Author Archive for Paul Findlay

Is buying a franchise right for me?

If you’re considering buying a business, it could be worth considering whether a franchise is right for you, or whether you’d prefer to run an independent business.

There are pros and cons to both styles, and the best fit for you depends on a variety of factors. It’s important to consider what you hope to get out of your business and what’s most important to you.

We’ve compiled some information and advice about the advantages and disadvantages of franchising.

The Pros of owning a franchise

Tried and tested: When you buy into a franchise, much of the early grind of starting a business has been done already. Processes, pricing, procedures and products have all been developed, tested and refined. This helps you hit the ground running, and you can launch straight into your business venture with some confidence that it’s all be done, successfully, before.

You’re not alone: Operating a franchise means there’s always someone there to support you. From training to stock, form marketing to HR, a good franchisor will help you access and maximise the resources available. They want you to succeed, and will offer ongoing support. Being part of a franchise group also provides you with an immediate network of other business owners to learn from and lean on. 

A known quantity: Buying into an already established brand through a franchise can help take advantage of an already established customer base, even in a new location. Buying into a big brand with a good reputation can be a great way to give your business a kick start. 

The Cons

Limited autonomy: Buying a franchise means you have to be prepared to relinquish some control. Signing a franchise agreement commits you to following guidelines and requirements set out by the franchisor. While you own the business, you won’t have control of every decision. This might range from the locations in which you can operate your business to the pricing structure you use. If you crave maximum creativity and flexibility in running your business, franchising might not be for you. 

The money stuff: The ongoing support and guidance a franchise offers comes at a cost. There are usually ongoing fees on top of the upfront price you will pay. They might be for training and marketing, along with a franchise fee and other levies. If business slows down or you have a quiet patch, these fees still need to be paid. Franchisor requirements may also reduce your ability to make savings in other areas, such as marketing, when times are tough. 

Reputational risk: When you’re part of a franchise group, your business is exposed to the brand’s collective reputation. Poorly performing franchises can reflect badly on an entire brand, putting the reputation of your business out of your control. This is a critical factor for many when choosing a franchise. 

If you’re someone who is looking for ongoing support, trusted and tested systems and want to get your business up and running quickly, then a franchise might be for you, especially if you choose a brand you can get behind. Someone looking for control, creativity and autonomy might be less attracted to this way of doing business. No matter what you decide, be sure to do your homework and carefully consider your strengths, your personal values and your lifestyle. 

Choosing the right franchise

You’ve done your research, considered the pros and cons  and decided that franchising is for you.  But how do you choose the best franchise to buy? With so many options available, it’s important to consider some key questions when making your decision.

There are franchise businesses to suit everyone – no matter your interests, skill levels and budget. But these elements can play a critical role when choosing your franchise. 

With a franchise, you get the benefit of a proven product or service while still being your own boss. Even after the turmoil of the past year and the impact of Covid19, franchise business networks are feeling confident and optimistic about the coming year. 

According to the latest Australian Franchise Pulse Check, released in March 2021, more than 33% of respondents reported a 10% increase in December quarterly revenues.  Quick service restaurants, maintenance, health, courier and freight industries were most likely to show positive trade. Sit down restaurants and cafes, fitness clubs and accommodation businesses were hit harder, impacted by lockdowns and border closures.

Although the post-Covid recovery is underway, with 75% of respondents feeling optimistic about business conditions over the next six months, it shows the importance of making the right choice when it comes to buying a franchise. The Covid19 pandemics has created some shifts in how Australians work, socialise and do business, which potential franchisees should consider in their research.

Take-away food 

Covid19 drove a significant shift in people’s eating habits, with many turning to delivery services as an alternative to dining out during lockdown restrictions. They also offer increased flexibility around social distancing requirements – it’s particularly worth considering food trucks or trailers to take advantage of outdoor spaces. 


