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Take a look at Calhoun Companies' blog written by our business brokers in Minnesota for advice & guidance in buying & selling a business!

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Calhoun Companies Agent Spotlight: Don Orke

by Rose McKinney
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Wednesday, 17 December 2014 Category Industry 0 Comments

Get to know our Calhoun Companies agents!

Each member of our staff has the unique knowledge and experience necessary to help you make a mutually beneficial business deal. Whether you are looking to jumpstart your future by buying a business, or sell your business to the best buyer possible, these are the men and women who make it happen.

 

Don Orke

Family: Wife Karen, one daughter and grandson, two stepsons

Education: BS, MS, University of Minnesota

Home: Plymouth, MN

Organizations: MN Lodging Association, Wisconsin

 

don orkeHow many years have you been working at Calhoun Companies?

13 years

What type of businesses do you like to work with?

Motels/Hotels

What is one of your most rewarding memories or the thing you like most about working at Calhoun Companies?

The opportunity for success

Where can people find you on the weekends? Or during a Minnesota summer?

Fishing, hunting, wildlife photography

If you had tickets to a concert, who would you like to see?

Josh Groban

What is one food item that you couldn’t live without?

Chocolate

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?

The opportunity to attend the University of Minnesota

If you had to choose another job, what would it be?

A retirement that would include teaching my grandson about nature and the joys of outdoor recreation.

Tags: agent spotlight, don orke, agents
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The Business Journals: 3 Reasons Why Family Succession May Not be an Exit Strategy

by Rose McKinney
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Monday, 15 December 2014 Category Industry 0 Comments

Calhoun Companies President and Co-owner, Andy Kocemba, is a contributing writer for The Business Journals. Every month he will provide tips on making the most of your small business.

Biz Journal 1

It seems just about every week there is a different seminar, webinar or blog that comes through my email inbox pertaining to succession planning. The experts want to share how to best transition your business to the next generation.

But what if transitioning the business to your children is not in your best interest, their best interest or the company's?

Here are the top three reasons why you may want to look to an outside buyer when it becomes time to transition out of your company.

 

Read more about why family succession may not be your exit strategy on The Business Journals website.

 

Tags: Succession, small business, planning, selling
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EMyth Shares Small Business End-of-Year Tax Tips

by Rose McKinney
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Wednesday, 10 December 2014 Category Industry 0 Comments

As 2014 comes to a close, small business owners often start thinking about end-of-year taxes. We recently found an informative article on EMyth.com that offers advice on what deductions small business owners may be able to utilize.

In the article, CPA Martin Kamenski provides tips and a brief explanation of some of the more common tax deductions small business owners may forget.According to Kamenski, deductions for small businesses could include: the use of a home office, travel expenses, year-end spending, inventory donations and the small business health care credit.

To read Kamenski's tips and explanations, visit EMyth.com.

Tags: small business tax tips, small business tax advice, advice, tax tips, tips, tax, deductions, year-end bill, industry, small business, taxes
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Minnesota Business magazine: More Small-business Owners Selling Companies -- and Learning Lessons Along the Way

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Monday, 08 December 2014 Category Industry 0 Comments

As economy rebounds, brokerages report better-performing businesses, more cash-ready buyers, and more sellers in the marketplace.

By Dan Emerson, Minnesota Business

11-20-2014

andyRegardless of industry, target market, or other factors, no one stays in business forever. For most entrepreneurs, the ideal outcome is selling the business at the “right” time — however that may be defined — for a nice profit.

Of course, business deals don’t occur in a vacuum. Current conditions in a given industry and the overall economy have a major impact on transactions, helping determine the size of the prospective buyer pool, negotiating challenges, and ultimate sale price. The recent recession had a dampening effect, but the rebounding economy has led to increased sales-and-acquisition activity, as reported by business brokers.

Andy Kocemba, president of Edina-based Calhoun Companies, Minnesota’s oldest and largest business brokerage, has experienced the uptrend firsthand. He cites several reasons for it, as listed by the International Business Brokers Association: more cash-ready buyers in the market; better-performing businesses, which makes them more attractive to prospective buyers; more confidence and less uncertainty among buyers; and more sellers in the marketplace.

The recession not only had a negative impact on business performance, but it also took a bite out of retirement accounts, causing many company owners to postpone selling. Recently, “more business owners have been able to build back up to where they once were and are again in position to sell,” says Kocemba, who runs Calhoun Companies along with his father, Wally Kocemba.

