Business Brokers and Advisors


When Is the Best Time to Plant a Tree? Or Prepare an Exit Strategy?

According to an old Chinese proverb, “The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second-best time is today!” So, in that vein, the best time to begin planning to exit your business is when you started the business. If that didn’t happen, then the next best time to begin planning for an exit is today! In the words of the very wise Benjamin Franklin, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.”

Anyway, here are some questions you may want to ask yourself when developing an exit plan:

  1. What is my goal/plan for my business? Leave to an offspring/family member? Sell to employees? Go public? Sell to a third party?
  2. What is my time frame? For a potential exit in 5-10 years? Sooner? If you are considering a third-party sale, your 65th birthday may not be the optimal time to sell your business (timing is important).
  3. What am I going to do after an exit? Today’s active “baby boomers” are often thinking of another endeavor after they exit their business. Travel? Volunteer? Move closer to family? Start another business? Spend more time with old or new hobbies?
  4. How much money will I need to live on? How much do I need/want to net from “the exit ? ” Are you working with a financial planner?
  5. Are my financial statements and taxes in good order (a prerequisite for a third-party sale)?
  6. Are my businesses systems and procedures well documented (if you haven’t read the E-Myth, you should)?
  7. What is the value of my business? Should I get a business valuation (short answer is YES!)
  8. Do you have partners in the business? Do you have a buy/sell agreement? (You should & must!)

In the process of preparing an exit or succession strategy, you should have a team of trusted advisors to help and advise you at various stages of the project.

That team should include:

  1. a business attorney or firm
  2. a CPA &/or a tax specialist
  3. a financial planner
  4. a business intermediary
  5. a family business consultant if you are considering a transfer to a family member, consult

These are just a few of concerns that should be addressed or at least considered as part of the exit planning process. So, if you haven’t already begun the exit planning process, just remember, the second-best time to do so is today.

Business Buyers and Their Financial Information

May 23, 2017
Every day I have people contacting me about one or more of our business listings. Due to confidentiality issues, I am not at liberty to immediately discuss the business, other than providing general information and some interesting qualities about the business(es). In essence, whatever information the inquirer sees in one of our ads is what I would be reiterating… that is until I send and the person returns three documents. These documents, buyer documents, as we call them, consist of a confidentiality form (don’t tell anyone anything that you learn about the business), an agency disclosure form (we represent the sellers), and a buyer profile (a little about the buyer and his/her interests, experience, and finances).

Most people understand that we need the confidentiality and disclosure documents signed and returned, but some question the reason they should provide their financial information to us, based solely on an inquiry into a business. While I understand and appreciate this concern, it is part of our obligation to our sellers that we only release their confidential and financial information to people who can feasibly purchase their business. No one at our company has any personal interest in any of our buyers’ private financial information.
After we receive the buyer documents, the next step for me is to “interview” the buyer to see if in fact he/she is a good fit for the business in question. If that discussion goes well, then we provide him/her with more details about the business. At this point, we can release the name, location and some financial information about the business. From there, we can hopefully match our sellers with the right buyers or our buyers with the right sellers.

Planning for the Next Chapter

May 19, 2017
by Olga Kennedy

Most of us make plans: dinner plans, movie night plans, college plans, business plans, wedding plans, retirement plans. Those who plan ahead often make plans well ahead of their passing. They take out disability insurance policies and make sure their affairs are in order so that their loved ones will be taken care of.

What does this have to do with owning a business?
Planning for the end—or rather an exit—has everything to do with owning a business. Many business owners begin and grow their businesses with a plan. But when it comes time to leave, they have no exit strategy for that. Business owners who are looking toward retirement may find themselves unprepared to pass the reins to their children or to a new business buyer. These owners have spent their time working in their businesses as owner operators, growing revenue, improving their numbers, and building their businesses, but they haven’t created an exit plan.

Business owners must have an exit strategy. There must be an end in sight, a road map toward the next chapter.

