Business is booming! Just Ask Amy Staging, LLC.’s owner, Amy Zumberger, who just expanded her business with an exciting move and grand opening last month. Located at 212 W. State Street in Botkins, Ohio, the larger space showcases home furnishings by Ashley Furniture while Amy continues to expand her home staging business.
The housing market is ever-evolving—and Amy plans to stay on top. Starting back in May 2011, Amy recognized a market niche when busy real estate agents needed assistance in property staging, but had little time to do it themselves. With careful consideration and resource help from the Small Business Development Center at Wright State University’s Raj Soin College of Business, Amy decided to take the leap into the business role of ownership. Her business offers knowledge and experience of staging homes to sell, redesign existing décor, and senior downsizing. She enjoys remaining flexible in the dynamics of her industry, her goal is not only to redecorate homes on the selling market for the fastest sale and top dollar returns, but to ease lifestyle transitions for the homeowners as well.
Since 2011, having already earned her Accredited Staging Professional (ASP) certification, Amy took on additional Real Estate Staging Association (RESA) coursework to eventually earn her ASP Professional Certification (Masters). She has also expanded her business by doubling her client and service base from acquiring Debra’s Home Staging and Redesign of Springboro. Other notable accomplishments include being featured on the WDTN Channel 2 News and in the Dayton’s B2B Magazine. She is also a prominent member of the Women in Business Network, and in 2013, was honored as Ambassador of the Year.
For more information, or general inquiries, call Ask Amy Staging at (937) 726-3341 or online at www.askamystaging.com. For more information about the Small Business Development Center at Wright State University’s Raj Soin College of Business, call 937-775-3503 or visit www.sbdcwsu.com.
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Many individuals strive to own a business, whether that desire is driven by increased opportunity to make money, a passion for a certain industry or the ability to be their own boss. Whatever the reason, the current atmosphere is very conducive for acquiring a business. A growing number of businesses are on the market as a result of the steadily improving economy, baby boomers seeking to monetize their assets and uncertainty regarding potential federal capital gains tax increases.
However, acquiring a business is a very complex process, and it is important to understand the intricacies involved to avoid any surprises along the way. The following 10 questions can help determine whether you are prepared to move forward with an acquisition, and if not, provide a road map to achieve readiness.
1. Are you truly an entrepreneur willing to make a significant investment and assume the economic risks associated with the investment?
As compared to the average person, entrepreneurs often have higher levels of risk tolerance. As the saying goes, there are rarely “free lunches” in the capitalist marketplace. To reap the rewards of a successful business venture, aspiring owners will most likely need to assume risks—perhaps sizeable ones. If you are the type of person that lies in bed all night worrying about the performance of your investments, risking a significant sum of your hard-earned personal capital in order to purchase your own business might not be your calling.
2. Do you have access to capital and is the business financeable?
Aspiring owners need to consider not only the initial capital necessary to fund the purchase, but also the potential future capital requirements the business will require either to grow or to continue to exist as an ongoing concern. Invariably, most industries fall on hard times at some point. When and if these times come, owners may be forced to fund their operations differently. Capital markets may tighten, forcing owners to provide direct capital infusions or requiring owners to forgo salaries and benefits for an extended period of time. This question should be considered prior to incurring the expensive transaction costs related to a potential business purchase.
3. Are you comfortable with the impact to your personal life as a result of owning your own business?
Business owners typically work very long hours for the benefit of their business and their livelihood. This hard work may come at the expense of family or social commitments. If aspiring owners are not willing to make these sacrifices and are still committed to buying a business, they will likely need to pay someone else for their sacrifices. This compensation typically is in the form of additional cash or a slice of equity ownership, which will dilute the expected investment return of the business owner.
4. Do you really possess an in-depth understanding of the industry?
Aspiring owners need to have a firm grasp of the competitive dynamics of the industry where the business they are considering purchasing resides. For example, do they know the competitors, the industry trends, how the business is positioned against these trends, the competitive advantages of the business, how defensible these competitive advantages are and whether the industry is at risk of becoming commoditized? Answers to these and other industry dynamic questions prior to making an offer for the business will go a long way in helping to avoid overpaying for the business, while at the same time presenting a reasonable and compelling offer to the seller.
5. Are you qualified to lead and manage the business, or will you need to employ professional management and a board of advisors?
