Buy a Business from a Baby Boomer!

Family business

By: Visar Salihu, Business Banker

According to the California Association of Business Brokers, Baby Boomers are on the verge of selling almost 12 million businesses over the next 10 to 15 years. This obviously represents a significant opportunity for Gen X and Millennial’s with entrepreneurial aspirations of their own.

The best opportunities may lie with businesses that are ready to be transferred to 2nd Generation family members due to an impending retirement, but there are also going to be a lot of Baby Boomers who don’t have a family member in line. Find a business that you’re passionate about and make sure that it can adapt to one important thing – technology!

Here are some benefits to consider when purchasing an existing business:

  • Proven Concept – Buying a business with a proven concept is less risky. Buying a business with a proven concept that’s been around for a while is even less risky (although there’s always risk!).
  • Recognition – It’s likely that you’re buying a business with a recognized name already. That’s huge!
  • Equipment – If equipment has been updated recently, the business will have a more seamless transition. You can then focus on improving and growing the business immediately.
  • People – In addition to getting knowledgeable existing employees, you can also have the existing owner stay on for a year or so to show you the ropes (looks great to banks!).
  • Customers – The business has existing, loyal customers! You need to make sure to continue to nurture those relationships.

There is a great deal of initial due diligence, but the most important task is to make sure the business has been (and will continue to be) financially stable for quite some time. I’d advise getting expert help with financials. Then, research if there will be continuing demand for that type of product or service. For instance, if the business is a VHS rental store, then I’d recommend you move on. If you’ve identified ways to make the business better or continue its mission, then you’re on the right track.

There is always risk when you decide to become a business owner, but it’s your job to find ways to minimize it. (Let me repeat: Don’t buy a VHS rental store.)

The Education Center on our website has more information about the pros and cons of buying an existing business, as well as how to get started. If you’d like to talk about buying a business or have a specific opportunity to evaluate, I invite you to contact me with any questions at

 Member FDIC.


Watch Your Pennies…

By Stan Koopmans, Senior Vice President – Business Relationship Manager

Watch your pennies, and your dollars will watch themselves. Watch your dollars, and your hundreds of dollars will watch themselves. Watch your hundreds of dollars, and your thousands of dollars will watch themselves. You get the idea.

The Penny Rule Makes Business Sense

I remember when I first heard the “Penny Rule” as a small boy, I thought it would be a good practice with my personal finances. After all, I was just starting to earn money as a paper boy.  A short time later, I realized the greatly expanded application of the Penny Rule during a conversation with my dad.

Driving home from a farm auction we attended, I asked, “Why did that farmer need five hacksaws?” My dad explained that the farmer didn’t need that many hacksaws, but that he didn’t keep track or take care of his tools. So when he needed to use a tool  – a hacksaw, for instance – he would just run to town to buy another. In other words, he didn’t watch his business, and because of squandering and wasting money over the years, it ended with him having to sell out in a farm auction due to too much debt.

I don’t remember what my dad bought at the auction that day. What I do remember is realizing that the Penny Rule had applications to the business world, as well.

Good Examples of The Penny Rule

It has been many years since I first heard the Penny Rule, but it still holds true. As a long-term commercial lender I have had the privilege of observing numerous great managers and owners watch their pennies when leading their businesses. For example, I have an existing customer that needs several expensive specialty tools (much more expensive and complicated than hacksaws) on job sites scattered throughout the Midwest. Every tool has its assigned place on peg boards at the main office and must be signed out. As a result, tool costs are controlled, and time and money aren’t wasted searching for existing tools or buying duplicates.

Another way to watch pennies add up is energy costs throughout the year. Money and energy saving considerations can include:

  • Occupancy sensors that shut off lights in rooms that are not being used
  • Timers that turn the heat down during the night and back up again early in the morning
  • Fuel-efficient vehicles
  • Door closers
  • Heat tape
  • Solar panels
  • and more!

Going Overboard

Can frugality be carried too far?  Absolutely. Like most everything in life, balance is essential!  If taken too far, penny pinching can be considered extreme (even bizarre) with no real buy in except for ridicule from observers and participants.

Two examples from my days as a bank examiner come readily to mind.  A former co-worker would stop his car along the road to pick up one aluminum can because there was a 5-cent rebate. Another example happened when reviewing the official minutes of a bank’s board of director meetings. Only every other page made sense because the minutes were kept on the back side of “used” paper.  This was also the type of paper they loaded into the copy machine.

So I hope you think of ways to watch your pennies, tens, hundreds, and thousands of dollars, but with proper moderation!

Member FDIC

Online Banking: Integrate online services into your business bookkeeping

Banking online has become extremely popular for personal use, but businesses of all sizes may have even more to gain from online banking services:

  •  Save time. Eliminate time-consuming trips to the bank and schedule/pay bills quickly and efficiently. Plus, 24/7 access means you don’t have to get to the bank before it closes.
  •  Stay organized. File and track financial information electronically.
  •  Get convenient access. Enjoy immediate access to vital financial information.
  •  Go green/eliminate wasted paper. Go as paperless as possible to save money and the environment.
  •  Improve security. Paper copies travel through much less secure routes with an increased chance of getting lost or stolen. In addition to sophisticated online security systems, businesses can monitor accounts online easily and can set alerts for unusual activity or low balances.
  •  Manage cash flow. Built-in reporting helps you easily monitor and analyze income, expenses, current balances, and real-time cash flow.



Getting Started

The right tools not only make any job easier, they should also produce a better result. Online banking tools are no different. Our website redesign is focused on bringing you the right tools in an easy-to-use format that are intended to help you do your job better.

If you’ve never banked online before, here are some basic tools to help you get your feet wet:

1. eStatements allow you get rid of the paper clutter and receive your statements electronically each month. You can view information online or download eStatements to save and file on your computer.

To get started: Click BANKING LOGIN on any page on the State Bank of Cross Plains website. Either login or click on ENROLL along the bottom of the box. Once you are logged into your business account, click on ADD eSTATEMENTS. Complete the enrollment form. At this point you can view your account activity at any time and will receive automatic email notifications when your eStatement is available each month.

2. My $ – Money Manager is a finance management tool that provides a place for you to collect account data for all your different types of accounts whether they are housed at SBCP or elsewhere. Pull your corporate credit cards, investment accounts, mortgage, insurance, and retirement accounts into one interface to track progress, plan your portfolio, and analyze information for budgeting and cash flow.

To get started: Log into ONLINE BANKING and select BUDGET from the home screen. Once enrolled, simply select ADD ACCOUNTS to begin collecting account data in one location.

3.  Bill Pay enables you to store information about regular vendors in your online account so that paying an invoice comes down to entering the amount and choosing the date to send payment. That’s it. The money is either sent by check or transferred wirelessly. You can even schedule regular payments – such as utilities – so they get paid automatically each month. Efficiency at its best!

 To get started: This one might be the easiest of all. Once you’ve logged into your business account click on the BILL PAY tab.



Getting Help

Not tech savvy? No worries. Call our Business Online Services number at (855) 256-7328 for information or assistance. You can also visit our Frequently Asked Questions page. We’re here to help.

These are just a few of the basic tools to get you started. Visit with our VP-Treasury Management for a personalized review of how to integrate our full array of online banking tools into your business. You can reach us at (855) 256-7328.

Member FDIC and Equal Housing Lender.