Relocating Your Business and Your Life for Business Owners

Small business Owners may face the prospects of relocating their business.  Sometimes moving a business may be a matter of moving your 1 person internet business, or may involve moving your brick and mortar, 25 employee business.  But usually when you are relocating your business you are also  relocating your life.    Ten years ago my family and I moved 1500 miles away from my business.  Subsequently I ran that business for 7 years remotely with the significant help of a qualified management staff and eventually sold that business.  My current status as a Dad and as a business broker in Florida has me and my family involved with another relocation.

Reasons For Relocating Your Business

People move for various reasons, and many aspects surrounding the decision and process relocating your business are surprisingly shared with share the decision process of buying or selling a business.  I have said in the past that there are many reasons one may want to sell their business or exit their business, but all those reasons can get reduce to 2 overall reasons. (reasons that your chose, or reasons that “choose you”)  You may choose to sell your business or circumstances make that choice for you (health, death, divorce, bankruptcy etc).  When you look to relocate yourself or your business, it may be a personal choice or situations around you may force/require such a move.

And like buying or selling a business you have a significant effect on your personal life, when you are relocating your business, your business activities, or your job, you are also relocating your life. A decision to move or relocate usually involves family, friends, significant others involvement. A decision to buy a business, sell a business, start a business directly affect your significant others.  You are not just relocating your business activities you are relocating the life that you are experiencing and significantly affecting the lives of those closest to you.

Relocating Your Business

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I have always felt the decision to buy or sell a business can be a harder part than the actual implementation.  “Measure twice, cut once”.    In my previous business that I had owned we made several acquisitions.  I had spent many hours evaluating the accreted cash flow of an acquisition, how to afford the capital outlay, what assets we would keep or dispose of, what involvement if any we would have with the seller of the business after the sale, how we would integrate our billing, servicing, and support of the additional customer base that would come along with the acquisition.  

At some point the decision is made and now it becomes a matter of implementing the mechanics of integrating the acquisition. I believe the implementation was the easier part of the process.    If the decision to acquire was thought out the integration should be a fairly known process. Ten years ago when we made a decision to move our family 1500 away from our business and running it remotely, a tremendous amount of  thought and time  went into the decision, and the move worked out well for the business and my family.

About 2 years ago we contemplated moving due to a combination of personal reasons, and my business activities also entered into the decision.  The decision was more based on personal preference and family goals (my daughters education and school)  than business.   Approximately 1 1/2 year ago we made the decision to move 300 miles away to Northern Florida, from the Southwest barrier island we currently live on.  Subsequently, we have sold our home, found a new home, and the movers are loading up our life belongings in 3 weeks. 1 1/2 years ago I started preparing for the move as it relates to my  business activities.  Here  are some of the highlights and:

6 Measures to Take When Relocating Your Business

1. Plannin– yes the process of an effective move or relocation does share similarities with the process of effectively buying or selling a business.  Planning is so important in both matters.  When buying or selling a business I have always felt that if you are looking to buy a business or sell  a business or start a business in a year you should start planning yesterday.  Like Selling or buying a business, moving or relocating has so many moving parts and is a very involved process.  Dont really know how you can do too much planning for either.

2. Have that very important discussion and or  discussion regarding the pending move with your significant other early on.  Sort thru the personal, emotional, and logistics up front.  If it is a “voluntary” move make sure you both are on the same page.  If it is a move that is being brought upon you, make sure that is known to your significant other, as you should share a common goal to make the best of it.

3. Try to pre-emptively build develop or expand a client base prior to your move.  To me this was one of the more important steps I made in preparing.   Over a year ago I would travel about every other month to prospect, network and begin developing a presence in the new area.  As I developed clients I started travelling to the new area monthly and currently I go there every 2-3 weeks. I chose this route over moving to a new area and starting at square one to build a client base.  I now am moving into a new area  working with business owners looking to sell their Florida  businesses in this new location.  It is a smaller but developing existing client base.

4.  Make sure your email can follow you–  Back in the old day (and yeah my teenage kids eyes gloss over when I begin a statement in this way), but back in the old day, when you move you go to the Post office to have your mail forwarded or notify them of a change of address.  While that is still one of the items on the moving to do list, moving your digital address for your business can be  so much more important.  I have several emails, and one of my main emails is tied to the local cable provider in the area.  Make sure your email is portable, if not get a portable email address and start using it prior to the move.

5. Update Modify your website.  Does your website reflect your new contact information, your new business locations, your new geographic area of focus, if that has changed.

6. Out with the old and in with the new.  When relocating this is a good time to review old records to see what can be securely disposed of.  Why move all these records only to throw them out at the new location.  Storage and space is a valuable commodity no  matter where one is located.  Using the space around your efficiently is enhanced when unnded paperwork files are gotten rid of.  And it makes organizing at the new location that much easier.

