| Business valuations undertaken by trained specialists in respect of part share sales, divorce resolution, shareholder disputes, partnership dissolution, BEE investment and whole business sales. We work on a market related model suggesting realistic and achievable values...|
| Preparing a Business for Sale should ideally be undertaken well in advance of the actual act. We advise how to make this part of your overall exit strategy in disposing of your business...|
"You have gone way beyond what anyone would expect of a broker. It is your personal integrity that will allow your business to grow. We live in a world filled with greed and self interest. At times however, we meet people who are concerned about the wellbeing of others and consider their wants and needs. You Mark, are such a person"|
"The sale has been concluded yet you've continued to offer your support and guidance without which I may have found myself in great difficulty."
"Please put any future clients in touch with me should they require a reference, it will be gladly given."
Mills, Fitchet & Associates
Our seminar will be hosted by the
GORDON INSTITUTE OF BUSINESS SCIENCE in Illovo, Johannesburg.
A great thank you to GIBS for this donation which is crucial to the success of the evening.
Most businesses don't sell for anything close to the value they should, and frankly, that's just wrong.
Particularly when the owner isn't around to defend the value.
If you were to sell your business today, would you get what you want for it? And if you were not around, would your spouse and kids be able to sell it for what it's worth? Do you really think they could? Do you even know what the real value of your business is?
The simple truth: Businesses are usually sold unprepared under unplanned circumstances.
"Unplanned" here, would mean death, illness, accident, fraud, severe theft and other crimes. These unplanned events drive small and medium sized businesses into trouble every day in South Africa, and indeed the world.
|The truth is businesses much worse than yours are selling for much better prices. Why?|
Of course, not all businesses are sold in an emergency, and most often the owner of the business does not die, and is in complete control of the sale of his business. So why do so many businesses get sold below their true value?
Simple: Most business owners don't think about prepping their businesses for sale before an enthusiastic buyer asks them for financial statements, management accounts and VAT returns. No sooner are these supplied, than the "prospect" asks about the customer mix and debtor analysis.
On his next visit the "interested party" will ask about future prospects, and how the seller arrived at his price. And that is pretty much how it happens; the "purchaser" rapidly slipping down the ranks to the status of "interested party" and eventually "that bloody waste of time" as he rapidly loses interest when he can't get the answers he wants quickly and believably, and as another better prepared business grabs his interest.
|Prepare your business for sale™|
Now you can learn to prepare your business for sale™ so that at the drop of a hat you are ready to sell for possibly twice what you believe it is worth today.
"Having tried to sell the business ourselves for several months,… He demonstrated to us how a few simple changes in the structuring of the sale would make the deal more attractive to buyers, and so after almost a year of being on the market, privately and through various other brokers…From the sole mandate to the initial memorandum of understanding took less than three months…..I have no hesitation in recommending Suitegum to any business seller as a professional and competent outfit" Tony Head.
You can use all the standard business tools and reports available to you right now to prove to buyers that your business is worth your asking price, and that it is not a flash in the pan or some sort of elaborate business opportunity scam.
"The professionalism and expertise provided by Mark and his team far surpassed any previous experience we had encountered through business brokers. Mark's attention to detail and valuable inputs in dealing with sensitive and complex aspects on behalf of sellers and us as buyers, made a lasting impression." Chris de Wet
I will debunk prejudiced views on a business's value through a proper and well defined preparation for sale process in Prepare your business for sale™; you could be able to double initial thoughts of sales proceeds. This is also valid where you have been convinced that the only buyer for your business is a BEE candidate.
"Mark handed me an offer from a prospective purchaser the terms and conditions of the sale were most acceptable to me" Len Birger.
|How a client opened my eyes to the necessity of proper preparation|
Some years back I sat with a client as he handed me his financial statements and his management accounts. I tentatively asked him for his VAT returns for the last year. A call to his wife, and she bustled in with the VAT returns.
He reached into a file and handed me a list of debtors as he proudly proclaimed that 90% of his debtors paid within 30 days, and so it went on and on.
The seller had just signed a mandate for me to sell his business, and was now determined to prove the value of his business, a value I at first thought was perhaps a bit high.
I sat that night and looked at the 2 inch file I had collected that afternoon from the seller, and started to compile my report. Then a thought came to mind; what if I was to write such a comprehensive report that no buyer would need to ask any questions? I had certainly been given enough information to get close to this lofty ideal, and the seller was enthusiastic enough to give me every bit of help I would need.
