10 Questions to Ask Before Selling Your Business #business #card #holder

#sell my business

#

10 Questions to Ask Before Selling Your Business

If you re thinking about selling your business, think twice. Selling a business should never be a spur-of-the-moment decision, says Curtis Kroeker, group general manager for San Francisco-based BizBuySell.com and BizQuest.com. business-for-sale marketplaces that have an inventory of about 40,000 businesses. You need to figure out things like if you should sell, when is the best time to sell, and what you need to consider before selling, among many other considerations.

So, should you sell your business? Here are 10 key questions to help you figure it out.

Is my business ready to sell? Kroeker recommends at least two years of preparation before putting your business on the market. Make sure you can produce two to three years of tax returns that are accurate and show maximum profitability to get the best price for your business, he says. You can t start putting things together the month before you sell.

How is a buyer going to value my business? Particularly with family ownership, companies sometimes run everything through the business, such as country club dues and car allowances, says Robert Kibby, section head of the corporate and securities group at Dallas-based Munsch Hardt Kopf Harr Attorneys and Counselors. Loading the business with tax write-offs can make you appear less profitable and cause a buyer to undervalue your business.

Who should be on my team when I sell? It s important for entrepreneurs to figure out whose services will bring them through the sales process and help them get the best price for their business. Do you need an accountant? How about an appraiser, attorney, consultant and business broker? The buyer is typically going to have a good team to go over your business, so you should, too, Kibby says.

Is it the right time to sell? Many people wait till their business is on the decline to sell. That s the exact opposite of what you should do, says Debbie Allen. a Phoenix-based business and brand strategist and consultant. You want to sell when you are at the top of your game peaked out, she says. Some will say, I m making good money now. Why should I sell? That s thinking like a business owner, not an entrepreneur.

Is the market right? Before selling, look at current market conditions for your industry. Selling a home improvement business in 2006 showed a pretty good return. Fast forward a couple of years and many roofing, siding, home financing and other housing-related companies had lost a big chunk of their value. I saw companies who turned down an offer in 2005 who couldn t get three-quarters of that price a few years later, says Allan Siposs, a managing director of FMV Capital Markets in Irvine, Calif. which offers services for mergers, acquisitions and divestitures. Wait until market conditions are better to sell.

Can I cope with the changes on the horizon? Rapidly changing technology, increasing globalization and other business trends can prove too much for some business owners. Keep your eyes trained three or four years down the road, and if you don t believe you can keep up, sell before your failure to adapt catches up with you. Some people find it hard to leave, but if you wait too long, the industry may pass you by, Allen says.

Can my business thrive without me or without a key customer? If a buyer is concerned that a business is too dependent on the owner or a single customer, he may take his offer elsewhere. A good business can operate when the owner is on vacation and has good revenue diversification, where no one customer represents more than five percent of the business, Siposs says.

Would I be willing to stay on if the buyer wants me to? Sometimes you can seal a deal by agreeing to stay on in a consulting role for a period of six months. But first, you need to determine whether it s really worth it to you. If you re willing to stay on, it might reduce the risk to the buyer and increase the value of the company, Siposs says.

What are the potential deal breakers? Unresolved issues can rear their ugly head and interfere with a sale, particularly in areas such as company ownership, accounting and intellectual property rights. For example, an owner may have used a contractor to write software for the company without requiring him to assign his rights to the company. This can create questions about who possesses critical rights, which can scuttle the deal, Kibby says. So, consider what your potential deal breakers are and try to resolve them before you re near to closing a deal.

Would I consider alternatives to an outright sale? If an outright sale isn t right for you, a CPA or investment banker can help evaluate other options. How about structuring a deal to pass on the ownership to employees through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP)? Would you consider selling a percentage of the company to a private equity fund? Or would you do a leveraged recapitalization, which is a loan that puts a portion of the proceeds in your pocket?





Charleston Personal Injury Lawyer, Attorney, South Carolina Wrongful Death Lawyer #ask #a


#

Practice Areas Feed

Meet the Attorneys

Charleston Personal Injury Attorneys

South Carolina Wrongful Death Lawyer

Personal Injury – Family Law

  • Have the reckless actions of another person left you with a serious injury?
  • Has your family recently suffered the wrongful death of a loved one?
  • Are you and your spouse heading for divorce?

No matter what type of personal injury you have sustained or what your family situation entails, you will find the straight answers you have been looking for and dedicated attorneys you can trust at the Rosen Law Firm. We want to help you in this difficult time. We are a small law firm, providing personal attention – we care about our clients.