Owners of businesses, particularly small businesses, oftentimes wear more than one functional hat (i.e., operations, human resources, strategy, finance). If an aspiring owner’s experiences have been narrow in scope, he or she may need to hire an experienced CEO to effectively run the organization. In either case, no matter how talented aspiring owners are, they will need to surround themselves with strong individuals in order for their business to be successful over time. Having an existing management team in place that knows the business will help to ensure a smoother transition upon the change in control.
6. Have you considered the opportunity cost of the potential investment?
Presumably, one of the reasons aspiring owners are interested in purchasing their own business is to make money. Oftentimes this will require a significant up-front payment on their part. Aspiring owners not only need to consider the expected return on the proposed investment, but also how this compares to other investment opportunities available in the marketplace. These other investment opportunities (which could include controlling positions in other businesses, stocks, bonds, commodities, real estate, private equity and venture capital) may offer higher expected returns for a similar or lower level of risk.
7. Are you experienced in navigating through the complex M&A process?
There are many steps in the M&A process. These can include: identifying the industry and business, valuing the enterprise, performing due diligence (financial, operational, legal, etc.) and negotiating the purchase price and definitive legal agreements. If you are not experienced in each of these areas, aspiring owners will need to surround themselves with experienced M&A advisors that can guide them through the M&A process. The benefits (i.e., reduced purchase price, legal protections) of surrounding yourself with seasoned experts should far outweigh the costs for their advice.
8. Have you considered what you will do in the event that the business fails?
While aspiring owners may believe this will never happen to their business, factors beyond their control may force them to eventually liquidate the business (i.e., severe economic recession, loss of key customers to competitor). If aspiring owners are beyond middle age, it might be difficult to reenter the corporate world, let alone at the compensation level commensurate with their years of experience.
9. Do you know why the current owner is interested in selling the business?
Understanding the seller’s motivations will not only help in negotiations (i.e., buyer will have more leverage if the current owner is desperate for liquidity), but can also raise red flags for a potential buyer. For instance, if the current owner intends to purchase another company with the proceeds from the sale, this may signal that they believe that the business has peaked.
10. Have you considered the timing and avenue of your exit strategy?
To the aspiring owner, this may not seem like a critical item to consider at the onset of the process, but it is one of the most important. Unforeseen circumstances may require owners that intended to hold onto their business for decades to sell it prematurely. The majority of an owner’s expected financial return may very well come from monetizing their investment. Aspiring owners need to consider the likely buyer of the business in the future (competitor or financial buyer), as well as whether there are any other parties interested in purchasing the business today, or if the aspiring owner’s bid is the only “bid in town.”
Owning a business is a challenging task. While this list of questions is not comprehensive, your answers can help dictate whether you are ready to purchase and operate a business. Not being fully prepared prior to entering into an agreement could be the difference between a successful transaction and the failure of a business venture.
Battelle Capital Advisors assists business owners in all facets of buying or selling businesses, as well as in corporate financing and capital formation. Services include the development and implementation of marketing plans to buy, sell or finance a business, succession planning, valuations and value-based strategic planning. For additional information, please contact Jim Sachs, Senior Managing Director, at (937) 853.1485, Frank Sanders, Managing Director at (937) 853.1494, Greg Barney, Managing Director at (937) 853.1498, or Jack Lohbeck, Managing Director at (937) 853.1423.
Source:This article written by Anthony Trotta, Director, McGladrey Transaction Advisory Services, was taken from the library of ©RSM McGladrey, Inc., 2012.
Who says you can’t reinvent yourself?
Talk to Ellen Bailey, President of Asset Business Computing, and one of the growing number of female-owned business enterprises in the Ohio region. Not too long ago, Ellen’s focus was on Computer Zoo, a retail store specializing in repairing computers for DIY’ers, business, and residential clients. In fact, Computer Zoo had been in IT services since 1998. However, quietly over the years, she realized a shift in consumer purchasing habits from desktops to lighter laptops and tablets. As higher overhead costs for brick-and-mortar storefronts struggled to give fair wages and pay taxes, low-cost online stores such as Amazon and Newegg were undercutting prices to steal marketplace customers, making it difficult for Computer Zoo to maintain profitability.
After some careful cost-analysis, and with resource help from the Small Business Development Center at Wright State University’s Raj Soin College of Business, Ellen realized two-thirds of her clients came in for small business IT service and repairs. So, changes were made. By minimizing the retail store, and focusing as a specialty service provider, Asset Business Computing was born. Ellen is reinventing the game by evolving a successful business turn-around, and splitting it into a personalized IT service provider—complete with custom clientele servers and workstations, network consulting, and cyber security and disaster response.