One of the first steps in considering the sale of a business is usually enlisting the help of a qualified business broker. The latter can access and market to the business-for-sale marketplace, navigate the universe of potential buyers, and achieve the desired outcome.

“Our business is about connecting people and building trust, because to some degree the buyer and seller are working together,” says Kocemba. “They have a common interest in seeing the deal succeed.”

The broker’s focus on getting the deal done allows the business owner to concentrate on running a successful business. “It’s a process that does take some time, and if a business owner loses focus and drops the ball for even a few months, that can have a negative effect on the numbers,” Kocemba points out.

According to Craig Arends, a business broker, CPA, and partner with Minneapolis-based CliftonLarsenAllen, one of the crucial steps in selling a business is arriving at a fair, realistic, and empirically supported valuation for the enterprise. It’s also an area with potential pitfalls. Less experienced owners, he notes, sometimes make the mistake of starting with an arbitrary target price. “Someone might say, ‘My company is going to be priced at eight times EBITDA.’ ” But valuation, he says, is based on a number of factors, including recent, current, and projected revenue growth; industry trends; degree of customer concentration; and quality and age of the management team.

Also, “transition date” and “retirement date” are often negotiable points in a merger or acquisition deal, Arends notes. Typically, a buyer will be willing to pay a little more for a management team and ownership that is going to stick around, if only on a temporary basis. “If the seller’s group retains some percentage of minority ownership and has ‘skin in the game,’ that will give you greater valuation, as well,” he says.

Small-business acquisitions are most often financed by a bank, with a combination of cash-down and seller-financing, according to Kocemba. His firm often uses business acquisition loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration, which can generally qualify up to 70 percent of the loan amount. In a typical case, the buyer might make a 20 percent down payment, with the seller financing another 10 percent. Helping buyers secure suitable financing is another one of the broker’s functions.

Kocemba counsels business owners that “it’s never too early to start thinking about selling your business. Even if you are only a few years into a startup, you should always have an exit plan in mind, because — one way or another — every owner eventually leaves the business.” Following, the stories of business owners who recently sold their companies — and the lessons they learned along the way.

 

To read the rest of the article in Minnesota Business, click here.

 

Tags: Minnesota business, sellers, small business, lessons, industry, tips, business advice, advice, selling a business, selling
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The Business Journals: 3 Ways to Get the Biggest Buck for your Business

by Rose McKinney
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Monday, 01 December 2014 Category Sellers 0 Comments

Calhoun Companies President and Co-owner, Andy Kocemba, is a contributing writer for The Business Journals. Every month he will provide tips on making the most of your small business.

 

business-for-sale-generic-thinkstock 800xx3799-2139-0-375

 

Imagine two businesses. Owner A works long hours and doesn't make much money. He hasn't had a vacation in years and doesn't really stand out in the market place.

Owner B runs a highly profitable company and takes three vacations a year. Her staff excels while she's home or away. Her company has distinct processes and a reputation as being the best in the business.

All else equal, for which business would you pay a higher price?

At some point during every business owner's career, the question of business valuation comes to mind. Whether you are nearing the point of selling your company, or are in the earlier stages of building your business, there are three main value drivers to consider.

 

Read more about the three value drivers on The Business Journals website.

 

Tags: business valuation, industry, sellers, selling tips, small business, selling, Business Journal
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Small Business Saturday

by Rose McKinney
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Monday, 24 November 2014 Category Industry 0 Comments

At Calhoun Companies, we are dedicated to serving current and potential small business owners. This week, you have the opportunity to support small businesses as well. Saturday, November 29, is Small Business Saturday. American Express founded Small Business Saturday in 2010 to help local business owners take advantage of the holiday shopping season. It has since been recognized by Congress and has grown into a $5 billion movement that celebrates that backbone of the American economy: small business owners.

In the United States, there are currently more than 28 million small businesses, classified as 500 employees or less. Together they employ more than 50 percent of the adult working population. These businesses stimulate local economies by bringing growth and innovation to a community as well as provide employment opportunities to people who may not be considered employable by larger corporations. Small businesses also regularly give back to their communities by supporting local nonprofits, schools and events.

The U.S. Small Business Administration shared a few more reasons to love small businesses:

  • Between 1993 and 2011, small businesses accounted for 64 percent of the net new jobs created in the United States.
  • Small businesses make up 98 percent of exporters and produce 33 percent of all export value.
  • Small businesses make up more than 46 percent of America’s nonfarm private GDP.
  • Small businesses create 43 percent of all high-tech employment.
  • Small businesses create 16 times more patents per employee than large patenting companies.
  • More than 7.8 million small businesses are owned by women.
  • More than 3.7 million small businesses are owned by veterans.