Personal Injury and Family Law Attorneys – Charleston, South Carolina
At the Rosen Law Firm. we understand that while the laws and the legal system may be clear to us – they are not always clear to our clients. Attorneys Robert Rosen, Susan Rosen, and Robin Meihaus have made it a point to change that fact one client at a time. If you have been injured in an auto accident, a trucking collision, injured by a doctor’s or hospital’s negligence or the wrongful conduct of another, we are here to help.

Bar and the Judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell Ratings fall into two categories – legal ability and general ethical standards.

Areas of Practice
Although much of our practice is devoted to personal injury and family law, the Rosen Law Firm also provides high quality services and outstanding representation in a wide variety of other legal areas.

Contact Our Tri-County Area Law Office
If you have a legal issue involving one of our practice areas – we have answers and we can help. Call us in Charleston, South Carolina, at 1-843-377-1700 or contact us via e-mail with a brief description of your situation and legal needs.

Attorneys Robert and Susan Rosen offer 60 years of combined courtroom experience, have each received an AV Rating* under Martindale-Hubbell’s peer review rating system, and are both listed in The Best Lawyers in America reference guide.

*CV, BV and AV are registered certification marks of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc. used in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. Martindale-Hubbell is the facilitator of a peer review rating process. Ratings reflect the confidential opinions of members of the Bar and the Judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell Ratings fall into two categories – legal ability and general ethical standards.

The Best Lawyers in America 2007. Copyright 2006 by Woodward/White, Inc. Aiken, SC.

Contact Us

South Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers and Family Law Attorneys
At the Rosen Law Firm, we represent families and individuals in the Charleston area and throughout the state of South Carolina who have issues or problems involving personal injury law, medical malpractice, family law, and other legal practice areas. We are here to help, have been for decades, and still. love what we do. If you would like to learn more about our practice and discuss a specific legal issue with an attorney, call our Charleston / Tri-County Area law office at 843-377-1700 or complete the brief e-mail contact form. Thank you.

Rosen Law Firm, LLC
The Peoples Building
18 Broad Street, Suite 201
Charleston, SC 29401


Interviewing your Personal Injury Lawyer: Questions to Ask #interviewing #your #personal #injury


#

Interviewing your Personal Injury Lawyer: Questions to Ask

Do I need to Interview my Personal Injury Lawyer?

Before you enlist the services of a personal injury attorney, it is very important that you learn basic information about them. This can be done in an informal interview over the phone and through e-mail, before you hire them.

You should not hesitate to conduct a thorough interview with the lawyer, since you will be working closely with them. The outcome of your personal injury claim will depend on having a solid client-attorney relationship before any litigation actually begins.

What information should be obtained from the interview?

An interview of your potential lawyer should disclose detailed information in two general areas: information related to the lawyer and information related to your personal injury case. Ideally, you should formulate your own interview using a scripted checklist of questions organized around these two themes. To get you started, here are a few common questions:

Information related to the Lawyer:

  • Background check-
    • What school did the lawyer obtain their law degree from?
    • What state bar associations have they been admitted to?
    • Are they currently in good standing with the state bar? (i.e. not disbarred, no criminal history, has not been subject to discipline)
    • In which jurisdictions are they permitted to appear in court?
    • What is their record of cases won/lost in court?
    • How long have they been practicing in the field of personal injury?
    • Do they have any areas of expertise or special knowledge that might be relevant to your case?
  • Lawyer s role in their firm-
    • Are they a partner, associate, or founding member?
    • Will they be working alone or with a partner or team?
    • Will they be assigning portions of the work to other lawyers?
  • Personal views/conflicts of interest-
    • Do they hold any personal views that might prevent them from effectively arguing your case? (For example, they are financially interested in the case s outcome, etc.)
    • Have they worked on other cases involving matters that are substantially related to your claim, especially for the opposing side?
    • Are they currently representing another party that might be adverse to your claim, such as an insurance company?

