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Services For Sellers

       

Selling your business is a major decision!

You have devoted your time, money, and energy to building, running, and operating your business. It may well represent your life's work. You may have already decided that now is the right time to sell, and you want the very best professional guidance you can get. This is when working in tandem with The THOR Group LLC can make the difference between just getting rid of the business and selling it for the very best price and terms! And, we specialize only in the sale of businesses - on a strictly confidential basis.  Below are some of the major services we offer to the business owner.

Consulting on the Entire Process of Selling a Business

The THOR Group offers a no-cost, no-obligation consulting meeting to fully explain the details of preparing, marketing and selling a privately held business.  We will discuss the profile of likely Buyers, what they are looking for, and what motivates them.  You will come away from this session armed with the information necessary to make your decision to sell or continue working to improve the business for selling at a better time.

Conducting a Business Valuation

The THOR Group uses the services of the largest, independent third-party valuation services in America to create these reports for our clients who are trying to secure full market value for their business.  They perform thousands of business valuations each year and have access to the largest databases of closed transactions in the nation.  They know what price other businesses, like yours, are really bringing.  Their reports are reader friendly and can be shown to prospective buyers.  They justify that the price recommended is the most obtainable for the business owner and the report proves the asking price is realistic to a prospective buyer.

Determining your need for a business valuation is usually the first step in the decision-making process. You may need valuation expertise that counts for any one of these purposes:

  • Selling your business at the “Stand-alone,” Fair Market Value or at a Strategic Value

  • Providing a valuation for lending purposes

  • Planning a merger or acquisition

  • Developing an estate plan to protect your wealth

  • Establishing a buy-sell agreement with partners

  • Creating exit strategies for business owners

  • Determining the value of assets and liabilities for a divorce settlement

  • Providing litigation support services

  • Negotiating an insurance settlement

  • Setting up an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP)

It is critical to determine the purpose of the valuation and what the practitioner will include in the estimate of value. This determination shapes the choice of valuation methods to apply, because different approaches and concepts may be more appropriate for different purposes or industries.

The valuation services firms used by The THOR Group will bring valuation solutions and:

  • A proven track record

  • Credibility

  • Objectivity

  • Sound judgment

  • Commitment to quality service

  • Reports that comply with SBA Guidelines

There is a big difference in the quality of valuation reports that can be performed. You must ask: "Is the report designed as a marketing tool, or is it something that has to be put in a drawer and not shown to a buyer? Was true analysis of the business performed? Were factors such as industry trends, age of the business, client base, and other intangible assets that will affect the price taken into consideration?"

Manage the Process of Selling your Business

Once you have made the decision to sell your business, The THOR Group will manage the entire process with the goal of finding the BEST Buyer for your business while minimizing the time, expense and energy you spend.

Some of the following steps may be taken by The THOR Group in our time-tested process of ownership transfer for your business: 

Ownership Transfer Process

First Phase

   Preparation

  • Understanding owner’s goals and objectives.

  • Understanding the company, industry, competition, and marketplace.

  • Preliminary analysis to determine price and terms consistent with the marketplace and the owners’ goals and objectives.

  • Position Company for sale or acquisition.

   Packaging

  • Recasting of company’s balance sheet and financial statements to increase and document the real value of the business.

  • Arrange for an independent third party business valuation to verify price and terms.

  • Develop a blind Business Listing Outline and Business Profile for marketing purposes.

  • Draft a Confidential Memorandum, a necessary tool for buyers.

  • Client review and approval of documents and on structure of sale.

   Marketing Plan

  • Research and analysis of the industry.

  • Define BEST buyer criteria and profile.

  • Identify and classify potential buyers.

  • Develop and implement targeted marketing strategies and programs.

  • Review plan, obtain input and approval from client.

  • Develop schedule of events and time line.

  • Track and record marketing events.

  • Place a blind Business Profile into several business brokerage network websites.

Second Phase

   Screening Buyers

  • Contact potential buyers via affiliate networks, the Internet, advertising, direct mail, and telemarketing.

  • Screen and qualify potential buyers.

  • Secure a Buyer’s Profile, a signed Financial Statement, and a Confidentiality and Warranty Agreement from all serious buyers. 

  • Find the BEST buyers for your business

   Buyer Visits

  • If buyers are “qualified” and interested, provide buyer(s) the company’s Confidential Memorandum.