And so, for the next 2 weeks we worked together to compile a report to answer all questions. Of course not all the information was readily at hand, and some things took some preparation.
In more than two decades of selling businesses I have learned EXACTLY what both buyers and bankers want to see in any business which is for sale, and I know how to present it to the best advantage of the seller.
As work progressed I became more and more convinced that the business asking price was incorrect; in fact it was too low. I discussed my feelings with the seller, and we agreed to raise the price when it went to the market.
Initially prospective buyers raised an eyebrow when told of the asking price, but looked impressed as they were handed the substantial prospectus. The aim of getting "no questions" never materialised, partly because buyers hardly ever read everything that is given to them, but also because it is only reasonable that a buyer will want to talk to the seller to get a feel for the business and its owner's motivation in selling. But the mere setting of the goal, led to a great impression being made on the buyers, and first impressions do count.
As it happened, all questions asked, were answerable from the information provided in the prospectus, and I felt a bit glib referring each question to the relevant section of the prospectus.
At the end of the sales process I was able to take two offers to the seller, signed and accompanied by deposits. This was the culmination of a race between four hopeful buyers, all tendering at a price higher than the originally mandated value we had been instructed to obtain.
The technique of full reporting and proper presentations has been used many times since then, and has always been proven worthwhile.
|Why don't we prepare our businesses for sale?|
Most sellers simply don't know where to begin. They know they need to present a profit figure, and they know that VAT returns will be used to prove the turnover. They hastily sketch out some cash flow forecasts based on improving "this" and implementing "that".
Sellers are scared that their staff will up and go if they discover the business is for sale. They don't want their suppliers and customers to find out.
And so they do nothing until the buyer is sitting in the office asking awkward questions. At that point, of course, it becomes a bit of a mess, as the bookkeeper is called in, sworn to secrecy, and has all the pressure transferred to his shoulders. By the next morning even the labourers know there is something afoot.
If I can show you how to pre-empt this entire debacle, and add value to your business, would you be interested in "Preparing your business for sale"? Well, of course you would. You will be empowered to prepare a complete proposal on your business, to be easily updated every month in less than an hour.
|The dangerous myth that you will never get so sick that you cannot work|
Somehow we believe that we're infallible. "That will never happen to me" is a very popular refrain. In 2004 one of my best friends was cycling in the Hyper to Hyper cycle race, a distance of 100km over a relatively easy course, and considered to be one of the fastest races in South Africa.
At 70km into the race, Frank woke up on the side of the road, confused. He could not remember falling off the bike, and the road at that point was not so technically difficult as to have presented any problems. Feeling terrible, he mounted his bicycle again, and finished the race. A medical investigation later proved that he had suffered a heart attack. He lay in hospital for days, followed by weeks at home in bed, and then the balance of a full year struggling to get his business and clients back on track, all the while feeling depressed, angry and incredibly tired.
He later bought a business in the less hectic environment of Port Elizabeth. Unable to sell his business in Johannesburg, he commutes between the two businesses! Income from the Johannesburg business supports him and his family as they grow the PE business organically. Imagine the difference the proceeds of the sale of the Johannesburg could make in giving them the option to acquire another similar business, instantly obtaining the critical mass.
Frank has always been a keen sportsman, has run marathons, has cycled in many events, and spends more time in the gym than the rest of us, and yet he suffered a heart attack. I certainly don't believe that I will ever have a heart attack, but what about a serious motor accident? What do you think your chances are?
Had his business been properly prepared for sale he would have been in a better position to sell it, recuperate properly, and then buy the business in Port Elizabeth under less stressful circumstances.
|The assumption that we will all live into our 70's, 80's or beyond|
As any deity you care to choose is my witness, as I originally wrote the text for this web page in 2006, I was called by a fellow Business Warrior who asked what I could do for a friend of his who had lost her husband a year ago. She had continued to run the business, which she did not really understand, and in desperation at the start of 2006, had placed a "Business For Sale" sign in the window of the business!
With landlord and supplier pressures mounting, she was now willing to accept any offer. Wow, things could have been so different. I called her, but was told it was her day off, and when I tried her mobile, it was off. Who can blame her for disappearing for a while?