This Saturday, take the time to visit with some familiar faces and support your local businesses. They will be thankful you did.

Tags: small business administration, industry, small business, Small Business Saturday
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How Healthy is Your Small Business?

by Rose McKinney
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Wednesday, 19 November 2014 Category Industry 0 Comments

Measuring your business’ financial health only by the profits generated per month or the balance in your bank account means you are missing valuable pieces of information. Examining the right metrics has the power to inform you about your business’ financial health as well its ability to grow or weather difficult times. If you want to build a deeper awareness about your business’ finances, analyze your three core financial statements once a quarter. They are:

1. Income Statement – This shows the changes that have occurred over a specific period of time. It displays revenue and expenses as well as net profit or loss.

2. Balance Sheet – This document shows your assets, liabilities, and equity as of a given date. Assets are all of the things you own: money in the bank, real estate, equipment, patents, etc. Liabilities are all of the things you owe to people which must be repaid, such as loans. Finally, equity refers to everything you have earned such as your own money and your business’ profits. Remember, your assets always equal your liabilities plus your equity.

3. Statement of Cash Flows – Your statement of cash flows explains all the non-income statement ways that your bank account balance is affected.

A recent article from EMyth.com explains a few key metrics you should look for.

  • Liquidity – Look at the Current Ratio to determine your ability to cover short-term debts with readily accessible assets. A measure of 2:1 is healthy.

Total Current Assets / Total Current Liabilities

  • Cash Flow – The cash flow ratio will tell you how much cash flow you are generating from your total sales. For example, a cash flow ratio of 23.49 percent tells you that for every $100 in sales, you are earning $23.49 in operating cash flow.

Cash Flow from Operations / Total Revenue

  • A/R Collections – The Accounts Receivable Turnover shows you how many days it takes to collect the money your customers owe you. For example, an A/R Turnover of 3.33 means that your accounts receivable is turned over 3.33 times per year, translating to an average of 110 days to collect.

Net Credit Sales (no cash sales included) / Average Accounts Receivable

  • Profitability – Your Profitability Ratio tells you the amount of profit you are making for every dollar in sales. For example, a ratio of 12.5 percent means that for every $100 you create in revenue, $12.50 goes into your pocket.

EBIT (earnings before interest and tax) / Total Revenue

  • Returns – Your Return on Capital Employed (ROCE) can help you measure how quickly your business is adding to your net worth.

Annualized EBIT / Total Invested Capital

Taking the time to accurately measure your business’ financial performance allows you to make better decisions. If you have any other tips on tracking your small business finances, tell us about them in the comments below.

Tags: small business, small business finances, financial statements, advice, industry, small business owners, finances, tips
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Prepare Your Small Business for a Data Breach

by Rose McKinney
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Monday, 10 November 2014 Category Industry 0 Comments

Data breaches among large corporations made headlines this year with alarming frequency. It may seem like it could never happen to your company, but businesses of all sizes are at risk. USA Today recently reported that in the past year, 43 percent of companies experienced a data breach involving the loss or theft of 1,000 or more records, a ten percent increase from last year.

Keep in mind, while many hackers target big businesses, small businesses are not immune to data breaches. In 2013, a Ponemon Institute study found that 55 percent of small businesses had suffered at least one data breach and 53 percent had experienced multiple breaches.

The question small business owners must answer is no longer, “Will you experience a data breach?” but rather, “What steps can you take to prepare for a breach?”

A recent article on Deluxe.com offers seven steps for developing a plan to prepare your small business for a data breach.

  1. Examine your coverage – Many business insurance policies include cyber liability coverage. Find out what level of protection you have.
  2. Dig into details – Explore those details to learn what your insurance policy actually covers. Will they help with the cost of notifying customers? Do they have a damage control program?
  3. Add protection – Add additional services where your business is vulnerable to data-breach liability.
  4. Time Sensitivity – Check on your insurance policy’s reporting requirements before a breach occurs. Failure to provide timely notification may void your policy.
  5. Customer Service – After a data breach, you will likely field many phone calls from affected employees and/or customers. Develop a plan to deal with their calls before it happens.
  6. Media Outreach – Your data breach will be news. Develop a plan for how you will work with the media. If you choose to hire a company to handle your media relations, pick your partner sooner rather than later.
  7. Restitution – To retain customer confidence after a data breach, many businesses offer credit monitoring or hire an outside firm to guide victims through the reporting and resolution process. Determine which steps your business will take to make things right with your customers.

