Quality Control – The Importance of Maintaining Normality Whilst Selling a Business

In my experience, most people have come to the decision to sell their business because they or the business that they are running has reached a point where it is no longer viable for them to be involved. Now these reasons can be completely acceptable and in many cases, unfortunate but as a seller what is vitally important once your business goes on the market for sale is the continuation of service quality, efficiency and profitability.

I have lost count how many times I have come across businesses that are on the market for sale and at this exact point, the owners literally give up. Big mistake! If you are serious about selling your business, you have to ensure that it maintains the exact same levels of commitment, passion and drive from the vendors as if it were the day they started running the business themselves. In some cases, this is not easy and in many not possible. But let me give you a couple of comparable stories of real life business sales, one in particular that one business owner made that really has no excuse and simply leads to disappointment and lost potential capital on the final sale price. And these are true bonafide stories…

The Barbers (Men’s Hairdressers)

For years, a chap across the street from my wife’s business ran a relatively successful mens barber shop. He had a fair amount of regular customers and his busiest day of the week was always a Saturday. His shop was pretty small. Just about large enough to hold two seats so that two barbers could work and cut hair at any given time. It wasn’t the prettiest of buildings and could have done with some TLC however, his USB was that his haircuts were cheap – I mean very cheap!

Over the years, the U.K climate took it’s toll on the building and it started to look tired. Add to this the market crash of 2008/2009 and you have a business that suddenly started heading south rather sharply. As I occasionally observed the business across the street with less and less customers, I started to wonder if the owner was going to take some action to attract new customers and get the business back on it’s feet. Maybe a revamp of the interior and exterior? Possibly a new name or rebrand of the shop signage? No.

Nothing happened at all and not too many weeks later, it dawned on me that something had changed. Suddenly the owner would turn up late every morning. I mean very late. Sometimes hours. In fact, some days he wouldn’t even open the business at all and would simply leave a hand written note stuck in the window saying “Sorry, we’re closed today”. On some days, there wouldn’t even be a note and many regular customers would be seen approaching the barbers expecting them to be open, only to see a blackened out shop and no explanation. They weren’t impressed. It goes without saying that this is a sad situation.

I soon learned over the grapevine that the business was up for sale. As you can imagine this raised an eyebrow or two seeing that the business hardly ever operated and was in decline. My immediate reaction was that if the owner wants to sell the business then surely he needs to ensure it continues to trade and is actually worth something? Not in this case. However, this response is so common.

So many business owners wake up one morning and decide that enough is enough. They believe that there is someone out there stupid enough to part with a large sum of money to buy a business from someone who no longer cares anymore. I know in this gentlemen’s case that he was simply being negligent and that he didn’t have any personal issues preventing him from continuing to trade. It was simply down to laziness and a lack of care. What a shame.

In the space of a few crazy weeks, a business owner had allowed their sole source of income to decline into a shambles, decrease in value and lose any of its saleability to a new potential suitor. All those years of hard work invested in the business had been discarded in a few moments of madness. Incidentally, it took him almost a year to sell and and the price achieved was apparently 50% of the asking price due to desperation and a lack of offers.

Now, it is once again a highly successful barbers being ran by a young, enthusiastic hairdresser who has managed to maintain all the previous clients and gain new business as well. So who was the winner in this situation? Certainly not the business seller! Now onto my next example…

The Fish and Chip Shop

Only a few doors down from the barbers on the exact same street, was a long established Fish Bar that had a modest amount of custom but wasn’t overwhelmed with business. It ticked over quite nicely but it never really fulfilled its true potential. On the plus side, the food was pretty good, the prices were reasonable but the place was old, yellowing and was in desperate need of a makeover.

The owners had been running it for years. You could see they were tired. They worked hard, all hours of the day and they were soon due to retire. It was the least they deserved. They made no real secret of their desire to sell the business and planned a nice new life in Portugal – all they had to do was sell the business and get the money in the bank. Then they would be on the first flight to Lisbon.

On one of my occasional visits to the Fish Bar I walked in and noticed that everything had changed. The whole place had been redecorated with new exterior signage, fresh paint, new tiling – even the fryers looked new. Everything was new except one thing – it was still the same owners. I was impressed and strangely enough I found myself going there more often to buy fish and chips and it didn’t escape my notice that many more customers starting going there.

A few months later I decided to go again but this time the Fish Bar was closed! The windows were blacked out and there was a sign in the window stating “Under New Ownership. Sorry we are undoing refurbishment and will be reopening very soon!”. I was so impressed and so pleased for them. They has made the sale and weeks later having bumped into the previous owners on the street, met a happy and much wealthier couple. They achieved very close to their asking price and were soon due to fly out to Europe to start the new lives. The entire sales process took only a matter of months. Great news.

And the reasons for their success were clear. They had continued to make every effort to not only keep the business afloat, but had in actual fact invested their own money in the improvement of the business to make it more attractive to any potential buyers. Their commitment and passion had resulted in a quicker sale and they got back every penny they put into the business to make it more sellable and attractive to buyers on the marketplace.