  • Educate and provide the buyers with deal requirements.

  • Coordinate initial site visit with potential buyers.

  • Satisfy buyer requests for information needed to develop Offer to Purchase

   Execute Offer to Purchase

  • Work with buyer and their advisors to prepare an Offer to Purchase.

  • Review and clarify Offer to Purchase.

  • Negotiate price and terms.

  • Sign Offer to Purchase.

Third Phase

   Final Discovery and Negotiations

  • Due diligence.

  • Complete all outstanding issues.

  • Purchase Agreement finalized

  • Set closing date. 

   Closing

  • Sign Purchase Agreement and other items necessary for closing.

   Post-Closing

  • Complete post-closing details between seller and buyer if necessary.

   Assistance in Obtaining Financing

If need be, we can assist the buyer 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 the buyer qualify for a loan.  In some instances, we may suggest that the business be pre-qualified for a SBA loan.

If you have any questions that we have not covered please do not hesitate to contact us. 

To contact us, click here...

   


Frequently Asked Questions for Sellers

Question: I don't want anyone to know I'm selling my business.  How can I do this? 

Answer: At The THOR Group, every buyer is required to sign a confidentiality agreement, which details his or her legal responsibility in having access to your information. The identity of the business is never disclosed before we have this contract on file. We also require the buyer to submit a personal financial statement which serves the dual purpose of financially pre-qualifying the buyer and discouraging frivolous requests from non-serious buyers.

Question: How long will it take to sell my business?                                      

Answer: In a recent study for the year 2001, it took 225 days on average to sell a business, much longer than 20 years ago. Besides the confidential nature of the sale, buyers are better educated and informed, requiring more information from the seller, using outside advisors more, and the regulatory requirements for the closing have also increased. Other factors include the fact that each business is completely unique and buyers have varying approaches to evaluating a business. We handle the time and effort involved in selling your business so that you can stay focused on running your business.

Question: My business is unique.  Are there really buyers for my business?    

Answer: Absolutely!  Unless your business requires a highly specialized skill or certification that only the owner can provide, every business will be attractive to a broad array of buyers - if it is profitable.  The business cash flow must allow the new buyer to take home a decent salary, pay off the debt and earn some return on the cash down payment.  The best thing an owner can do to prepare a business for sale is to get the revenues up and the expenses down

Question: I get letters form business brokers all the time.  Do they really have a buyer for my business? 

Answer: Most brokers and intermediaries have a database of pre-qualified buyers who are looking for good businesses.  In most instances, these buyers are interested in fairly general business categories within a specific geographic area.  Some other buyers (especially corporate entities) are very specific about the businesses they want.  More rarely, an intermediary is retained to do a very specific targeted search on behalf of a single client.

Question: How do you market the sale of my business? 

Answer: Depending on its likely buyer market, we will market using direct mail, telemarketing, and advertising coupled with promotion through our network of affiliates.  This is handled in a blind fashion. By that we mean that your business is described but not identified by name. Advertising on the Internet is a very effective means for advertising businesses for sale. We utilize a number of the top business transfer websites available in the world.

Question: I am still concerned. How can I insure confidentiality? 

Answer: You are right to be concerned.  Employees, suppliers, customers, and bankers are key factors in the success of a company. News of a possible business sale can often disrupt these relationships and affect a company's ongoing business. As stated above, The THOR Group is meticulous in ensuring only qualified buyers obtain confidential information.  However, employees may become suspicious upon seeing non-typical behavior. We can advise you on some steps you can take to prevent disclosure of your intentions within your own company.

Question: I am not quite ready to sell my business now.  What should I be doing to prepare my business to sell in a year or two? 

Answer: While not applicable to every business, you should strive to do the following:

  • Increase your sales yearly

  • Remove yourself from the business

  • Develop a strong management team

  • Replace family members working in the business with other employees

  • Reduce the amount of personal perks in the business

  • Sell off all unnecessary assets

  • Develop a strong sales force (if applicable)

  • Diversify your customer base

We can advise you on prioritizing what approaches to take.

Question: Why should I have a Business Valuation done on my business?  

Answer:  Determining the value of a business is the first step in the process of selling a business. The value of a business is related to the risk involved, the ability to generate an income stream, and the value of the tangible assets.  With a professionally completed valuation, you can rest assured that you will not be “leaving money on the table” when setting your asking price.  Even if not quite ready to sell, this valuation will point out those things you can do now to increase the value of your business later.

