests, skills, experience and financial resources.  With your approval, we contact these businesses and find that 20% that are open to the possibility of a sale.  Again, with your approval, you meet with the owners that best fit your requirements and decide what business(es) to pursue.  From there, The THOR Group works with the owner to prepare the required documents and financials according to our established process so you can properly evaluate the business and prepare an offer.  From there, we manage the purchase process on your behalf.

Manage the Process of Buying a Business 

Depending on the situation, the process of buying a business may include all or some of the following:

Evaluate the non–confidential information on available businesses that sound interesting to you.  After meeting with a representative of the The THOR Group, evaluate the confidential business information provided and, as arranged by The THOR Group, meet with the Seller.  Ask questions on everything and anything, except actual price and terms issues.

Do your preliminary evaluation, based on the information provided by the seller to The THOR Group and you.

Make an offer, assuming that all of the information you have been provided is correct, but include contingencies, which allow you to confirm such information.  The THOR Group will show you how to write an offer to protect you as the buyer.  

Once a sales price is agreed upon, make a closer investigation of the business (also called Due Diligence), confirming to your satisfaction the validity of your offer.

Have documents prepared for the closing.  You may agree with the seller to share the cost of a closing attorney.  This lawyer will not argue the position for either party, but drafts all necessary legal documents to comply with the agreement a buyer and seller have reached.

Close the purchase, and begin your first day as the owner of your own business.  The seller will assist in an orderly transition because most of his money is coming from your success.

Assistance in Obtaining Financing

In need be, we assist you in obtaining financing.  Banks are reluctant to finance business purchases for good reasons.  First, all small businesses attempt to minimize profits shown on financial statements to reduce tax liability.  And secondly, a bank cannot come in to manage a business if foreclosure becomes necessary.  But, the Small Business Administration sponsors a loan program and we have numerous contacts in the banking community who are ready and willing to help you qualify for a loan.  In addition, over ninety percent of business purchases are financed to some extent by the owner himself, which demonstrates his confidence in the business.

You are part of the American Dream – You and your family own your own business!

Interested in discussing the purchase of a business? Click here... 

 
  

Top 10 Tips for Buying the Right Business Right

  1. Buy a business you like.  Although profitability is important, you will risk making a terrible mistake if you do not buy a business that you like.  Often, people who buy hastily without considering personal satisfaction later sell their businesses at a loss.  Will you be proud to own the business?  If you are not sure, do not buy that type of business. 
     
  2. Be flexible.  The THOR Group advises its clients to be open to all sorts of businesses.  Do not lock yourself into a specific brand name franchise or concept.  Try to match your skill set to industries that you know or have worked in or those that require little technical know-how.  If you lock into only one type of business, it will take you much longer to find a business to buy.  For example, examine the following categories: retail; service; manufacturing; distribution; restaurant; lounge; coin-operated business.  First, decide if there are any categories that you do not want to be in, then focus on the remaining categories. 
     
  3. Do not expect too much financial information.  Do not expect extensive financial information from the owner of a privately owned business.  While many do have a CPA prepared financial statement, the only accounting required of a privately owned business is filing tax returns, which are prepared to report the lowest possible tax liability.  There are other ways to show and verify actual cash flow later.
     
  4. Consider chemistry.  This may seem like an unusual recommendation, but The THOR Group tells its clients to forget about buying a business if they do not like the current owner.  The buying process is a long and somewhat complicated one -- it is imperative that the buyer and seller work through it together. 
     
  5. Go with owner financing.  The owner of the business may be willing to finance the purchase.  In some cases, this is the sole source of financing available to buyers of an existing business.  With owner financing, you can feel secure in believing the owner’s representations as to income and expenses, and you have a remedy if there are any problems after closing.  It also gives you a “silent partner” with a personal stake in your success. 
     
  6. Do not pay cash.  You may not want a loan over your head, but do not pay all cash for a business – even if you have it.  You should keep a stash on hand for emergencies and business improvements.  If you insist on paying all cash, at least place some of the purchase price in escrow for a period of time to protect yourself from any problems that may surface after the closing. 
     
  7. Make an offer before you have seen all of the financial and other business records of the business.  It is simply not possible to know everything about a business before you make the initial offer.  The offer does not commit you to the business, but it does let the seller know you are serious. 
     
  8. Stay calm.  Buying a business can be like dating.  You’ve got so many emotions going  – do you like the business, does the owner like you, is this feasible, what does my family think, etc. – that you’re bound to get a little flustered.  Keep your wits about you; you will need them.  Remain calm, and negotiate your offer with quiet reflection and reasoned discussions.  As you go through negotiations, always use this simple formula: Cash Flow Available minus Annual Debt Service Payments = $$$ for you and your family.  If at any time during the negotiations this formula does not result in enough money for you and your family, stop. 
     
  9. Investigate the business.  Once the owner has accepted your offer, the real work begins.  Verify cash flow and identify any hidden problems.  If you see red flags in either of these areas, change or terminate your offer.  There should be stipulations in your offer that allow for this. 
     
  10. Close quickly.  Once the deal is made, try to close as quickly as possible.  You do not want the owner to have second thoughts or news of the sale to leak out to employees, suppliers and clients. 

 

 

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