Buying Businesses for Sale by Owner: Disadvantages and Precautions

FSBO or business “For Sale by Owner” is a business owner’s attempt to sell his company. Offers like FSBO can easily attract a lot of potential buyers, but you have to be wary and cautious before considering such offers. These opportunities come with significant risks most of the time. Buying an already established business, on the other hand can be a fulfilling decision. The only question is what needs to be done to lessen the risks involved and increase the chances of success in buying a business for sale.

FSBO businesses as challenging opportunities As a general rule, you should never trust everything a seller says about his company. Even inexperienced entrepreneurs and first-time investors are aware of this. Why, then would it be any different in buying a business for sale by owner? Consider the following facts:

First, it is possible that the owner is just attempting to increase the profits of selling his company. Surely, you would not want to shell out a lot of cash for a company that keeps bleeding “red ink”. When you buy a business for sale by owner, the seller might even be unaware of the actual value of that particular FSBO. Most likely, you will be overpaying for the sale transaction. In addition, negotiations are not easy because the value of businesses is oftentimes uncertain. What you will gain or lose generally depends on your negotiating strategy. Fortunately, there is a solution to this problem.

Role of Business Brokers in Buying Businesses for Sale by Owner

A safer way of buying a business for sale by owner is to seek the assistance of a professional business broker. What exactly is the role of business brokers in buying an FSBO business? There are several answers to this question, and as you read on, you will further understand the role of business brokers in buying FSBO businesses. For a very affordable fee, business brokers present a number of advantages in buying a business.

Services Offered by Business Brokers

A broker can help you look for businesses for sale by owners that may draw your interest. A well-experienced broker, most likely has a list of personal contact information of prospective buyers. A tenured broker also possesses the skills that will help you find your ideal FSBO businesses, as well as the ability to determine the suitable price for such transactions. A broker’s knowledge and experience in the field will help you gauge the fairness of a seller’s initial offer

As stated earlier, negotiations can be a challenging phase for entrepreneurs. Professional brokers can greatly help you in this aspect, resulting to a faster and smoother process of purchasing a company.

Furthermore, brokers are experts in dealing with the different types of FSBO companies. Yet, it is still best to look for a local broker who already has remarkable experience in your target industry.

Ask for a Business Broker Certification

A business broker’s certifications in a given industry are essential in making a decision to buy one or more businesses for sale, since a substantial amount of expertise is a must to achieve success in this field. A certification is a good means to measure the trustworthiness and reliability of a broker. The International Association of Business Brokers provides numerous business broker certifications. They can be Merger & Acquisition Master Intermediaries or Certified Business Intermediaries. Obtaining these certifications shows a broker’s experience and knowledge in the field. It is recommended to check if your prospect broker has one of the following certifications or designations:

- Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV)

- Certified Business Appraiser (CBA)

- Certified Valuation Analyst (CVA)

- Accredited Senior Appraiser in Business Valuation (ASA-BV)

While business valuation is very important before you buy businesses for sale by owner, the same thing applies in finding a trustworthy and experienced business broker.

Finding a reliable and competent business broker can significantly affect your attempt to buy FSBO businesses. You need to do a thorough background check on the references and experiences of your prospect broker. Keeping all these in mind, it is a lucrative and rewarding decision to purchase a FSBO business as long as you have the support of a competent broker.

How to Promote Your Business Cheaply and Effectively

Building your business depends hugely on who you know and who knows you. In other words, it’s about relationships.

The effect of this is that you often don’t or can’t do business with people until you get to know them and they get to know and trust you. This relationship may be a direct, personal one or it may be through a third party who recommends you to someone they work or do business with.

Whichever way it falls, being invisible will hamper your ability to expand your business. This article is about improving your visibility in ways which are inexpensive but not down-market.

Using these techniques, you can put together a realistic plan, based on what you want to achieve. Some techniques, for whatever reason, may not be suitable or feasible for your business. Others may take a little work, planning, or money, or all three. Begin with an idea that appeals to you, that you would like to do and that is within your ability, resources and budget to produce.

Once you have one promotion idea in place, move on to another because these techniques work best when you use more than one of them.