Question: Do I have to put an Asking Price on my business?  

Answer:  The short answer is No.  If the likely buyer is a strategic buyer, it is best to not set a price and let the market decide – while using the Business Valuation as a floor.  For smaller businesses where the only likely buyers are financially oriented, it is best to set the price – again using the Business Valuation as a guide. 

Question: I want to sell my business but am worried about the tax liability.  Are there things I can do to minimize the tax bill? 

Answer: The short answer is Yes – but we cannot give many details.  As the tax code is very complex and its impact highly dependent on your overall financial situation, it is best to involve tax professionals who are experienced in the business sale process.  We at The THOR Group can provide some references.
 


10 Tips on Selling Your Business

1.      Engage An Expert Business Broker
A breach of confidentiality surrounding the sale of a business can change the course of the transaction and damage a business in the future.

2.      Prepare For The Sale Well In Advance
A good business broker will prepare an confidential memorandum for the business to have ready when potential buyers are qualified.  The business owners can help in the process by "housecleaning" - as well as a literal sprucing up of the facilities.

3.      Place A Reasonable Price On Your Business
An inflated figure either turns off or slows down potential buyers.  Rely on your business intermediary to arrive at the best "win-win" price.  An "unrealistic price" discourages many buyers from even looking at a business.

4.      Carry On "Business As Usual"
Don't become so obsessed with the transaction that your attention wonders from day-to-day demands, affecting sales, costs, and profits.

5.      Anticipate Information The Buyers And Their Financing Sources May Require
In order to obtain financing, the buyer will need appraisals on assets.  Lenders will require at least three years of tax returns and the most recent financial statement.

6.      Achieve Leverage Through Buyer Competition
A good business priced properly will many times create interest from several buyers and create a competitive situation.

7.      Be Flexible
Don't be the kind of seller who wants all-cash at the closing, or who won't accept any contingent payments or an asset based transaction.  Depend on the advice of your business broker - their knowledge of financing and tax implications.

8.      Negotiate; Don't Dominate
You are used to being your own boss, but be prepared to learn that the buyer may be used to having his way, too.  With your business broker's help, decide ahead of time "when to hold and when to fold."

9.      Keep Time From Dragging Down The Deal
To keep the momentum up, work with your business broker to be sure that potential buyers stay on a time schedule and that offers and counter-offers move in a timely fashion.

10.  Be Willing To Stay Involved
Even if you are feeling burned-out, realize that the buyer may want you to stay within arm's reach for a while.  Consult with business brokers to determine how you can best effect a smooth transition
.
 


Potential Seller Quiz

For each of the following, place a number on a scale of 1 to 4.  “1” Means strongly agree while “4” means strongly disagree.

1)     The idea of making payroll, paying taxes and suppliers, and getting paid by customers has me “counting sheep” at night.  
2)     The thought of keeping track of, listening to problems of, getting backup for, and recruiting for employees makes me want to schedule a trip to the Psychiatrist  
3)     The notion that there are more taxes to pay than I have fingers on your hands has me thinking about amputation  
4)     The fact that I spend much more time with my accountant than with my travel agent has me dreaming of a much needed vacation  
5)     I would rather schedule an appointment with my dentist than one with a potential customer  
6)     Going on a vacation means bringing a swimsuit, sandals and sunglasses - not a cell phone, pager and laptop   

   
Scor
e

Less than 9 Call your friendly business intermediary NOW.  You are ready to sell.
10- 19 You are definitely losing the desire.  You should start preparing your business for sale – Call The THOR Group for consultation.
20-29 You are still doing OK but it is never too early to start thinking about an Exit Strategy.  Call The THOR Group for details.
Above 30 Wow, you still have the fire.  Even so, you should be doing the things now that can pay dividends down the road when the fuel begins to run out.

   
While this test is meant to be humorous and is certainly non-scientific, it does highlight some of the things that constitute the life of an independent business owner.  Many owners wait too long, lose the passion, and consequently, the business performance degrades.  Do not let this happen to you.  Sell at the top, when the business is doing well, while you still have your health and you still have the energy to help train the new owner so as to ensure that your life’s work will thrive for many more years.

Email:  thor@thorgrouponline.com     Phone: 410-987-7062
   

     

     

   

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