You’ve made the decision to buy a business; now you must find the right deal.

The best business opportunities are found by using all or some of the resources listed below. 

Traditionally, buyers seek multiple business intermediaries to locate and handle a business purchase transaction. Business intermediaries have access to databases for buyer-directed searches and often to opportunities in advance of other buyers.

Questions to ask when interviewing prospective intermediaries:

  •  Are they in a brokerage network?
  •  Do they use this network to buy and sell deals with other intermediaries?
  •  Are there other intermediaries within the network covering the same geographic area?

The business section of local newspapers and national publication sources such as The Wall Street Journal are good sources for business opportunity listings. The Internet makes searching for business opportunities infinitely easier and is the closest source of a centralized information. Professional connections such as a bankers, CPAs and attorneys can augment the pursuit of viable businesses. Databases with powerful filtering options make direct mail campaigns a new resource for buyers. More importantly than resources, a buyer must be ready.  When the business type meets the requirements, do not waste time- act quickly and decisively.

The Vant Group represented the buyer in a Defense Contractor business acquisition.

The company recently secured a large new contract making it a perfect fit for the buyer. The seller accepted a purchase offer of $4.1MM.

Because the company financials did not reflect the revenue from the newly acquired contract, the bank returned a loan amount that was lower than the purchase price.  The original offer was fair, and the seller needed that price to dispose of their debt and fund their retirement.  Unfortunately, the buyer could not increase the down payment to fill the gap, so it looked like the deal was dead.

With 19 years and over 500 transactions, TVG had the experience to keep the deal alive. TVG structured a three-year term Consulting Agreement which provided payment to the seller for the difference of the sale price and the bank loan. In addition, the sellers were to share in any upside resulting from the new contract they secured before the sale.


The Vant Group represented a project based construction business for sale.   The business, in preparation for sale, created a forecast based on their upcoming projects. The report revealed that three of their largest projects were scheduled to start in the 4th quarter of the current year.   After the LOI was signed, a customer pushed their project to the next year.  The change affected projections and created a shortfall in the forecasted EBITDA.  Although a benefit to the buyer, he was uncertain that the gross profits would reflect the projected revenue.

To address the buyers’ uncertainty, the sales terms were restructured to include a portion of the purchase price as an ‘earn out’, tied to a gross profit percentage.   The owner’s note was converted into an ‘earn-out’ tied to a targeted gross profit.

The seller agreed to the conversion because he was 1) staying on with the company for 12 months to help with the transition and would continue to have an influence on the sales of the company and 2) had the backlog to support the targeted gross profit.  The seller felt confident that if the projects were again pushed back, he would still be able to win projects from other bids he had out.

The purchase price remained the same, and the buyer and seller agreed to the new deal terms.



The Vant group is excited to announce that Bill Massie has joined the firm.  He brings a wealth of experience in many facets of investment banking.

Bill has worked with entrepreneurs and high-growth companies for over 20 years. His experience ranges from venture capital raises to IPOs. He is highly skilled at sourcing early to intermediate stage equity and debt capital, structuring and placing mezzanine debt and selling privately-held companies.

Bill owned a Broker-Dealer firm for 15 years which specialized in private placements for high-growth entrepreneurs.  His understanding of the needs and opportunities of these businesses will be invaluable to The Vant Group as we expand our investment banking operations.

2018 looks to be a significant year for The Vant Group.  We have several large projects underway which will require significant capital raise expertise with market rollup opportunities for our clients as well as value creation for our investors.  Here are a few examples:

  • The Vant Group (TVG)is partnering with a firm to exploit opportunities in the cannabis business in Colorado and several other states this next year. Our efforts will include providing roll-up capital to consolidate and integrate disparate business operations, expand dispensary and production facilities, and develop new pharmaceutical products.  We believe that there is enormous profit potential as the cannabis industry grows and becomes more sophisticated. The Vant Group intends to play a leading role in providing financing, advisory, and investment banking services to this space;
  • TVG will spearhead a real estate development project in Broken Bow Oklahoma designed to meet the increasing demand of vacationers traveling to the area. Resort cabin rentals, purchases, and a corporate conference center will be among the offerings;
  • TVG, along with one of our partners, has engaged with an exceptional operating group to purchase and grow a well-known local restaurant chain with attending real estate assets in Uptown.