Lindsay Weight, a fit 44 year old, won The Comrades Marathon in 1998. While working at her computer, she collapsed and died. Philip Tucker could not sleep, and his TV seemed to be playing up. He climbed a ladder to fix the aerial. They found him face down in the pool with a lump on the of his head. Both had their own businesses, both have young families, both were fit and active at the time of their deaths!
I bravely stated, a few paragraphs up: "I certainly don't believe that I will ever have a heart attack". You see we all believe in the same impossible myth.
Without preparing our businesses for sale, and having these "life raft" documents available, and updated, we doom ourselves, our families, our staff, customers and suppliers to the same sudden loss in an unanticipated moment of crisis.
We all complain about the dreadful driving on our roads, and yet never consider that we may become victims, at the expense of our businesses and our families.
Whenever I meet with another seller of a business I am asked the same questions:
- How long will it take to find a buyer?
- How will you avoid letting my customers, staff and / or suppliers finding out that the business is for sale?
- What will happen if the buyer doesn't pay me?
- How much will it cost me?
- How do I stop the competition from finding out I am for sale?
- What risk am I running with respect to SARS?
- What do I do if I don't trust the buyer
- How do I cancel my sureties?
Straight forward important questions; right? Well of course they are, and they all have good easy answers. But when I start asking the questions, and looking for essential documents always needed to Prepare your business for sale™, there is almost always an embarrassed shuffle as the excuses are wheeled out. Sometimes it takes months to get the stuff. And all this while the owner is available to talk to any buyer who may be interested.
I cannot tell you how many times I have been asked to sell a business in a hurry.
- "I will take any reasonable offer."
- "I don't know how to run my wife's business, and I don't have the time."
- "I'm getting divorced, and my wife wants the business."
- "We've had enough, and we're going to emigrate. I need my money by December."
Why condemn yourself to this unhappiness? There is an easy solution, you know. What's more, it is so easy if you are already running your business in a slightly better than basic fashion.
Whenever I meet with buyers of businesses, they ask me the same questions:
- How will the seller prove his turnover?
- How does he arrive at that selling price?
- What will happen if he loses his biggest customer?
- Where is the value?
- What are the opportunities?
- How do I know that he's not a con artist?
- Why is he really selling?
- How do I determine the real fixed costs?
- How do I deal with his staff?
- How am I going to learn to run the business?
- I'm not sure I trust the seller. How do I deal with this?
- What other information can you give me besides all these numbers?
- Why do I have to take so much stock?
- The vehicles are all shot – do I need to take them?
What you really need to do in order to pump up your shareholders' life raft is start inflating it with tools you already have. Your raft will have all the answers any potential purchaser of your business is looking for.
And this is exactly what "Prepare your business for sale™" will show you. Not only will it give you the tools to pump, but it will stock the raft with all the life surviving necessities, plus a few humble luxuries.
There is no substitute for building a relationship. Selling a business is not akin to selling second hand cars. We are changing people's lives here. Let's do it with some empathy and understanding. We are the experts, we do it every day. It is our duty to look after both seller and purchaser.
"From the signing and acceptance of the offer, until the final payment, Mark was constantly involved, and did not take the attitude that he had received his commission, and it was no longer his problem. Mark I salute you for the work that you did, and the friendship that we established." Len Birger
You know, sellers give us their all in order to make these sales work. We must give everything we have to make the deal go through as efficiently as possible, so that's what we do.
"I wish to express my gratitude to you for the for the efficient, honest and professional manner in which you brokered the sale of Jardine Foods. I will be recommending your services to friends and associates" Doug Jardine
I've been doing this for 22 years. I've made a point of learning more each year, so that we have 22 individual years of experience, and not the same year 22 times.
"If you are looking for a professional, Mark Corke from Suitegum is your man" Renier Richter
By following our techniques, nobody need ever know that your business is being sold, or in fact that you have prepared your business for sale at all if this is an issue for you.
Great news for business owners who think their businesses will never be sold: Not only will your business be sold, but you will use the proceeds from that sale to improve your life and leapfrog your dreams to a higher level.
Join me for some good advice and solid pointers as to how you will create a life raft of opportunity in your business, ready to be launched at short notice.
