Thirteen members of the Georgia Association of Business Brokers (GABB) were named to the 2018 Million Dollar Club for helping broker the sale of more than $71 million worth of small, medium and large businesses.
GABB members represent owners of Georgia businesses in important and complicated transactions: the sale of their business. GABB 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 top producer for 2018 was C. David Chambless, president of Abraxas Business Services, Inc.
“It is an honor to be recognized by the GABB, Georgia’s professional association for business brokers,” said Mr. Chambless. “The GABB is a leader in helping small business owners sell their businesses, and I am proud to be a member.”
Business brokers who were among the top five with multi-million dollars in business sales for the year are Matt Wochele, founder of Preferred Business Brokers.; J. Snypp, Vice President of Preferred Business Brokers, Inc.; Steve Josovitz, Vice President of The Shumacher Group; and Greg DeFoor, founder and President of DeFoor Business Services
Business brokers with multi-million dollars in sales included Robin Gagnon, co-founder of We Sell Restaurants and wesellrestaurants.com; Jon Merry, a senior business broker with THE BUSINESS HOUSE; Tim Greene, Business Broker and Consultant for DeFoor Business Services; Lisa Young, Business Broker at Transworld Business Advisors; Jon Roman, business intermediary, franchise consultant and developer at Transworld Business Advisors; and Jay Fenello, Business Broker and Intermediary with BizPlacements.com.
Other Million Dollar Club members are Richard S. Burgess, president and founder of Priority Business Acquisitions, Inc.; and Eric Gagnon, the president of We Sell Restaurants and wesellrestaurants.com.
Mr. Josovitz earned the GABB’s Phoenix Award for being a member of the Million Dollar Club for more than ten years. Mr. Roman was named a life member of the GABB Million Dollar Club for achieving more than a million dollars in sales for three consecutive years.
The Georgia Association of Business Brokers (GABB) is the state’s only professional organization dedicated to buying and selling businesses and franchises. The GABB’s website t lists hundreds of businesses and franchises for sale throughout Georgia in a variety of fields, including automotive, business services, child care, cleaning, construction, electronics equipment, fitness, flooring, floral, food, gas stations, landscaping, manufacturing, medical, shipping, restaurants, retail, security, signs, and businesses related to the internet.
According to GABB’s President Mike Ramatowski, selling a business is a complex process that business brokers help owners and sellers navigate.
“Buying or selling a business using a professional business broker is one of the best economic decisions a business owner will ever make,” said Ramatowski, who is president of Georgia Business Associates, Inc. “This was a great year for doing transactions, and no matter what the market does, owners and buyers will always get their best deal using a professional who is experienced in these transactions.
GABB broker members have represented thousands of business owners and buyers, and the group has a dedicated membership of lenders, attorneys and other professionals to assist business buyers and sellers at every step of the process.
DAVID CHAMBLESS is the president of Abraxas Business Services, Inc. which provides integrated services to sellers (and buyers) of businesses with revenues of $5- to $30-million, with a focus on businesses in the manufacturing, distribution, healthcare, technology, and services industries. A former GABB President, Mr. Chambless has earned the prestigious GABB Phoenix award for a decade of reaching the Multi-Million Dollar Club. Prior to Abraxas, he held various positions in sales, marketing, and executive roles in technology firms; as CFO for Aaron Rents as well as for private companies; and as a management consultant. Mr. Chambless has a Master of Business Administration in Finance from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Industrial and Systems Engineering degree from Georgia Tech. He is a certified public accountant (inactive). He is a longtime member of the International Business Brokers Association (IBBA). Active in community work, he has served as a member of the Technology Association of Georgia board of directors and its executive committee and as the chairman of its Leadership Council, TAG-Finance and TAG-FinTech. Mr. Chambless has chaired the membership committee for the Atlanta chapter of Business Executives for National Security; is on the board of the Callanwolde Fine Arts Center; and on the Sporting Clays Tournament committee for the Atlanta Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America. He has been on the boards of the Grant Park Conservancy and the Southeast Atlanta Business Association, and is very involved in the All Saints’ Episcopal Church community. He served for 15 years on the board of The Samaritan House of Atlanta. He has served on the board of directors for the Resource Opportunity Center of Atlanta and is on the Advisory Council of 24/7 Gateway, a homeless-services center under the auspices of the United Way of Atlanta. Mr. Chambless, along with his last at-home son, maintains his family’s home in historic Grant Park while his wife works in Beijing, China, where she is a principal with Three W International.