With the growth in remote working, the appeal of home-based franchises is increasing too. Many franchisees are looking for opportunities that offer the comfort of working from their own home and choosing hours that best suit their needs and lifestyle. Examples of home-based franchises include pool-cleaning, tutoring and bond cleaning. These types of services are always in demand, and can often be acquired at a reasonable price, requiring minimal training. 


If you’re a people person with a dream of running a big branded store, a retail franchise might be right for you. One advantage of choosing a franchise in retail, whether it’s technology, stationary or fashion, is that finance for these established ventures can be easier to access. 

Health and Fitness:

There is a huge focus on health and wellbeing among Australians so health and fitness franchises could prove a valuable investment for the savvy entrepreneur. Customers were clamouring to get back into their gyms and fitness classes during the Covid10 restrictions, proving the popularity of these businesses. Gyms and fitness studios have a market share of around $2 billion and there’s a range of options including yoga, Zumba, pilates, meditation, kickboxing and martial arts, for example. 


These franchise businesses can be a great option for those wanting maximum flexibility in the volume and timing of their work, and for those who want to work outdoors. Most come with branded vehicles, large territories and an established reputation and contracts. Training and support provided is often excellent as well. If you’re the outdoors type and love to choose your own hours and workload, this type of franchise could be an excellent choice. 

These are just a few of the major options available when choosing the best franchise to buy in Australia. It’s a major decision, so take the time to research the options that best suit your budget, skills and lifestyle. 

How to sell your business

Thinking of selling your business? You’re in the right place. But there are a few things you need to know first, to ensure the value you’ve built through your hard work isn’t lost. You’ve probably already thought about a price tag, and even what your next adventure could be.

Selling up might seem as simple as finding the right buyer, who’s willing to pay the right price. But there’s bit more to it than that. We’ve put together a range of helpful tips and questions to help you avoid costly mistakes when selling your business, and make sure you and your buyer both end up satisfied. 

1. Is it the right time to sell?

If you’re selling on a whim, then it’s probably best to be honest about the reasons why you’re looking at selling your business. If stress or a negative experience are part of the reason, the timing might not be the best.  Potential buyers can easily pick up on any negativity, and it could affect how they perceive your business and how well it is run.  It might be better to take a little more time to plan for a future sale, and aim to build up your business to the best possible value. Don’t forget to keep a good account of your efforts so you can demonstrate the improvements.

2. Have you properly promoted your business?

No one knows your business better than you do, so you’re in the best position to spruik it’s value. You might be surprised how many leads you can generate by combing through your supply or professional networks.  If that’s not something you’re comfortable with, we are here to help. With a national reach and options for levels of promotion, Selling Businesses Australia can do  a lot of the promotional legwork for you.

Going it alone on promotion can take more time and effort, but we’re here to help you with some tips and tricks along the way, to help you through the process.

If you’re still unsure though, engaging a business broker might be the best way for you to go to market. Make sure you have carried out your due diligence beforehand (due diligence is not just for purchasers in a business sale!). Expect to pay an initial fee to engage their services and negotiate a commission for the eventual sale, usually around 10% of the total sale. Make sure you are comfortable with who you are trusting the sale to – make sure they’re familiar with your type of business and have a proven track record for positive outcomes. Remember, you’re paying them for a service so they are working for you – you have to be comfortable with the relationship.

3. Call in the professionals

You’ll need some trusted professionals on your side not only when you’ve found the right buyer, but from the outset. Ideally a solicitor and your accountant with the skills and expertise to help guide you through the process. These professionals will be required whether you have committed to selling on your own or through a broker.

The solicitor will be integral with regard to maintaining confidentiality for both parties during the sale process. Letters of intent, non-disclosure agreements (often called NDAs) and confidentiality agreements are useful documents that your lawyer will assist with.

Once you’ve found your purchaser, drawing up and filing of your sale paperwork will fall to your solicitor and accountant. They will work with the purchaser’s representatives to finalise the sale.