Information related to your PI case:

  • Success in related cases-
    • Has the attorney ever handled a case like yours?
    • What is the rate of success for clients in similar cases?
    • How many have been won and how many have been settled?
    • What is the estimated amount of monetary damages that you will be entitled to receive?
    • Are there any other available remedies, such as an injunction?
  • Fees-
    • Can they give you a ballpark figure of how much the entire case will cost including fees?
    • Will they be working on a contingency fee basis or an hourly rate?
    • Will they accept payment in increments?
    • What forms of payment will they accept?
    • Will they be sharing the fee with another attorney?
  • Projected outcome of your case-
    • Do they know all the various arguments and defenses available for your case?
    • Are they able to anticipate the strengths and weaknesses of the opposing side s arguments?
    • How long will the case take to resolve the dispute? (this may also be related to the overall cost of the suit)
    • Are there any alternatives to litigation, such as mediation or alternative dispute resolution (ADR)?
    • Is there any way to save time and resources by ending the suit quickly, such as through a motion to dismiss?

These are only general suggestions for possible inquiries- be sure to include any questions or concerns that might be relevant to your specific situation.

Are there any other considerations?

Double check the personal injury attorney s credentials and confirm that they are validly licensed to practice law in your jurisdiction. You should also be aware that a court can dismiss an attorney if they have a conflict of interest that would impair their ability to represent you.

Also, in very limited instances, sometimes an additional attorney is needed. For example, some states allow a client to negotiate a separate, unrelated business contract with their current attorney, in which case another attorney may be needed to mediate the contract.

Finally, your communication with your lawyer should not end after the initial interview. Make sure that your attorney will stay in communication with you in order to update you with the progress of your case and inform you of any changes. You should be assured that your lawyer will represent you to the fullest extent possible.

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Federal Tax Credits For Solar Energy Systems #solar #energy #tax #credits, #solar


#

Federal Tax Credits: Solar Energy Systems

Solar Water Heaters

Solar water heaters come in a wide variety of designs, all including a collector and storage tank, and all using the sun’s thermal energy to heat water. Solar water heaters are typically described according to the type of collector and the circulation system.

At least half of the energy generated by the “qualifying property” must come from the sun. The system must be certified by the Solar Rating and Certification Corporation (SRCC) or a comparable entity endorsed by the government of the state in which the property is installed.

Note: The credit is not available for expenses for swimming pools or hot tubs. The water must be used in the dwelling.

Photovoltaic systems must provide electricity for the residence, and must meet applicable fire and electical code requirements.

Tax Credit includes installation costs.

Solar Panels (Photovoltaic Systems)

Solar Panels or Photovoltaic Systems are solar cells that capture light energy from the sun and convert it directly into electricity.

Requirements
Photovoltaic systems must provide electricity for the residence, and must meet applicable fire and electrical code requirements.


Ask a small business advisor #green #business

#business advisor

#

Alberta Government

Ask a small business advisor

Small business advisors provide free advice to small businesses and entrepreneurs navigating provincial regulations and business support programs. Use the form or contact information below and a small business advisor will provide information, answer questions, direct you to various resources and, where possible, connect you directly with the experts who can help.

Telephone

Monday to Friday, 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM (Mountain Time)

  • For your small business needs, contact a Business Advisor at The Business Link

1-844-422-7705 Toll free public number (Canada only)

  • For technical/website questions, contact the Help Desk

    Send Message

    The only information collected that is used to identify you is information you give voluntarily. When you submit a question or comment, you may be asked for your name, e-mail address, or other information. This information is only used to process and respond to your question or comment and is collected in compliance with section 33 (c) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIP) Act. This information is not disclosed except to authorized personnel who need it to answer your question.

    Ask a small business advisor





  • 10 Questions to Ask Before Selling Your Business #business #consulting

    #sell my business

    #

    10 Questions to Ask Before Selling Your Business

    If you re thinking about selling your business, think twice. Selling a business should never be a spur-of-the-moment decision, says Curtis Kroeker, group general manager for San Francisco-based BizBuySell.com and BizQuest.com. business-for-sale marketplaces that have an inventory of about 40,000 businesses. You need to figure out things like if you should sell, when is the best time to sell, and what you need to consider before selling, among many other considerations.

    So, should you sell your business? Here are 10 key questions to help you figure it out.

    Is my business ready to sell? Kroeker recommends at least two years of preparation before putting your business on the market. Make sure you can produce two to three years of tax returns that are accurate and show maximum profitability to get the best price for your business, he says. You can t start putting things together the month before you sell.

    How is a buyer going to value my business? Particularly with family ownership, companies sometimes run everything through the business, such as country club dues and car allowances, says Robert Kibby, section head of the corporate and securities group at Dallas-based Munsch Hardt Kopf Harr Attorneys and Counselors. Loading the business with tax write-offs can make you appear less profitable and cause a buyer to undervalue your business.

