How to Sell Your Plumbing Business for More Money, in Less Time, and With Fewer Hassles

The society which scorns excellence in plumbing as a humble activity and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an exalted activity will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy: neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water.-John W. GardnerAs a plumbing business owner, your focus on achieving excellence in the profession has yielded great success. You love what you do and your passion and hard work has paid off.Your business has managed to survive and prosper in the toughest economic climates and has earned the respect of your customers, peers and employees. Your plumbing company is considered a true asset to the community with a reputation for reliability and honesty.All of this, however, has come at a price. You’ve had to sacrifice time you might rather have spent with family or pursuing a hobby or other interest. You may have postponed taking better care of your health and fitness. You may be at a point, right now where you want to retire from the business and start the next half of your life.If you are like the majority of plumbing company owners, you simply haven’t had time to sit down and plan for the inevitable day when you will exit your business. In fact, the vast majority of owners of small and medium-sized businesses (nearly 80 %!) admit that they have no succession plan in place.This fact points to a common assumption many business owners make.”My business is so profitable and amazing that it will be easy for me to find buyers and sell it quickly.”Unfortunately this is far removed from reality. Even in the best of times, for the very best businesses, the success rate for selling in the United States is less than 3%.That’s why, if you plan on exiting your business, you should start putting together a plan at least two years before you intend to leave.Document your financials to assist in valuation… Putting together a thorough, comprehensive exit plan entails paying attention to some critical areas of your business in order to attract the highest caliber of potential buyers.For example, you must have fully-documented financials available that cover a minimum of five years, including the present year.For savvy buyers, the reality of potential return on investment is what your plumbing company actually looks like on paper, and not what you as the seller think it is worth.While you will certainly want to engage the services of an experienced professional who is well-versed in all the nuances of proper valuation, you do need to understand at least some of the factors considered in a valuation.Potential buyers will focus on obvious things such as net income, revenue, and cash flow as basic measuresBuyers may also consider what is known as the EBITDA, or “earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization,” a measure used to analyze and compare profitability between companies.In addition to a thorough financial review, a buyer who is looking to invest in a plumbing business will consider other things before making an offer. A prospect will probably want to know details such as how many service calls you average per day and the value of those calls.He or she will be looking beyond the books for both tangible and intangible factors that make your business more likely to produce a quick return on investment. Planning ahead will ensure that you have done everything possible to make your business an attractive option for the prospective buyer.What you can do right now to prepare for a great outcome…
The first place to start when planning a business exit is to put together a highly-skilled, trustworthy transition team.This team consists of experts and trusted advisors with experience in business transitions, as well as key employees, family members, and other interested parties. In addition to your attorney and tax consultant, include a mentor from your industry who has actually gone through the sales process; someone who has been in the trenches and can assist and advise you.Selling a business is no longer effected with a bundle of cash and a handshake. It is a highly complex process and you need as much expertise and wisdom as you can gather together. Once your team has been assembled, you can meet regularly to draw up a step-by-step transition blueprint.After your team has been assembled and you have created a basic timeline for how your exit will play out, you then need to put a lot of effort into making your business as profitable and efficient as possible.Experts liken this to the seller of a home making the cosmetic fixes that lead to “curb appeal.”You don’t want to wait until the last minute to start enhancing the curb appeal of your plumbing establishment.If it makes sense to your transition team, consider replacing or repairing worn-out equipment and tools. Run the numbers to determine whether or not it is worthwhile to invest in new trucks, communication equipment, or computers.Your physical location speaks volumes to a potential buyer, so don’t neglect it. Something as simple and inexpensive as tidying up the landscaping, throwing a fresh coat of paint on the exterior, or ensuring that the dumpsters are emptied and clean, can make a big difference when you are courting buyers.Get your employees in the habit of keeping their company vehicles clean, their workspaces orderly, and their personal appearances neat and professional.First impressions count and never more so than when you are trying to find the perfect buyer for your plumbing company.Don’t forget to grow your business… Once you’ve made the determination to leave your business, it’s easy to get caught up in the sales process and forget you still have customers of whom you need to take care.Don’t allow yourself to get distracted from the everyday running of the business. Allow your advisors and transition team to handle the exit details while you do everything you can to increase your bottom line and make the company run more efficiently.Remember: the typical qualified buyer most likely is not purchasing your business because he or she has always dreamed of becoming a plumber. That buyer is looking for a business that will produce profits now and for many years to come.If you have key commercial accounts, now is the time to make them feel especially appreciated. Customer loyalty is one of the intangible qualities that seasoned buyers look for in a business. Do your best to keep your client base happy, satisfied, and singing your praises. Something as simple as a phone call from you, a thank you card, or an invitation to lunch can create strong feelings of loyalty in a client.You may also want to step up your marketing efforts a bit to get those service calls coming in more regularly or shore up your commercial database.Even if you are currently busy and successful, building a pipeline to add new clients is never a bad thing. To a potential buyer, a phone that never stops ringing is an irresistible siren song.Consider this… It is likely that you will only get one chance to successfully sell your plumbing company. There are many gremlins that can creep into the process and wind up making it take longer and cost more.That’s why it is so important to put together your team and create a game plan that doesn’t overlook any detail.As you prepare to end your career in plumbing and move on to the next phase of your life, you must avoid making mistakes in strategic planning that will cost you money.A short article such as this one can’t possibly address all the factors that go into a very successful, stress-free business transition. The hope is, however, that this will get you started doing the necessary things to guarantee the best outcome.Leaving your plumbing business is one of the most important phases of your life. Planning and preparation ensures that you will be able to get out of your business the money you need in order to create the future you desire.Educating yourself now on the perfect exit strategy and implementing it in phases is the best way to avoid making bad decisions that will impact your retirement.