Whether the business owner transfer the company to his or her children or whether s/he decides to sell the business, his/her affairs must be in order. Some things a new business owner will want to see include:

    •  Accurate financial records and tax returns
    • Products and services offered
    • Customer database
    • The business’ strengths and weaknesses
    • Opportunities and plans for growth
    • Equipment lists
    • Inventory lists
    • Documented standard operating procedures
    • Employee records and an organizational chart
    • Marketing and business plan

All these things help determine what the business is worth, how much the asking price could be and ultimately how much the selling price turns out to be.

People will turn to experts when they need advice or help: accountants, attorneys, bankers, insurance agents. When it comes to selling a business, it’s worth the time to find the right person to help. Engaging in a conversation with a professional business broker could help prepare the business for sale.

The role of a business broker is to help people sell their businesses. S/he helps create and execute exit strategies for business owners. So as business owners plan the days, weeks, months or years ahead, it’s a good idea to add an exit plan to the agenda. It’ll make the road to retirement a bit easier. It’s never too early to plan—or to dream!



Don Emmett Receives Certified Business Intermediary Designation


Atlanta, Georgia – December 11, 2014 – The International Business Brokers Association (IBBA) announces it has conferred Don Emmett of Raleigh NC its prestigious designation of Certified Business Intermediary (CBI).

The IBBA is the world’s largest international organization of experienced, dedicated business brokerage intermediaries representing the middle market.  The CBI designation is awarded to intermediaries who have proven professional excellence through verified transaction experience, education and peer review. Emmett’s designation demonstrates exemplary commitment and experience as a professional business intermediary.

Since 1983, the IBBA has addressed professional issues of business brokerage specialists. The organization has over 1,000 cooperating intermediaries active in middle-market transactions across the world.  It provides education, networking, conferences, member tools, peer-to-peer roundtables, private equity expos and other support, all specific to business brokerage specialists.

Emmett is the Managing Director of Entrust Associates and has devoted his professional career to assisting buyers and sellers of businesses.

Additional information is available from Don Emmett by telephoning 919.881.9997. He is available to the news media as a source of information or comments regarding acquisitions, sales and mergers of closely held businesses and the market for them.


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About Entrust Associates

Entrust Associates is a Raleigh-based business brokerage firm that specializes in representing business sellers in the Raleigh metro area by offering confidential assistance, in valuing and strategically selling small- and medium- sized businesses. Entrust business brokers are professionals with advanced accounting or legal degrees, along with entrepreneurial experience. Their background enables Entrust to provide unequaled service to the business community.


About IBBA:  Formed in 1983, the International Business Brokers Association® is the largest international non-profit association operating exclusively for the benefit of people and firms engaged in the various aspects of a business brokerage and mergers and acquisitions. Today, the IBBA has more than 1,300 cooperative business brokers and intermediaries across North America, Asia, Europe and Australia. For more information, visit




Media Contact:

Name, Title Olga Kennedy, Director, Business Transactions          

Entrust Associates

Considerations When Performing a Business Valuation

Posted by on 10:26 am in Business Valuation, News | 0 comments

Considerations in Determining Value There are many things that go into valuing a business. We like to say that the endeavor of business valuation is “part science and part art”. The science is usually a fairly objective pursuit involving crunching numbers and cash flow multiples etc. Whereas, the “art” part is often a partially subjective endeavor where experience, opinion, and the “eye of the beholder” comes into play. With that being said, here is a short list of items that we take into consideration when performing a business valuation. ·...

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Posted by on 10:10 am in News, Seller FAQ, Selling a Business | 0 comments

Checklist for selling & operating your business   Be confident- A good rule for most any endeavor in business & life. You are going to make the case to a buyer why your business is the best thing since “sliced bread” or at least a great investment.   Be credible: This is essential! If the credibility of seller is lost or called into question, it becomes difficult, if not impossible, to regain credibility.   Have a selling strategy: Who’s your buyer?  How do you reach them?  How do you introduce them to the opportunity? ...

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Posted by on 9:54 am in News, Seller FAQ, Selling a Business | 0 comments

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What Business Information Will I, As A Seller, Need To Share With A Buyer?