    Who should be on my team when I sell? It s important for entrepreneurs to figure out whose services will bring them through the sales process and help them get the best price for their business. Do you need an accountant? How about an appraiser, attorney, consultant and business broker? The buyer is typically going to have a good team to go over your business, so you should, too, Kibby says.

    Is it the right time to sell? Many people wait till their business is on the decline to sell. That s the exact opposite of what you should do, says Debbie Allen. a Phoenix-based business and brand strategist and consultant. You want to sell when you are at the top of your game peaked out, she says. Some will say, I m making good money now. Why should I sell? That s thinking like a business owner, not an entrepreneur.

    Is the market right? Before selling, look at current market conditions for your industry. Selling a home improvement business in 2006 showed a pretty good return. Fast forward a couple of years and many roofing, siding, home financing and other housing-related companies had lost a big chunk of their value. I saw companies who turned down an offer in 2005 who couldn t get three-quarters of that price a few years later, says Allan Siposs, a managing director of FMV Capital Markets in Irvine, Calif. which offers services for mergers, acquisitions and divestitures. Wait until market conditions are better to sell.

    Can I cope with the changes on the horizon? Rapidly changing technology, increasing globalization and other business trends can prove too much for some business owners. Keep your eyes trained three or four years down the road, and if you don t believe you can keep up, sell before your failure to adapt catches up with you. Some people find it hard to leave, but if you wait too long, the industry may pass you by, Allen says.

    Can my business thrive without me or without a key customer? If a buyer is concerned that a business is too dependent on the owner or a single customer, he may take his offer elsewhere. A good business can operate when the owner is on vacation and has good revenue diversification, where no one customer represents more than five percent of the business, Siposs says.

    Would I be willing to stay on if the buyer wants me to? Sometimes you can seal a deal by agreeing to stay on in a consulting role for a period of six months. But first, you need to determine whether it s really worth it to you. If you re willing to stay on, it might reduce the risk to the buyer and increase the value of the company, Siposs says.

    What are the potential deal breakers? Unresolved issues can rear their ugly head and interfere with a sale, particularly in areas such as company ownership, accounting and intellectual property rights. For example, an owner may have used a contractor to write software for the company without requiring him to assign his rights to the company. This can create questions about who possesses critical rights, which can scuttle the deal, Kibby says. So, consider what your potential deal breakers are and try to resolve them before you re near to closing a deal.

    Would I consider alternatives to an outright sale? If an outright sale isn t right for you, a CPA or investment banker can help evaluate other options. How about structuring a deal to pass on the ownership to employees through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP)? Would you consider selling a percentage of the company to a private equity fund? Or would you do a leveraged recapitalization, which is a loan that puts a portion of the proceeds in your pocket?





    10 Questions to Ask Before Selling Your Business #free #business #listings

    #sell my business

    #

    10 Questions to Ask Before Selling Your Business

    If you re thinking about selling your business, think twice. Selling a business should never be a spur-of-the-moment decision, says Curtis Kroeker, group general manager for San Francisco-based BizBuySell.com and BizQuest.com. business-for-sale marketplaces that have an inventory of about 40,000 businesses. You need to figure out things like if you should sell, when is the best time to sell, and what you need to consider before selling, among many other considerations.

    So, should you sell your business? Here are 10 key questions to help you figure it out.

    Is my business ready to sell? Kroeker recommends at least two years of preparation before putting your business on the market. Make sure you can produce two to three years of tax returns that are accurate and show maximum profitability to get the best price for your business, he says. You can t start putting things together the month before you sell.

    How is a buyer going to value my business? Particularly with family ownership, companies sometimes run everything through the business, such as country club dues and car allowances, says Robert Kibby, section head of the corporate and securities group at Dallas-based Munsch Hardt Kopf Harr Attorneys and Counselors. Loading the business with tax write-offs can make you appear less profitable and cause a buyer to undervalue your business.

    Who should be on my team when I sell? It s important for entrepreneurs to figure out whose services will bring them through the sales process and help them get the best price for their business. Do you need an accountant? How about an appraiser, attorney, consultant and business broker? The buyer is typically going to have a good team to go over your business, so you should, too, Kibby says.

    Is it the right time to sell? Many people wait till their business is on the decline to sell. That s the exact opposite of what you should do, says Debbie Allen. a Phoenix-based business and brand strategist and consultant. You want to sell when you are at the top of your game peaked out, she says. Some will say, I m making good money now. Why should I sell? That s thinking like a business owner, not an entrepreneur.