Yet the comparables are staggering. Both businesses operated on the exact same street; literally four doors away from each other. In my view the Barber’s was potentially more profitable and could have sold for more money but it didn’t. The Fish Bar sold far quicker and for more capital.

It doesn’t take a genius to quickly realise that a business is not just the bricks and mortar, or the previous years accounts or the product on offer. It’s about the people who run and work at the business. It’s about the drive and passion displayed. And it’s about the commitment. Without these key ingredients, any seller will no doubt struggle to achieve a timely or profitable sale.

So if you’re business is about to go onto the market or is already up for sale, ask yourself if you are still giving 100% commitment to the business? Are you receiving muted interest or offers that you consider derisory? It’s a harsh reality but maybe you need to ask yourself why and what needs to change. Any business can sell but it’s entirely up to you as the present owner, how easily or quickly that can be achieved.

Good luck with your sale.

SBA Small Business Loans and How They Can Be Used

Small Business Administration (SBA) business loans come in several sizes and forms. Of course, the SBA does not actually “loan” the money, they only “guarantee” loans made through banks and other financial institutions. However, depending on the size of your business and the stage your business development is in, one of the SBA business loan programs may work for you.

The first thing you need to determine is whether or not the SBA considers your business a “small business”. It is generally thought that the standard of 500 or fewer employees comprises a “small business.” However, that is not always the case. The SBA has definitions for small businesses that run from a maximum of 100 employees to 1,500 employees…and from a maximum of $0.75 million in annual revenue, to $27.0 million in annual revenue.

So, your first job is to determine if your business is really considered a “small business.” You can do this by contacting your local SBA District Office, or online at sba.gov.

The 7(a) SBA loan
The most popular of SBA business loans is their 7(a) loan program. Money from this loan can be used for just about any business purpose, and you should apply for this loan through your regular bank. You will need to present a complete business plan when you make your application. Even though the SBA does not make the actual loan, you will have to follow the SBA loan application process.

What this means is that both the bank and the SBA must approve your loan. Both you and your business (if it is currently operating) must have a good credit standing when you make your application. Also, if your bank turns down your loan application–that’s it…there is nothing the SBA can do at this point to help you. Your best bet then is to improve your business plan and look for another bank.

CDC/504 SBA Loan
This is a well-used program, but it is used strictly to purchase the assets of a business, or to pay for physical improvements. The money cannot be used for working capital, refinancing, or repaying debt. This loan program must also be handled through your bank (or other financial institution), so that is where you should start.

SBA Micro-loan
This program was intended for short-term loans, with a maximum of $35,000. The SBA has designated only certain lenders to process these loans. This specific program has not worked well because of the excessive paperwork and government bureaucracy, but it is always worth discussing with your banker, or your nearest SBA District Office.

Export Express Loan
The SBA export express loan is for those small businesses that have problems financing exports…usually due to the lengthy time required to process typical export loans. In this program the SBA guarantees up to 90 percent on export loans and gives an approval response in less than 24 hours. Eligibility is the same as for 7(a) loans, but you must have been in business for at least 12 months.

Community Express Program
This is currently a very popular program because Sam’s Club has partnered with an SBA business lender to provide low interest rate loans to smaller businesses. The minimum loan is $5,000 and the maximum loan is $25,000. You can actually make an online application for this loan at samsclub.com (click on Services). The program was initially set up to make quick decisions on loans in “underserved” communities, and was then expanded through the “Community Reinvestment Act.”

That is a brief overview of the major programs for SBA business loans. Most of these programs can be reached through your local bank, or directly from your local SBA District Office.

What is Business T1?

Business T1 on the Go

The T1-carrier or also known as the Business T1, traditionally uses copper wires for both voice voice and data transfers. But nowadays, a lot have been using fiber optics for the said line for higher bandwidth purposes. What has made business T1 more advantageous than other business line connection is it can transmit more voice and data compared with the others.

Basically, business T1 can operate both voice and data transmission with a high speed rate of 1.544 megabits per second. At the most, it can carry 24 digital channels to operate the said transmissions. Many businesses have opted for business T1 because of the speed and reliability that it can offer them. To be specific, it is 60 times faster compared with your DSL or analog modems. The said business T1 line has been known to be cost effective as well because you can combine both telephone and Internet service at the same time to less the expenditures with separately having to pay for both of these services. This business T1 line is called the Integrated T1. On the other hand, common businesses which opted for this line are can centers or telemarketing companies, telephone companies and the like.

The good news to everyone is that the costs for business T1 have become cheaper since demands for utilizing the said line consistently increased. There are even leased T1 lines available now given by certain Internet Service Carriers (ISPs). If you want to have a higher bandwidth compared with what T1 can offer you and if you are working on a large corporation, company, or business, T3 can be your choice. With this higher version of T1, you can have 44. 736 mbps for the speed rate.

