Rebecca Gunn, Vice President and Regional Executive of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, will speak about economic issues during the Tuesday, Nov. 19, meeting of the Georgia Association of Business Brokers. The GABB is the state’s largest association of professionals dedicated to buying and selling businesses and franchises.
The GABB meets at the Georgia Association of Realtors at 6065 Barfield Road, Sandy Springs, GA, 30328, and the meeting will last from 10:30 a.m. to noon preceded by a free networking session at 9:45 a.m. GABB Affiliate Bob Smith, a health and life insurance advisor for North American Health Plans, will sponsor breakfast. GABB meetings are free and open to the public; guests should register at the form below.
In Ms. Gunn’s role at the Federal Reserve, she provides strategic support for the Regional Economic Information Network throughout Georgia, working with other regional executives to provide targeted economic intelligence. She also provides support for public outreach, economic education, and corporate citizenship.
Since 2013, Ms. Gunn has served as assistant vice president and corporate secretary as well as assistant to the president and first vice president. In this role she oversaw governance, planning, reporting, and administrative support for the long-term plans regarding director recruiting across the District. She also provided support to the Bank’s Board of Directors’ Search Committee for the Atlanta Bank presidential search process.
Ms. Gunn joined the Atlanta Fed in 1996 as an analyst in the planning and control department. She was promoted to supervisor shortly afterward and then to senior auditor. In 2005, she transferred to the Retail Payments Office, where she held positions of increasing responsibility, including financial product coordinator and portfolio manager. In 2011, she joined the Human Resources department as a business liaison providing strategic support and guidance to business areas throughout the Bank.
A native of Birmingham, Alabama, Ms. Gunn earned a bachelor’s degree in management from the Georgia Institute of Technology. She is the Atlanta Community Group Leader for the Marfan Foundation and a member of the Foundation’s Patient & Program Services Committee. She also serves on the Finance Committee of Camp Twin Lakes.
The GABB is the state’s largest and oldest association of professionals who specialize in brokering the purchase and sale of businesses and franchises. Broker members help owners determine the asking price of their business, create marketing plans and strategies for selling their business, identify and qualify buyers, and have the knowledge, experience and skills needed to help maintain the confidential nature of the process. The professionals of GABB relentlessly pursue professional development so they can provide superior, ethical services for all customers and clients. Affiliate members include bankers, lawyers, appraisers, insurers and other professionals who work closely with brokers to help owners and buyers get to the closing table.
For more information about GABB, please contact GABB President Dean Burnette at 912-247-3209 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or GABB Executive Director Diane Loupe at email@example.com or 404-374-3990.
If you are not a GABB member and wish to attend the meeting, please fill out this form. GABB meetings are free and open to the public.
Meeting AttendancePeople who are not GABB members may sign up to let us know they will attend a GABB meeting.
Every year many great deals, deals that would have otherwise gone through, are undone due to a failure to properly use and follow confidentiality agreements. Not adhering to this essential contract can lead to a myriad of problems. Employees discover a business is going to be sold and quit, competitors learn the business is for sale, or key customers learn of the potential sale and take their business elsewhere. Such issues can block a sale from successfully going through. Maintaining confidentiality throughout the sales process is of paramount importance.
Business buyers and sellers should fully embrace confidentiality agreements, often referred to as a non-disclosure agreements. Among the many and diverse benefits of working with a business broker is that business brokers know how to properly use confidentiality agreements and what they should contain.
Sellers who use a confidentiality agreement are protected from a prospective buyer disclosing confidential information during the sales process. Originally, such agreements were used to prevent prospective buyers from letting the world know that this business was for sale. Today, these contracts have evolved and now cover an array of potential seller concern such as ensuring that a prospective buyer doesn’t disclose proprietary information, trade secrets or key information they learned during the sales process.
Every business and every situation is different. As a result, confidentiality agreements must be tailored to each business and each situation. A solid confidentiality agreement should include, first and foremost, what areas are to be covered by the agreement, i.e., specifying what is and is not confidential. Other areas to be addressed include how confidential information will be shared and marked, the remedy for breaches of confidentiality, the terms of the agreement such as how long the agreement is to remain in force.
One key area in a confidentiality agreement is that the prospective buyer agree not to hire any key people away from the selling company.
When it comes to selling a business, few factors are as critical as establishing and maintaining confidentiality. The last thing any business wants is for its confidential information to land in the hands of a key competitor. Business brokers understand the value of maintaining confidentiality and know what steps to take to ensure that it is maintained throughout the sales process.