Along with all the above business matters, we had to sell a house (in Florida, not so easy now adays), find a new house, find new location to operate business from, register for school for daughter, hire professional movers, help pack, etc. When you are relocating your business or your business profession you are also relocating your life. When buying or selling a business so many people think about the finanical and business side of the process.  But Buying or selling a business, like moving, has as much to do about the personal, family matters and lifestyle as it has to do about the business itself. Again, if you are thinking about buying or selling a business, or relocating your business next year, start planning yesterday.

11 Steps to Business Failure in 2011

The Internet is a fantastic source of knowledge and information.  How to be a better person, how to make more money, how to make body parts bigger/smaller/ better?  And there are many list available on how to be more successful.   We all aspire to be better.   I had started and owned a business for 20 years and had years of triple digit sales growth and solid double digit sale growth.    Even while  running and growing a business one tries to determine what you are doing right and wrong.

How To Avoid Business Failure?

Find something that is working and try to make it repetitive.  Find something that is not working and try to eliminate it before it brings further undesirable results.

I have a good friend that is an attorney and we would discuss business and he accounted his success to the fact that he consistently and diligently returned phone calls.  To that I say What?  Something so simple as just returning a phone call made you better than your counterparts?  And the answer to that is yes. Not everyone does return phone calls or emails .  So you can be better than the next guy by just returning phone calls.

To me this business practice is just a given, but I find to others it is more of an “optional service” that they provide.  Sometimes the difference between success and failure is not some long winded algorithm or new gee-whiz technology, it is focus on the basics and do them right and do them consistently.  Currently I am  a business broker based in Florida and work with small business owners in the process of buying and selling businesses.  I consistently find so many of the business issues I have had as a business owner are shared by so many other business owners.

Avoid Business Failure

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Tips For Steering Clear Of Business Failure

Do you want to have a better business?  Do you want to improve your business?  Then review the below list.  If you are wondering what may be the fast track to business failure then use the below as a guideline:

  1. Dont keep good track of your numbers and dont feel the need to really understand them.  That job should be for others.
  2. Dont return emails phone calls timely
  3. Continue to delay your involvement with Internet marketing, social marketing and  website optimization
  4. Dont  pay attention to existing customers and clients
  5. Be willing to treat customers and employees improperly, as long as you the business owner benefit, and when you do something wrong to others that benefit you- assure yourself that its “just business”.
  6. Dont take any time to review where you are spending your advertising/marketing dollars.  Assume that even though you have not been getting results from your current efforts that if you do nothing long enough results will occur… eventually.
  7. Dont embrace technology, continue to fight it and close your mind to “new ways”.
  8. As a business owner dont take any time planning for a business exit strategy
  9. Minimize the value of input from employees.  You are the boss and because of that fact your way is the only way.
  10. People say “either your business grows or your business dies”- dont believe that. Believe you have enough customers right now and that is good enough.
  11. Dont worry about any long term planning. Long term planning is really a waste of your valuable time.

Like most list, this list as well can go on and on.  Want to run a better business in 2011?

7 Ways to Improve Your Business that Cost No Money

It is the norm for Small businesses, startup, new ventures to struggle due to limited financial resources.  There are so many efforts that can improve your business and produce results that are little or no cost.  We all want results, but at what cost ?  Did that $1000 investment or expense produce $10 results?

Part of my profession as a business broker involves consulting with both buyers and seller of business.  I also provide consulting services to businesses outside my role as a business broker in Florida.  Rarely do I experience a discussion based upon “I have too much cash flow to deal with”.  Small business owner  and entrepreneurs are constantly seeking ways to improve thier businesses with limited resources.  Below are a list of several tactics and efforts a small business owner may take that cost little or no money and therefore the Return on Investment ( ROI)  is extremely high.  There are many other practices and efforts that can be utilized outside of the below short list, hopefully this list can change the line of thinking of a business owner from “I wish I could do something but I don’t have the money” to:

What Can I Do To Improve My Business With Limited Or No Money

1.Look at your company from the perspective of a customer.   Can you do that?, can you pretend you are a customer trying to do business with your company.  You send an inquiry via email, you place a call into your company- what happens?.  We all have dealt with companies that customer service seems more like “How to effectively get a customer off the phone”  instead of ” I wont let you hang up the phone until I know I have completely helped you to fulfillment”  IS it a pleasant experience to do business with your business?

