Searching For the Perfect Business

Ah! The perfect deal! How we all fantasize about finding it. No doubt you have heard a story similar to the one about the guy who finds the barely used 1957 Corvette stashed in the back of someone’s garage. It has sat there unused for years. The owner just wants to get rid of it and agrees to let it go for a song.

Sounds great, doesn’t it? Unfortunately it is rare that this ever occurs at auctions and estate sales, and it is even rarer that it occurs in the world of deal-making or business acquisitions.

But still, even in today’s tough economic climate where lenders are tightening their purse strings and our government is conjuring up ways to implement new taxes, I continue to get buyers calling me and giving me a 60 minute exposition on the business acquisition they wish I would help them acquire. But alas, imagine their woe when after my patient listening and patient rebuttal, they are fated to discover that what they are looking for is in fact, a perfect deal, and thus does not exist.

On the surface I understand and recognize they want to make sure they get the best value for their dollar they can possibly achieve. But the reality of the situation is there is no such thing as a perfect deal.

First, let me explain what I am talking about when I say the “perfect deal.” In the world of business acquisitions, the perfect deal would be the buyer finding the convenience store that has the right size building; located at the best spot in town; has updated pumps and credit cards systems; the roof, air conditioning and cooling units are fairly new; has a profitable foodservice program with minimal competition; has a high volume of fuel gallon sales; and has consistently high inside sales (but with not a lot of cigarette sales). In addition, the seller is very motivated and is willing to sell the store below the current market value of a c-store.

Have I got your attention? This would be pretty close to the perfect deal. Everybody has different criteria, but this will give you a general idea as to what I am talking about. Are these kinds of deals out there? Absolutely. Are they plentiful? No.

The reality is that almost all deals will “have some warts on them.” There is generally going to be something that is just not right about the deal. Maybe it has a great location, but the assets are a bit run down. Perhaps it does a great business inside and out, but the size of the building is too small for expansion in the future. Maybe it has a branded obligation that cannot be changed and the buyer is not interested in becoming part of the new brand. There are many different things that will come into play when looking at acquiring a convenience store.

My point is, there are a lot of great opportunities in the world of business acquisitions, but you first have to understand that there is no such thing as a perfect deal. Once this realization has been met, then the search becomes realistic, and you can find a really good convenience store or group of stores that are available to be acquired with most of the criteria you are looking for at a fair price.

Just this week I was presented with a group of eight convenience stores that an owner wanted to sell. Is it the perfect deal? No. Three of the stores are leased properties and five of the stores are owned in fee. But they are all profitable and have a great upside. Upside is the part of any deal that a buyer should be seeking. What is the upside of this acquisition? The buyer knows he will have to invest money to acquire these stores; however, based on his expertise and knowledge in the operation of c-stores, it is also known that by adding certain items and maybe changing the floor plan and a few other things, he can raise the sales too. This means there is plenty of upside for him in this transaction and that the new profits generated from changes made are going to be his.

All of the hard work has already been done. By this I mean it is a lot easier to take an existing business and build it to a new level than it is to build a business from scratch and not know if or when you are going to make a profit. You see, when you buy an existing business, you have a cash flow from the very first day you take over the operations.

So put on your deal-making hat and take off your rose-colored glasses, and you will see there are many opportunities available for those hardworking owners of c-stores who are looking to expand and find some very good (but not perfect) deals In today’s marketplace.

A Local’s Perspective of Cenote Verde Lucero in the Riviera Maya, Mexico

As part of Allan and my Playa del Carmen rental business, it’s advantageous for us to possess expert knowledge of the area in order to pass this knowledge onto our rental guests. Every week we have tried going to a new Cenote while it is still low season in order to increase our familiarity with the region. This past Saturday Allan, I and our friend, Mary Lou visited Cenote Verde Lucero on the “Road of the Cenotes” heading out of Puerto Morelos. For the most part we were quite impressed.

Saturday afternoon we worked until 1pm, the time when most Playa del Carmen management companies close. We then packed the SUV for a day of fun, picked up Mary Lou and headed north to the town of Puerto Morelos for lunch. We have been dying to try this Asian restaurant there, and every time we go it’s closed. This time was no exception. It was 1:30 and they do not open until 3pm. Upon a recommendation from a local, we tried a local Mexican joint right on the water, which turned out to be perfect. We sat facing the turquoise sea, amidst a sea of pink and blue chairs, giving the whole establishment a very cool, beachy feel. I thought “this is the life”. The food was great, and then we were on our way to the Cenote.

About 20 minutes later we arrived at the Verde Lucero Cenote, a veritable hole in the ground that looks almost like a small asteroid struck 1,000 years ago. It was about 100 feet in diameter, 20 feet down to the water and the water was between 10 and 30 feet in depth. Large trees with massive roots protrude out of the depth and into the sky. The best part of the cenote was the zip line. Grabbing onto the handle of the zip line I rode down several times, plunging into the water. After watching a local try it backwards, I did the same, and must admit it is much scarier not knowing where exactly you are heading. There was also a rock ledge with a plunge of about 20 feet, which I also jumped off after gaining enough confidence.

Overall the cenote was a great experience, and is perfect for anyone looking for a bit of action – using the zip line and jumping from high depths into water. The downside is that the water is a bit green, there are no good areas to sit around the cenote, and no snack bar. However, Cenote Verde Lucero is definitely being added to my cenote list, and will be recommended to my Playa del Carmen rental guests. This coming week we are going to try the 7 Bocas Cenote (7 mouths). It’s tough work, but someone’s got to do it!

Lessons In Business – Know Your Product – Don’t Get Scammed

If you’re new to selling and marketing, this will be very important to you. If you’re a seasoned veteran its always good to take a step back and cover the basics from time to time.

Do your homework!

A lot of people get involved in network marketing because they believe the outrageous promises of wealth. There are a lot of devious and unscrupulous people hiding behind their computer screens just waiting for an inexperienced, naive person to take the get-rich-quick bait.

I’ll admit it. I’ve been suckered into paying money for useless information and promises of vast amounts of money. I fell for it. If you’ve done it too, its ok. We all make mistakes.

Remember: If it sounds too good to be true, it is.

If you’re going to advertise a product or a service make sure its legitimate. Contact the company that you’re going to be working with. Email them, or phone them up. Ask them about their payment plans, ask them how long it takes to get paid, ask them how long they’ve been trading online, ask about their products. If you don’t get the response you were expecting, assume they’re not serious about their business. I usually give companies 48 hours to respond to an email.

You need to make sure that the product your selling offers real value to your customers. Great products don’t need to be dressed up. If its a great product it will sell.

Once you’ve chosen a company to work with, the real work begins. You need to understand your business inside and out.

Customers will want to know why your product is better than the competition. You need to know how it works, and what the increased value is to your customers. If you feel secure and happy about the company and the product, you’ll be able to explain this to them. Imagine yourself as a customer, what would you ask before you’re happy to hand over your hard earned money? If you can answer their questions with confidence, they’ll trust you. More confidence means more sales.

If you want to recruit other people to your business opportunity you need to think of them as being customers. Affiliate marketing only works if affiliates are as happy as potential customers. Learn the payment scheme inside out. Be ready to answer questions about payment, the product and the growth of the business.

If you’re new to the business, keep notes, and don’t be afraid to refer to them. Its important that you can answer questions. Starting out in business is a learning curve. At times it will be difficult, but you’ll learn from your mistakes. Don’t give up just because you’ve had a bad day.