Follow these steps to limit your losses and avoid damage to your business’ reputation and customer confidence.

Do you have other tips for how to appropriately handle a data breach? Tell us about them in the comments below.

Tags: small business, business owners, security, data breach, business advice, industry
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Calhoun Companies Agent Spotlight: Steve Bragg

by Rose McKinney
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Wednesday, 05 November 2014 Category Industry 0 Comments

Get to know our Calhoun Companies agents!

Each member of our talented staff has the unique knowledge and experience necessary to help you make a mutually beneficial deal. Whether you are looking to jumpstart your future by buying a business, or secure your business’ future by selling it to the best buyer possible, these are the men and women who make it happen.

 

Steve Bragg

Family: Mom & Brother in White Bear Lake, Daughter in Brainerd, Girlfriend & her daughter in Grand Marais, soon to be Lutsen

Education: White Bear Lake High School & International Business Brokers Assoc.

Home: Lutsen, MN

Organizations: IBBA; Duluth, Superior, Iron Range, Hermantown Chambers

 

How many years have you been working at Calhoun Companies?SteveBragg pic

Since 1996

What did you do before Calhoun Companies?

Owned restaurants & rental business

What type of businesses do you like to work with?

Machine Shops, Industry Expert for Restaurants for Business Brokerage Press

Where do you like to celebrate a sale?

On my pontoon boat or snowmobile

What is one of your most rewarding memories or the thing you like most about working at Calhoun Companies?

The reputation and selling only businesses & commercial properties

Where can people find you on the weekends? Or during a Minnesota summer?

At home in Lutsen on Caribou Lake

If you had tickets to a concert, who would you like to see?

Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Eric Clapton

What is one food item that you couldn’t live without?

Shrimp or ice cream

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?

Mud tires from friends when I moved up north in 1984

If you had to choose another job, what would it be?

I can’t imagine

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Press Release: Sale and Purchase of Small Businesses on Pace for Record-Setting Year

by Rose McKinney
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Monday, 27 October 2014 Category Industry 0 Comments

logo bottom new

 

For Immediate Release:

October 23, 2014

Contacts:
Andy Kocemba
Calhoun Companies
andy@calhouncompanies.com
952.564.3822

Danielle Cristal
Pineapple RM
danielle@pineapplerm.com
573.289.9923

 

Sale and Purchase of Small Businesses on Pace for Record-Setting Year

Calhoun Companies Sees Substantial Growth in Local Market during Third Quarter

 

EDINA, Minn., October 23, 2014 – The sale and purchase of small businesses, a reliable indicator of economic health, demonstrate that the Twin Cities market is continuing to experience growth in the third quarter of 2014, reports Calhoun Companies, an Edina-based business brokerage firm.

“Throughout 2014, we have seen a steady increase in buyer and seller confidence leading to more, and larger, transactions,” said Andy Kocemba, president of Calhoun Companies. “Sellers are welcoming the opportunity to undergo business valuations in order to set a sales price that reflects the value of their businesses, and represents a value to potential buyers who are increasingly eager to step into the role of small-business owners as the economy continues to recover."

According to BizBuySell Insight report, in the third quarter of 2014, business transactions nationwide increased by nearly 18 percent from this time last year, resulting in the largest number of business sales in the third quarter since before the recession. Additionally, sellers are regularly receiving nearly 95 percent of their asking price, the highest percentage since the recession hit in 2008. Following increases in the first and second quarters of the year, these numbers keep 2014 on pace to record the highest number of small business transactions since the Insight report began in 2007, indicating continued economic growth beyond recovery from the recession.

Steady growth is expected to continue into 2015 and beyond due to increased buyer and seller confidence. According to BizBuySell’s recent Buyer & Seller Confidence Survey, 95 percent of buyers and 75 percent of sellers hope to close a deal in the next one to two years.

Reports of increased buyer and seller confidence in the Twin Cities are verified by current Calhoun Companies sales trends - the company wrapped up the third quarter with 12 separate transactions averaging nearly $2 million. With the inclusion of several multi-million dollar deals, including two greater than $5 million, total sales topped $23.7 million in what is traditionally the slowest quarter of the year.

About Calhoun Companies

Calhoun Companies is a leading independent business brokerage serving the Twin Cities area and the Upper Midwest since 1908. Specializing in business valuation, buying and selling businesses, and commercial real estate, the team at Calhoun confidently connects buyers and sellers through a successful transaction. Current listings and additional information included on the Calhoun Companies website.

