Why 2014 May Be The Perfect Year To Sell Your Business

In the entrepreneurial ecosystem, business owners looking for an exit strategy are likely to find 2014 an optimal year for selling.- Peter Lehrman, Entrepreneur Magazine

Timing any market is always a tricky proposition, especially in this era of diminishing returns and lowered expectations. The market for selling a small to mid-sized business is no exception.

Anyone considering selling a business, especially boomer business owners thinking about retirement, should have a list of compelling reasons why they want to sell and a plan to help them do so.

For most business owners, the timing will never be perfect, so waiting until the ideal moment to sell could be an impractical course of action. However, certain indicators are pointing to a better than average success rate for selling a business in 2014.

That’s why it’s a good idea to employ strategies right now that will help you get the maximum money for your business.

2014: The “Year of The Seller?”

Three or four years of turmoil in a struggling economy makes some business owners understandably cautious when it comes to optimistic projections for 2014. However, there are some very good indicators pointing to the possibility of a perfect selling environment for at least the next 18 months or so.

For example:

• The majority of businesses have experienced increased profitability for the past 2-3 years.

For numerous business owners, 2008-2010 were flat as far as profits were concerned. Those who survived this period felt lucky to break even, much less put profits on the books. With demand down across the country for services and solutions, business owners were unhappily treading water.

However, the recession is slowly retreating, allowing businesses to recover. Many are now in a position to show the three or four years of solid growth that qualified buyers want to see when they build projection models.

The ability for a company to demonstrate upward trends in their financials shows prospective buyers that it is right to make positive projections for future growth. This in turn gives owners better valuations and does wonders to make the deal viable. Buyers want to know that a business they purchase is poised to survive even a serious economic downturn.

• Low interest rates (for a little while longer, anyway)

You don’t have to have an advanced degree in economics to understand that the artificially maintained low interest rates we now experience will soon be a thing of the past. Forecasters have been fretting that the Federal Reserve will be forced to curtail its’ bond-buying program soon.

A growing number of experts now say that 2014 could be the year when that finally occurs. This means, naturally, that waiting too long to sell might mean an owner will see higher interest rates and a lower price for his or her business.

The reason for this is that interest rates always have a direct impact on the price of capital used to purchase a company. Buyers who rely on loans to acquire a business will feel the sting of these rising rates since earnings are used to pay the interest on loans. An increase in the price of capital will almost certainly lead to lower valuations for businesses.

It makes sense that the more expensive it is for buyers to get capital, the less willing they are to pay top price for a business. As soon as rates begin to rise in 2014, there will be a negative impact on business valuations.

• Low levels of debt and lots of positive cash flow

Credit Suisse reported in February, 2014 that 73 percent of U.S. companies and 56 percent of European companies have incredibly low levels of debt on their balance sheets compared to their total market capitalization.

Private equity companies are awash in cash, with nearly $1.1 TRILLION in cash on hand. At the same time, levels of corporate debt are falling to new lows. So, what does this mean for you as a business owner who is seriously considering selling?

Well, for one thing, since all this cash needs to go someplace other than under the CEO’s mattress, private buying groups will be out en masse looking for successful businesses they can buy and from which they can see immediate cash flow.

For another thing, there is a natural mood elevation that goes on when so many dollars are in play.The old saying “a rising tide lifts all boats” is applicable here. Every billion dollar mega-deal that goes down makes every smaller business deal more attractive. Small businesses are sure to benefit from the optimism that comes with any boom.

• Changing demographics are pushing boomers to sell.

The first half of the “Baby Boomer bubble” (2005-2010) has passed. During that period, older Boomers were able to sell to younger boomers, although the success rate was still a mere 3%.

However recent research indicates that the number of boomer owners indicating they wanted to retire increased from 50,000 in 2001 to over 750,000 in 2009.

It is possible we could see over one million businesses go on the market in the next 10-15 years in a transition tsunami. If this holds true, then it makes sense to sell ahead of the herd and reap the benefits of the current buying frenzy fueled by low debt levels and loads of cash.

Even if you think you aren’t ready to leave your business yet, you should plan as if you are. Positioning your business to sell is never a bad idea or waste of time.

By crafting a well-thought-out exit plan, you will be prepared if circumstances (either good or bad) push you to sell, or if you get an offer from a qualified buyer that you just can’t afford to pass up.

You never know, maybe 2014 will be the year you make a profitable transition from your business and start enjoying everything for which you’ve worked so hard.