"He is focused on the interests of both seller and buyer and is not hesitant to voice his opinion and offer sound advice. He is approachable and patient and it has been a pleasure dealing with him" Zoë Cohen
- A while back a lady called me because she needed to sell her husband's business in a hurry. "Well then I need to talk to your husband", I told her.
Unfortunately, that wasn't going to be possible because he was lying in intensive care, having suffered a stroke, I was informed by a tearful and panicky wife.
It transpired that she did not know where the financial records were kept, had no idea of the contracts that were in place, and that was just the beginning of the nightmare.
- Another business ended up, itself in intensive care, when the new owners eventually took it over because of the way it suffered after the old owner was diagnosed with cancer.
The shock and horror at the diagnosis, the mounting medical bills and the quickly deteriorating health of the owner had all conspired to leave his widow with a business worth little more than the auction value of the tools and equipment.
Sadly, less than six months before this calamitous event, the business would have been worth R3,000,000 to a buyer. But because the business was not ready for sale when the diagnosis was made, the owner had no choice but to place an ill prepared business on the market.
By the time the chemo and radiation treatment had taken its toll, there was nothing he could do, and when he died, there was nothing his wife could do.
- Contrast these two events to the following: In 2005 a widow came to see me with her son. Her husband had died unexpectedly, leaving her with a flourishing business in a niche market. The business had been running for only eight years, but had always been kept in a state of readiness for sale.
The management team, although loyal, hard working and honest found themselves with a possible windfall at the expense of the widow, and offered her a price of R2M for the business. This would have solved many of her day to day problems of keeping tabs on a business which she did not really understand. Together with the life insurance settlement she would have been able to survive.
She came to see me to get some clarity on the deal. I went through some pointers on the business, and showed her how she could get R7,000,000 on the open market for her business, so well prepared had her husband kept the sale readiness file.
She settled on R6,000,000 with the management team who had a good empowerment element to their ranks, and are subsequently taking the business to even greater heights. Everyone has won, and she will never have to worry about her future.
Which scenario would you rather be part of? By attending the (almost) free "Prepare your business for sale™" seminar you will be set to have a life raft able to give your family the same or better results in the case of your untimely demise.
- A business we sold a few years ago had been on the market for a year. The owners and several brokers had been marketing it at R1,7M for a 50% share in the business.
Using the techniques I am going to show you in "Prepare your business for sale™" we made some small changes to the business, introduced an entirely new bracket of interested investor, and sold the whole business for R10,5M, only three months later.
The emigrating partner who had been relying on the proceeds of the sale to finance his emigration, found that he could leave some of his money behind in South Africa!
More recently a business owner was at pains to demonstrate that he required a selling price of R15M for his business, in order to achieve certain goals. I was delighted to take him an offer of R20,5M. Sure it took some time, but what an investment in a little preparation work.
It is surprising how few businesses are prepared for sale, and it is sad to report that as a result, so many businesses are sold below par.
Do you feel under threat from the BEE revolution? Perhaps you're one of the rare breed of South African entrepreneurs who sees great potential for your business in BEE. Like most business owners, you don't know where to start, vacillating between two extremes: fear and optimism. You may have been able to avoid the issue up to now, but suddenly find your business has grown into the next bracket. Suddenly you have survival issues at stake. How do you grow and survive? I'll show you.
For a while the BEE revolution drove the values of many businesses down at a steady rate. In the face of this destruction of small business value, however, there were businesses being sold successfully at premium prices, either in part or in their entirety. Why does such a difference exist often between businesses of very similar characteristics, profitability, and prospects?
The answer lies in the way in which these businesses are prepared and presented for sale. And just as any product on a store shelf can be promoted better with some professional help, so can a business be well or badly prepared.
The fault lies in the hands of business owners, most of whom never consider selling their businesses until a few months before the event. In some instances business owners or their surviving spouses are forced to sell totally unprepared businesses in an environment of grief and total ignorance of the business itself only because the late owner has failed to keep the business disposal preparation up to date.
All businesses should be in a constant state of readiness for sale. We live and work in an uncertain environment with new challenges being thrown our way constantly.
On 18 July 2013 I will be presenting as part of a Mandela Day service to the small and medium business community the Prepare Your Business for Sale™ seminar for free as my contribution to the day.