4. Get your paperwork together

Make sure you have everything you need to demonstrate the value of your business to potential buyers. There’s a series of documents and information buyers will expect to see when looking for purchase.

Having them ready to go helps build confidence when a purchaser is carrying out their due diligence. As a rough guide, you will need the following documents ready to go when you list your business:

  • Financial records – profit and loss statements, bank loans, forecasts and an outgoing costs breakdown
  • Commercial information – supplier accounts, registration papers (ABN and other permits), asset and insurance details
  • Operational documents – business history, supplier information, stock inventory lists, strategy, procedure and process documents, current rosters and marketing materials
  • Legal details – staff and customer contracts, franchise agreements and/or leases (where applicable), and health and safety guidelines
  • Forecasting documents – detailed plans for future business growth, anything that shows intellectual property, revenue growth – things that may make potential purchaser’s see your business as a sound investment

These documents will be covered under the previously mentioned non disclosure and confidentiality agreements (another reason to have a good team behind you!). As a general rule; the more you are able to provide, the more it reduces the level of uncertainty for the buyer. And, at the end of the day, that leads to a smoother, more efficient sale.

5. Putting a price on it

How do you put a price on the hard work and effort you have invested into your business? There are a few things you should do before you determine how to value your business. 

  • What are similar businesses currently priced at (you can check here<insert hyperlink to SBA website search page> and narrow the search down to your industry/business type)?
  • Given the business current situation, what kind of return of investment (ROI) could you expect (your accountant can assist with this)?
  • What’s the current value of your assets and goodwill (debts to be paid, future contracts yet to be honoured)
  • Forecasting future profits
  • Taking it back and working out how much it would be to start the business from scratch

A great accountant will be invaluable  – they’ll help take the emotion out of the ultimate decision. You’re likely to have buyers who already know the market, have a price in mind they’re prepared to pay, with the right level of detail and information, so it may be wise to look at it from their perspective. If you’d be happy to pay what you’re asking when in that mindset, you might be on to a good thing.

6. And let’s go!

You’ve got everything in order, reports are ready to go, you’ve set a price you’re comfortable, written the best ad you’ve ever seen and you’re about to press go. You’ve come a long way, and not to let you down, but you might have a way to go. Businesses in Australia take on average 6-9 months to sell, so make your ad live and knuckle down to sell your business.

Now is the time to use your networks – you never know who is in the market (and let’s face it, you don’t know until you ask). Prospective buyers will have done their homework before contacting you. The sooner you can respond to their queries, the quicker the rapport builds. Use this to your advantage so you can both get to where you want to sooner

7. The fine art of negotiation

They like you, you like them- now you need to finalise everything to confirm the deal. A contract will be required to note the key points:

  • Agreed sale price
  • Deposit amount
  • Settlement period
  • Handover and training details
  • Any agreed trading restrictions (non-compete clauses, if required)
  • A complete list of assets and liabilities relevant to the sale
  • Staff arrangements
  • Other applicable details

The final contract will be drawn up once all parties are in agreement. Verbal or written offers are not legally valid until both parties sign an agreed contract. So don’t count your chickens before they hatch, be pragmatic, prudent and above all, reasonable, until you’re happy with the proposed outcome.

If you want to take a deeper dive into the fine art of negotiation, check out this post.

8. Signed, sealed, delivered. Moving forward.

So it’s the end of a chapter – you’ve sold your business. Congratulations.

Now you need to deliver on the items relevant in the final contract, assist in handing over the business to the new owners (there’s a great list from the Australian Government here to assist) and bid your farewell.

Take a moment to look back on all you achieved and move on to your next exciting adventure.

In summary, a business sale is like any other process – it’s a process. But if you’re committed, organised and prepared to dedicate the time, the future is yours.

How to Sell Your Cafe Business

Have you ever considered selling your cafe or restaurant? Most business owners find this to be a tough decision to make – especially if you’ve built your café or restaurant up from scratch. With so much time and effort put into starting and running your eatery, it might help to keep an open mind when considering whether you’ll benefit more from selling or by staying put.

