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Buyer FAQs

FAQs for Business Buyers

You likely have many questions about selling your business, we are happy to provide the FAQs below for your consideration.

Sunbelt Canada represents business opportunities right across the country. They vary in size from small owner operated businesses which sell for as little as $250,000 to large businesses that sell for many millions of dollars. Some are suitable for new entrepreneurs, some for seasoned business owners and some for acquisition by large corporations, Family Offices, or Private Equity Groups.

They vary by industry ranging from Hotels and Motels to Software Companies and everything in between. Our goal is to have something that works well for each buyer and we have a large selection of quality businesses for sale in Canada at any given time.

We recommend you download the book Insider Tips on Buying a Business in Canada

The statistics would suggest that the best option is to purchase an existing, successful business which comes with trained staff, immediate cash flow, loyal clients, a location that works, reliable suppliers, marketing programs and systems that are proven, and training from the current owner. People who purchase a business through Sunbelt are successful more than 98% of the time whereas start-ups fail 65% of the time and new Franchise purchases are successful 80% of the time. Given the odds and the risk purchasing an existing Business is generally the right choice.

Buying a business and owning a business involves a lot of responsibility, some risk, a lot of hard work, some stress, and a great deal of enjoyment and satisfaction. Hopefully, it also involves a decent return on your invested capital and making more than a good living. As a buyer you need to seriously assess your strengths and abilities as well as your weaknesses. Buy a business that you will enjoy. Outsource those things that you are not good at or do not enjoy. Focus on doing the things you are good at. Life will be more fun, and you will have greater success. Also assess your risk tolerance and ability to cope with stress. Most business owners endure some stress, but this can vary greatly depending upon the type of business it is. Thirdly assess your financial resources and stay within the tolerance levels you are comfortable with – overreaching or failure to plan in this area can be problematic. If you are ready, the personal and professional growth that comes with owning a business, the ability to have a positive impact on your family, your community, your staff, suppliers, and clients, and the direct relationship between what you do, and the results make it highly rewarding and enjoyable. It can also provide a level of freedom that you can not achieve working for someone else as well as providing the opportunity to build wealth.

Buying a business is a complex process and I recommend anyone considering it to read “Insider Tips On Buying A Business In Canada”. It is a free download from the Sunbelt Canada web site or you can obtain a hard copy from any of the Sunbelt Canada offices across Canada. It will walk you through the process, the considerations, and the things to watch out for. Do not consider buying until you have read this book.

Let’s consider what a business broker will do for you when purchasing a business.

  • Provides a set of quality businesses that have been selected to provide a good living for the buyer
  • Finds the right business for your skills, financial resources, lifestyle goals, risk tolerance, experience, health, and family
  • Adds significant value to your purchase
  • Can explain the true Financials
  • Does Research and valuation to ensure you are getting good value
  • Prepares proper documentation to ensure no surprises
  • Assists with developing Business Plan and Marketing Plan
  • Offer drafting and negotiations
  • Assists in putting together and securing the most appropriate financing
  • Managing Due Diligence process
  • Managing closing process
  • The experience a broker provides greatly reduces your risk

When buying a business in Canada, your Sunbelt Business Broker has access to hundreds of business opportunities in a variety of industries and a variety of sizes. They will help you chose what will work for you, and then guide you through the entire process ensuring that you avoid the common mistakes and that you end up with a business that is right for you.

Sunbelt Canada has the tools, the processes, well trained and experienced Business Brokers and an enviable track record of success that results in success for you-the buyer. You are protected throughout the process and end up achieving your goals and dreams.

For most Business Buyers there are no fees. We are a free service and are paid by the seller. In some instances there is a charge to the buyer and you will sort this out with your business broker before starting the process.

You will need to sign a confidentiality agreement, provide your financial information, your experience and skills, and information about your goals and the lifestyle you want to live. Start with View Business for Sale on our site.

When buying a business, the diligence process is your opportunity to verify the information that has been provided and to identify anything that has not been disclosed. Sunbelt Canada will recommend competent and affordable people to help with the process and will manage it, however we are dual agents with fiduciary responsibilities to both parties and will not perform the process. You will need a financial advisor (accountant) and a legal advisor (lawyer) to assist you in this and your Sunbelt Broker will make sure that they receive the relevant information and do their job. Please read “Insider Tips on Buying A Business in Canada.

A good business for you is one that allows you to use your talent and skills, provides suitable financial rewards, is FUN for you, achieves your lifestyle goals, and one you are proud to own.

You should pay a little less than you can afford. All businesses have some ups and downs. We do not want you to use all you have available for the purchase as you need to have access to a bit more to deal with issues that may arise. The business needs to provide sufficient cash flow to do your debt servicing, support your lifestyle, and provide a return on you invested capital. If it can not do this, you are paying too much. We will help you manage the structure of the deal and financing to make sure it will work for you.

You will look at the cash flow, the projections, the track record and your Sunbelt Business Broker will help you make an informed decision. There are no guarantees but more then (98% of our clients have been successful.

Financing is always an issue in Canada. Banks do not lend money to purchase small businesses. Your typical sources are the seller (typically around 20% of the purchase price), Business Development Canada or a Canada Small Business Loan (typically 50+% of the purchase price) and your equity (savings, Home Equity Loans Etc. ) which is typically 20% to 30% or the purchase price. Do not forget the need for working capital to support the business. You can usually arrange a LOC secured by receivables and inventory to support this.

Yes, we do. There is a charge, and we do a thorough job in finding that perfect business acquisition. Sometimes buyers engage a Sunbelt Canada Business Broker to assist with the purchase of a business that we are not selling, we do charge for this service however we have been able to save many buyers from making a disastrous purchase and enabled others to structure a purchase that made sense.

There are a number of factors which include the diligence of the seller in tax reporting, the potential for unknown liabilities, the availability to the seller of the Lifetime Capital Gains Tax Exemption, the transferability of licenses, permits, security clearances, etc. Your Sunbelt Business Broker will be able to advise you on the best strategy for structuring your purchase.

The most common mistake is failing to understand the real value, and see the potential of a business, while the numbers are important and must be reviewed you can become hyper focused and miss a good opportunity. The second most common mistake is falling in love with the vision of owning the business and not doing a thorough job of diligence, learn as much as you can and enter ownership fully informed. The third mistake letting your professional advisors make the decision to purchase choice for you – in twenty years I have never heard a lawyer or accountant recommend a purchase. Their job is to make you aware of all the risks and potential problems and they do this very well. They scare many purchasers out of a good business. You have to look at the big picture and not be scared off by the little risks. Every purchase has some risk.

Most deals have an element of seller financing, most have a non compete clause for the seller, most have a training and transition program, most have representations and warrantees from the seller with a right of offset against the seller note. There are many more terms and conditions to protect the buyer however most have the buyer personally guaranteeing the loan from the seller. While it may take some back and forth, your business broker will guide you to achieve deal with terms that work for you.

There are a number of programs available to do this. We are not immigration consultants however we work with many and can refer you to qualified, competent people who can help. The programs change often so you will need to obtain current advice at the time.

A business acquisition strategy can be a great strategy if the FIT is good. Synergies can be achieved providing for increased profitability and growth as well as reduced costs of operation. Sometimes expansion into new markets is the goal, sometimes it is to secure new product lines or new distribution channels. The key to success in this is understanding the FIT and that corporate culture is not changed over night. For many companies, growth through acquisition if the fastest and least expensive way to achieve their goals. Mid sized firms seem to recognise this however small firms are missing many opportunities. Talk with us to explore opportunities.

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