Paying for College: Student Loans or Credit Cards?

Research conducted by student loan company Sallie Mae shows that in 2010, about 5 percent of college students paid an average of more than $2,000 in tuition and other educational expenses using a credit card to avoid taking out student loans. The same study showed that 6 percent of parents used credit cards to pay an average of nearly $5,000 in educational expenses for their college children.Is using credit cards a smart way to avoid college loan debt? Financial advisors are in near-universal agreement that the answer is no, but that isn’t stopping thousands of families from using credit cards in place of parent and student loans.Some families might think that all debt is equal; others might think that they won’t qualify for college loans. So what advantages exactly do education loans offer over credit cards?1) AvailabilityParticularly in the last few years, as credit card companies have tightened their credit requirements in a retraction of the lax lending that led to the foreclosure crisis, credit cards have become harder to qualify for, available mostly only to consumers with strong credit. Many consumers with weaker credit have had their credit lines reduced or eliminated altogether.Federal college loans, on the other hand, are available with minimal to no credit requirements. Government-funded Perkins loans and Stafford loans are issued to students in their own name without a credit check and with no income, employment, or co-signer required.Federal parent loans, known as PLUS loans, have no income requirements and require only that you be free of major adverse credit items – a recent bankruptcy or foreclosure, defaulted federal education loans, and delinquencies of 90 days or more.In other words, don’t turn to credit cards simply because you think you won’t qualify for school loans. Chances are, these days, you’re more likely to qualify for a federal college loan than for a credit card.2) Fixed Interest RatesWhile most credit cards carry variable interest rates, federal student and parent loans are fixed-rate loans. With a fixed interest rate, you have the security of knowing that your student loan rate and monthly payments won’t go up even when general interest rates do.Many credit cards will also penalize you for late or missed payments by raising your interest rate. Federal school loans keep the same rate regardless of your payment history.3) Deferred RepaymentRepayment on both federal student loans and federal parent loans can be postponed until six months after the student leaves school (nine months for Perkins undergraduate loans).With credit cards, however, the bill is due right away, and the interest rate on a credit card balance is generally much higher than the interest rate charged on federal school loans.If you’re experiencing financial hardship, federal loans also offer additional payment deferment and forbearance options that can allow you to postpone making payments until you’re back on your feet.Even most private student loans – non-federal education loans offered by banks, credit unions, and other private lenders – offer you the option to defer making payments until after graduation.Keep in mind, however, that even while your payments are deferred, the interest on these private student loans, as well as on federal parent loans and on unsubsidized federal student loans, will continue to accrue.If the prospect makes you nervous of having deferred college loan debt that’s slowly growing from accumulating interest charges, talk to your lender about in-school prepayment options that can allow you to pay off at least the interest each month on your school loans so your balances don’t get any larger while you’re still in school.4) Income-Based Repayment OptionsOnce you do begin repaying your college loans, federal loans offer extended and income-based repayment options.Extended repayment plans give you more time to repay, reducing the amount you have to pay each month. An income-based repayment plan scales down your monthly payments to a certain allowable percentage of your income so that your student loan payments aren’t eating up more of your budget than you can live on.Credit cards don’t offer this kind of repayment flexibility, regardless of your employment, income, or financial situation. Your credit card will require a minimum monthly payment, and if you don’t have the resources to pay it, your credit card company can begin collection activities to try to recover the money you owe them.5) Tax BenefitsAny interest you pay on your parent or student loan debt may be tax-deductible. (You’ll need to file a 1040A or 1040 instead of a 1040EZ in order to take the student loan interest deduction.)In contrast, the interest on credit card purchases, even when a credit card is used for otherwise deductible educational expenses, can’t be deducted.To verify your eligibility for any tax benefits on your college loans, consult with a tax advisor or refer to Publication 970 of the IRS, “Tax Benefits for Education,” available on the IRS website.6) Student Loan Forgiveness ProgramsWhereas the only way to escape your current credit card debt is to have it written off in a bankruptcy, several loan forgiveness programs exist that provide partial or total student loan debt relief for eligible borrowers.Typically, these loan forgiveness programs will pay off some or all of your undergraduate and graduate school loan debt in exchange for a commitment from you to work for a certain number of years in a high-demand or underserved area.The federal government sponsors the Public Loan Forgiveness Program, which will write off any remaining federal education loan debt you have after you’ve worked for 10 years in a public-service job.Other federal, state, and private loan forgiveness programs will pay off federal and private student loans for a variety of professionals – veterinarians, nurses, rural doctors, and public attorneys, among others.Ask your employer and do a Web search for student loan forgiveness programs in your area of specialty.