Matt Wochele CBI (Certified Business Intermediary) founded Preferred Business Brokers, Inc., in 1996 after a successful 17-year career in the investment banking industry. He is a life member of the Georgia Association of Business Brokers Million Dollar Club, Phoenix Award recipient and a member of the International Business Brokers Association. As president and managing broker of Preferred he has had the opportunity to be personally involved in hundreds of private business sales. The combined personal experience in the public sector with the private business sales has positioned the company to handle both the smaller main street business deals and the larger middle market business acquisitions. Mr. Wochele volunteers with the Atlanta Mission and is a member of the Atlanta Rowing Club. On a personal note Matt and his wife Kathy, a professional artist, have been married thirty five years, live in Sandy Springs, and have five daughters, one granddaughter and one grandson.
J. SNYPP III, a former GABB Board member and a life member of the Million Dollar Club, lives in Dunwoody, grew up in Atlanta and graduated from Georgia Southern University with a degree in marketing. Mr. Snypp spent more than two decades in the office furniture business before becoming a Business Broker and has been with Preferred Business Brokers, Inc. for more than 10 years. He has found success selling businesses in a variety of industries most recently selling multiple day care centers. He is president of the Dunwoody North Driving Club, a member of the Dunwoody High School Gridiron Club and chairman of the Wildcat Classic Golf Tournament which benefits the Dunwoody High football team. He is married and has two boys aged 14 and 19. Therefore, when he is not selling businesses he is usually coaching a football or baseball team, camping, canoeing, water skiing, scuba diving, shooting sports or involved in some other family activity.
STEVEN JOSOVITZ is vice president of The Shumacher Group, having joined the firm in 1992. As an Associate Real Estate Broker, he heads up the company’s restaurant business brokerage division in addition to providing commercial retail and restaurant real estate site selection, sales and lease negotiation expertise. A former restaurant owner and trained professional chef, Steven has an extensive background in restaurant and hotel management. He also offers consulting, appraisal services and has been retained by law firms for his expert opinion to help settle disputes. Mr. Josovitz earned a B.S. in Hotel/Restaurant Management from Florida International University in 1981 and has studied in Europe. Mr. Josovitz is a member of the Georgia Restaurant Association, Georgia Association of Business Brokers (GABB), International Council of Shopping Centers and the Retail Brokers Network. As a 26-year GABB member, Mr. Josovitz was awarded Life Member and The Phoenix Award and annually receives the Multi-Million Dollar Club Award and Top Five Award for business and restaurant brokerage sales in Georgia. Steven’s goals and thoughts are always “Make sure all parties – Buyers, Sellers and Landlords walk away from the closing table happy. Maintaining integrity and honesty along with professionalism and expertise is a must. The needs of your clients and those you work with must always come first before commission or personal gain.”
GREG DeFOOR is a business broker, a CPA and a Certified Fraud Examiner. He became a business broker in 2002 after working in public accounting followed by private industry experience as an accounting and financial executive in the healthcare and retail automotive industries. While in private industry, he was involved in a number of business transactions and decided to use that knowledge and experience to start his own firm. He has a unique blend of audit, tax, accounting, corporate finance, business advisory and transaction experience to use for the benefit of his clients. He has an active Georgia real estate broker’s license. His firm specializes in the sale of small and middle-market privately owned businesses in a number of industrial classifications. Mr. DeFoor has an accounting degree from Auburn University and lives in Powder Springs.
ROBIN GAGNON is the Co-Founder of We Sell Restaurants and the firm’s Chief Marketing Officer. One of the most prolific restaurant brokers in the industry and a franchise resale specialist, she holds the Certified Business Intermediary (CBI) designation from the International Business Brokers Association or IBBA and is an MBA. She is a writer and speaker who has addressed many groups nationwide She co-authored Appetite for Acquisition, the industry’s leading book on buying restaurants that received the prestigious “Best of ” award by Small Business Book Awards. Robin is a member of the International Franchise Association and serves on the Women’s Franchise Committee at the national level. She is also the Chair of the Women’s Franchise Network – Atlanta Chapter. Robin holds an undergraduate degree and an MBA where she graduated first in her class and was named “Outstanding MBA.” Robin is an emeritus member of the ASU Business Advisory Council. She is also a founding member of the ASU Entrepreneurship Board. Robin is a licensed real estate salesperson in both Georgia and Florida and member of the Georgia Association of Business Brokers (GABB), the International Business Brokers Association (IBBA) and the Business Brokers of Florida (BBF). Robin, along with her husband Eric teach the nation’s only Certified Restaurant Broker curriculum training and testing agents in the practice of restaurant brokerage.