This sampling of 2018 projects is part of the exciting times at The Vant Group.  We are looking forward to working with our investment banking clients and capital sources as we seek to add value and make money for our partners.


A verifiable cash flow can determine the price of a business acquisition.

Buyers and business brokers go as far as stating that cash flow is a major deciding factor in a business purchase decision. For buyers, an owner’s discretionary cash flow, secured through a business purchase, is important in determining the value of a company.

Owner’s Discretionary Cash Flow (ODCF) is the amount of money a new owner can take annually from the business.  TVG, as a professional business broker, can assist in analyzing the business’ income statement to determine the ODCF. There are common tax strategies that comprise the ODCF; net income, owner’s equity withdrawal and perks, depreciation and amortization, interest expense, and non-reoccurring expenses.

Your federal tax rate is determined by your net income. A common tax strategy is to offset the business profit with allowable expenses, therefore keeping your taxable income low.  With this tax strategy in mind, a small net income does not necessarily reflect an unprofitable business. 

The owner’s salary is a large component of ODCF. Again, there are tax incentives for paying less employer and employee tax, based on a lower income level.  To decrease tax liabilities, business owners will often pay themselves a small salary and make up the difference with owner perks. 

An owner perk is when the business pays for personal expenses, a benefit of owning a business. Although a good tax strategy, business paid personal expenses, lowers the net profit.  To appropriately value a business for sale, an itemized perk list can be added to the income statement, increasing the value of the business on paper.

Both non-cash expenses, depreciation, and amortization are components of ODCF and used to reduce taxes. Depreciation decreases taxable income but does not reduce cash. It is acceptable to include depreciation and amortization in cash flow calculations.

Interest is a component of ODCF and can be attributable to bank loans, personal loans, equipment leases, and other debt instruments that may go away after the sale. One-time or non-recurring expenses are also considered components of ODCF. Extraordinary litigation expense is a good example unless litigation is an annual occurrence. 

Calculating ODCF is an important component when preparing your business exit strategy.  Contact The Vant Group today for help with your ODCF and exit strategy plan.

The professionals at TVG have some difficult and disappointing conversations with business owners when valuing their business for a sale.

Business owners spend their entire life building a business with the hopes of selling and realizing that big payday. Most sales are the result of health, fatigue or customer issues and when business owners decide to sell, they likely don’t have a proper plan in place to execute a successful sale.

Lacking an exit plan, the financials usually don’t support the sales value that the business owners have in mind. In the words of Stephen Convey, sellers should “Begin with the End in Mind”. The day a business is opened, an exit plan should be created as a roadmap toward that big payday.

Here’s an article that emphasizes the importance of creating an exit strategy: The Vant Group is here to help guide you through the steps of buying or selling a business.

Achieving the desired goal takes preparation and organization.  There are four key elements to the business buying process.

  1. Business identification
  2. Organized search process
  3. Collection of date
  4. Due diligence.

Business Plan

If you set out towards a destination without a map, you will get lost. Likewise, statistics show that without a business plan, the rate of success diminishes dramatically.

Items to include in your business plan.