How To Consistently Make Profits in Online Trading

Over the years, a lot of people have tried to trade Forex to see if they will luckily make money but in the process, these traders fail and vowed never to trade Forex again while the rest of them return later after several years. It is only the 5% left that make profit consistently in online trading. Does it mean that Forex trading is so hard? Why is it that many traders lose a lot of money in Forex trading? It is obvious that they fail to follow the strategies used by successful traders. However, there are factors that cause many traders to lose money.Forex trading should be taken as a serious business and as a business, success can only be achieved once you are well prepared for it.Here are the steps you should take to make profit consistently in Forex trading: 1. You must have the right mindset. The first and the most important thing you need to do is to get the right mindset. You should have this at the back of your mind that you cannot get rich overnight by trading Forex. Forex trading is a very challenging business and like other businesses, you will definitely experience difficult times as you trade. So, if you don’t have enough patience to endure during the down times, it is better you stay out of the Forex market. Also, you must inculcate a good attitude. Why should you do so? This is because you have to respect the market condition and adapt to it and not trying to fight the market.In the Forex market, money can be made when an opportunity to make money presents itself and certainly in the Forex market, money can’t be made out of nothing. So, Forex trading is not a flexible business because you can’t control the Forex market which is in contrast to what people think it is. But on the other hand, online trading can be a flexible business because you can be doing other relevant things while you wait for an opportunity to present itself. Lastly, if you are just starting out Forex, never you quit your job because it is risky, therefore trade Forex as a part-time business.Online trading has the potential to generate a lot of money for you but it will not happen at once. Before you start making a lot of money that can sustain you, it will take some time and patience and so stick to your day job. Some individuals stick to their day job, even though they make more money in the Forex market than what they receive as their monthly salary. The good thing about online trading is that you can combine it with your day job.2. Use a mentor. Save yourself the stress by not visiting forums looking for a holy grail trading strategy. The common sense is, for you to gain the knowledge, you have to pay the price for it. No knowledge is absolutely free. You may see a great trading strategy that is available for free in some forums, but the detailed explanation about that trading strategy is not found. However, even if the information is available for you for free, a step by step guidance on how to use that strategy will not be found.Also, in the process of moving from one forum to another, you will end up losing time, energy and money. Why is it so? This is because you have to implement the trading strategies one after the other and this will consume time, energy and money (if the trading strategies are used one after the other in your real account). At the end, the loss incurred is much greater than what you will benefit and so running from one forum to another in search of the holy-grail strategy is not worth it at all.3. Be disciplined. For you to make profit consistently in Forex trading or in any other business, discipline is needed. Most traders lose a lot of money simply because they fail to stick to their trading plan. Discipline is not a problem to some individuals but to some other people, it is a serious issue. Following a trading plan with strict discipline is very important. Building a successful business takes time and it can’t be achieved if there is no strong discipline.4. If you experience a draw down, be strong.Like I said earlier, a trader must be patient during difficult times. Forex trading is not the kind of job that pays you salary every single month. Definitely, you will experience losing streak periods in the course of your trading career. When this happens, most traders will definitely change their trading strategy. Or maybe