JON MERRY is a senior business broker with THE BUSINESS HOUSE of Gainesville. Mr. Merry has been in the Business Mergers and Acquisition Industry for more than 10 years. Jon specializes in serving the Manufacturing, Distribution, Service, Medical, and Health Care Industries. He a keen understanding for the buying and selling process, and is well versed in the industry handling a wide range of deal making activities for the firm and has assisted with numerous M&A transactions. Since 2012, Mr. Merry has been recognized as one of the GABB’s top five brokers for closed M&A transactions and is a former GABB board member. In addition, Mr. Merry has been a Certified Machinery/Equipment Appraiser (CMEA) with the National Equipment Business Builders Institute (NEBB Institute) since 2000, and became a Master CMEA in 2014. As a CMEA, he is intensively trained in the legal requirements involving USPAP standards, as well as the methodology approach employed in establishing fair market value, orderly liquation value, and forced liquation value in any market condition. Mr. Merry is a member of the International Business Broker Association (IBBA) and the International Society of Business Analysts (ISBA). A native of Georgia, Mr. Merry was a professional umpire for Minor League Baseball for 11 years. He and his wife, RaeLynda, and their two sons, Jacob and Joseph, live in historic Dahlonega, Ga.
TIM GREENE is a Business Broker and Consultant for DeFoor Business Services and specializes in the evaluation, marketing, sale and acquisition of businesses in a variety of classifications. His technical expertise, analytical background, and experience owning businesses enable him to provide professional services to buyers and sellers of many types of businesses. His areas of expertise include businesses engaged in document shredding/management, carpet/flooring, construction and engineering. Tim has provided consulting advice on over 30 document management related business transactions over the past 5 years for his clients and is well known in the industry. He is very active as a Business Broker and has transactional experience with a variety of business types including asphalt paving, concrete construction, landscaping, HVAC, carpet and flooring and hardware stores. As a licensed Business Broker and Consultant and through proven web sites and connections, he has global access to buyers and sellers. Mr. Greene has a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering from Ohio Northern University in 1979. He began his employment with Marathon Oil Company in Findlay, Ohio. After a number of promotions and transfers he settled in Atlanta, Georgia. Following his entrepreneurial drive he purchased part ownership in an industrial company providing services to the oil, paper and power industries. That company was a fast growing organization that grew primarily through acquisition of existing operating companies.In 1999, Tim purchased a concrete services business and grew sales volumes, later adding a significant volume of asphalt paving. He sold that profitable business in 2007 and is now utilizing his knowledge and expertise to assist sellers and buyers of businesses. Mr. Greene lives in the West Cobb area of Acworth, with his wife, Sharon. His two children attended Harrison High School and are now adults.
LISA YOUNG is a business broker with Transworld Business Advisors of Atlanta, working in the Dunwoody office. Ms. Young graduated from Georgia Military Prep School and Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville where she received a Bachelors in Business Administration with a major in Information Systems. She has worked in the real estate industry since 2000 as well as owning a couple of small businesses before joining Transworld. She enjoys gardening, swimming, boating, golf and volunteer work with organizations such as Second Harvest Food Bank, Habitat for Humanity and Lake Oconee Church. She has two grown sons, one grandson and she splits time between Marietta and Lake Oconee.
JON ROMAN is a business intermediary, franchise consultant and developer at Transworld Business Advisors and a member of the GABB board. After 18 years of various business ownerships, including startups, established or franchised ventures and a full-time career as a commercial banker, he founded the local Transworld Business Advisors office in
Atlanta. His experience includes mergers and acquisition of privately owned companies with revenues of up to $30 million. His team includes buyer and seller agents, franchise consultants and business evaluation specialists. Mr. Roman is a Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM), a member of the Association of Corporate Growth (ACG), of the International Business Brokers Association (IBBA), and the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Transworld Business Advisors has more than 400 brokers and more than 150 offices worldwide.
ERIC GAGNON is the President and founder of We Sell Restaurants and wesellrestaurants.com, ranked by Entrepreneur Magazine as the nation’s fifth largest business brokerage franchise and the largest focused on the restaurant industry. An expert in restaurant sales and valuation, he is a frequent speaker, writer and radio personality for the industry. Mr. Gagnon is the co-author of Appetite for Acquisition, an award winning book on buying restaurants. He is past President of the Georgia Association of Business Brokers, has been named to the GABB Million Dollar Club many times, has received the GABB Lifetime Million Dollar Club Award and received the prestigious GABB Phoenix award for a decade of reaching those milestones. Business Brokerage Press first designated Mr. Gagnon as an Industry Expert over a decade ago. In addition to GABB, Eric is a member of the International Business Brokers Association (IBBA), the International Franchise Association (IFA), and the Southeast Franchise Forum (SEFF) where he serves on the Board of Directors. He is also a member of the Business Brokers of Florida (BBF). Mr. Gagnon is licensed as a broker in Georgia, South Carolina and Florida.