    Is the market right? Before selling, look at current market conditions for your industry. Selling a home improvement business in 2006 showed a pretty good return. Fast forward a couple of years and many roofing, siding, home financing and other housing-related companies had lost a big chunk of their value. I saw companies who turned down an offer in 2005 who couldn t get three-quarters of that price a few years later, says Allan Siposs, a managing director of FMV Capital Markets in Irvine, Calif. which offers services for mergers, acquisitions and divestitures. Wait until market conditions are better to sell.

    Can I cope with the changes on the horizon? Rapidly changing technology, increasing globalization and other business trends can prove too much for some business owners. Keep your eyes trained three or four years down the road, and if you don t believe you can keep up, sell before your failure to adapt catches up with you. Some people find it hard to leave, but if you wait too long, the industry may pass you by, Allen says.

    Can my business thrive without me or without a key customer? If a buyer is concerned that a business is too dependent on the owner or a single customer, he may take his offer elsewhere. A good business can operate when the owner is on vacation and has good revenue diversification, where no one customer represents more than five percent of the business, Siposs says.

    Would I be willing to stay on if the buyer wants me to? Sometimes you can seal a deal by agreeing to stay on in a consulting role for a period of six months. But first, you need to determine whether it s really worth it to you. If you re willing to stay on, it might reduce the risk to the buyer and increase the value of the company, Siposs says.

    What are the potential deal breakers? Unresolved issues can rear their ugly head and interfere with a sale, particularly in areas such as company ownership, accounting and intellectual property rights. For example, an owner may have used a contractor to write software for the company without requiring him to assign his rights to the company. This can create questions about who possesses critical rights, which can scuttle the deal, Kibby says. So, consider what your potential deal breakers are and try to resolve them before you re near to closing a deal.

    Would I consider alternatives to an outright sale? If an outright sale isn t right for you, a CPA or investment banker can help evaluate other options. How about structuring a deal to pass on the ownership to employees through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP)? Would you consider selling a percentage of the company to a private equity fund? Or would you do a leveraged recapitalization, which is a loan that puts a portion of the proceeds in your pocket?





    Ask a small business advisor #own #your #own #business

    #business advisor

    #

    Alberta Government

    Ask a small business advisor

    Small business advisors provide free advice to small businesses and entrepreneurs navigating provincial regulations and business support programs. Use the form or contact information below and a small business advisor will provide information, answer questions, direct you to various resources and, where possible, connect you directly with the experts who can help.

    Telephone

    Monday to Friday, 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM (Mountain Time)

    • For your small business needs, contact a Business Advisor at The Business Link

    1-844-422-7705 Toll free public number (Canada only)

  • For technical/website questions, contact the Help Desk

    Send Message

    The only information collected that is used to identify you is information you give voluntarily. When you submit a question or comment, you may be asked for your name, e-mail address, or other information. This information is only used to process and respond to your question or comment and is collected in compliance with section 33 (c) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIP) Act. This information is not disclosed except to authorized personnel who need it to answer your question.

    Ask a small business advisor





  • 10 Questions to Ask Before Committing to a Business Partner #business #jets

    #business partner

    #

    10 Questions to Ask Before Committing to a Business Partner

    Like a marriage, a business partnership often begins with enthusiasm and high expectations — only to end in acrimony and legal proceedings. It s important to know as much as possible about a potential partner, including how his or her finances and family life may affect the business, before signing on the dotted line.

    Here are some questions to ask before deciding if partnering is a good idea:

    1. What do I need from a business partner?
    You should look for a business partner who brings something different to the table than you do. If you re creative, maybe you need a more detail-oriented partner. If you have money to invest in the business, you may want to look for a partner with access to a market, or with great connections. Or if you re shy, you might need a good people person to balance the equation. If they re similar to you, it might be more comfortable, but it may not be what you need, says William M. Moore, founder of the Moore Firm in San Diego, a law firm that serves entrepreneurs. You need someone who complements your skills and personality.

    2. What is your potential partner s financial situation?
    It is important to have an understanding of someone s financial status and commitments before getting into a venture together. It is tough to ask what they are currently spending on a house or in payments to an ex-spouse, but someone s prior financial commitments shape the decisions they will make in the short term, says Gregory Kratofil, an attorney and shareholder with the law firm Polsinelli Shughart in Kansas City, Mo. who specializes in small business interests. If he has large outstanding obligations, but says he can get by on $35,000 salary, it is a red flag.

