News Horizon Business Brokers just finished their best year ever by brokering the sale of 19 local businesses. But was 2016 a fluke?
Horizon Business Brokers just finished their best year ever by brokering the sale of 19 locally owned businesses.
Horizon Business Brokers, LLC was founded in 2006 by Dustin Zeher, a longtime resident of Prince William County having grown up in Lake Ridge, where he still lives.
Horizon Business Brokers: I was introduced to the Business Brokerage Industry by my father’s childhood friend who was a Business Broker in New York and immediately became interested as I always had a passion for small business ownership, law, real estate, finance, and helping people; business brokerage was an industry that allowed me to play a role in each.
I decided to get my feet wet and see if I liked the business, so I became an Associate Business Broker for a Maryland-based firm. I worked with them for about a year where I quickly realized I enjoyed the business and had the promise to be a good deal maker.
I soon took the leap of faith to go into business for myself and Horizon Business Brokers was born soon after that.
Potomac Local: Do Businesses in our area sell?
Horizon Business Brokers: Absolutely, and they sell fast. The national average time to sell a business is 8 to 12 months. Our average is only 5-7 months, and we have sold businesses in as little as 30 days.
PL: What kind of businesses sell?
HBB: Virtually any type of business can be sold. We have helped people buy and sell restaurants, salons & spas, pet-centered businesses, retail stores, cleaning companies, construction companies, businesses of all types & sizes. They can be franchises or “mom and pop” businesses – it’s really about finding the right match between a buyer and a seller.
PL: Are these ‘fire sales’ of businesses in trouble?
HBB: Not at all. Most of our clients get between 90-100 percent of their asking price. The businesses are continuing to thrive, or they would not have been bought.
PL: Was 2016 a fluke?
HBB: It doesn’t seem that way. Our projections for 2017 show business sales will continue to grow, which is great for everyone in the region.
PL: What does all this mean for us Northern Virginia area residents who don’t own a business? Does this help our property values?
HBB: It’s definitely a positive for our area, which is important to me because I grew up in Prince William County. Businesses are bought and sold every day for a variety of reasons – owners can be ready to retire, or plan to start a new venture, or they just need a change. The fact that a successful business carries on rather than closing its doors is great for our region.
PL: What lead to your success this year?
HBB: Most importantly having the right people on my team and of course our clients that trusted us to help navigate them through the many obstacles in completing the sale of the business they were buying or selling. We also ran some very effective marketing and advertising campaigns that really paid off this year.
PL: Why did you start your business?
HBB: I started Horizon because I saw an opportunity: the chance to help clients more efficiently and effectively sell their company, the ability to control my own destiny, and working for myself where the sky would be the limit, which is why most people want to go into business for themselves.
PL: What is a major challenge you have had to overcome in your business?
HBB: When I started nearly 10 years ago I was very young, and the business brokerage industry was dominated by older males late in their careers. I was often laughed at and told I wasn’t going to make it as a business broker, but I worked very hard to learn our market and each industry to gain the trust of our clients and the respect from fellow business brokers.
PL: What’s a piece of advice you would share with other business owners?
HBB: Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. Plus I think it goes without saying that any business owner has to make sure they provide the best service to their customers, as well as always treat their employees fairly and with respect, without the both of them they wouldn’t have a successful business.
PL: What things should a business owner do when thinking about selling their business?
HBB: First is Timing – A business owner that is looking to sell their business for the best results should plan and commit to a sale about three years out so they can ensure they are fully prepared for a sale to get the highest value possible.
Second – Numbers Matter. Business owners should make sure their financial records are very well kept as a buyer will depend on them to make an informed decision, and if a bank is involved in funding they will be used to underwrite the loan, the better the financial records are kept, the higher value and cash at closing a seller can expect. If the financials aren’t in good order, the seller should expect a lower total sale price and cash at closing.
Third – Operations and processes A business owner should try to remove themselves from the day to day operations that make the business tick, they don’t want to be the front man where without them the business wouldn’t operate, or at least operate to the capacity that without them it wouldn’t be as successful.
Fourth – Diversified Revenue Streams. A business owner should also make sure that they have a diversified business, meaning one customer or product shouldn’t drive the business where if that one customer or product sales were to no longer exist the business would fold.
These things among many others will show the business is a healthy business that is sustainable for almost any person, expanding their buyer pool, to purchase and run successfully which will prove to help obtain the highest value possible.
*This post is written by Rod Loges and Jenn Mathis, of One Degree Capital in Occoquan, in collaboration with Potomac Local.Send news and photos to Potomac Local
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