Talking about reliability, this has been what businesses currently looks for in an Internet connection that is why T1 is their choice. This is only to save themselves from the idle moments they can possibly experience with an inconsistent connection during their operation hours. Because of this reason, there are event T1 providers out there which offer uptime guarantees so that businesses will opt for them as their providers for business T1.

If you want to have a good business T1 provider for your business, select a broker which can help you choose the best.

Fractional T1 for Small Businesses

One of the most famous Internet and telephone connections for businesses is the T1 line connection. This is what most of them choose since it is highly reliable and very fast when it comes to its bandwidth. Though every business knows that it is costly, they still opt to use this one since it is cost-effective at the same time. However, this is only the case for medium to large scaled businesses. For small businesses, the case is different. They do not opt for the full T1 type for their business. Instead, they choose for a different type of business T1 which is suitable for them. This type is what they know as Fractional T1.

Basing from its name, Fractional T1 has only a fraction of what the full T1 type can offer. However, this does not mean that your business will suffer slower or less reliable line connection. Even though only a fraction of the full T1 is being used for this type, still, the fastness and reliability you can get from the full one is also the same with the fractional one.

Basically, 24 channels are being utilized in a full T1 line connection. With Fractional T1, only a few selected channels will be utilized since a small business would not require all the channels to be utilized. One of the reasons why small businesses still opt for this T1 despite its not-so demanding needs is because they still want to experience the reliability and the pace a T1 can offer.

With regards to the costs of having Fractional T1 for your business, it is expected that since only a fraction of the full T1 is being used, only a fraction of the costs of the full one will be charged to use. Technically, providers may only charge you on a channel-to-channel basis which means you only have to pay for the channels you are only using for this type.

You also do not have to worry the connection between your Internet and telephone lines with Fractional T1. The connection you have for full type T1 to the Internet Service Provider is also the same with the fractional type. So if you have a small business and you still want to avail of the business T1 experience, Fractional T1 is ideal for you.

Promoting your Business Using Business T1

Business T1 is what every business across the globe is looking for. With its high speed rate of 1.544 megabits per second and not to mention the reliability you will benefit for this line, it is no wonder why it is still your business choice despite the wide array of choices for Internet and telephone line connections available at the present. Aside from this, how can you promote your business by means of using business T1?

As most of you already do know, having business T1 as you business line connection means you have your own connection and that you do not have to share this with other businesses. Aside from this, there is a constant access with the Internet connection with minimal lagging if ever you will encounter this one. If your business has an official website to manage and maintain, absolutely business T1 is the right one for you.

Basically, you are allowed to download and upload files for your business or website simultaneously. This also means that the given bandwidth speed of T1 will not be affected even if you do both of these. Aside from this, the said speed will not also be affected despite the fact that more than 10 of your employees are using the connection all at the same time. Moreover, if your business has a multiple number of branches, you can also share information or files to your other employees and customers located in your different business branches. In this manner, you do not have to meet them personally to process your business with your customers as well as with your other employees.

Another advantageous thing about business T1 is you can have a package deal with your T1 provider with regards to the fax, phone and email operations needed by your business. There are providers which offer this kind of package deal. To avail of this deal, then you should be able to find a provider which is capable of doing so.

Further, in choosing the right provider in your business promotion, do not only dwell in what it verbally tells you about the services it can offer to you. You must be able to analyze the contract well and be sure that the said business T1 provider is typically for your business. In this manner, there will be no problems occurring when it comes to the promoting of your business.

Updates for Business T1 for Your Business

Updates are inevitable for every kind of technology that exists. One of these technologies is the T1 technology available for your business. Since it is a very famous choice for Internet and telephone line connections, businesses should be vigilant of the T1 technology updates to have more knowledge regarding the said technology. In this manner, you will also identify whether there are certain technicalities which you can apply for the growing needs of your business.

There are a lot of recent updates for business T1. One of these updates is the collocation bandwidth which is already applicable for the said line connection. Basically, having a collocation in your business will help you locate the servers you need in a collocation facility. Also, aside from this, you have an assurance that your T1 line connection for your business will spend less money for the bandwidth speed of your said connection.

Another information update for business T1 is that the difference between T1 and DS1 is determined. Every business must has known that they are somewhat the same. In reality, they are both the same, generally speaking. However, there is a thin line that separates them from each other. Basically, T1 is a single line which uses copper wires or fiber optics for the voice and data transmissions it offers. On the other hand, DS1 refers to the service your T1 line can provide to your business.

Moreover, for your information, you can actually share the costs you have to pay for your bandwidth speed with T1. How can this happen? If your business is located in a building with other businesses residing in it, just ask permission from them to share your T1 connection to them for the benefits they can also received. Aside from this, you can also share your T1 connection if you are located in a business park. In this manner, you do not have to pay a quite large amount of money for your T1 bandwidth connection.

These are some of the updates which can add-up to the knowledge you already have for business T1 technology. These will certainly help you determine if it is helpful for the growing needs of your business as well.