By Peter Siegel, MBA, Founder and President of BizBen.com.
Almost everyone who owns a company wants to put it up for sale sooner or later. And if the owner doesn’t have employees or family members ready to put up the money and take over the business, the owner must find a buyer in the business-for-sale market. Sadly, only one-third of the hopeful sellers in this market will be successful.
That means two-thirds of owners unable to connect with a buyer will ultimately have to close the business or give it away. The problem may be that the business simply is not desirable. But just as frequently, the reason an owner can’t make a sale is because he or she is one of the many seller types who inevitably will fail.
If the seller can identify what type of seller they are, they can gauge their chances of successfully selling their business.
1. Make a Killing Mike: Also known as “Make a Million, Mike,” this individual believes his business is worth more than any sensible buyer will pay for it. There are a number of ways Mike justifies the asking price. A popular idea is that a similar business recently sold for the price Mike wants. But no two businesses are alike, and Mike doesn’t understand that the “similar” business is much more profitable and in a better location. The market may not reward Mike if he should eventually lower the price to a figure close to its value. Buyers often are not interested in investigating a business that has been on the market for a long time – whatever the reason.
2. Clarence Can’t Carry: An important selling feature of most any business offering is the willingness of the seller to “carry back” part of the purchase price. Along with a cash down payment, the seller receives a promissory note usually secured by the business assets, to be paid off by the buyer over a period of time. It’s reassuring for a buyer when the seller is willing to help finance, because it demonstrates that the seller believes in the business and in the buyer’s ability to operate it successfully. An offering that can only be purchased with all cash is almost always unappealing compared to other opportunities that come with seller financing.
3. Rita Rosy Picture: According to Rita, her business is about to become as much in demand as this week’s most popular show business celebrity. She has the best inventory in town, the most helpful and loyal employees, and greater prospects for the future than any buyer can imagine. Even a business that does excel in some respects has its problems and disadvantages. Buyers know that and often don’t feel secure about an opportunity that is described only in the most optimistic way. When meeting with a seller who doesn’t come across as honest and credible, many buyers get a negative feeling about the opportunity – the opposite of what the seller intended.
4. Nick Not Ready: Any prospective buyers meeting Nick will wonder how he could be trying to sell his business but not be able to produce current financial information, a list of assets to be included, or a definitive description about the premises lease that the landlord will provide to a new owner. Does the seller have something to hide? Is he really that disorganized? If so, what does that say about the condition of the business? Did he neglect to “get his stuff together” because he doesn’t really believe the business is salable? These are questions that occur to buyers as they decide they aren’t interested in what Nick has to offer.
5. Don’t Worry Dorothy: When Dorothy tells a prospective buyer that he or she shouldn’t worry, the buyer usually worries. Buyers want to know what happens if the customer who accounts for half the company’s income decides to do business elsewhere. They want to understand the consequences if a large competitor moves into the neighborhood. If the seller can’t answer these questions, the buyers really won’t worry about those issues. That’s because they’ll look for another business to buy.
6. Secret Sam: One of the things Sam likes to tell prospective buyers is how much of the company’s income goes directly into his pocket without being recorded on the books. He may be proud of his skimming habit. He may think he’s quite clever at fooling the taxing authorities. He might think the buyer will add the total of unreported cash to the reported income and decide the business is making enough money to justify the asking price. But he’s mistaken. The buyers who investigate Sam’s business soon realize he can’t be trusted and move on to find out about other opportunities.
7. Realistic Ralph: Since he is motivated to sell, Ralph wants to present his business in a way that will generate positive responses from buyers. He understands he needs to be proactive in preparing the business for sale. The asking price accurately reflects market conditions. His books are in order and ready to be investigated by qualified buyers. Ralph met with financial institutions with the help of a niche financial advisor who specializes in business purchase financing. The business has been prequalified for financing. And Ralph is willing to carry back 20% of the price with a note. And he’s hired a professional business broker from the Georgia Association of Business Brokers who can develop a confidential plan to market his business to qualified buyers. His approach is a clear recipe for selling success.
If you identify with any of the first six seller types, you’re limiting your chances of selling your business. But if you assume the characteristics of Realistic Ralph, your business is likely to be among the one-third of business offerings that result in a sale.