    3. What are the potential partner s expectations on the time involved?
    Partners don t have to spend the same amount of time, but it is important that they are on the same page as to each other s expected time commitments. How many hours a day does your partner expect to put into the venture, and do his expectations meet yours? It is equally important to level set your partner s expectations on your time commitments, Kratofil says. The age old adage that it s better to under-promise and over-deliver applies here.

    4. Is your potential partner s commitment to the business as strong as yours?
    I don t care if it s a coffee house or a design firm, the business partner s commitment has to equal yours, says Bob Phibbs, consultant and CEO of The Retail Doctor. a site that provides information to small and medium-sized businesses. A partnership — especially one between friends — can start off with fun and excitement, but within a short time, the slog of every day catches up with you. If they re not as committed to the business as you, they may lose their enthusiasm and may actually be damaging the brand every time you open your doors.

    5. Is there something in your potential partner s family life that might make the business a secondary interest?
    If your potential partner has a pregnant wife or is taking care of an elderly parent, he may be distracted from the business. That s why you have to be brutally honest when thinking of forming a partnership. The partner can say, My wife is behind me 100 percent. But I want to talk to the wife, Phibbs says. If they re too distracted by a family issue or their family isn t behind them, the business may be doomed from the start.

    6. How would he or she handle a tough situation?
    It s important to know what your potential business partner will do if he has his back up against the wall — and it will happen, Phibbs says. The best way to discover this is to look at what he s done in past business ventures. If he couldn t meet payroll, for example: Did he do the right thing and dip into savings or borrow from a credit card or a friend? Or did he pay employees late, or not at all? Or worse, did he skip paying payroll taxes? It all comes down to character issue, Phibbs says, adding, Payroll taxes are a federal obligation. If that s negotiable, you can bet your partnership is also negotiable.

    7. What questions do they have for me?
    If a potential employee doesn t ask any questions in a job interview, you might be less likely to hire him because of a perceived lack of interest. The same applies to a potential business partner, who should want to know about your character, reliability and expectations. I want them to ask me the same tough questions I ask them. If they say it doesn t really matter, it could mean two things: their expectations are too high or they might be kind of flighty, Phibbs says. Things may be fine now, but in a month or two, they may want to change things or even get out of the deal.

    8. What is the potential partner s standing in the community?
    A lot of people seem good at first, but that may be their skill — seeming good at first, Moore says. Once they get their foot in the door, it may be difficult to get them out. Talk to former employees to see what they were like to work with, or for. If you re looking for someone with money connections, verify that they have money. If they say they have great connections, see if those connections go beyond just being recognized and given a slap on the back. A business partnership is not a marriage, but there should be some sort of courtship process that you can verify that they are who they say they are, Moore says.

    9. Are they willing to put everything in writing?
    Many partnerships are cemented with a handshake, but this can be a recipe for disaster. It s crucial to put it on paper — not only what is expected of each partner, but the consequences if expectations aren t met. There s something about actually putting it in writing that exposes the potential problem areas in the partnership, Moore says. If someone has a family emergency and disappears the first six months of the business — even though it may not be through any fault of his own — are you still expected to give that person a certain percentage of the business? If someone simply isn t pulling his or her weight, you need to be able to get them out without destroying the business, he adds. And if it s in writing, there s no arguing it.

    10. Do I really need a partner?
    If you can get someone to do something without giving them a stake in your business, it s always better, Moore says. People get wrapped up in the idea of needing to work with someone, but it s not always a good idea. Sometimes you need somebody to show up from 9-5, work hard and go home, he says, adding. If you re cash poor, or it s a startup and you don t expect to make money right away, taking on a partner might be the better option. But if you can just pay somebody to show up and work, it s generally a better option than giving them a stake in the company.

    And now a bonus question.

    What happens if we can t work it out?
    Most people don t envision the rough times ahead for a new venture, so this question is probably the hardest to remember to ask and the beginning. Yet, the best time to address potential problems with your partner is at the beginning before emotions run high. You can t predict every potential problem, but a good startup lawyer can help you work through some of the common problems and put a framework in place to help address unforeseen circumstances, Kratofil says.





    10 Questions to Ask Before Selling Your Business #car #wash #business

    #sell my business

    #

    10 Questions to Ask Before Selling Your Business

    If you re thinking about selling your business, think twice. Selling a business should never be a spur-of-the-moment decision, says Curtis Kroeker, group general manager for San Francisco-based BizBuySell.com and BizQuest.com. business-for-sale marketplaces that have an inventory of about 40,000 businesses. You need to figure out things like if you should sell, when is the best time to sell, and what you need to consider before selling, among many other considerations.