Much of the information which goes into these different methods can be used more than once. For example, the information contained in your media release could go into a magazine article; or the tips in your fact sheet could form the basis of a sales letter. Make your communications work hard, make them multi-task as much as possible. Not only will this save you time and money, but it will ensure that the key messages you are trying to get across to your customers and potential customers are consistent across all forms of communication.

Advertorials

Advertorials are advertisements written to look like articles. You see them in magazines and newspapers and often don’t even know it. Unless they carry a tag which says “advertisement” you, the reader, are led to believe they are editorially independent features, and it is this that makes them extremely powerful.

Unfortunately, advertorials are not usually free. Unless, that is, there’s such good, gutsy information in them that the publication’s editor can immediately see how useful it will be to the readers.

Brochures

Many companies, both large and small, have a brochure to advertise their products or services. At the top of the range these will have many pages, and be glossy, colourful creations, that scream “We spent zillions on this”.

At the other end of the scale are photocopied DLE (envelope size) or smaller flyers which shriek, “We have spent almost no money on this”.

You want to be somewhere in the middle. You want a brochure which quietly says, “We’re not extravagant. We value money. We know you’re not going to be swayed by the fancy bells and whistles of swanky brochures. We just want to tell you how we can make your life easier or solve your problems, in a pleasant, non-threatening, easy-to-read way.”

A brochure need not be expensive. In fact, if you have a reasonable printer, you can even print them yourself. But it will need to be attractively designed and it will need to be well written. This means making sure there are no mistakes. If your copy is riddled with errors, your image will take a steep nose dive. People will not trust you because they will rationalise that if you can’t produce a piece of communication about your own business properly, how can they trust you with their business?

Cards

Have you noticed that almost no-one writes personal, handwritten notes or letters any more? But it makes you feel warm inside to think that someone would take the time to hand-write a note or card to you.

Which means that if you send a card or a handwritten note to a business contact, you’ll immediately stand out from the crowd. At the very least it will get opened and read. Whether it is acted on depends on the quality of the contents and what you’re offering.

Cards are cheap to buy if you get them in bulk from stationery stores. I get mine colour photocopied with my logo on them.

Client or business advisories

A client or business advisory is an update on events relating to your business which you send to your clients and people you would like to do business with. It is sometimes associated with events in the news so must be timely and relevant. By which I mean whenever an issue arises on which you are qualified to comment and make recommendations, you must respond quickly. Writing client advisories positions you as an expert in the minds of your clients, making you the obvious person to contact when they need the services or products you provide.

Advisories are very useful if you are in the sort of business where change is constant. For example, if you are a recruitment company, there’s often value to be gained from letting your clients know about planned law changes or how an issue currently in the news affects them.

Keep an eye open for opportunities to inform your clients about developments in your area of expertise.

Company profile

If you are trying to promote yourself, having a company profile is an excellent idea, no matter what business you are in. It has many, many uses. For instance, you can:

- Send it to someone who is enquiring about your product or service.

- Include it with your press release when seeking media exposure.

- Place it on your website.

- Use it as the basis of a brochure.

A company profile is your story. It tells how your business came about, what makes it special or unique, who you are, and your background and experience. It should contain a statement about your intentions, and what you do. This might be a mission statement but, as these are usually couched in formal and often meaningless language, I recommend you choose something more meaningful and personal, that you feel would make an impact on the person reading it.

E-books

Businesses take their area of expertise and turn one aspect of it into an e-book which they either sell or give away. E-books are generally shorter than printed books and therefore require less effort to produce.

The key to a successful e-book is to write about a topic people want to know about. If you are in real estate, for example, write about how to present your home for sale; if you are in recruitment, write about the 10 most important things to do at an interview; or if you are in the car business, write about what to look for when buying a new car.

Email marketing campaigns

It’s highly likely you yourself have received email marketing messages. Many businesses are now using them to target their customers directly because it’s an excellent way to ensure your message gets to the right person. Of course, you have to have their email address in order to do so, but most people are more than happy to give it to you, if you ask.

