Tag: business acquisition loan
15 Easy Steps to Starting Your Small Business
Yeah, sure it’s easy, and of course, that title is a little tongue in cheek. It takes a lot of hard work to get a business off the ground. But, it’s worth every hour I’ve spent getting to where I am now.
When I decided to start my communication and image consulting business, I tried hard to find a good startup guide. I couldn’t find any that had all the steps. So, I decided to write one. So far, it’s mostly just the bare-bones outline (which is long enough as it is) you see in this article.
I’ll be adding to it every week or two, and writing more detailed articles on all the steps, so try to stop by and check it out from time to time. Let me know how I’m doing. Shoot off an email to me if I’ve forgotten something or you have questions.
Before you spend so much as a dollar, talk to a few experts. Go to the library or get on the internet and research, research, research. Take a little time to make sure entrepreneurship is right for you.
Make a pro and con list of business ownership, and evaluate yourself honestly. How many characteristics do you have in common with successful entrepreneurs? Is your financial position strong enough? Do you have the necessary technical and management skills?
Youíre not going to be the perfect entrepreneur. Nobody is. But in order to make yourself the best entrepreneur you can be, consider ways to compensate for any weaknesses you might have.
Iím from Canada, so the government agencies Iíve mentioned in this guide are Canadian, but really, it can be used by anyone. All you have to do, if youíre from somewhere other than Canada, is find out where you need to find some of the things Iíll talk about. Some of the steps might be slightly different, and you may not have to worry about things like GST for example, but Iím sure youíll find this discussion helpful all the same.
These steps to starting a business are in reasonably good order, but you might find yourself varying from it under your particular circumstances. That really isnít a big deal, as long as you get most of it done. There are some steps youíll be able to skip as well, but please donít skip any of the ìbig onesî, which Iím sure youíll pretty much figure out from taking a look at the list.
So, assuming youíve done your evaluation and you still want to start a business, take a deep breath, and let’s get started.
1. Conduct a feasibility study of your business. Describe your typical customer, your product and your competitors. Who will your suppliers be? What will you charge for your product? How will you market your product? These are just a few of the questions you need to answer.
2. Write a complete business plan for your company, using the information you gathered from your feasibility study. This vitally important, often overlooked step needs to include a description of your company, its goals, competitors, market, financial information, and of course, how you intend to meet your goals.
3. Get your financing in place. There are many ways to finance your business, from your own savings to personal credit cards to bank loans. If you need credit, know your business plan from front to back and maybe even sideways.
4. Decide what kind of structure your company will have. From a legal standpoint, there are three basic choices, sole proprietorship, partnership and incorporation, each with advantages and disadvantages.
5. Choose a name for your company and check on name availability. Naming your company is highly individual, but itís the first thing associated with your business, so choose your name carefully. Youíll need to do a NUANS (Newly Upgraded Automated Name Search) report, which checks your name choices for uniqueness against a database of other business names. A reserved name is valid for 90 days.
6. Decide whether you want to register federally or provincially and register your company. If you register federally, youíll also have to register provincially, which almost doubles the cost. You donít have to have a lawyer process them for you, but it might be a good idea to at least consult with one. You can get the forms from your local government office, have them faxed to you or download them. You can fax or email printed copies, or complete the forms online
7. Contact Canada Revenue Agency Business Window for your business number, and to register for GST/HST, payroll, corporate income tax and import/export (if applicable). You can also contact the CRA if you need general information about business expenses. Chances are youíll have to collect GST, but you may want to register for a GST number even if you donít have to collect it because of input tax credits.
8. Decide whether you need to collect PST. If you do, you need to submit ìRegistration as a Vendorî documents with your province.
9. Determine whether there are special permits or licenses in your municipality. Itís highly unlikely that your municipality does not have special permits or licenses.
10. Develop the marketing materials you decided on in your business plan. They should include at least a company identity package, press kit and website. Your identity package is your logo, business card and letterhead. A press kit can include letters of introduction, biography sheets, press releases, articles and a brochure. In todayís electronic age, printed materials arenít enough. You need a website that looks professional, matches your printed material and has great copy. Youíll also want to make sure itís optimized for search engines.
11. Set up your business bank account and record-keeping system. Your banker will need to see your incorporation documents, and you should probably set up more than one account so you can keep track of your finances better. Record-keeping is required, and can be done manually or with a computer program.
12. Purchase insurance. There are many different types of insurance, but most probably your company will need at least one. For example, if youíre going to have employees, you need to contact the Workerís Compensation Board. Depending on your type of business, you might want to contact them even if you donít have employees to insure yourself.
13. Contact potential creditors and set up credit terms. You should have researched suppliers when you were doing your feasibility study. Now is the time to contact them.