2. Attempt to surround yourself with more beneficial  synergistic strategic partners-

As a business broker I have various strategic partners that allow me to best assist my clients.  These professionals include, Attorneys, Accountants, bankers and Financial people.  Not so long ago I relocated to a city 5 hours away.  Among other things, I needed to develop a new “team” that I could rely on that help me help my clients.  I researched banks that do a lot of SBA loans to small business, migrated thru the company website, found a point of contact that I had an interest in meeting with, sent an email, and got an email back saying “going on vacation back in 2 weeks, call me then”.  I proceeded to pursue a relationship with someone that would call me back., passed over this prospective strategic partner and found someone that I feel may develop into a mutually beneficial business relationship. My clients will benefit from my valued strategic partners.

3. Use the Internet more

Improve Your Business

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  • post a blog- how much does that cost?
  • post a tweet about  a sale, a special or event- We’ve all heard/read that this can be a good idea- just do it.
  • check out a site such as and see if someone can do something for you for $5.  Are there other sites that facilitate low cost solutions? Can you afford to make a $5 error?
  • Try something you haven’t tried- a video, guest blogging, join more related forums or user groups, start a group.

4. Educate yourself– take some time out of your day to read other related blogs info on your industry or specific area of focus. Commit yourself to learn your own financials better than you presently do.  Again the ROI on your time invested in this can be quite high.

5. Go to a network meeting– there are several available in most communities that are either free or cost a couple bucks.  How much could you benefit from making that “right contact”.

6. Consider a Freelancer–  Are there some functions/task that you currently are having performed that may be done more cost effectively thru an outside source such as a free lancer.  Open your mind to it.

7. Treat all customers, prospects, employees, vendors with respect and integrity– The ROI on this no cost effort is immense

Dont ever stop trying something different.  I have utilized the above items in my various business ventures throughout the years and still utilize them on a regular basis.  If you are running a business, buying a business, or growing a business these low and no cost business practices will result in very good return on investment and usually all it takes to get these returns is to consider them and just do them.

Most Important Step to Starting,Running, Buying, or Selling a Business

You are looking to Start a Business.  You are Running a Business.  You are Buying a Business.  You are Selling a Business.  What is the most important step in any one of these ventures, And no the answer is not having unlimited deep pockets. To start, run, sell,or buy a business you need to understand that business.  You need to understand not only the operational side of your business, you need to understand the financial side of your business.

I am a business broker in South Carolina and work with businesses in both South Carolina and Florida and I help people buy and sell businesses. (and current and former business owner)   I recall a very busy week of helping an out of town business buyer visit several different businesses.  Our intent of visiting these multiple businesses was an effort to understand the businesses. To buy a business you have to understand the business.  A small business owner truly needs to understand the financial health of their business.

Running Your Business Successfully

Many, Many Many small business owners DO NOT understand the financial side of their business.  Do you feel as an entrepreneur you need to understand the difference between a debit and credit or if you buy something if it should be a capital purchase or an operating expense.  So many small business owners and entrepreneurs run their business using their gut as their guide, they can feel if their business is going good or bad.

Other small business owners look at their checkbook- if there is money in that things are ok. On the other side you may have a very successful business, you buy several new trucks and new equipment with cash every year, you have very little money in the checkbook and “feel” you have an unsuccessful business. You could be very wrong.   And yes it is also very easy to hire a CPA and or accountant and send all the monthly records to them, count on them to sort thru them and have them generate a report for you to maybe glance at and file away.

Your CPA or accountant is a great place to start the learning process. The more you know, the more effective they can be to you.   Your  Balance sheet and your Income statement tell your companies story.  You may feel your company is healthy, or improving, or getting better, or getting worse- your balances sheet or Income statement (Profit/Loss Statement) will tell you in a factual manner.

You need money for your business- you go to a banker or financial institution to get money, do you think they will listen to you tell them about your business and loan you money based on that.  they will use your company financials to make that business decision.  A few years ago banks I had worked with strongly considered your balances sheet to make loan decision.  Now-a- days both Balance Sheets and income Statement both are a strong part of that evaluation.  Why is that?.  Understanding the “whys” about your business is important to your business.

In the preceding scenario a business may have a strong balance sheet due to significant assets like real estate owned or equipment owned by the company.  But in current economic conditions the companies Income statement show  that the business sales are down 25% and and shows losses for the last year- lending may not occur.  The banks may not be all that excited about the fact that you own real estate thru your company.

The business buyer I was working with flew in town for 3 days for him and I to visit businesses.  Most of the small business owners we visited had good businesses.  Without divulging any confidential information, they all showed cash flow in excess of $200,000 per year.  They (the respective business owners)  all said they didn’t really understand the financial side of the business, but “here our our records for your review”. (after confidentiality agreements were signed) They could speak for hours about their customers, employees, procedures and ideas.  Questions regarding financial information were usually answered with  1 or 2  brief sentences.

Buying A Business – The Right Way

The buyer I was working with was a very educated buyer, a President of a publicly held $40 Million company , and 30+ years of experience.  He had looked thru maybe 30 businesses to narrow down visits to less than a handful.  He and I both knew that to buy a business, he had to understand the business. We spent hours discussing the financials of the businesses.