Some email marketing messages are exceedingly complex – full of graphics and links – while others are very plain. The complex ones look great, no question, but they can be time-consuming to download and some of your clients’ computer systems won’t be set up to receive such messages and will bounce them. And most likely you will not even know.

An advantage of simpler email messages is that you can easily do it yourself. You don’t need to involve a web company or anyone else with technical knowledge. But you do need to ensure your emails are well written and conform to basic principles. For instance, if you’re doing a group email, you need to ensure that the email addresses of your recipients are hidden from each other.

Email newsletters (ezines)

These differ from email marketing messages by virtue of being information-based rather than sales-based. This makes them exceedingly valuable because it gives you the opportunity to show your clients your depth of knowledge without appearing to try to sell to them. In other words, you are giving rather than receiving.

Of course, you may decide to carry advertisements of your own or other people’s products in your ezine, but the prime reason for writing a regular newsletter is so that clients remember who you are and what you do. You are top-of-mind when they need your product or service.

Flyers

Flyers are similar to brochures but tend to be more specific. For example, they usually advertise a particular product or service rather than your overall business, like brochures do.

Flyers can be delivered to letterboxes and post office boxes, or sent out with your regular mailings. They usually contain a call to action, something particular you want your reader to do. It may be to visit your website, order your product or come to your trade show stand.

Because they are specific, flyers usually have a limited life. Their principal advantage is that they don’t have to be flash and glossy, like brochures often are, so you can whip them out on your own printer. This makes them pretty cheap to produce, although they do need to have a bit of class. Generally, the cheaper something looks, the less effective it is.

Magazine articles

It may seem odd to include magazine articles in this list but they’re much more effective than you might think. The reason is an article appears to the reader to be editorially independent, in that it has been written by a journalist rather than a copywriter. This gives articles much more credibility than advertisements, so they are much more effective in getting your business noticed.

Because of this, they’re harder to get into print. But if you are positioning yourself as an expert in your field, the media will contact you and ask you to be involved, especially if they are writing a feature on a particular area of interest to their readers. For example, I when I recently wrote an article for a lifestyle magazine on adventure travel among older people, and another on driver training courses for an automotive publication, I contacted “experts” in the field to solicit their comments. Everyone quoted in the article is there because they have something relevant and interesting to add to the topic. No-one is paying to be included. You need to be one of those people the media will contact in such situations.

Media releases

Media releases are a close cousin of the magazine article. Often the contents of a release will be used in an article, either as a stand-alone piece or as part of a longer feature.

Many businesses write press releases about their products or services and hope they will be used, but they are most often not. There are many reasons for this. One is that it might not be considered newsworthy (just because something is new, doesn’t make it newsworthy.) Another is that you haven’t come up with a strong enough angle to be relevant to the publication’s readers. Or, there simply may be too much news and not enough space.

Having your news release published is a great way to get noticed by a wider audience than your client base. As such, it increases your profile which in turn, leads to more business. But again, it doesn’t happen overnight. An isolated press release isn’t particularly effective, but it works really well as part of a wider strategy.

Newsletters

Newsletters are the best way to get into print because you are able to control the content, the format and the distribution. You can also decide how often you want to send out your newsletter, which puts you in charge of frequency, too.

Those are the advantages. The downside is that there is a cost associated with producing a printed newsletter. If you are a competent writer, are handy with graphics software and have a reasonable printer, you can produce your own. However, you will want to ensure that the finished product enhances your business rather than detracts from it, which is what will happen if your standards are not high. You may be better to outsource this.

Sales letters

Although technology has largely overshadowed the traditional ways of doing things, it doesn’t pay to neglect the “oldies but goodies”. Sales letters fall into this category. Relatively inexpensive to produce, a well-written sales letter can really help boost your sales, particularly if you already have a strong relationship with your reader. They are less successful if they come out of the blue, and the reader neither knows your company, nor needs your product. It must therefore be targeted to your readers’ interests and needs.

Sponsorship or social responsibility

Charities, schools and other not-for-profit organisations are always seeking assistance. Providing sponsorship for events or giving products or services which can be sold or raffled is a win-win for everyone. Your company gets the kudos for having helped, and often positive publicity as well, while the organisation is better off financially.

