How to Sell Your Plumbing Business for More Money, in Less Time, and With Fewer Hassles

The society which scorns excellence in plumbing as a humble activity and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an exalted activity will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy: neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water.-John W. Gardner

As a plumbing business owner, your focus on achieving excellence in the profession has yielded great success. You love what you do and your passion and hard work has paid off.

Your business has managed to survive and prosper in the toughest economic climates and has earned the respect of your customers, peers and employees. Your plumbing company is considered a true asset to the community with a reputation for reliability and honesty.

All of this, however, has come at a price. You’ve had to sacrifice time you might rather have spent with family or pursuing a hobby or other interest. You may have postponed taking better care of your health and fitness. You may be at a point, right now where you want to retire from the business and start the next half of your life.

If you are like the majority of plumbing company owners, you simply haven’t had time to sit down and plan for the inevitable day when you will exit your business. In fact, the vast majority of owners of small and medium-sized businesses (nearly 80 %!) admit that they have no succession plan in place.

This fact points to a common assumption many business owners make.

“My business is so profitable and amazing that it will be easy for me to find buyers and sell it quickly.”

Unfortunately this is far removed from reality. Even in the best of times, for the very best businesses, the success rate for selling in the United States is less than 3%.

That’s why, if you plan on exiting your business, you should start putting together a plan at least two years before you intend to leave.

Document your financials to assist in valuation…

Putting together a thorough, comprehensive exit plan entails paying attention to some critical areas of your business in order to attract the highest caliber of potential buyers.

For example, you must have fully-documented financials available that cover a minimum of five years, including the present year.

For savvy buyers, the reality of potential return on investment is what your plumbing company actually looks like on paper, and not what you as the seller think it is worth.

While you will certainly want to engage the services of an experienced professional who is well-versed in all the nuances of proper valuation, you do need to understand at least some of the factors considered in a valuation.

Potential buyers will focus on obvious things such as net income, revenue, and cash flow as basic measures

Buyers may also consider what is known as the EBITDA, or “earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization,” a measure used to analyze and compare profitability between companies.

In addition to a thorough financial review, a buyer who is looking to invest in a plumbing business will consider other things before making an offer. A prospect will probably want to know details such as how many service calls you average per day and the value of those calls.

He or she will be looking beyond the books for both tangible and intangible factors that make your business more likely to produce a quick return on investment. Planning ahead will ensure that you have done everything possible to make your business an attractive option for the prospective buyer.

What you can do right now to prepare for a great outcome…
The first place to start when planning a business exit is to put together a highly-skilled, trustworthy transition team.

This team consists of experts and trusted advisors with experience in business transitions, as well as key employees, family members, and other interested parties. In addition to your attorney and tax consultant, include a mentor from your industry who has actually gone through the sales process; someone who has been in the trenches and can assist and advise you.

Selling a business is no longer effected with a bundle of cash and a handshake. It is a highly complex process and you need as much expertise and wisdom as you can gather together. Once your team has been assembled, you can meet regularly to draw up a step-by-step transition blueprint.

After your team has been assembled and you have created a basic timeline for how your exit will play out, you then need to put a lot of effort into making your business as profitable and efficient as possible.

Experts liken this to the seller of a home making the cosmetic fixes that lead to “curb appeal.”

You don’t want to wait until the last minute to start enhancing the curb appeal of your plumbing establishment.

If it makes sense to your transition team, consider replacing or repairing worn-out equipment and tools. Run the numbers to determine whether or not it is worthwhile to invest in new trucks, communication equipment, or computers.

Your physical location speaks volumes to a potential buyer, so don’t neglect it. Something as simple and inexpensive as tidying up the landscaping, throwing a fresh coat of paint on the exterior, or ensuring that the dumpsters are emptied and clean, can make a big difference when you are courting buyers.

Get your employees in the habit of keeping their company vehicles clean, their workspaces orderly, and their personal appearances neat and professional.

First impressions count and never more so than when you are trying to find the perfect buyer for your plumbing company.

Don’t forget to grow your business…

Once you’ve made the determination to leave your business, it’s easy to get caught up in the sales process and forget you still have customers of whom you need to take care.

Don’t allow yourself to get distracted from the everyday running of the business. Allow your advisors and transition team to handle the exit details while you do everything you can to increase your bottom line and make the company run more efficiently.

Remember: the typical qualified buyer most likely is not purchasing your business because he or she has always dreamed of becoming a plumber. That buyer is looking for a business that will produce profits now and for many years to come.

If you have key commercial accounts, now is the time to make them feel especially appreciated. Customer loyalty is one of the intangible qualities that seasoned buyers look for in a business. Do your best to keep your client base happy, satisfied, and singing your praises. Something as simple as a phone call from you, a thank you card, or an invitation to lunch can create strong feelings of loyalty in a client.

You may also want to step up your marketing efforts a bit to get those service calls coming in more regularly or shore up your commercial database.

Even if you are currently busy and successful, building a pipeline to add new clients is never a bad thing. To a potential buyer, a phone that never stops ringing is an irresistible siren song.

Consider this…

It is likely that you will only get one chance to successfully sell your plumbing company. There are many gremlins that can creep into the process and wind up making it take longer and cost more.

That’s why it is so important to put together your team and create a game plan that doesn’t overlook any detail.

As you prepare to end your career in plumbing and move on to the next phase of your life, you must avoid making mistakes in strategic planning that will cost you money.

A short article such as this one can’t possibly address all the factors that go into a very successful, stress-free business transition. The hope is, however, that this will get you started doing the necessary things to guarantee the best outcome.

Leaving your plumbing business is one of the most important phases of your life. Planning and preparation ensures that you will be able to get out of your business the money you need in order to create the future you desire.

Educating yourself now on the perfect exit strategy and implementing it in phases is the best way to avoid making bad decisions that will impact your retirement.

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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!