  1. Financing- Acquisition time, a year of living expenses, acquisition-related costs (CAP, Attorney, etc.) down payment, working capital.
  2. Risk/Reward- analyze your risk to reward ratio. A buyer should assess how much he is willing to risk before he even begins the search. 
  3. Self-assessment-In evaluating a specific business, determine your skill sets. Self-assessment should include why business ownership is for you.
  4. Location-The organization phase should include an assessment of how far a buyer is willing to travel or commute and what geographic areas the buyer will not consider. Narrowing down the geographic parameters can facilitate the process.
  5. Timing-To include due diligence, industry projections, and is it the right time to buy?
  6. Ability to Act-Does the buyer have the means to act quickly when the right acquisition target becomes available?
  7. Confidentiality Agreement, Buyer Resume, and Profile- A business intermediary will qualify the buyer. Nondisclosure or confidentiality agreements are involved in almost all business transfers. A buyer profile, personal financial statements, financial  capability and liquidity
  8. What Type of Business Should I Buy?-Understanding your target Company: manufacturing, distribution, service or retail.
  9. Manufacturing-Manufacturing companies require a significant investment in capital assets: machinery, floor space, workforce, and capital needs such as cash for operations and capital for funding receivables and payables.
  10. Ideal Buyer Candidate: The ideal buyer is financially capable of funding with personal assets. Prior ownership experience in the manufacturing arena is a needed attribute.


  1. Market protection – proprietary product
  2. Loyal customer base for specific products with contracts
  3. Legitimate business operation
  4. Ability to expand


  1. Large capital investment for equipment
  2. Significant working capital levels and payroll expenses
  3. Large workforce requirement
  4. Significant plant / real estate implications
  5. Government regulation
  6. Distribution-In addition to inventory costs, the distribution also implies high accounts payable and receivable levels, drivers, and a sales team. Profitable distribution companies should be examined by buyers that have a keen feel for the capital requirements and the ability to sustain capital levels.

Ideal Buyer Candidate-The ideal buyer can fund or raise additional capital with personal assets and is well-connected in the industry being acquired.


  1. Ability to expand by increasing market penetration
  2. Having product lines with name recognition
  3. Highly collateralized business with significant inventory and accounts receivable levels


  1. Lack of market protection from manufacturer suppliers
  2. Large working capital requirements for funding significant inventory and accounts receivable levels
  3. Required distribution apparatus with rolling stock issues
  4. Government regulations
  5. Service-Service businesses are the safest investment for a first-time business buyer.

Ideal Buyer Candidate: The ideal buyer is a first-time business owner with average business skill sets; he can be a generalist with no technical skill sets needed.


  1. Many simple business formats requiring limited owner training
  2. Easier to staff
  3. Smaller fixed asset and working capital requirements


  1. Lack of market protection
  2. Competitors with similar services
  3. Unsophisticated workforce
  4. Possible licensing requirements
  5. Retail-Retail is the least sought-after business type. The negative view on retail businesses overlooks the relative ease in which retail establishments can be duplicated by setting up chain-type operations

Ideal Buyer Candidate: The ideal buyer is a first-time business owner with average business skill sets and people oriented.


  1. Very little capital equipment investment necessary
  2. Leasehold improvements don’t need continued maintenance
  3. All-cash endeavor, no liquidity needed to fund accounts receivable
  4. Can reduce cost by landlord paying a portion of leasehold improvements


  1. Limited clientele geography
  2. Continuous marketing and advertising usually required
  3. Extended hours of operation
  4. Large cash infusion necessary for initial inventory and continued inventory maintenance
  5. Difficulty finding and retaining workers

Position and transition a sale of a business without rocking the boat and upsetting contracted clients to the point that they pull their contracts.

TVG represented a project-based business, with many future contracted projects totaling 3 million dollars. TVG has just the right experience that the buyer and a seller need for a delicate sales transaction such as this. Both the buyer and the seller are invested in keeping the business clients happy and the client’s only concern is the quality of work they ultimately receive.

TVG used a “business as usual” strategy where the sellers, slowly introduce the buyers to the clients. With this defined and strategic positioning, the clients were assured that the new buyers are in “beneficial partnership” with the sellers.

In approximately 5 months, the business was successfully transitioned from the seller with minimal bumps along the way. The transaction was handled so successfully by TVG that the buyer had no worries of upset clients and the clients developed the trust they needed during the transition, that moving forward with the buyers was never a question.