Posted by on 9:04 am in News, Seller FAQ, Selling a Business, Uncategorized | 0 comments

  A seminar that we do is called “What to expect, when you’re expecting….to sell a business”.  In that presentation one of the things that we discuss is the business information that the seller is going to be sharing with the buyer(s).  The short answer is “a lot”. Of course, we are only talking about “qualified” buyers, who have signed a confidentiality agreement. By “qualified” we mean someone that has the “where with all” ($$$), and skill set to operate/own the business. The first step will be sharing enough business information to...

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10 things a Business Buyer is Looking for in a Business

Posted by on 10:05 am in Exit Strategy, News, Seller FAQ, Selling a Business | 0 comments

  Another question we are often asked is, “How is the market for a business like mine?” Usually our response to this questions is, “there are many more qualified buyers then there are “good businesses!”  Which of course raises the question, “what are buyers looking for in a good business?”  Here are a few things to keep in mind that help to answer this question.   Provable books and records: Get your “house” and financials in order. Reasonable price: Everyone wants a “good deal”. Leverage and terms: Much like when buying a house,...

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Why Do Buyers Buy Businesses?

Posted by on 12:03 pm in Buyer FAQ, Buying a Business, News, Seller FAQ, Selling a Business | 0 comments

  Like many questions we are asked, part of the answer to, “why do buyers buy businesses?”  is “it depends”.   In this case It depends on the what type of buyer it is.   An “economic buyer” is buying income. They are looking for how much Income (SDE: seller’s discretionary earnings) the business has generated in the past and is likely to generate in the future. A “Strategic Buyer” has a broader agenda.  They are looking to grow their existing business through a complementary, and synergistic acquisition. A “Financial...

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6 Reasons that Business Owners get Business Valuations

Posted by on 11:22 am in Business Valuation, News | 0 comments

  As a business Intermediary, for the past 10 years, I have performed hundreds of Business Valuations.  From $ 100,000 pizza shops to $25-Million-dollar manufacturing businesses, it is always an interesting and enlightening process.  We believe it to be a very important process for several reasons. Here are 6 reasons to get a Business Valuation. If there are partners in the business. If there are partners in the business there should be a Buy/Sell agreement in place.  Usually this agreement will stipulate how often the “Valuation...

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It Takes a Village to Traverse the Transaction Process of Buying or Selling a Business

Posted by on 4:21 pm in Buyer FAQ, Buying a Business, News, Seller FAQ, Selling a Business | 0 comments

  Before setting out on a “transaction journey”, we would advise that you give serious and effort into who are the people that are going to assist you on this journey.  Whether you are selling or buying a business, there are certain specialized skills that you are going to need and likely do not possess. So…who should be on your “DEAL TEAM”?   Business transaction specialist:   I know this may seem a bit self-serving, but this is a good place to start.  Whether they be an Intermediary, a Broker, an Investment Banker, or a Mergers...

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The 3 types of Business Buyers for Small to Medium Sized Businesses 

Posted by on 3:59 pm in News, Seller FAQ, Selling a Business | 0 comments

  Do you know the 3 types of business buyers for small to medium sized businesses? We describe them here and share our strategies for finding them.  Economic buyer or “Qualified Individual”: These buyers are most interested in buying income. They are essentially looking to “buy a job”. How to Find them: These are usually reached via the internet or through Entrust Associates’ proprietary database. Strategic Buyer: This tends to be a company or a business that is looking to expand their enterprise through an acquisition.   In our opinion,...

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Business Buyers, their Financial Information, and the release of “Confidential” Information 

Posted by on 11:24 am in Buyer FAQ, Buying a Business, News | 0 comments

  Every day we have people calling or emailing us, inquiring about one of our business listings. Due to confidentiality issues, we are not at liberty to immediately discuss the business, other than providing general information and some interesting qualities about that business which is essentially a rehash of whatever information is in one of our ads.  That is until we back our buyer documents. These documents, consist of a confidentiality agreement (restricts an interested party from telling anyone anything that they learn about the...

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