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Press Release: Calhoun Companies Welcomes Kendra Martin as Sales Agent to Focus on Family-Owned Business Transactions

by Rose McKinney
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Wednesday, 22 October 2014 Category Industry 0 Comments

logo bottom new

 

 

 

 

For Immediate Release:
October 2, 2014

Contacts:
Andy Kocemba                                                                                                     Danielle Cristal
Calhoun Companies                                                                                          Pineapple RM
andy@calhouncompanies.com                                                                       danielle@pineapplerm.com
952.564.3822                                                                                                       573.289.9923

 

Calhoun Companies Welcomes  Martin as Sales Agent to Focus on Family-Owned Business Transactions

KendraEDINA, Minn., October 2, 2014 – Business brokerage firm, Calhoun Companies welcomes Kendra Martin to its agent roster. In January 2014, Martin joined Calhoun Companies as an office assistant, while working on her real estate license, and became a sales agent in August 2014. She specializes in business presentations, sales and marketing for family-owned businesses. 

“Kendra is a great addition to Calhoun. Growing up with a family-owned business, she easily relates to and understands how many of our clients operate,” says Andy Kocemba, president of Calhoun Companies.

Martin grew up working for her family’s construction business, LKO Contracting in Duluth, Minn. After receiving a B.A. degree in business management from Bethel University, she moved to San Antonio and worked for The University of Texas Health Science Center as a project coordinator in the curriculum department.

Martin is a member of the Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband Ben.

About Calhoun Companies

Calhoun Companies is a leading independent business brokerage serving the Twin Cities area and the Upper Midwest since 1908. Specializing in business valuation, buying and selling businesses, and commercial real estate, the team at Calhoun confidently connects buyers and sellers through a successful transaction. Current listings and additional information included on the Calhoun Companies website.

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Seller’s Discretionary Earnings (SDE) Decoded

by Rose McKinney
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Monday, 06 October 2014 Category Industry 0 Comments

 

If you have been looking into buying or selling a business, you may have heard your brokerage agent use the term Seller’s Discretionary Earnings (SDE). Seller’s Discretionary Earnings is defined as net profit before taxes, plus compensation to one owner (salary and benefits), amortization, depreciation, interest, other non-cash expenses, and one-time and non-business related expenses. This formula assumes one working owner, and compensation to additional owners will be adjusted to market rates. The real question, however, is what does that mean for you?

Buyers generally look at the earning potential of a business in order to decide on the price they are willing to offer. Because small business accounting is handled differently on a case by case basis, brokers use SDE to determine a true bottom line profit which can be used in valuation and comparison.

Essentially, SDE is simply a business’ net profit plus the addition of accounting expenses, expenses that are not relevant to the business, and one-time costs that may have impacted the past year’s earning potential, but will not impact upcoming earnings. Expenses that are added back to the value of a business include the owner’s salary, organizational dues that are not necessary to business operations, personal expenses paid for through the business such as medical bills and cell phones, large one time expenditures for equipment, uninsured loss, renovations, or fines and penalties, and other expenses that a new buyer will not necessarily be paying. A good example of these additions is equipment costs. Say a business regularly pays $500 per month on equipment payments, but the equipment will be paid off in a year. Since the buyer will not be paying that expense, the $6,000 yearly fee can be added back to the business’ net profit.

Once the SDE is determined, a potential buyer can see the true net value of the business, that is, how much money the business has the potential to earn for them, rather than how much it made the previous owner. This value can then be utilized by both seller and buyer in their negotiations.

If you are unsure of how your broker arrived at the SDE for your perspective business, always ask.

 

Tags: Minnesota business, small business, Business planning, business valuation, business brokerage, buyer, seller, business owner, business broker, business, Seller’s Discretionary Earnings, SDE
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Pioneer Press: Edina brokerage is a local mom-and-pop M&A specialist

by Rose McKinney
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Wednesday, 24 September 2014 Category Industry 0 Comments

 

Calhoun Companies was featured in the Pioneer Press on Sunday, September 21, 2014. Below is the Q&A with Andy Kocemba, president of Calhoun Companies.

 

Edina brokerage is a local mom-and-pop M&A specialist

By David Fondler

dfondler@pioneerpress.com

 

A couple of weeks ago, we reported on a study that found first-half 2014 national and international dealmaking at its highest level since 2007, just before the recession. The study, from global accounting and consulting firm PwC, reported national business transactions pushing a trillion dollars.

These are big deals being done by companies that think globally.