Forex Education Tips – 5 Steps to Successful Forex Trading

Close to 95% of all Forex traders will lose money. We’re not just talking about novices, either. Whether you trade Forex for a living, as a hobby or just for fun, odds are against your success. That’s a simply astonishing fact. However, the remaining 5% of Forex traders somehow manage to break even and there are those lucky few that actually make money in the currency market – consistently!Like the TV show says … “How’d they do that, anyway?”That’s the million dollar questions, isn’t it? Countless books, seminars and expos have been hosted to answer this very question. That sad fact is that thousands of books have been written and countless seminars and interviews have been conducted in an attempt to answer the magic questions. The reality of the situation is that there is no magic formula; no one single Holy Grail of Forex trading.So what do the successful traders do that the rest of us have simple not comprehended. They have mastered a process of winning where they combine and customize several factor to produce consistent results. They have mastered the Process of Trading.The Process of Trading is:Strategy > Money Management > Self-MasteryHere are some simple Forex Education tips to help you master the process of forex trading:Success Tip #1 – You’ve Got To Have a PlanYou must have a written business plan that will detail all aspects of your trading. When are you going to trade, how much to risk, strategies for entries and exits are just o name a few. To become a consistent (profitable) Forex trader you have to plan your trade sand trade your plan.

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Simplicity rules! Don’t make this plan too complicated. One sheet of paper for you mission statement and another for your trading plan should suffice. Anything more is probably too complicated.Success Tip #2 – Focus on Your Personal PsychologyKnowing yourself will allow you to master the discipline necessary to execute high quality trades with solid money management techniques. Lack of discipline is fatal in Forex trading. Go on a personal journey to identify you attitudes towards risk and money. Get intimate with your strengths and weaknesses as a trader and build in to your trading plan strategies to minimize those weaknesses and maximize your strengths.Different personalities lend to different trading styles. Get familiar with all the different styles and over time you will begin to gravitate towards one particular style. Don’t fight the urge like I did. I insisted I was a day trader, but had only limited results. I found my winning percentages were much higher when I entered swing trades. Guess what’s my bread and butter strategy now!Success Tip #3 – Be Realistic About Your ExpectationsThis is a hard one, I know! I am on the internet every day and the amount of advertising is staggering. Brokers are offering free education (fox in the hen house if you ask me), forums of all different trading styles and points of view. Gurus pushing their system as “the one” that will make you the big bucks. How do you get through all that noise?Let me tell you loud and clear right now – everyone is right and everyone is wrong. You have to make a personal commitment to become a successful trader, find a trading style that works for you and expect a slow and steady approach to wealth building through Forex.What works for me may not work for you. Expect to go through an exploratory period where you are learning and at the same time exploring yourself as a trader. Keep an open mind and don’t pay attention to all the noise out there.Success Tip #4 – Exercise PatienceRome was not built in a day and neither will your trading account. In fact, I tell all of my students that while they are studying to become successful Forex traders they should not look solely at their account balance as an indication of success or failure.By tracking and increasing your percentage of high quality trades you execute is a far better barometer of your progress than your account balance. Cause and effect rule here. Over time when you increase your probabilities through the execution of high quality trades your account balance will respond accordingly.Keep the focus on the process and with time your results will blow your mind.Success Tip #5 – Money Management Is Top PriorityI would rather have a shaky strategy and excellent money management techniques than the other way around. This topic warrants its own blog post to do it justice. Limited your exposure (read “risk”) allows for you to stay in the game and allow the laws of probability to work.

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Let’s take a casino for example. They need gamblers to frequent their slot machines to make money. Why? They have a game that has a greater than 50% chance of making money for the house. The more people that play the slots, the greater the casino’s profits.The casino controls risk by payout tables (always favoring the house!) and increases their probabilities by keeping gamblers at the slot machines (read “free drinks”). As a trader you must limit your risk by committing only 1% – 3% of available capital to a single trade. When you execute enough trades with a high probability strategy you too can clean up like the casinos – but only by staying in the game long term.In conclusion, Forex trading is not easy. It’s hard work and will test the limits of your patience and perseverance. If anyone tells you otherwise .., buyers beware! It can be a very rewarding and profitable venture if done correctly. In the end it is a profession that requires a learning curve and practical experience, no different than an airline pilot or engineer. Understanding how to approach and learn this game will allow you to reap all the benefits advertised. It is your Forex Education that you will master the Process of Forex Trading.

