Who We Are .... and What We Do

The largest organization of professional business intermediaries in the world

Founded in the USA in 1978, Sunbelt has rapidly grown to become the world’s largest business brokerage firm. Ron Sloan, the Sunbelt Greater Toronto Area West office Business Broker of Record, was one of the first to open a Canadian Sunbelt office, in 2004. Ron is considered one of the most experienced Business Brokers in the Grreater Toronto Area and is known for his professionalism, integrity and ability.

What business Sellers can expect from the Sunbelt GTA West office

Most sellers have never sold a business before and don’t realize how detailed the selling process is. There are a number of expectations that you should have when working with us. Here are 7 reasons why we get better results for you.

1) Screening Buyers
Advertising your business can result in hundreds of buyer enquiries.  Dealing with these buyers is a job in and of itself, taking the seller's focus away from running the business.  It's a time consuming process as so many enquiries are from people who you find out have too little money or not the right skills to run the business.  Perhaps they are dreamers of tire kickers. The most common false assumption that the average buyer makes is how easy it will be to get bank financing. When they tell you how much money they have to buy a business, they usually include money that they think they can borrow.

Sellers who try to sell their business themselves do not know who they are talking to. They are at a real disadvantage in trying to screen buyers and often can disclose too much to the wrong people.  Our office hand-selects the best buyers from the larger pool of interested buyers, based on a number of important attributes – finances, skills, past history, personal integrity, personality, fit with the business, etc. This is detailed and intensive work.

2)  Putting a Value on Your Business
Sellers often don't have any context for determining what price to ask for their business and thus many sellers over-price their business. Accountants may offer an opinion but lack knowledge of the current marketplace and experience in selling a business. This can cause the business to hang around on the market for too long, getting stale and not selling.

In our work as business brokers operating every day on the front lines, the reality of what a business is worth can be quite different from what a qualified business valuator will tell you. Their valuation models can leave out some very important factors that we know buyers consider. Our realistic valuation of a business considers these key factors:
a. How much hard work goes into generating the bottom line earnings.
b. How much working capital is required beyond the purchase price to run the business.
c. How easy or hard it is for a buyer to get some financing to purchase the business.
d. Is a seller prepared to offer some portion of the purchase price as financing for the buyer.
e. Future reliability of earnings.
f.  Mix of accounts; economic dependence on too few customers.
g. Dependence on key employees.
h. What condition the business is in.

3. Avoiding Misrepresentations
The number one complaint we hear from buyers who tried to deal directly with a seller is that the deal fell through at the beginning of due diligence – just after their offer was accepted and the buyer sent their accountant in. Why?  Often sellers don’t know some key details of their own financials and they give buyers too optoimistic a view of the business, or provide the buyer with misinformation on which the buyer based their offer. We work to refine the seller’s representations in an effort to avoid serious misunderstandings that waste time for both the buyer and the seller – and cause deals to fall apart.

4. Protecting Your Confidential Information
When owners try to sell on their own they could be sharing confidential information with buyers who have limited ability to actually buy. They may take confidential financials and shop them to family, friends, potential investors or banks to see if they can raise the funds for the purchase. None of these others has signed a confidentiality agreement with you and they don’t care about protecting your private information.
You don't want a buyer who isn’t serious about your business to take the information learned and start competing with you. In another scenario, you also don’t want to act on your own if selling to a competitor. This is precarious and requires the experience of a talented intermediary.

5. Writing a Conditional Offer to Purchase … or an LOI (Letter of Intent)
A high number of Offers made without the involvement of a Business Broker fall apart. Often, neither the buyer or seller is experienced in the process and the only coaching available is from their accountant or lawyer. Lawyers and accountants are paid to protect their clients and usually know little about the other party. This often results in a stalemate as negotiations become too one-sided,your professional fees you are paying are mounting and there is too little common ground to move forward.

We work with both the buyer and seller to find a fair and equitable middle ground, thereby preserving the goodwill in the relationship which is integral to moving forward successfully, with both parties feeling they are getting a fair deal.

6. Taking Buyer Deposits
When an Offer is accepted, the buyer gives a good-faith deposit before beginning due diligence on the business. A seller should not share the most confidential of information during this due diligence, without a deposit being held.  However, a buyer is often uncomfortable when their deposit is held by the seller’s lawyer, and vice versa.

We are registered to practice business brokerage by the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) under the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act (REBBA). As such we are able to guarantee that the buyer’s deposit is protected by placing it in our brokerage in-trust account. This account is insured, must be available to be audited and the funds must be managed according to the terms of the accepted Offer. We are an objective third party who can protect the deposit, thereby allowing both seller and buyer to be comfortable with the process.

7) Managing Due Diligence
After the seller has agreed to an Offer, the buyer goes into the due diligence process to review all the financial, contractual and business practices of the business, in a fixed amount of time. However there are many reasons why due diligence can drag, such as the book keeping or year end tax filings behind, accountants busy during tax season, landlords wanting to sign a new lease instead of transferring the existing lease, or perhaps any of the professionals working on the file being away on vacation. These all happen in the real world.

Our job is to help expedite the due diligence process quickly and efficiently by dealing with the questions, concerns and issues that may arise. We are integral in moving the deal along, should the negotiations break down with the landlord, or the other party’s lawyer.

Successfully selling a business starts with finding the right Business Broker!