If you’ve already received an offer to sell, it could be difficult to entertain the feeling of having to let go of all your hard work. But just ask anyone who’s ever sold his or her first business. They’ll be sure to tell you that feelings should hardly come in the way when opportunity comes knocking on the front door of your café or restaurant.

In a nutshell, it pays to keep an open mind when the right opportunity presents itself. It takes time to successfully sell your business. Buyers won’t just appear out of the blue the moment you’ve resolved to sell your café. Most business owners have a year on average between the time they list their business, and get it successfully sold. That’s a lot of time on your hands to spend auditing your business to figure out how else you could increase its value.

So is there anything else on your to-do list, when it comes to improving the value of your business? Are there any assets, fixtures, or machinery in your business premises that might need fixing or replacing before you list your café to potential buyers? How about making improvements to your business processes? A year could provide lots of time and opportunity for you to create additional value for a potential sale. Running a café or restaurant might help lots of business owners get by financially – but in the business world, real rewards are always reaped from increasing the value of your café.

Raise the Value of Your Café Before You Sell It

It’s common sense to make the most from the sale of your hard work, and investment of resources. If you are looking for ways to prepare your business for sale, then you’re already thinking in the right direction. Businesses that are prepared for sale generally sell in a shorter amount of time, and for more money. With a well-planned exit strategy, your café or restaurant could value at up to 50 – 100 % more than any other business sold without preparation.

If you want your café to sell well, your accountant should probably be the first person you consult. Discuss any potential tax implications, and the timeline of your potential sale. Could either of these types of factors influence your financial standing during the process of a potential sale? Are you financially prepared to go through with the sale?

Selling your cafe business could make for a very emotional decision. Especially for first time business owners, and those who have developed an attachment to their café or restaurant from all their hard work. Plenty of these types of businesses can start off as pet projects, built from their owners’ passions. However, times can get bad for any business owner, and this leaves many of them inclined to sell their business based on emotional decisions. Needless to say, you should reconsider selling if your reason for doing so is built around wanting to be rid of the pain points you experience from running your café. When it comes to selling a cafe, it’s always better to focus on your entrepreneurial motivations, and not your emotional perspectives.

Consulting with a professional broker could also grant you an advantage not often considered by many entrepreneurs. A professional broker could help you determine an accurate valuation of your business, so you’ll be prepared to enter any potential negotiation with a buyer. Professional business brokers also have access to industry information, and can provide an accurate idea of what businesses actually sell for.

When it comes to selling a cafe, most of the work goes into preparation. Start by getting your documents in order. By this, we mean everything from your expenditure to payroll, to provide potential buyers with proof of accountability. The point of all this preparation is to reduce any perspective of risk that may appear in the mind of your potential buyer. In our experience, buyers often react to risk through either of two ways. By questioning the opportunity, thus slowing down the sale process, or by seeing an opportunity to further negotiate your asking price.

It might surprise you to know that there are people who go through the entire process of preparing their business for sale, only to realise much later that they would rather not sell. The benefit to this is that you’ll find your business much easier to run, especially after you’ve taken stock of your café’s different operational aspects.

We can Help You Achieve Real Results whether You are Buying or Selling Your Business

Professional business brokers look to achieve a smooth outcome, no matter what the objective of your transaction is. At Selling Your Business, our team of professional brokers brings over 20 years’ experience, and an extensive network of contacts and resources to bring immediate benefit to your search for a buyer or seller.

Regardless your specific preferences, working with a professional business brokerage like ours can grant the degree of confidentiality you may seek in a private sale. We are also able to provide our network with an updated listing of businesses available on the market. Keeping a current inventory is just one way we help our clients attract more buyers, and your business’ marketability is something we keep as a top priority.

If you are looking to close a deal on your café or restaurant business, Selling Your Business provides the expert counsel and execution to help you achieve maximum profitability on your sale or purchase.