Want to sell your small business?
Here’s what we’re lookng for in general:
- At least five years in same the business – ideally, in the same location
- $1 million to $5 million annual gross revenue – ideally, from a range of products/services targeting no more than three verticals or a single product/service class targeting multiple markets
- Easy to understand value proposition – ideally, described in 40 words or less
- Stable customer/client base – ideally, a solid percentage of repeat business
- Favorable vendor/supplier relationships – ideally, multiple sources for key purchases
- Favorable banking relationship(s) – ideally, with one or more local banks for at least three years
- C-Corp, S-Corp or LLC structure – no partnerships or sole proprietorships
- Financial records well-maintained – ideally, by a local CPA firm for at least three years
- No tax problems or liens; no pending or unresolved lawsuits or other regulatory issues
- Closely-held ownership – ideally, one person or a couple – with the unrestricted authority to sell
- Motivated to sell within 90 days – ideally, looking to retire or divest due to health concerns or lifestyle issues
Businesses we will NOT consider:
- Most “regulated” businesses that require some kind of licensure (other than a business license) – like real estate; mortgage; title; financial services; CPAs; banks; law firms; private investigators; bail bonding; firearms dealers; dental, chiropractic and medical practices; payday loan providers; pawnshops; vehicle, boat, and manufactured home dealers; auto repair or body shop businesses; etc. (We WILL consider independent insurance agencies and non-CPA bookkeeping/tax preparation firms.)
- Dedicated internet-related businesses – like website design, hosting, SEO, lead generation, social media, email service providers, webinar services, pay-per-click agencies, Amazon-only or eBay-only sellers, etc. (We would consider an advertising or PR agency that also provides social media services.)
- Hotels, motels & resorts
- “Store front” retail businesses
- Franchises or MLM (a.k.a. network marketing/direct selling) businesses or distributorships
- Home improvement, construction, residential roofing or handyman businesses
- Residential-only plumbing, electrician or HVAC businesses
- Housekeeping, pool cleaning or residential-only landscaping services
- Gyms; yoga, pilates or martial arts businesses
- Nail or hair salons or masssage parlors
- “Vaping,” tobacco, CBD oil or hemp-related products businesses
- Adult entertainment businesses
- Bars, liquor stores, restaurants or cafés
- Businesses that require governmental regulation, inspection or oversight, or that sell primarily to federal or state agencies; selling to local agencies, such as school districts, would be okay.
- Businesses where the owner(s) wish to stay on to run the business.
- Businesses with multi-generational management, where non-owner family members wish to stay on to run the business.
What we do and don’t do with the businesses that we acquire:
Our goal is to allow the current owner(s) to transition out of the business smoothly and move on to the next phase of life. That means installing a new general manager whose values and vision are in harmony with the business philosophy and style of the previous owner(s). In some cases, we will promote or retain an existing non-family-member as the general manager.
Because, in most cases, the current owner(s) have invested years of effort, energy, and emotion into the business, it’s important for the seller(s) to know what we don’t do with businesses that we acquire:
- We won’t arbitrarily rename your business. In most cases, the name of the business has valuable brand recognition in the marketplace that we would want to maintain. In some cases, we might merge a new business with an existing business that may have a stronger brand presence. If so, we will tell you upfront.
- We won’t arbitrarily lay off your employees. In most cases, the employees of a business are valuable assets of the business. Some may have years of loyal service. And most will want to continue to contribute to the ongoing growth and success of the business. Therefore, we want to keep your people in place to maintain continuity and stability.
- We won’t “flip and strip” your business. The whole point of acquiring a business is to take it to the next level, so that your customers, your community, and your employees will continue to benefit. Our goal is to arrange for an equitable acquisition, put a competent general manager in charge, and build on what you created, to grow and prosper.
What is Centivest Capital?
Centivest Capital was formed by seasoned business strategist Nick Nichols to acquire small businesses with annual gross revenues in the $1 million to $5 million range. We use a mix of private equity, debt and seller financing. Only one in twenty businesses listed for sale with business brokers actually sell, leaving the owners of the other 95% high and dry. Centivest Capital works with business owners to solve this problem so they can go on with their lives.