Because buying a business is a process.

“I want to buy a business, from a retiring owner, that has a strong management team, a 6-figure cashflow, a double-digit profit margin, and a reoccurring revenue stream. Oh yea, and I want to find it within 90 days.”

I hear this all the time from prospective buyers.

This is always my response…

“Guess What? You and thousands other buyers are looking for the same company.”

I am not saying that these opportunities do not exist, however, hey are uncommon.  Spending time and resources searching for this “unicorn” may not be the best option.

In fact, the price will surely be inflated by the bidding wars that result in an opportunity like this!

According to industry statistics, nine out of ten prospective business buyers never complete a transaction. Why? 

The buying process is long and involved, with many steps. One of the first and most important steps is to set realistic expectations for the business you will buy.

Read this article, before you actively start your search.  The author provides invaluable steps to assist buyers in successfully completing the buying process.

The Vant Group is here to help guide you through the steps of buying or selling a business.


Developing a marketing package that tells your story

Do you have all required documents that market the story of your business?  Having a marketing package will ultimately shorten sell time and award the highest sales price. Without documentation, a buyer cannot make an informed decision about a purchase. In preparing for the sale of your business, below is a list you can use to develop a winning marketing package.

  • Interim financial statements

Interim financials show a buyer the up-to-date financial strength of a company since the last corporate year tax return filing. Interim financials are also necessary for lending institutions when trying to obtain financing.

  • Three years of tax returns and income statements

Three years of financial statements paint a picture for the buyer, on the financial stability of a company. A prospective buyer can use financial statements to analyze revenue and expense trends, determining the health and cyclical trends of the business.

  • Current asset list

When assets are a significant part of the equity, a higher sales price is easily justified. Anything above asset value is considered goodwill and is more difficult to justify. An asset list with total fair market values creates a base value for a business. If outside financing is needed for a business transfer, then an itemized list may be required.

  • Asset and Liabilities

Assets and liabilities on a balance sheet can either be transferred with the sale or kept by the seller. A buyer needs to know exactly what assets and liabilities are an educated offer. It is prudent for a seller to identify which leases and notes can be transferred before the negotiating process begins. Not taking this action could cause a deal to collapse. 

  • Facility information

It is necessary for the prospective buyer to know everything about the facility being purchased. Things to know are:

  1. Where is it located?
  2. What are the lease terms?
  3. Is real estate included in the deal?
  4. What is the square footage?

If the business is in a leased facility, it is imperative that a buyer performs due diligence to determine whether the lease terms can be transferred. Awareness of these factors can give the buyer a stronger negotiating position.

  • Employee information

The most valuable asset in addition to FF& E (Furniture, Fixtures and Equipment) are the employees. The following information should be included in the marketing package:

  1. Number of employees
  2. How long each employee has worked for the company?
  3. What is the current pay structure?
  4. How stable is the workforce?
  5. Do the employees know the business is for sale?
  6. Is the owner willing to stay on as an employee?

Employee information, without personal identifying information can be displayed using an organizational chart.

  • Company history

A chronological summary of a business will provide a prospective buyer a road map to a company’s history. A prospective buyer will be able to look at historic financial statements together with the company’s business history to perform an overall analysis. Information to know:

  1. Has a new line been recently added?
  2. Has the business been moved?
  3. When was this business formed?
  4. Is the business run by the original owner?
  5. What has been the marketing program since the company’s beginning?
  • Other information to include:
  1. Reasonable and fair Asking Price
  2. Deal Structure and Financing
  3. Is there SBA financing available?
  4. Marketing Strategies –Will aggressive marketing increase sales?
  5. Reason for selling? – Retirement, divorce or lack of interest?
  6. Industry Trends – How are industry revenues trending as a whole?
  7. Industry Trade Journal – if a buyer lacks industry experience, trade journals are recommended.
  8. Published articles – Has the business been featured in a newspaper article, or trade article?