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Orlando Business Broker

Ask other business owners, your accountant and your lawyer for the names of agents they’ve used.

“It’s ideal to use a broker who’s a generalist instead of someone that specializes in a specific industry. Experts often work harder to keep their connections with buyers in the business instead of being advocates for the vendor,” Bates said.

Your agent should be discreet and have excellent negotiating skills, in addition to a take-charge mindset that will free you up to keep the company operating profitably through the transition.

A small-business sale can take a year or longer to finish.

“You need somebody who can aggressively promote your business but do it in a manner that does not violate confidentiality, because owners don’t want employees, suppliers or competitors to learn about a possible sale,” Bates explained.

“Look for a broker who’s experienced in marketing, negotiating the cost and conditions of the sale, coordinating the provider’s financial data and helping with the purchaser’s due diligence process,” he said.

Business brokers typically represent vendors, although about 10% also work for prospective buyers, ” Bates said. Commissions are usually paid at the end of the sale and operate about 10% to 12% of the whole sale price.

Most agents will charge an upfront fee to evaluate and promote the company, but it needs to be minimal — less than $1,000, he said.

Q: A friend and I’d love to open a gym. Which kind of business entity do banks favor when granting loans?

A: The type of business entity you set isn’t critical in evaluating your company to get a bank loan, ” said Nancy Russell, vice president of Comerica Bank.

“What business thing to establish is something your accountant will advise you given your situation,” Russell said.

“Lenders reviewing a loan application will look mostly at four matters: Your business plan, your income and expenditure projections, your resume and FICO credit rating, and the security you are offering,” she said.

A loan officer will inspect the financial data which you have in your business plan to consider how hard it would be for your company to pay back the loan. The loan officer will examine your resume to understand how much expertise you have in the fitness industry and in entrepreneurship. Your credit rating demonstrates how well you’ve handled past financial obligations.

Some start-ups prefer to become provisional approval of the loan applications before they invest the money to set up legal business entities, Russell said, and that is probably all perfect.

“The formation of this thing can be a condition of loan approval, but before that we could normally provide an idea if we will be able to perform their loan or not,” she said.

Question: My wife has worked as an elder-care supplier for several years. We’d love to start a company that serves the nonmedical home-care needs of seniors. How do I find out how big the need is locally and that are our most important competitors?

Response: Start researching your potential market by going straight to the source: senior citizens and their families. Ask what sorts of home-care services they want. Ask what businesses are providing those services. Ask what services they want to have but find are either inaccessible or too costly.

This sort of grass-roots research will be time consuming but should be fairly simple and inexpensive. Your wife can speak to current and former customers. You can ask neighbors and friends about their experiences. You may make appointments to see several convalescent homes, senior centers, adult day-care facilities and hospitals in your area and talk with social workers and their patients.