Selling a Business to a Soldier
I am a Business Broker in South Carolina. I had been a business broker in Florida for 8 years. at that time, Most of the business I represented to Sell were in the state of Florida and many businesses I represented for Sale were in the Jacksonville Florida area.
Buyers of businesses come from everywhere. Prospective business buyers come from right down the street and from elsewhere in the State. Very often business buyers buying a Florida business or South Carolina business come from another state. Currently I am working with a business buyer from Ukraine. I am also working with a soldier stationed in Afghanistan that contacted me regarding a Meat Shoppe I have for sale in Jacksonville. This 12 plus year military vet, while still serving, has extended an offer to buy this business I represent for sale. The Seller has accepted the offer and potentially this person that has spent the last 12+ years serving the USA military, will be a small business owner after his final discharge date. It is potentially a life changing event for him and his family
Every business sale I see as unique with its own unique set of issues, challenges, and obstacles. Some business sales have less obstacles than others, but they all have obstacles. Selling a business to a Solider that is currently serving overseas brings on its own unique set of challenges.
Observations about Selling a Business to a Soldier-
- This prospective business buyer is seeking an SBA loan we think we do have a good lending source lined up that is working hard on behalf of this veteran,- I have yet to locate any special lending programs for military veterans, and find that surprising.
- As many know prior experience in the industry is a standard requirement of SBA lending. again I was surprised that the experiences in the military do not carry more weight in the lending community.
- Obviously the logistics of calls, emails, faxes, signatures, along with the big time zone difference and are just not as easy as me working with a prospective buyer in Chicago Il.
- Business sales that are contingent on appraisals, loans, and standard due diligence are the norm. Drafting an offer that is contingent upon “not becoming another statistic before being scheduled to leave theater “(Afghanistan) brings a new and sobering element to the process.
On a somewhat related note, yesterday I volunteered at an event in Jacksonville Florida called Hired Our Heroes. (sponsored by the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation). It was a job fair and workshop geared towards transitioning Military veterans. My role was to help military veterans that are preparing their transition to “civilian life”. I also assisted with resume reviews and providing a “civilian business owner perspective”. During my 20 years as a business owner I interviewed and hired 100’s of employees and prospective employees. At this event I had the chance to spend time with what turned out to be very qualified individuals. One individual had a very lengthy resume. We spent a lot of time trying to simplify it and cut it back. Problem was that during his 21 years in the military he had managed and coordinated so many impressive feats that his resume was long because he has accomplished so much. Another I spoke to inferred not wanting to point out his involvement in “hostile environments” as he thought this may dissuade a prospective employer from hiring him. He had been advised that this may be viewed as a negative from a prospective employer.
Our military is and has been producing so many impressive individuals. Buying a business as a soldier should be a plausible and viable transition. But pursuing buying a business as a soldier has its own special challenges. I think more could be done to assist a soldier that desires to own a business after their time serving our country is completed. In this case am I, the lender, and the Seller working a little harder because this prospective business buyer is currently serving our country?- yes. But after working on this business sale I think pursuing the dream of owning a business after serving our country should be easier and more common place.