RICHARD S. BURGESS is owner and founder of Priority Business Acquisitions, Inc. (PBA) which uses a Christ-centered, straightforward, successful approach to its Mergers and Acquisitions services. Mr. Burgess is also the treasurer of the GABB. He has more than 20 years of successful M & A and real estate experience, is a licensed real estate broker in the state of Georgia, and can handle the sale, acquisition and financing of privately held companies and real estate. Mr. Burgess understands that choosing the right intermediary to help you accomplish your goals can be a difficult and anxious experience. His goal is to make the process as smooth and rewarding as possible through clear communication and attention to clients’ objectives. He is a resident of Lawrenceville, GA, attends Christ The Lord Lutheran church, and also owns Priority Real Estate Services, LLC to handle exclusive real estate deals.
JAY FENELLO is the founder of BizPlacements.com, a Business Brokerage website dedicated to helping people buy and sell small businesses and franchises, especially owner-operated companies. Jay started his career as a computer engineer for IBM in Boca Raton, Fla., where he worked on a new product called the IBM PC. Soon after, he returned to school where he earned an MBA in Entrepreneurship from the McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Arizona, one of the top programs in the nation. He first started in business brokerage in 1995, and has since worked for several firms, including one of the largest M&A firms in the country. Jay is a member of the Atlanta Commercial Board of Realtors and the Georgia Association of Business Brokers, where he has been repeatedly recognized as one of the top brokers in the state. He resides in Woodstock.Read More
By Peter Siegel
If you want to become your own boss, but are having trouble finding the right business to buy, there’s another option. Find an enterprise to buy that appealed to him, but was not openly being offered for sale.
Peter Siegel, the Founder & Senior Advisor at California’s BizBen.com, described the experience of Steve, who was retiring from his accounting job and wanting to leverage his retirement savings into an income so that he and his wife could maintain their standard of living.
He decided to buy a small business but was concerned that responding to ads might take several months to a few years to produce results.
So how DO you buy a business that isn’t openly for sale.
Steve started by looking at the companies with which he did business, which led him to his oil-change franchise. The company looked successful and efficiently run and the owner appeared to be about ten years older than Steve. Those were good signs.
Here’s what Steve did to clinch the deal.
Gather Information on the Business
He learned from the franchisor that there were no other franchises that could be opened or purchased in his immediate area. And he got some basic information about the franchise company’s stores-typical gross sales, basic cost factors as a percent of gross, what the owners expect to earn, and an idea about the rules of thumb used for pricing the businesses. Next, he offered to save the time and trouble for friends and neighbors who needed to have their cars serviced. He would do it for them, always bringing the cars to the company he had targeted, and the car owners would reimburse him afterward for the cost of the oil, filters and service.
Contact the Owner
Then, with the business owner now recognizing him as a good customer (and curious why he showed up so frequently and always with a different car), Steve invited the man to lunch.
After assuring the owner that their discussion would be treated with complete confidentiality, Steve explained what he had in mind and learned that the owner had been thinking about selling, but had been so busy he hadn’t gotten around to doing anything about it. Steve presented document he’d prepared, called his “buyer’s resume.” It listed the money Steve had available, the assets on which he could borrow and it detailed his business experience.
The owner was immediately put at ease. He liked Steve’s professional approach and was impressed that this prospective buyer had done his homework and had some understanding of what was involved in running the company. Clearly, Steve was not there to waste his time.
The two met a few times afterward, and then sat down with their lawyers to start a negotiating and contracting procedure that culminated weeks later, in a successfully completed campaign for Steve, the new owner of the oil-change franchise.
There were buyer candidates who’d put their name on the list for a local franchise with the parent (franchise) company. And there were buyers asking their business brokers if there were any automotive service companies in the area that had been newly listed. In other words, Steve had competition among others who wanted what he wanted. But he wound up with the business.
And the way he went about it can be instructive for anyone wanting to purchase a good company and impatient because nothing appropriate has yet been found.
Prepare a Buyer’s Resume
Steve’s buyer’s resume is a very useful tool, not only to show to brokers and to prospective sellers selling a business who’ve been formally introduced by an intermediary, but also to business owners who are being directly approached about selling. It shows that the prospective buyer is serious, up-front and business like. And it lets the seller know what the buyer can and cannot do-a time saver for everyone involved.