they may not emotionally withstand the depletion of their funds when they face losing streak periods. The painful fact is there is no trading strategy that is always profitable in each closing trade and therefore every trading strategy no matter how great it is have strengths and weaknesses. So, you need to have a deep understanding of your trading method and avoid using that method when the market condition is unfavorable.5. Consult your mentor if your trading performance is not encouraging.If you have done all you could do and your trading performance is not improving, then you need to consult your Forex mentor for guidance. An experienced Forex mentor is ready to help you rectify your problem or provide answers to questions with respect to the trading strategy that he himself designed. And beauty of the whole thing is that they have an interactive forum where students can talk about the challenges they face.There are some other measures I didn’t outline in this article however the five measures are the most important and should never be ignored. Other individuals usually say that Forex trading is very difficult or they can even regard it as a gambling game. People will start making negative statements about Forex due to the terrible experience they had during the course of their trading activity. But when they see you making money consistently in Forex trading, they may start changing their mindset. The negative statement people make about Forex trading doesn’t matter but what matters is that they are traders out there who are making money consistently in online Forex trading and you can achieve successful like them once you do what they do.

Are You Choosing the Right Stock Market Advisory Company

What do you do if you want to learn driving a car? You will try to find an expert teacher, isn’t it? You do not want to avail the services of a novice individual to help you out, but a professional person can provide you the vital tips and most importantly guide you efficiently. Similarly, when it comes to investing in the stock market for the first time, you require a knowledgeable advice to attain your financial goals and get profitable returns.

If you are a beginner, then it is quite obvious that you may be having no information about the process of buying the right shares in the market. In such a situation, getting the right tips from an experienced financial advisor or a registered advisory company will truly prove to be a great blessing in disguise. However, there are some of the important things that have to be kept in mind while choosing the top stock market advisory company, which are as follows:

How much assistance do you actually require?

Before you make up your mind to hire an advisor, it is imperative that you must first decide about the kind of service you require from them. You may need their help at the beginning or during the time of any issues. This is because an advisor has to formulate a map according to your requirements. Hence, it is suggested to ascertain your needs first and then take further action.

Choose a top ranked advisory company

It is a very important point that has to be taken into the consideration. Availing services of the well known advisory company or a financial advisor is an absolute necessity. Make it a point to carry out a proper background or research work about the company. Check out their credentials, reputation, experience, etc before hiring them.

Asking for a sample financial plan initially makes sense

When hiring a financial advisor, then do not forget to ask for sample plan first. It is imperative to note that there is no such thing called the perfect plan. A sample plan will help you to determine whether an advisory company is actually making sense according your requirements or not.

Conclusion

The financial planners or advisory companies can really turn out to be the greatest asset for you if you choose the best one. They are just like the professional sailors who can help you out to sail through stock investment related problems quite efficiently.

Deepak is a financial advisor who likes to provide quality tips to the people facing any issues with regard to investing in the stock market. He likes to keep himself updated about the stock market by reading articles, news and blogs, etc.

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