But other companies are thinking locally, and helping them is Calhoun Cos. in Edina.

For the second quarter, the business brokerage reported $4 million in total sales prices across 12 transactions; this on top of nine transactions in the first quarter.

These businesses are restaurants and shops, customer or business service companies, factories and health care.

Calhoun Cos. Andy KocembaMany are family-owned; none have outside investors. And the common denominator is that they are also being bought and sold.

"We certainly provide the same services as your larger M&A advisers and investment bankers, we've just carved a nice niche in that smaller range, and it served us well," said Andy Kocemba, president of the company, which he co-owns with his dad, Wally.

In a recent interview, Andy Kocemba discussed small-business transactions in the Twin Cities and beyond. His answers are edited for context and clarity.

 

Tell us a little about Calhoun Cos.

"It was founded 1908 by a woman out of South Minneapolis, so the name comes from the lake. Back in those days, if you were in real estate, you did whatever it took, so it was commercial, residential real estate.

Through the middle of the century it expanded into property management, insurance, business brokerage, as well the commercial and residential. Pretty big presence in all of those.

"In the 1980s, some of the businesses were sold off. There still is a Calhoun Insurance, and we're primarily a business brokerage. We still do some commercial real estate as well by virtue of the fact that the two are sold together.

"My dad and I bought the company in 2011, after I had previously worked here as a sales agent since 2003. He had worked here since 1993. So we both worked on the sales side, bought the company and moved into ownership."

What kinds of companies are you working with?

"We work with businesses in all industries, all different types. If you were to define a niche, it would be more size-based. We're talking primarily owner/operator business where the owner is there working.

"Service companies always do pretty well because the margins are good. So you can get a profitable service business for relatively low overhead, so that's always attractive to a business buyer. At the same time, people always have liked manufacturing operations, for almost the opposite reason -- that you're buying a lot of stuff; people like the assets. So those always do well.

"Right now, we're seeing trends in anything health-related. We do home health care, we do assisted living, and you can see population trends driving this."

What kind of year are you having?

"Through August, we've actually closed 33 transactions; that's pretty on track, maybe a little higher, as compared to years past. We always see a bigger push to year-end. Business transactions take a while to come together; it's a bit of a longer sales cycle, so based on the activity I've seen this summer, I think we could be in for a big year end."

How did the recession change things for your business or clients?

"What we've seen is through the recession and post, multiples tend to stay mostly the same, maybe they tick up slightly.

"Everybody's hearing about this wave of baby boomers that are coming, and the talk has always been about what happens when they decide to sell their businesses and retire. What really changed through the recession is that wave got pushed back a few years, people started working longer. They had to.

"If you were looking at pre-recession retirement account balances and business values, people were saying, 'I'm sitting pretty, we're all going to sell in 2014 or 2015.' I think that's not the case anymore.

"I read a fact that for the last two quarters, baby boomers have been the top seller group; they've also been the top buying group, which kind of surprised me. That goes to show that this wave of baby boomers is going to be with us for a while."

Did the recession affect the financing side?

"Yes, but somewhat indirectly. The money was still there, banks were still willing to lend on business acquisitions, but it was more a function of fewer businesses and deals that fit into their box. Bank standards didn't change, but market standards did. Banks always wanted three years of upward trends. Then, in comes 2008-2009, and every business takes a backslide. So it was kind of an adjustment; it took banks a couple of years to realize we still need to lend."

And now it's picking up?

"It is; they've adjusted their parameters a little bit, they've realized they have to get money into the market. At the same time, businesses are looking better and better, so it's coming together."

Where do you see the small-business sales market trending?

"Our traditional seller has always been the retirement age, our traditional buyer has always been sort of middle age, tired of corporate, wants to finally get out on their own and do something.

"I think what we're seeing now is a younger group of people, much less anchored into long-term positions, much more fluid. Younger people that maybe want to build a business with the intention of selling it."

 

Click here to read the full article.

 

Tags: Minnesota business, small business, baby boomers, buyers, sellers, leaders, business brokerage, recession, business, media, newspaper
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Calhoun Companies Agent Spotlight: Sam Thompson

by Rose McKinney
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Monday, 15 September 2014 Category Industry 0 Comments

 

Get to know our Calhoun Companies agents!

Every few weeks we will be featuring one of our agents through our Agent Spotlight series. Each member of our talented staff has the extensive experience and knowledge necessary to help you with your own business. Whether you are looking to buy a business or secure your business’ future by selling it to the best buyer possible, these men and women can make it happen. Plus, it never hurts to know which agents have access to a boat!