About The Author: Peter Siegel, MBA is the Founder and President of BizBen.com. He is a SBA SCORE Counselor, author, consultant/coach (ProBuy, ProSell Programs), and advocate on the topic of buying and selling small to mid-sized businesses in the California marketplace. Having writen three books and hundreds of publication articles he has assisted small business owners/sellers, business brokers, agents, and business buyers for over 25 years. This article was adapted from one that originally appeared on his blog.Read More
Succession planning is something that many business owners fail to think about; however, it turns out there are benefits to succession planning that might not be immediately obvious upon first glance. In this article, we’ll explore a recent Accountancy Daily article, “Succession Planning for Business Owners,” which details the wisdom and benefits of succession planning.
Accountancy Daily polled 500 SME owners and uncovered a variety of interesting facts. At the top of the list is that one-third of owners felt more confident about the future of their businesses when they had a coherent succession strategy.
In what can only be deemed a surprising finding, the poll discovered that 17% of respondents noted that succession planning actually brought them closer to their families. In short, the Accountancy Daily poll found that succession planning came with a variety of unexpected benefits. In other words, it is about more than preparing to hand one’s business over to a new party.
Author Glen Foster makes the point that business owners frequently underestimate the level of effort and time needed to sell a business. The fact is that selling a business is usually a layered process that can even take years to complete. Importantly, business owners must understand that in the time it takes to sell, the market may have changed or their own financial or personal situations may have changed as well. Additionally, selling can be an emotional and stressful process which further complicates the entire matter.
For most business owners, selling a business represents the single greatest financial move of their lives. As such, it is often accompanied with significant stress and anxiety. It is essential not to underestimate the emotional and psychological side of the sales equation. Properly planning years in advance for the sale of a business will help business owners prepare for the emotional and psychological stress that can result from both the sales process and the eventual sale itself.
A key part of the stress of selling a business is that business owners are often left wondering “what comes next?” after selling. Developing a succession strategy is a way to think through such issues well in advance.
Another key aspect of succession planning is to take the steps necessary to make sure that your business is ready to be sold. As Foster points out, you wouldn’t put a home on the market with significant problems, and the same holds true for your business. If you want to receive the optimal price for your business, then your business should be in tip-top shape. This means diving into your books and records and getting everything in order. Working with an accountant or an experienced business broker can be invaluable in this process.
Many business owners expect to be able to sell whenever they like. In reality, owners can’t control when they are able to sell, according to a recent insightful Forbes article, “Study Shows Why Many Business Owners Can’t Sell When They Want To” penned by Mary Ellen Biery. An Exit Planning Institute (EPI) study revealed that many business owners are “woefully unprepared” to sell.
Christopher Snider, President and CEO of EPI, says a large percentage of business owners have no exit planning in place. This fact is made all the more alarming because most owners have up to 90% of their assets tied up in their businesses. Snider says most business owners will have to sell within the next 10 to 15 years, and yet, are unprepared to do so. Only 20% to 30% of businesses that go on the market will actually sell, Snider says. So what’s the problem?
Snider thinks it’s one of quality. True, it has been a seller’s market for businesses in the last year or more, Snider says that’s due to unattractive supply rather than to strong demand. “Multiples are historically high, but I think that’s more because the private equity companies and the strategic buyers don’t have a lot of businesses to pick from,” he said. In short, Snider says there’s a lack of good quality businesses to buy.
As of 2016, Baby Boomer business owners, who were expected to begin selling in record numbers, are waiting to sell. “Baby Boomers don’t really want to leave their businesses, and they’re not going to move the business until they have to, which is probably when they are in their early 70s,” Snider said.
The EPI survey of 200+ San Diego business owners found that 53% had given little or no attention to their transition plan, 88% had no written transition to transition to the next owner, and a whopping 80% had never even sought professional advice regarding their transition. Further, a mere 58% currently had handled any form of estate planning.
Two-thirds said “Getting full value for my business to fund retirement or other business interests” was a primary goal, but fewer than 40 percent had a formal valuation conducted in the last three years, and 65 percent have never had their financial statements audited.
Adding to the concern was the fact that a third of owners had not even thought about management succession, and only 25 percent were comfortable that their managerial team would be successful if the owner wasn’t involved after the transition.
In Snider’s view, the survey indicates that many business owners are not “maximizing the transferable value of their business,” and additionally that they are not “in a position to transfer successfully so that they can harvest the wealth locked in their business.”
All business owners should be thinking about the day when they will have to sell their business. Now is the time to begin working with an experienced business broker to formulate your strategy so as to maximize your business’s value.