Learning about a business of interest is another way the buyer demonstrates that he or she is being professional. That’s what Steve did by obtaining and studying the franchisor’s literature. And it also saves time, since the prospective seller does not need to go over the basics of the industry. The smart buyer-candidate can discover plenty of information that will help him or her be prepared, by contacting local business groups such as the Better Business Bureau or Chamber of Commerce, the associations representing the business’s industry, and by conducting a key word search on the Internet. And, of course, if the targeted company is a franchise, the interested buyer can find out from the franchisor much of what’s needed to know for initial discussions.
The smart buyer also is prepared by knowing the importance of exploring this idea with prospective sellers in a way that is private, respecting an owner’s usual need for confidentiality. Even if a business owner is interested in speaking with people who might want to purchase the company, anyone approaching that owner in a way that might expose the topic of conversation to others, is bound to get a negative response. Very few prospective sellers want customers, employees or vendors to learn that they are considering the idea of getting out of the business. If any outsiders hear someone ask a business owner “Do you want to sell?” they most likely will hear this answer: “No.” Even if that’s not the case.
Steve’s experience makes this process sound easy-a lot easier than it is in most cases. Of course his idea of checking out companies with which he did business is just one of many strategies a buyer can employ to find an appropriate business with a willing seller that isn’t officially for sale. A productive part of the network involves vendors in any industry of interest-people who know all of the owners in the market area for the businesses they sell to.
Furniture, gift and housewares wholesalers may know of customers-owners in the retail end of their business– who seem ready to retire. Commercial washer equipment sales people know all the owners of coin laundries in their territories, and may even want to encourage a less active owner to sell out to someone who may be more involved in the operation, particularly if the new owner is likely to purchase new equipment from that sales person. Similarly, route drivers calling on food and liquor stores have a pretty good idea about what’s going on with their customers. If someone is getting ready to sell out-perhaps because the next generation in the family doesn’t want to take over the business from aging parents-the guy, or gal, who makes deliveries to that business several times a month, is probably pretty well informed about the situation.
Speaking with these people is an excellent way to get tips about an owner who is getting in the mood to sell, before that owner contacts a business broker or posts a for-sale notice. The offer of a finder’s fee to people in a network might encourage them to pass along valuable information about likely sellers in their industry. They might even be willing to arrange the introduction, telling an owner about someone who might be a prospective buyer for the business, if the owner is so inclined.
Part of the network, of course, are the social, community and religious groups in which a buyer is involved. While visiting with other parents at a PTA meeting, or enjoying beers with fellow players on the local amateur soccer team, or chatting in the locker room at the gym or yoga center, a person who wants to find a small business to buy can put that fact into the “grapevine” in hopes the word will reach someone, who knows someone, who is getting ready to sell a good business. And the professionals who advise small business owners-lawyers, accountants and insurance brokers-represent a productive network. These people often are the first to learn when a client is planning a life change that involves selling a business. The buyer wanting to take advantage of this network should make sure to distribute a “buyer’s resume” with a carefully worded cover letter to some of these professionals. Days or weeks later, that information may come out of the counselor’s desk or file drawer to be shown to a client who begins expressing an interest in retiring or moving on to another enterprise.
Hiring a Business Broker
An effective strategy followed by some prospective buyers is to hire a business broker to approach specific business owners, or all business owners in a particular industry and market area. The arrangement between buyer and broker can vary, but usually is based on the understanding that the broker represents the buyer-the reverse of the typical circumstances-and the buyer pays the broker a specified fee-or percentage of the purchase price-upon completion of a successful transaction. Business Brokers will also know of businesses in your area that are for sale.
Once a buyer identifies an interesting business headed by a cooperative seller, and negotiations begin, it is useful if that buyer has planned out the steps that will lead to a completed transaction. What if the seller resists the offered price, expressing the idea that the business might command more money if exposed, through a listing broker, to the full marketplace of potential buyers? One intelligent response to that objection is to remind the seller that dealing here and now, with a ready, willing and able buyer, eliminates both the need for the seller to pay a broker’s commission, and the risk that the seller’s confidentiality will be compromised.
Most buyers are not likely to adopt the strategies suggested here-not when there are many brokers willing to help in the search, and a number of resources that list businesses for sale. But for the more impatient buyers, these comments suggest actions they can take today.
