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5 Key Questions To Ask Before You Buy a Boat Business

Buying a boat is a big commitment of time and money that requires a good number of hours of brainstorming and research to make sure you are making the right move. So imagine what it takes to buy a boat business? Buying a stand alone business or even a franchise is often done so because they are a boater and the industry appeals to them in one way or another.

Still, potential business owners must do their homework in asking a multitude of questions before taking over a boat business.

Here are 5 key questions to ask before you buy one.

What to other business owners say? If the owner wanted to get out of the industry due to dissatisfaction, find out exactly what the problem was and determine whether it is an issue, or issues, you want to take on. If this is a franchise, take a look at franchise associations and forums to see what owners are saying about the challenges of running the business.

Check into whether there has been a big turnover rate. You can easily find this information in a Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) that can be handed to you by the owner or broker of the business you are looking to buy. The document will be able to tell you how many times the business has changed hands and when. As with any business, if there has been a large number of transitions, that points to a chronic problem you may not be able to fix or overcome.

Do your research in figuring out the failure rate. When buying a business or particularly a franchise, you need to know whether there has been a problem with the franchisee or the franchisor. One point to consider is the fact that no matter who is to blame, when the percentage of closures is high, it should be considered a red flag.

You also need to do research on why franchises fail. What might be more important than overall failure rate is knowing exactly why the franchises have failed in the past. Tracking down former owners to find out what exactly happened to their businesses would be a helpful to make your decision.

Find out what percent of the business chain is franchised. In some franchise operations, a small number of units are used almost like a business guinea pig to try out new managerial ideas and other things. All of the other businesses can be franchise-owned. Check to see if the parent company maintains many units but with only a few franchisees. Again, this might turn out to be a red flag when it comes to franchisee support.

Did the Bank Bailout Help Small Businesses?

Just as owning a home was assumed to be a positive financial strategy for individuals, small companies owning commercial real estate was typically seen as a routine and constructive piece of their commercial financing during the period leading up to the most recent financial crisis. Both of these assumptions start to fall apart very quickly when it is difficult or impossible to obtain the underlying real estate loans from banks. Real estate continues to be a major component of the overall economy, and ongoing difficulties involving either obtaining or refinancing commercial mortgage loans presents severe problems for both societal economics in general and small business economics in particular.

Did the Bank Bailout Help Small Businesses?

One of the primary arguments made in favor of bailing out banks in 2008 was that it would permit the restoration of “normal financing” to businesses of all sizes everywhere. Seven years later most small businesses are still waiting for bailout funding to “trickle down” to them. Working capital loans and commercial mortgages are missing in action for many commercial borrowers.

Real estate has regularly been in economic news for both good reasons and bad reasons during the past several decades. Starting around 2005, concerns began appearing about the financial health of both real estate and the overall economy. What we did not know at the time was that banks began making speculative investments in financial derivatives tied to real property at about the same time. Some of these investment practices produced massive losses that precipitated the public banking crisis emerging in 2007 and resulting in a widespread bank bailout program in 2008. Even the few instances in which these derivatives produced profits for the banks proved to be controversial because the profitable investing was frequently at the expense of banking customers.

Zombie Banks and Troubled Banks

Here are two of the real estate and banking problems that are still very actively impairing the small business economy:

  • Zombie Banks are still operating – a Zombie Bank is one with a negative net worth (liabilities exceeding assets).
  • The FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) Troubled Banks List still has more than 200 banking institutions on the list.

It is worth noting that the FDIC does not publicize the problem bank list or name specific banks on the list – probably fearing a “run on the banks” if they did so. The recent “bank holiday” in Greece illustrates how quickly bank depositors can lose confidence in banking institutions. But the FDIC does release the number of banks on their troubled bank list on a quarterly basis. For example, the March 2015 total of problem banks as defined by the FDIC was 253. In comparison, the total was more than 850 banks at the peak of the recent financial crisis – but there were less than 50 troubled banks before the 2008 bank bailouts.

What to Do When Banks Say No

Small business owners must draw their own conclusions about the current financial health of banks, but it seems unlikely that a “Troubled Bank” will be able to make a “normal” level of small business loans. If banks are still saying “No” to routine commercial financing for creditworthy small businesses, what is the recommended response? Small business owners should actively review alternatives that include non-bank financing, reducing business debt and increasing sales with cost-effective solutions such as business proposal writing. At some point the practical need to fire their bank and banker will by necessity become one of the realistic actions by a commercial borrower in need of business financing but unable to obtain it from their current banking institution. In such a scenario, “You’re fired” can quickly become another example of life imitating art.

4 Ways to Increase the Visibility of Your Business Using Google+

Google+ is probably one of the most underused social media platforms for businesses. There are a number of features of Google+ which will benefit your business in a big way. Many people perceive Google+ to be just another social media platform whereas in reality it is not so. Google+ is a great marketing tool if used correctly by businesses. Below mentioned are 4 ways in which your business can use Google+.

Use Google+ collections to compile posts of a certain category together

When you are posting content regularly on a specific aspect of your business, it makes a lot of sense to use the Google+ Collections feature. This feature lets you compile all the content posted by you on a specific topic in one place making it easier for your followers to access the content. This is especially useful when you wish to compile all content related to specific campaigns in one place.

Add location details on your business’s Google+ page

Once a Google+ page has been created for your business, the first way you can use the platform for your business is by listing your website. Following this, your business’s working hours, office address and others can be mentioned. This helps boost your presence on search engines (Google specifically) and subsequently affect your rankings in a positive way. Adding an address and a website to look up gives your business an identity and helps people better identify your business.

Use more images in your Google+ posts

Visuals are used not just to attract the attention of people but also as a part of brand building exercise. Using visuals on your business’s Google+ page helps your business appear on your brand’s or business’s SERP (Search Engine Result Pages). This is a great way to build your presence on search engines. This is possible if your page is locally verified. The better optimized the visuals, greater the chances of your business ranking higher on search engines.

Linkback your Pins to your Google+ page

Linking the Pins on your business’s Pinterest profile back to your Google+ page is a great way to engage with your followers on Google+. When viewers of the Pins posted on your business Pinterest profile come to your Google+ page, they have the option of +1ing the content posted. This gradually leads to more such activities as well as sharing of such posts will lead to Google noticing this activity. This subsequently helps in your SEO efforts.

With these 4 steps, your business is surely going to become more visible on search engines as well as help you increase the number of followers on Google+.