 

Sam Thompson

Family: Kim (Wife), 3 Daughters: Rae (21), Sean (17), Lee (17)

Education: B.S. Hospitality Management at the University of Wisconsin Stout, CBI with IBBA

Home: Medina, MN

Organizations: Edina Rotary, IBBA, M&A Source, Minneapolis Chamber, Toastmasters

 

Sam Thompson pic resize

How many years have you been working at Calhoun Companies?

2 years

What did you do before Calhoun Companies?

Owned MetroConnections, a hospitality company, for 29 years.

What type of businesses do you like to work with?

Business to Business, Hospitality, IT

Where do you like to celebrate a sale?

Cold beer at Seller’s favorite bar

What is one of your most rewarding memories or the thing you like most about working at Calhoun Companies?

Great reputation, excellent group of agents

Where can people find you on the weekends? Or during a Minnesota summer?

Golfing, pool time with family, traveling

If you had tickets to a concert, who would you like to see?

Just saw Paul McCartney … Unbelievable!

What is one food item that you couldn’t live without?

Unfortunately, ice cream

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?

Photographs of my family from my family that are for my office

If you had to choose another job, what would it be?

Famous author

 

 

Tags: entrepreneur, leadership, team, business brokerage, small business, business, agents
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Build Your Customer Loyalty

by Rose McKinney
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Tuesday, 02 September 2014 Category Industry 0 Comments

We all have a friend who is obsessed with Nike, devoted to Apple, and cannot live without Starbucks. These brands enjoy tremendous levels of customer loyalty, and so can you. A recent article in Inc. Magazine explains how.

While large companies have more resources to invest in marketing and branding, most do not have the patience or ability to understand the needs of every customer and build a personal and unique relationship with them. The ability to generate a personal connection with customers actually means that small businesses, like your own, stand a better chance at building customer satisfaction, and therefore loyalty, than larger ones.

Here’s a look by the numbers at customer relations actions that small businesses do more often than their larger competitors:

 

 

Small Business

Big Business

Thank Customers

97%

81%

Follow-up with Customers

68%

30%

Anticipate Customer Needs

71%

41%

Understand Customer Expectations

73%

49%

Satisfy Customers

94%

64%

 

Why does this matter? Well, 82% of small business owners believe that loyal customers are the key to growth, and they’re right. Retaining customers is also key to maintaining a profitable business. Finding a new customer is approximately 6-7 times more expensive than keeping an existing one. Additionally, loyal customers are worth up to 10 times the price of their first purchase.

Here are some tips to build your customer loyalty:

  • Resolve complaints in a customer’s favor. 70% of the time, they will do business with you again.
  • 70% of the buying experience is based on how customers feel they are being treated, so treat them well.
  • Ask for, and use, the customer’s name. It will make a difference to them.
  • In the past year, 67% of customers have hung up because they couldn’t talk to a real person. Always take their calls.

Read the full Inc. article here. Share your experiences and tips on how to build customer loyalty in the comments below.

 

 

Tags: customer, small business, business, customer loyalty, brand, reputation, customer service, personal connections, business leaders
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Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal's Top 25 Commercial Real Estate Brokerage Firms List

by Rose McKinney
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Monday, 25 August 2014 Category Sellers 0 Comments

We are proud to announce that Calhoun Companies made the top 10 of the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal’s top 25 list of Commercial Real Estate Brokerage Firms. Calhoun Companies placed seventh in the list ranked by Metro-area brokers. We are honored to be surrounded by such good company. Congratulations to all that made the list!

 

Click here to view the full list of Commercial Real Estate Brokerage Firms.

 

 

Tags: business, twin cities, minneapolis, real estate, st. paul, brokerage, commercial real estate, leader
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Why Buying a Business is Better Than Starting One

by Rose McKinney
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Monday, 11 August 2014 Category Buyers 0 Comments

For many individuals, owning their own business is a major goal. Whether inspired by the freedom to be their own boss, the pride of running their own business, or the security that comes with financial independence and control over their own situation, the allure of starting a business is undeniable. Unfortunately, so are the risks. Startup costs can be high, establishing a loyal customer base and cash flow take time, and securing financing can be difficult. Fortunately, there is another way future business owners can achieve their dream.

Buying an existing business represents less of a risk than starting a new business from scratch. It offers potential small business owners the same opportunities for freedom, financial success, and personal fulfillment as starting one.