You as an entrepreneur that is starting a business or running a business may someday want to sell your business.  Understanding the true financial condition of your business is the 1st step to improving the financial condition of your business.

Buying a business is a very effective way to expand your customer base and Revenues. knowing how to read and understand the financial statements of others could be the difference of a business acquisition that is a success or a failure.

And when an educated buyer approaches you about buying your business, you provide the business buyer your Balance Sheet, your Income Statement, and your explanation and understanding of the true financial condition of your business may be the difference in someone buying your business at a good price or passing your business over to pursue other businesses to buy.

Running Your Business when Disaster Strikes

Running a small business is full of daily challenges.  The problems small business incur are both large and small.  Businesses are not run within a vacuum.  Sometime as business owner we create our own problems.  Other times problems immerse themselves upon the business at no apparent doing of the business.

Dealing With Problems

A business owner needs to be able to deal with problem no matter the source of these problems if they wish to sustain. Disasters such as Hurricanes, Tornadoes, Cyclones, Tsunami. Mudslides, Monsoons, Terrorism, Floods, Fires occur.  They always seem to affect someone else.  “I really dont need to plan for a disaster because it always happens to someone else”.

I was that small business owner that was that someone else.

My business was struck by an arsonist…twice …  that caused almost $1,000,000 in damages… while I was bedside in the emergency room of my 10 year old son that was injured in a bike accident… while my wife was 7 months pregnant.

There are percentages and statistics available that speak to how many businesses never survive a major fire and those numbers go from 50%-80%.   We had 2 major fires withing 3 months of each other. I have not seen any numbers on those that survive 2 major fires.

I, with the help of so many managed the company thru those difficult times, ran the company for another 10 years, sold the business, the business continues to operate and I further my profession as a Business Broker.

The Impact Of A Disaster To Your Business

I would like to point out a few of my observations as I went thru this very difficult time that ultimately ended with the trial and conviction of a repeat arsonist… that ended up being a key employee.

1. You do not work thru a major disaster by yourself.  I was assisted by my wife, my family, my employees, my friends, my community, my competitors.  (One competitor allowed us to operate out of their facility during the middle of the night when their plant was normally un-occupied).- Others want to help, let them help.

2.  You think you currently multi-task as a business owner, and then you find out what you are really capable of.  Normally you are dealing with your customers, employees, vendors, facility, agencies, financial all at the same time.  Now add in restoration contractors, Media, insurance agencies, fire Marshall’s, investigators,lawyers,police chief.  Everything very fast,gets very busy, and you thought you had been busy before.  Somehow our situation became a rather big story in the media.  While dealing with the immediacy of the fire, calls were coming in from local TV, radio, Associated Press and Newspapers, and to find  5 minutes to speak with them became impossible.

I originally considered the media request s very low priority, but after getting home that nite at 10pm I had about 50 messages on my home phone of friends/acquaintances that had seen the fire on TV.  These people were part of our customer base, and had me worried that our customers assumed we were out of business. I felt it was important to get the word out that the company is not done.

Business Media Coverage

I got on the phone and did a couple phone interviews with Associated Press, and scheduled time for the local TV crews to come out with cameras and interview.  The focus of the TV news piece was on our intent to continue our business and continue serving our customers. After watching that report on the 6pm news, I think that report was instrumental in allowing our customers to see our intentions. I think its normal to seem overwhelming.

3. Look pass the disaster. Visualize your business not as it is during the disaster, but where it will be in one year.  This can be easier said than done.  may well wishers would tell me things like “that that doesn’t kill you will make you stronger”  at the moment of hearing that, during a crisis, sounds somewhat hollow, but years removed from the crisis you can see some merit.

4.  When you have a business and a disaster strikes, the line between business and personal becomes very blurred.  We are all people first and businessmen second.  Families are affected by disasters, people are affected by disasters, lives are affected by disasters- businesses get caught in the fallout of a disaster, but the importance of the business in a disaster is really a very distant second.

I am a Business Broker in Florida USA.  My 8 year old son (then) is now in college, and while he once layed in the hospital for 8 weeks with tubes, and needles stuck throughout his body , he now is bigger, faster, stronger than I (andbeing a teenager, I know he will never read some of Dads boring blog stating such), My daughter that was born 2 weeks after the 2nd major fire is  a healthy beautiful teenager.

I help people buy and sell businesses.  Buying and selling a business is SO much more than financials and industries.  It can be a life changing event.  The emotional and the personal side of buying a business is very very real.  I enjoy the financial analysis side of a business acquisition,  but I know, I really know its the other stuff that is so much more important.  I feel I understand the mechanics to a life changing event.