About This Contributor: Peter Siegel, MBAis the Founder & Senior Advisor (ProBuy & ProSell Programs) at BizBen.com (established 1994, 8000+ California businesses for sale, 500 new & refreshed postings/posts daily) works with business buyers, sellers, business brokers, agents). Reach him direct at 866-270-6278 to discuss strategies regarding buying a California business.Read More
ATLANTA— Henry Hicks, chairman and CEO of Georgia Business Associates, Inc., and Charles Jay, founder and owner of Jay & Associates, LLC of Macon, have been named life members of the Georgia Association of Business Brokers. The association’s board honored the two longtime members for their decades of service to the GABB, the state’s only professional association of professionals who help in the sale and purchase of businesses and franchises.
Both Mr. Hicks and Mr. Jay helped pioneer the profession of business brokering in Georgia. Henry Hicks, CBI, BCB, M&AMI, Fellow of the IBBA is a former president of the International Business Brokers Association (IBBA) and a former treasurer and director of the GABB board. Mr. Jay is a former president of the GABB and is one of the first five individuals in Georgia to be awarded the Certified Business Intermediary (CBI) designation by the IBBA.
The GABB is composed of professionals who work with owners of Georgia businesses. Many of today’s business buyers are individuals who have decided not to re-enter corporate America, but are ready to control their own destiny by purchasing and operating a Georgia business.
Mr. Hicks has represented sellers and buyers since 1992. His merger and acquisition activities include manufacturing, distribution, and service companies. Successful M&A representations include design/construction firms, business to business distribution, industrial services, temporary placement firms for professionals, food service, and insurance industry services.
Mr. Hicks is an active member of the International Business Brokers Association, which he has served as Chairman of the Board of Directors, Treasurer, and Director. His activities in the IBBA have included Chair of Finance, Chair of Membership, Chair of Government Affairs, and Chair of Publications where he served as Editor of the IBBA News. He has been awarded the professional designation of Lifetime Certified Business Intermediary by the IBBA, recognized for his services to IBBA by being named Fellow of the IBBA, and received the Chairman’s Award. Mr. Hicks currently serves as on the Board of Directors of the Business Intermediary Education Foundation, Inc.
Mr. Hicks has been recognized as a member of the Million Dollar Club of GABB. He was instrumental in the establishment of the GABB multiple listing service that supports co-brokerage and provides greater exposure to available listings and in the establishment of the Business Brokerage Management System. He is a member of the Atlanta Board of Commercial Realtors.
Mr. Hicks has been a CPA in public practice with KPMG Peat Marwick. His clients included an array of manufacturing, distribution, and service organizations. He is a member of AICPA and NC Association of CPAs. He has served as financial officer for an information technology firm and a real estate developer of in-town high-rise mixed use properties. He has served as Chairman of the Board and CEO of a North Carolina savings bank, which he took public with an IPO in the mid-eighties. Mr. Hicks received his undergraduate degree from Georgia Institute of Technology and a Masters degree in business from Georgia State University.
He is a member of the Rotary Club of Roswell where he has served as Chair of the Charity Committee. He has served as President and Chairman of the Board of the Child Development Association of North Fulton, a non-profit organization providing child care services for one hundred forty disadvantaged children. Mr. Hicks has served as a board member of the Georgia Ensemble Theater in Roswell. He served as Treasurer and as a member of Board of Directors of the Chattahoochee Nature Center. He has served on the Planning and Zoning Committee of the City of Roswell. He has been Elder, Deacon, and Treasurer of the Roswell Presbyterian Church. He is a former member and Past President of the Kiwanis Club of Rocky Mount, NC. He was recognized as Jaycee of the Year by the Roswell Jaycees and Boss of the Year by the Rocky Mount Professional Woman’s Club.
Mr. Jay is a Certified Business Intermediary (CBI) based in Macon, Georgia. His company, founded in 1984, works closely with select clients in investments, commercial real estate, insurance, and business acquisitions throughout the State of Georgia.
Mr. Jay is active in both the IBBA and GABB. Through Jay’s affiliation with the GABB, he earned the professional designation of Board Certified Broker (BCB). His CBI and BCB designations show the business community the extra steps and commitment that are synonymous with total professionalism. It denotes a combination of experience and education only a small percentage of business brokers have attained.
Jay has received the GABB Phoenix Million Dollar Club Award, GABB Lifetime Achievement Award and is a Life Member of the GABB Million Dollar Club.
His community activities including serving as a Mercer University Trustee, President of a Financial Institution for 20 years and Chairman of the Board, President or Board member of more than 30 different business, civic or religious organizations in his community and state.
In 1998 Jay & Associates received the Better Business Bureau of Central Georgia Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics. This award recognizes and encourages ethical business practices and the recipient must be a company committed to high standards of behavior in buyer and seller relationships.