Tip or fact sheets

Tip sheets or fact sheets are another under-utilised form of promotion which have many uses. They are usually one page or less in bullet point format. This makes them look attractive and both quick and easy to read.

Rather like the e-book, you take a subject in which you are an expert and come up with a number of tips to help people solve a problem. Here are a few examples:

- How to save dollars on your [taxes]

- Seven ways to avoid being ripped off when you buy a new [car]

- What you should consider when choosing an [accountant]

- Why most [network marketing programmes] don’t work

- How to choose a [diet] that works for you.

Tip sheets can be handed out to clients, sent to prospective clients as part of your relationship building, included in newsletters – pretty much anywhere you can find an interested audience. You might even try sending them to relevant media.

Websites

No business which is serious about having an impact in the market can afford to be without a website. And think what you get out of it. Credibility. An online business card. Somewhere to refer customers to. A place to display your products. A vehicle for telling your story.

A website doesn’t have to be full of bells and whistles, in fact many of the most successful ones are not. That’s because most people go to business websites in order to find information. If they want entertainment, they go to entertainment sites. If you want to effectively promote your business, you need a website. End of story.

White papers / reports

Again, this is an under-utilised way of attracting business. A report is a way for you to add value by giving your clients information they might not be able to find elsewhere. Information that genuinely helps them improve their businesses is always welcome.

You can give people the option of requesting it or you can send it to those you know will be interested in your ideas.

Like the other forms of communication suggested in this report, it should be free of waffle and packed full of useable information that helps your customers improve their business relationships, thereby increasing their business.

Summary

Promoting your business to your clients and prospective clients is an important element of any marketing you do. There are many ways to do it, quite a few of which are listed in these pages. But there are many more and you are only limited by your imagination.

Perfume and Cosmetics – A Woman’s Lifeline

While natural beauty is important, makeup has become one of the biggest necessities for most women in the world. This does not mean that a woman can not look good without putting on a whole lot of makeup. This just means that women feel a lot better with a drop of makeup at their disposal.

Cosmetics of all sorts can change your appearance almost magically. It’s no wonder that you see women in the bathroom of the airport dabbing on makeup after a long flight. It has a way of changing your look, no matter how you feel. As tired as you may be, with a dab of makeup, you can change that look, followed by that feeling, in minutes. It has a way of making you feel more vibrant and awake.

When you wake up in the morning, with a long day ahead of you, there is nothing more refreshing than opening your cosmetic’s bag and applying a soft layer of makeup and dabbing on a little perfume. It is a refreshing way to start your day. Be it for work, to shop, go out on the town, or just to feel that control; it is an excellent renewal and gives you a feeling of accomplishment. You can feel more prepared to conquer your different tasks and chores for the day. It is certainly something to consider for women who do not put on makeup and need that extra boost in the morning. It is almost as good as that cup of coffee!

Cosmetics also play an incredible role in special occasions. Arrive at any celebration of sorts a few hours early and you are certain to find the main women of the party, applying hefty layers of makeup, perfume, and all sorts of cosmetics at a frantic pace to prepare for the event. Take a wedding for example. One, of the main preparations for the bride for the big day, is finding the perfect makeup artist to do her makeup for the wedding. It is part of what makes her feel and look beautiful on her incredibly special day. All the women in her wedding party get involved in this preparation, and it brings a unique feeling that mixes with the joy of the day.

Even for women who do not regularly apply cosmetics and perfumes, they will almost always put on for a special occasion. Not just when they are the immediate members, but even just an attendee. When getting ready for a special occasion, dinner, or event, it changes the whole mood to apply a nice layer of cosmetics. This is something that women feel is a necessity in preparation. It is a feeling of completion.

Women do not always need makeup to make them beautiful. It enhances your natural beauty. It also gives you great mental health to feel so put together; and that adds an extra glow. Makeup can be used in wondrous ways and it is an extraordinary thing what it can do. Sometimes, all it takes is a light soft layer of cosmetics or perfume to make a woman feel like the world is hers for the taking!