Here are just a few reasons why buying is better:

  • Your new business will already have an established customer base saving you time and marketing expense.
  • You will have the advantage of working with employees who are already trained and loyal.
  • Your new business will already have a positive cash flow.
  • It will already have survived the 80% failure rate of startups, making it a much safer investment for your future.
  • Your new business will already have addressed issues with standard operating procedure and government reporting requirements saving you time and trouble.
  • In most cases, the hard assets required to run your new business will be included as part of a package deal at no additional costs. This means you may get a bargain on machinery, vehicles, and other important collateral.
  • Your business will already have the community goodwill such as public acceptance, employee efficiency, and customer loyalty that other businesses spend years courting.
  • In many cases, buying a business means you will have the benefit of a previous owner able to train and coach you on the ins and outs of their business and community giving you a leg up on the competition.
  • Banks are more willing to finance existing businesses based on their merits, and sometimes the seller is also willing to finance part of the purchase price.
  • You will gain instant net worth from your new business.

Have you bought or started a business? What do you think of our reasons? Or are you thinking of starting or buying a business? Visit our checklist and see where you stand on buying versus staring a business. Share your experiences of buying and/or starting a business in the comments section.

Tags: Minnesota business, business strategy, business ownership, starting a business, buying is better, customers, small business, entrepreneur, business, buying a business
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Thank You For Supporting Ace in the City and Calhoun Companies

by Rose McKinney
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Wednesday, 06 August 2014 Category Industry 0 Comments

A huge thank you is in order to everyone who joined us in supporting our corporate partner, Ace in the City. With your help and Calhoun Companies’ donation match, we raised $1,750 to purchase backpacks and school supplies for families in the Powderhorn neighborhood!

In addition to support from people like yourselves, our backpack drive also sparked interest and support from local media leading to interviews on KFAI and FOX 9. Appearing on local news gave us an opportunity to spread the word about Ace in the City and their mission to be a good neighbor by supporting their local community with after-school and mentorship programs. For more information on Ace in the City and how you can get involved, click here.

Thank you all for joining us in being good neighbors. We couldn’t have done it without you. We hope everyone has a great school year!

 

Tags: donation, education, back to school, small business, business, giving back, neighbor, community
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Ace in the City Fundraiser Update

by Rose McKinney
Rose McKinney
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Tuesday, 22 July 2014 Category Industry 0 Comments

As of Monday, July 21, we have raised $1,400! Only ten days left to donate to our fundraiser that goes to purchase backpacks and school supplies on behalf of our corporate partner Ace in the City. We’re collecting monetary donations at our office until the end of July.

All the proceeds will go to benefit Ace in the City and its backpack sale, which supports its after-school programs. For more information on Ace in the City, click here.

Thank you to everyone who has donated. There’s still time to donate, too! Just drop off donations to the Calhoun Companies – any amount helps. Read more about how you can donate in last week’s blog post.

 

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Tags: business, local, corporate partnership, corporate responsibility, fundraiser, volunteer, giving back, community
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Calhoun Companies Gives Back to the Community

by Rose McKinney
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Thursday, 10 July 2014 Category Industry 0 Comments

We are proud to announce that we are dedicating the month of July to fundraising for backpacks and school supplies on behalf of our corporate partner Ace in the City. Please join us in helping families living in the Powderhorn neighborhood of South Minneapolis prepare for the upcoming school year by donating to Ace in the City.

 

Here’s how it works:

During the month of July, Calhoun Companies will be collecting monetary donations on behalf of Ace in the City, with Calhoun matching up to $1,500. Ace in the City will use these funds to purchase school supplies and backpacks, then sell them to area families for a greatly reduced price of $10-$15 per filled backpack (a savings of $50 or more). This approach maintains a family’s dignity and provides a sense of ownership to both the parents and the kids. All proceeds from the sale of the backpacks will go to support Ace’s After-School and Literacy programs which impacted more than 250 households last year.

 

How long is this initiative?

Donations can be made now until July 31, 2014. On August 1, 2014 all donations will be delivered to Ace in the City.

 

How can you help?

Checks can made payable to Ace in the City, and dropped off at/mailed to:

Calhoun Companies
7600 Parklawn Ave, Suite 225
Minneapolis, MN 55435
attn: Jodee Leininger

 

Be sure to follow Calhoun Companies on Facebook and Twitter for updates on our fundraising progress.

 

To learn more about Ace in the City’s programs and how the organization helps the South Minneapolis community, visit www.aceinthecity.org/.

Tags: corporate sponsorship, back to school, donation, leadership, business, community
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