Mr. Jay’s extensive list of community accolades includes the United Way of Central Georgia J. Clay Murphey Society Award, the Man of the Year in Macon-Bibb County, Outstanding Georgia Citizen Award, the Service to Mankind Award, the Golden Deeds Award, one of Five Outstanding Young Men of Georgia, the Cherry Blossom Hall of Fame and the Stratford Academy Hall of Fame.
The GABB’s monthly meeting is at the Atlanta Realtors Center at 5784 Lake Forrest Dr. NW, Atlanta, GA 30328. For more information about the GABB, contact GABB President Mike Ramatowski at 770-634-0428 or firstname.lastname@example.org call Diane Loupe at 404-374-3990 or email email@example.com.Read More
Michael Coles, chairman of Brand Bank and namesake of the Kennesaw State University College of Business, will speak on Jan. 30 to the state’s business brokers about principles for success in business.
His Jan. 30 speech to the Georgia Association of Business Brokers, the state’s professional group for buying and selling businesses, will start at 10:30 a.m. at the Atlanta Realtors Center at 5784 Lake Forrest Dr. NW, Atlanta, GA 30328. The meeting will be preceded at 9:45 a.m. with a free networking session with coffee and pastries sponsored by GABB Affiliates Susan Kite and Kim Eells, both Vice Presidents of Government Guaranteed Lending with the Brand Bank.
Deeply involved in the community, Michael Coles is a transformational leader, accomplished entrepreneur, education advocate and motivational speaker. He is living proof that there are no limits to what we as individuals can accomplish. His GABB presentation is “The 10 Lessons That Have Guided My Business Life.”
After a successful 19-year career in the clothing business, Michael tested his entrepreneurial skills in 1977 when he co-founded Great American Cookie Company with an investment of only $8000. Shortly after starting the company, he was involved in a near-fatal motorcycle accident and was told by doctors he would never walk again unaided. As Michael recovered thru a self-designed rehabilitation program he took the Company from its first store in Perimeter Mall in Atlanta to hundreds of stores nationwide and at the same time set 3 coast-to-coast cycling records. When Michael started the Company there were three major cookie companies in business; one had almost 100 stores and the other two had fifty each. When he sold the Company in 1998 with sales over $100 million, Great American Cookie Company was the largest franchisor of cookie stores and the other three companies no longer existed.
Michael’s commitment to community service led him to run for public office in 1996 as the Democratic nominee for the House of Representatives in the Sixth District and in 1998 he won the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate, challenging Senator Paul Coverdell.
In 2003 Michael accepted the corporate reins of Caribou Coffee Company as Chairman, CEO and President. Over the next five years Michael more than doubled the size of the company extending the brand reach domestically and internationally. In September 2005, he successfully took the company public on NASDAQ under the symbol CBOU.
Coles was one of the founders of Charter Bank & Trust and served as its Chairman, taking the bank public and selling the publicly traded company to Synovus Bank.
Appointed by Governor Roy Barnes in 1999 to chair the Georgia Film, Video and Music Advisory Board, during his four years as Chairman, Michael took it from $170 million to over $1.5 billion in economic impact.
Having contributed much of their time and resources to education, the arts, environment and philanthropic organizations, Michael and his wife, Donna were honored as the Georgia Philanthropists of the year in 1995.
Michael was appointed by Governor Roy Barnes in 2001 to serve on the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia.
Michael now serves as Chairman of Brand Holding Company and Chairman of Brand Bank.
In recognition of Michael’s success, leadership and benevolence, Kennesaw State University, under the authority granted by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, declared that the institution’s School of Business be named and known in perpetuity as the Michael J. Coles College of Business at Kennesaw State University. In 1999 Michael received the Honorary Doctor of Human Letters Degree from Kennesaw State University.
As Entrepreneur in Residence for the Coles MBA 2013 Spring Semester, Michael led a class entitled “Concept to Counter”, allowing students to grasp the concept of taking their creative thoughts and ideas to the marketplace.
Michael received the National Women’s Political Caucus Good Guy of the Year Award for his work on behalf of women’s issues. He joined the ranks of past recipients, including Ed Asner, Alan Alda and former Vice President and U.S. Ambassador to Japan, Walter Mondale.
Michael continues to serve on numerous non-profit boards. He lives in Atlanta with his wife Donna and they are the parents of three adult children and seven grandchildren.