    So, should you sell your business? Here are 10 key questions to help you figure it out.

    Is my business ready to sell? Kroeker recommends at least two years of preparation before putting your business on the market. Make sure you can produce two to three years of tax returns that are accurate and show maximum profitability to get the best price for your business, he says. You can t start putting things together the month before you sell.

    How is a buyer going to value my business? Particularly with family ownership, companies sometimes run everything through the business, such as country club dues and car allowances, says Robert Kibby, section head of the corporate and securities group at Dallas-based Munsch Hardt Kopf Harr Attorneys and Counselors. Loading the business with tax write-offs can make you appear less profitable and cause a buyer to undervalue your business.

    Who should be on my team when I sell? It s important for entrepreneurs to figure out whose services will bring them through the sales process and help them get the best price for their business. Do you need an accountant? How about an appraiser, attorney, consultant and business broker? The buyer is typically going to have a good team to go over your business, so you should, too, Kibby says.

    Is it the right time to sell? Many people wait till their business is on the decline to sell. That s the exact opposite of what you should do, says Debbie Allen. a Phoenix-based business and brand strategist and consultant. You want to sell when you are at the top of your game peaked out, she says. Some will say, I m making good money now. Why should I sell? That s thinking like a business owner, not an entrepreneur.

    Is the market right? Before selling, look at current market conditions for your industry. Selling a home improvement business in 2006 showed a pretty good return. Fast forward a couple of years and many roofing, siding, home financing and other housing-related companies had lost a big chunk of their value. I saw companies who turned down an offer in 2005 who couldn t get three-quarters of that price a few years later, says Allan Siposs, a managing director of FMV Capital Markets in Irvine, Calif. which offers services for mergers, acquisitions and divestitures. Wait until market conditions are better to sell.

    Can I cope with the changes on the horizon? Rapidly changing technology, increasing globalization and other business trends can prove too much for some business owners. Keep your eyes trained three or four years down the road, and if you don t believe you can keep up, sell before your failure to adapt catches up with you. Some people find it hard to leave, but if you wait too long, the industry may pass you by, Allen says.

    Can my business thrive without me or without a key customer? If a buyer is concerned that a business is too dependent on the owner or a single customer, he may take his offer elsewhere. A good business can operate when the owner is on vacation and has good revenue diversification, where no one customer represents more than five percent of the business, Siposs says.

    Would I be willing to stay on if the buyer wants me to? Sometimes you can seal a deal by agreeing to stay on in a consulting role for a period of six months. But first, you need to determine whether it s really worth it to you. If you re willing to stay on, it might reduce the risk to the buyer and increase the value of the company, Siposs says.

    What are the potential deal breakers? Unresolved issues can rear their ugly head and interfere with a sale, particularly in areas such as company ownership, accounting and intellectual property rights. For example, an owner may have used a contractor to write software for the company without requiring him to assign his rights to the company. This can create questions about who possesses critical rights, which can scuttle the deal, Kibby says. So, consider what your potential deal breakers are and try to resolve them before you re near to closing a deal.

    Would I consider alternatives to an outright sale? If an outright sale isn t right for you, a CPA or investment banker can help evaluate other options. How about structuring a deal to pass on the ownership to employees through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP)? Would you consider selling a percentage of the company to a private equity fund? Or would you do a leveraged recapitalization, which is a loan that puts a portion of the proceeds in your pocket?





    Ask a small business advisor #business #online

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  • 10 Questions to Ask Before Committing to a Business Partner #business #plan

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    10 Questions to Ask Before Committing to a Business Partner

    Like a marriage, a business partnership often begins with enthusiasm and high expectations — only to end in acrimony and legal proceedings. It s important to know as much as possible about a potential partner, including how his or her finances and family life may affect the business, before signing on the dotted line.

    Here are some questions to ask before deciding if partnering is a good idea:

    1. What do I need from a business partner?
    You should look for a business partner who brings something different to the table than you do. If you re creative, maybe you need a more detail-oriented partner. If you have money to invest in the business, you may want to look for a partner with access to a market, or with great connections. Or if you re shy, you might need a good people person to balance the equation. If they re similar to you, it might be more comfortable, but it may not be what you need, says William M. Moore, founder of the Moore Firm in San Diego, a law firm that serves entrepreneurs. You need someone who complements your skills and personality.