Ellen and her staff have been serving small businesses in the Dayton area for more than 15 years. As President for both Computer Zoo and Asset Business Computing, she also serves as one of the coordinators for the Oakwood Koffee Talks, which is an affiliate networking group with the Women in Business Networking organization, where women meet, mingle, and discuss business-related topics in a comfortable environment.
For more information, or general inquiries, call Asset Business Computing at (937) 435-5466 or online at www.assetbusinesscomputing.com. For more information about the Small Business Development Center at Wright State University’s Raj Soin College of Business, or the Boots to Business program, call 937-775-3503 or visit www.sbdcwsu.com.
Hate bureaucracy? Wasting time? Do you prefer the convenience of sitting at home or work?
Then stay connected and file your business online with Ohio Business Central. According to the Ohio Secretary of State, nearly 23,000 new filings have been submitted online, and one in three new businesses are now started with the online system. Compared to four years ago, new business owners had to not only paper file it, but wait four days for processing. No more! So take advantage of this by filing online, and get back to what really matters: Running your business!
Some of the available forms for filing include:
Filing a New Business or Register a Name
- Certificate of Domestic Partnership (Form 531A)
- Articles of Organization for a Domestic Limited Liability Company (Form 533A)
- Name Registration (Form 534A)
Update an Existing Business Record
- Statement of Continued Existence: Foreign / Domestic (Form 522)
- Renewal of Trade Name or Fictitious Name Registration (Form 523A)
- Reinstatement & Appointment of Agent (Form 525A)
- Certificate of Good Standing
For more downloadable PDF forms, click here.
And don’t forget: Ohio’s economic well-being is directly tied to your business’ success. Be well-informed by researching with the Ohio Secretary of State, and using the offices here at the Wright State University Raj Soin College of Business SBDC. Contact us for a free consultation or attending one of our many free business workshops.
Starting this month, Chase and Google just kicked-off the 2014 MISSION MAIN STREET GRANTS PROGRAM, giving away $3 million to 20 small business in the United States. To promote small business development, each winner will receive:
- $150K Grant to help grow the business
- Trip to Google Headquarters for a marketing workshop with industry experts
- Google Chromebook Laptop
- $2,000 coupon toward one market research study with Google Consumer Surveys
All applicants will not leave empty-handed, however. Each participant will receive a marketing toolkit to help grow their business and a $150 coupon toward one market research study with Google Consumer Surveys.
To qualify, your business must be a U.S. based, for-profit entity, employ less than 100 employees, and have been in business for two consecutive years.
How to apply:
Applicants need to complete a grant questionnaire which includes answering five (5) short essay questions explaining their business; what inspired them to start a business; a description of their community involvement; what they would do with the grant; and their short-term and long-term business growth plans. Deadline for applying is October 3rd.
Furthermore, applicants need 250 Facebook votes for their business through the contest’s website. For more information, or to vote, click here.
But don’t worry. Deadline for the counted votes is October 17th.
Winners will be determined by a panel of expert judges from a selection of business organizations who promote economic development. Winners will be announced in January, 2015.
To learn more about the 2014 MISSION MAIN STREET GRANTS PROGRAM, register or vote please visit Chase’s website.
The Central Ohio Organization of Public Purchasers (CO-OPP) invites you to join us in Columbus on Wednesday, October 8th in improving the way government and business connect through the CO-OPP 2014 Reverse Trade Fair.
This is a wonderful opportunity for Ohio’s businesses to learn how to compete for state and local government contracts. Training by Ohio Procurement Technical Assistance Center* (PTAC) counselors and others will run concurrently with one-on-one buyer meetings.
What’s a Reverse Trade Fair? Representatives from local and regional government agencies will staff booths, and vendors interested in selling to government move from booth to booth describing their products and services, making new contacts and renewing existing relationships.
THIS IS AN EASY AND EXCELLENT WAY TO POTENTIALLY INCREASE YOUR SALES:
- No hassles, No booths to set up or tear down
- 20 state and local government agencies are already committed to the event with more on their way
- Great opportunity to meet and network with buyers and public procurement professionals
To learn more about the 2014 Reverse Trade Fair and register for the half-day event, please visit the CO-OPP website and find additional details under the Upcoming Events heading. Register before August 30 and Save $50 on your registration fee.
* Ohio PTACs provide services to Ohio businesses seeking to compete for federal, state, and local government contracts. Services include bid preparation assistance, bid-matching services, military specifications, one-on-one consulting, product and procurement histories, help with information resources, and trade events where Ohio firms can meet government buyers.