The GABB is the state’s only association of professionals who work to facilitate the purchase and sale of businesses and franchises. The group includes business brokers as well as lenders, attorneys, business appraisers, insurance agents, environmental specialists and other professionals. GABB’s member business brokers work with businesses of all sizes to help them through all steps of selling their company: valuation, marketing, financing, and closing. Aspiring business owners also work with business brokers to purchase existing businesses at a fair price.
GABB meetings are free and open to the public, but we ask that you let us know you are coming by filling out this form.Read More
By Loren Schmerler, CPC, APC, President, Bottom Line Management, Inc.
Longtime GABB member Loren Schmerler answers seven questions business owners often ask him.
- How much is my business worth?
The correct answer is the price a Buyer offers you that you are willing to accept. It makes no difference whether you are making money or losing money. It makes no difference whether sales are increasing, declining or flat. It makes no difference how much blood, sweat and tears you have put into your business. It makes no difference how much money you have invested in the business. It makes no difference how much money you owe to the bank or to yourself. It makes no difference what a business valuation or appraisal says. It makes no difference what your hard assets are. It makes no difference what your customer list or client list contains. It makes no difference what your patents or service marks cost you. It makes no difference whether you are a Franchiser, Franchisee, Licensor, Licensee, Distributor or Independent Contractor. The bottom line is that what you finally accept is what your business is worth.
- How long will it take to sell my business?
The correct answer is no one knows for sure. But I tell my clients that the average time is seven months from listing to closing. For companies that sell for $1 million or more, the average is nine to twelve months. But I also explain that the quickest I ever sold a business was one week, and the longest it ever took me to sell a business was six years. Additionally, I explain that price and terms sell a business. The lower the price the more affordable the business will be. The lower the down payment, the more people will be able to consider it. The greater the amount of owner financing, the easier the business will be to sell.
- Is there anything I can do to make my business more desirable?
The answer is yes. The most important thing you can do is to put your ego aside and not make the business dependent upon you. Ideally, the goodwill of the business should be at the lowest level that interfaces with customers or clients. This means that you want to hire and keep employees that make your customers happy with high quality work and excellent customer service.
- Is there anything I should not due during the listing period?
The answer is that you should not slack off in any way. You need to stay focused and operate your business as if it will never sell. You need to work as hard or harder no matter how burned out you feel. Do not make any major changes during the listing period. Try to retain all good and excellent employees and remove those that are not contributing as they should. Try to keep your inventory fresh and eliminate any obsolete items. Keep your equipment and machinery well maintained and properly functioning.
- What is due diligence?
It is the process where the Buyer examines all your books and records , gets approved by the Landlord, gets approved (if applicable) by the Franchiser, Licenser, Distributor, bank, etc. Your books and records need to be current and “bullet proof.” Your tax returns for payroll taxes, sales tax, state income tax, federal income tax, county income tax, city income tax and any other municipality taxes are 100% current. Your various licenses need to be current whether or not the buyer will have to apply for their own. You want to fully disclose everything and not leave any skeletons in the closet.
- What else do you suggest I do to impress a Buyer?
Have a job description for each employee. Put together a Policies and Procedures Manual. This will make the corporate buyer feel more comfortable about taking over the reins. Make sure all your employee reviews are current. The last thing a new owner wants to do is to sit down in a vacuum with an employee who is expecting a raise. Make sure you clean everything that is dirty. Make sure you fix anything that is broken. You do not want the Buyer to wonder what else might be a potential problem. Prepare a business plan and/or marketing plan to show the Buyer how he or she can grow the business. Put together a transition plan that shows the Buyer how you will assist them daily for a period of 28 days. The Buyer may not want you for the full transition period, but at least you are showing that you have thought it through and are willing to make yourself available.
- What happens if I agree to do some owner financing and the Buyer misses a payment?
The way the closing attorney prepares the paperwork, if a Buyer misses a rent payment or a note payment, it is considered an event of default under the note. This will allow you to take back the business in a worst-case scenario or enter into serious discussions to protect your financial interests. While the best outcome is a Seller getting paid all their money and a Buyer being successful, you must plan for the worst and hope for the best. But I also tell my clients that they should never sell their business to a person they feel will not treat their employees, customers, clients or vendors properly. If you ever get a knot in your stomach during the negotiation that is the time to throw in the towel and let me gently explain to the Buyer that you do not feel it is a good fit.
I hope this list of questions and answers has been helpful. I offer a free no obligation consultation 7 days/7 nights should you wish to discuss the sale of your business or the purchase of another business. Loren Marc Schmerler, CPC, APC, President, Bottom Line Management, Inc., 404-550-1417 www.BOTLINE.com.Read More