    2. What is your potential partner s financial situation?
    It is important to have an understanding of someone s financial status and commitments before getting into a venture together. It is tough to ask what they are currently spending on a house or in payments to an ex-spouse, but someone s prior financial commitments shape the decisions they will make in the short term, says Gregory Kratofil, an attorney and shareholder with the law firm Polsinelli Shughart in Kansas City, Mo. who specializes in small business interests. If he has large outstanding obligations, but says he can get by on $35,000 salary, it is a red flag.

    3. What are the potential partner s expectations on the time involved?
    Partners don t have to spend the same amount of time, but it is important that they are on the same page as to each other s expected time commitments. How many hours a day does your partner expect to put into the venture, and do his expectations meet yours? It is equally important to level set your partner s expectations on your time commitments, Kratofil says. The age old adage that it s better to under-promise and over-deliver applies here.

    4. Is your potential partner s commitment to the business as strong as yours?
    I don t care if it s a coffee house or a design firm, the business partner s commitment has to equal yours, says Bob Phibbs, consultant and CEO of The Retail Doctor. a site that provides information to small and medium-sized businesses. A partnership — especially one between friends — can start off with fun and excitement, but within a short time, the slog of every day catches up with you. If they re not as committed to the business as you, they may lose their enthusiasm and may actually be damaging the brand every time you open your doors.

    5. Is there something in your potential partner s family life that might make the business a secondary interest?
    If your potential partner has a pregnant wife or is taking care of an elderly parent, he may be distracted from the business. That s why you have to be brutally honest when thinking of forming a partnership. The partner can say, My wife is behind me 100 percent. But I want to talk to the wife, Phibbs says. If they re too distracted by a family issue or their family isn t behind them, the business may be doomed from the start.

    6. How would he or she handle a tough situation?
    It s important to know what your potential business partner will do if he has his back up against the wall — and it will happen, Phibbs says. The best way to discover this is to look at what he s done in past business ventures. If he couldn t meet payroll, for example: Did he do the right thing and dip into savings or borrow from a credit card or a friend? Or did he pay employees late, or not at all? Or worse, did he skip paying payroll taxes? It all comes down to character issue, Phibbs says, adding, Payroll taxes are a federal obligation. If that s negotiable, you can bet your partnership is also negotiable.

    7. What questions do they have for me?
    If a potential employee doesn t ask any questions in a job interview, you might be less likely to hire him because of a perceived lack of interest. The same applies to a potential business partner, who should want to know about your character, reliability and expectations. I want them to ask me the same tough questions I ask them. If they say it doesn t really matter, it could mean two things: their expectations are too high or they might be kind of flighty, Phibbs says. Things may be fine now, but in a month or two, they may want to change things or even get out of the deal.

    8. What is the potential partner s standing in the community?
    A lot of people seem good at first, but that may be their skill — seeming good at first, Moore says. Once they get their foot in the door, it may be difficult to get them out. Talk to former employees to see what they were like to work with, or for. If you re looking for someone with money connections, verify that they have money. If they say they have great connections, see if those connections go beyond just being recognized and given a slap on the back. A business partnership is not a marriage, but there should be some sort of courtship process that you can verify that they are who they say they are, Moore says.

    9. Are they willing to put everything in writing?
    Many partnerships are cemented with a handshake, but this can be a recipe for disaster. It s crucial to put it on paper — not only what is expected of each partner, but the consequences if expectations aren t met. There s something about actually putting it in writing that exposes the potential problem areas in the partnership, Moore says. If someone has a family emergency and disappears the first six months of the business — even though it may not be through any fault of his own — are you still expected to give that person a certain percentage of the business? If someone simply isn t pulling his or her weight, you need to be able to get them out without destroying the business, he adds. And if it s in writing, there s no arguing it.

    10. Do I really need a partner?
    If you can get someone to do something without giving them a stake in your business, it s always better, Moore says. People get wrapped up in the idea of needing to work with someone, but it s not always a good idea. Sometimes you need somebody to show up from 9-5, work hard and go home, he says, adding. If you re cash poor, or it s a startup and you don t expect to make money right away, taking on a partner might be the better option. But if you can just pay somebody to show up and work, it s generally a better option than giving them a stake in the company.

    And now a bonus question.

    What happens if we can t work it out?
    Most people don t envision the rough times ahead for a new venture, so this question is probably the hardest to remember to ask and the beginning. Yet, the best time to address potential problems with your partner is at the beginning before emotions run high. You can t predict every potential problem, but a good startup lawyer can help you work through some of the common problems and put a framework in place to help address unforeseen circumstances, Kratofil says.