The Energy Healing Power of Natural Medicine

Natural medicine is a system that uses a variety of therapeutic or preventive health care practices such as homeopathy, naturopathy, chiropractic, and herbal medicine. Alternative medicine is also known as traditional, naturopathic, natural or holistic medicine. Proponents of alternative medicine are not refuting the validity of discoveries in and the practical uses of conventional medicine, but are merely trying to put some things into perspective. Due to the widespread interest in natural medicine along with the disappointment and disenchantment with Western medicine, many people, especially in the United States and Europe, where conventional medicine has taken a dominant foothold, are seeking the advice and treatment from naturopathic physicians. These practitioners include herbalists, acupuncturists, naturopaths, chiropractors, and others, who advocate preventative health measures as well as recommend wholesome foods and nutritional supplements for their patients and clients. Considering the growing popularity and effectiveness of alternative health treatments and products, certified and licensed professional practitioners of such medical practices should be given their rightful and respectful place in medical society. Natural medicine has been proven not only to be safe, but more effective than Western medicine in treating many chronic illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension, asthma and many other diseases as well

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The history of Natural Medicine and its roots can be traced back thousands of years to ancient cultures such as India and China. Ayurvedic (E. Indian) and Chinese medicine, along with their diagnostic and herbal systems, are still used in these countries extensively, as well as in the United States, especially in Europe, where alternative medicine is well respected. Chinese herbal medicine has a documented history of over 2500 years in China, and is now widely used by practitioners all over the world. It has been legally practiced in the United States. since the mid seventies by licensed acupuncturists. Homeopathy is also a well-known form of alternative medicine discovered in the 18th century by German physician Samuel Hahnemann, but was practically stamped out in the U.S. in the late nineteenth century by the American Medical Association. In 1938, though, the U.S. Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act finally recognized homeopathic pharmacopoeia as the legal equivalent of allopathic medicine.Another more contemporary and popular form of herbal medicine, called Western herbalism, can be traced back about two hundred years in America. Samuel Thomson, born in 1769, is considered the father of Western herbalism. He discovered over sixty different medically effective native plants by clinical testing, and on the basis of these findings, devised a theory of disease and botanical drug action. Randy Kidu, D.V.M., Ph.D., writes in his articled entitled A Brief History of Alternative Medicine: “The history of herbal medicine is interesting because herbs have been a part of our diet and pharmacy since man began roaming the earth. Coprophytic evidence (seeds and other plant part(found in preserved fecal pellets) points to herbal use by cavemen. Early herbalists practiced their trade since before recorded history in all parts of the world including China, Egypt, Greece, Rome, Africa, England, the Americas, and Europe. Many herbs are also mentioned in the Bible. Today, based on sheer numbers of folks who use one form of herbal medicine or another, it remains the most-used medicine worldwide.”Twenty-five hundred years after the advent of allopathic medicine, modern medicine is still grappling with the idea that herbal medicine could be an effective treatment, and not just quackery, although thousands of years of recorded history has proved its efficacy. A new model of understanding in medicine needs to be incorporated into the existing allopathic model. Because of the growing popularity and effectiveness of natural medicine, practitioners may eventually be given their deserved place in medical society. The incorporation of natural medical practices into the existing model of conventional Western medicine, including the training of new medical doctors, is now called Complimentary Medicine. In order to solve our health problems, this modern paradigm for treatment in medicine must be promoted. This can only truly emerge when bias, self-interest, greed and discrimination is discarded and diverse medical knowledge is promoted and shared, not only between university trained scientists and medical doctors, but among Alternative Medicine practitioners, philosophers, metaphysicians, and other intelligentsia of society as well.

Skip The Lines – Bring The Amusement Park Right To Your Own Back Yard

There’s no shortage of things to do in Atlanta. From professional sports to amusement parks, there’s something for everyone. In fact, Atlanta is proud to house some of the nations largest amusement attractions, including the ever popular Six Flags Over Georgia. Children (and adults) love the thrill and adrenaline rush of the large roller coasters. However, one thing most people don’t like about amusement parks is the long lines. By the time it’s all said and done, you can spend several hundred dollars for your family to have an afternoon of fun, and only get a few rides in. This year, instead of spending the day waiting in long lines for short rides, why not bring the fun right to your back yard? With today’s technology, you can literally do just that! One of the advantages of living in a large city like Atlanta is that we have large rental companies that can make your special event feel just like a trip to Six Flags… complete with a train and an ice cream cart!

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If you’re trying to replicate the amusement park feel, there are definitely specific items that you’ll want to be on the lookout for. As mentioned previously, ice cream carts and trackless trains help make the special event feel more like a day at Six Flags.In order to make your next special event more special, try some of the following tips:

Head online to do some research on the party rental company that has the selection your looking for. If you want an ice cream cart to complete your theme park adventure, look around until you find what you’re looking for.

Don’t settle for the first website you see. There are literally hundreds of inflatable party rental companies in Atlanta. Keep looking for a website that offers a wide variety of rental items that you’re looking for.

It’s better to rent everything from one company. Renting in bulk can help you save money. Larger companies will offer discounts for larger purchases of multiple units and rental items.

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Having a day of amusement park fun is cheaper and easier than ever before. By bringing the amusement park to your front door by using a party rental industry, you can include more people at a lower price. So next time you’re planning a special day, instead of spending tons of money for just a few people and braving the long lines of amusement parks, invite the whole neighborhood and bring the amusement park right to your own back yard!