14. Decide where your business will be located. Lease your businessí space. Alternatively, you could choose to start your business from home if itís feasible. There are advantages and disadvantages to starting your business from home. You have tax write-offs for example, but sometimes your image suffers.
15. Purchase supplies and office equipment. Youíll need too many things to list here, and of course, each business has different needs. You might need a fax machine and printer. Youíll probably need a computer. Youíll definitely need paper, pens, pencils and a calculator.
Congratulations! Go out, buy yourself a bottle of champagne and celebrate. You’re about to embark on a most exciting journey. And may I be the first to wish you good luck and prosperous times in your business venture.
As promised, hereís my email address so you can ask questions, make comments or add steps to my list. Or, if you want, you could just drop me a line to let me know how your small business is doing. Iíd really like to know.
More info’s and free registrations (restricted to pros), please join our live seminar
5 Key Components Of A Small Business Acquisition Loan
Major Challenges To Securing A Business Acquisition Loan
Qualifying for a small business acquisition loan can be quite an ordeal to say the least.
If the business being sold is very profitable, the selling price will likely reflect a significant amount of goodwill which can be very difficult to finance.
If the business being sold is not making money, lenders can be difficult to find even if the underlying assets being acquired are worth substantially more than the purchase price.
Business acquisition loans, or change of control financing situations, can be extremely varied from case to case.
That being said, here are the major challenges you’ll typically have to overcome to secure a small business acquisition loan.
>>> Financing Goodwill
The definition of goodwill is the sale price minus the resale or liquidation value of business assets after any debts owing on the assets are paid off. It represents the future profit the business is expected to generate beyond the current value of the assets.
Most lenders have no interest in financing goodwill.
This effectively increases the amount of the down payment required to complete the sale and/or the acquisition of some financing from the vendor in the form of a vendor loan.
Vendor support and Vendor loans are a very common elements in the sale of a small business.
If they are not initially present in the conditions of sale, you may want to ask the vendor if they would consider providing support and financing.
There are some excellent reasons why asking the question could be well worth your time.
In order to receive the maximum possible sale price, which likely involves some amount of goodwill, the vendor will agree to finance part of the sale by allowing the buyer to pay a portion of the sale price over a defined period of time within a structured payment schedule.
The vendor may also offer transition assistance for a period of time to make sure the transition period is seamless.
The combination of support and financing by the vendor creates a positive vested interest whereby it is in the vendor’s best interest to help the buyer successfully transition all aspects of ownership and operations.
Failure to do so could result in the vendor not getting all the proceeds of sale in the future in the event the business were to suffer or fail under new ownership.
This is usually a very appealing aspect to potential lenders as the risk of loss due to transition is greatly reduced.
This speaks directly to the next financing challenge.
>>> Business Transition Risk
Will the new owner be able to run the business as well as the previous owner? Will the customers still do business with the new owner? Did the previous owner possess a specific skill set that will be difficult to replicate or replace? Will the key employees remain with the company after the sale?
A lender must be confident that the business can successfully continue at no worse than the current level of performance. There usually needs to be a buffer built into the financial projections for changeover lags that can occur.
At the same time, many buyers will purchase a business because they believe there is substantial growth available which they think they can take advantage of.
The key is convincing the lender of the growth potential and your ability to achieve superior results.
>>> Asset Sale Versus Share Sale
For tax purposes, many sellers want to sell the shares of their business.
However, by doing so, any outstanding and potential future liability related to the going concern business will fall at the feet of the buyer unless othewise indicated in the purchase and sale agreement.
Because potential business liability is a difficult thing to evaluate, there can be a higher perceived risk when considering a small business acquisition loan application related to a share purchase.
>>> Market Risk
Is the business in a growing, mature, or declining market segment? How does the business fit into the competitive dynamics of the market and will a change in control strengthen or weaken its competitive position?
A lender needs to be confident that the business can be successful for at least the period the business acquisition loan will be outstanding.
This is important for two reasons. First, a sustained cash flow will obviously allow a smoother process of repayment. Second, a strong going concern business has a higher probability of resale.
If an unforeseen event causes the owner to no longer be able to carry on the business, the lender will have confidence that the business can still generate enough profit from resale to retire the outstanding debt.
Localized markets are much easier for a lender or investor to assess than a business selling to a broader geographic reach. Area based lenders may also have some working knowledge of the particular business and how prominent it is in the local market.
>>> Personal Net Worth
Most business acquisition loans require the buyer to be able to invest at least a third of the total purchase price in cash with a remaining tangible net worth at least equal to the remaining value of the loan.
Statistics show that over leveraged companies are more prone to suffer financial duress and default on their business acquisition loan commitments.
The larger the amount of the business acquisition loan required, the more likely the probability of default.
More info’s and free registrations (restricted to pros), please join our live seminar