Anybody is welcome to attend, as long as they donate at least R380 to the Vula Programme. All events and arrangements on that evening will be donated - venue, coffee, tea, etc. Your donation will be paid directly to Vula, so no agents to dilute the contributions. All donations will be acknowledged by Vula with Section 18A certificates for the full amount issued. (You can score some BEE points)
- Learn to unlock the value in your business, making it something to be desired by your new customer; the business buyer.
- Cross the threshold to safeguard your family's future by preparing your business for sale so that in the event of a calamity, clear selling decisions can be made and acted upon by people not normally in control.
- Discover the new opportunities in your own business as your mind opens up to new methods and techniques highlighted by the need to have a business prepared for sale.
- You will notice that properly prepared businesses cause the owners to find more profit in the day to day transacting, even if they decide to never sell their "babies".
- Explore real life examples of business sale strategies which have worked to provide the sellers with millions of Rands more than what they originally expected to receive.
- Isn't it time that you too achieved the peace of mind that a business prepared for sale provides the owner, knowing that in a time of stress or disaster, the business can be quickly sold for a good price, instead of auction value.
- Join the growing list of savvy business owners who are able to provide their prospective purchasers with a meaningful report which enables them to compose a business plan which financial institutions fall over each other to finance, without giving away secrets and intellectual capital in "Prepare your business for sale™".
- Educate yourself to instruct attorneys as to the essential sections of an agreement of sale both legislated and street wise.
- Take a giant step to discovering the different types of buyer profiles you can expect to encounter as you approach the time to finally hand over your business to a new owner, and learn to short circuit the crooks and tyre-kickers.
Let's be honest, we all know selling businesses is not for sissies, and it is realistically something which you are unlikely to do more than a few times in your life, so getting the value right, safeguarding your family's future, putting the deal to bed with a good, well financed buyer, and finally making the deal stick is important.
Of course it doesn't do any harm if you prepare your business for sale, but never sell it, because the journey of this preparation is going to open your eyes to so many other ways of making that baby sing in an honest to goodness way.
So now that you know all the benefits of attending the "Prepare Your Business for Sale™", let me tell you more about the jargon-free content of the course.
You see, this free subscription will take you from a point where you know that the right thing to do is to prepare your business for sale, to a point where you will have all the tools to actually prepare your business for sale, and present it to the market in the best way to achieve an effective transfer.
The slides and examples are comprehensive, and in tune to the South African environment, today; including the ups and downs of BEE, crime, supplier and customer problems across a range of industries including medium size factories, retailers, consultants, distributors, specialists and mom & pop one man operations. We'll talk about bakeries, manufacturers, shops, franchises, consultants, middlemen and home services. We'll talk about little businesses made big, and not so little businesses made tiny by the lack of action of their owners.
We will cover your competitors and your customers, and how to get the most out of them in the process of Prepare your business for sale™. We'll look after your staff, but show you how to protect yourself from them, and then we'll make sure that you get paid once you sell your business.
Have an open mind, a good sense of humour and an expectation to learn something which will make a meaningful and prosperous difference to you, and those important to you.
And then to you as an attendee, I will make myself available to you for a full 45 minute consultation at no charge when you are ready, to answer all your questions in private and confidentially.
"Prepare your business for sale™" will add more value to the sales price than a year's worth of your work. Because the price of your business will not be determined by how good it is -- but rather by how good it looks, and that is what you will learn from this seminar.
|It's dead easy to register|
Why am I so confident? Because I use these techniques every day in selling businesses for people, and I know that they work.
Now that I've told you about this no risk way to Prepare your business for sale™, the next move is up to you.
You and I both know, that if you have read this far, you understand how important it is to have your business in a constant state of readiness for sale, and you want to turn it into something that is sellable in an emergency, particularly when you are not around to conduct operations.
If you want to stop gambling on
- Never getting old
- Never getting sick
- Never having an accident
- Never wanting to retire
- Never dying
- Never needing a black partner
- Never encountering any political violence
And if you want to be in control of your business's ownership status, then you owe it to yourself to take full advantage of this risk free offer.
Think of it this way. Right now you could sell your business, possibly. But once you have received the full email serial course you will really be able to sell your business at a time that you choose, for an amount you know will make it a worthwhile proposition, and that difference in selling prices will make the small investment in your time more than just worthwhile.
You and I both know you work hard in your business, you have taken the risks, and you have seen some reward. Isn't it time you took the first steps towards controlling the final destiny of your business?