Friday, December 18, 2009

The California State Employees Are Killing This State and Should All Be FIRED!

For Anyone Who Doubts Bureaucrats (Mindless Officals as Defined by Webster) are not killing this state even more that it already is here is an e-mail I received from my escrow company. These mindless State employees ought to have their asses kicked!

"Hi Mel:

We have 18 sitting at ABC waiting for transfer. We call everyday (except furlow Friday). All we get is there is a lot of vacation time that needs to be taken, they are really busy and they make no promises.

We have tried to explain that after the end of the year is going to cause additional costs to seller’s, possible tax liabilities, etc. It doesn’t seem to matter."

I rest my case! The State is killing the small businesses!

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Unfriendly California Business Environment COntinues

Well subscribers, the whacko left-wing state of California has just enacted another law to force EVERY business, not some, every one, to file a Used Tax Registration with the taxing authorities. This is just one step closer to literally taxing everything that moves in this screwed-up state control by none-other-than anti-business democrats! When are the people of this state going to wake-up!

Ronald Reagan said "if it moves tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. If it stops moving, subsidize it." We're on step three.

When was the last time a poor person employed people?

California Enacts Qualified Purchasers Act

With ongoing budgetary problems California has enacted a Use Tax registration requirement which applies to any business within the State of California who is defined within the act as a qualified purchaser (Sec. 6066, Revenue & Tax Code).

Effectively anyone or business that purchasers products or services subject to what would normally incur sales taxes must now self asses and pay what is commonly known as the Use Tax which is applied at the same rates as the California Sales Taxes which are dependent upon the location as to where the items or services are consumed or used.

The Use Tax is not new. The registration requirement is, therefore any purchases made that should have had sales taxes added, or purchases made from out of State sources have always been subject to the Use Tax. The new registration requirement will require all purchasers under the new registration requirement to report annually and pay for any escaped taxes.

A “qualified purchaser" is defined as:
A person or business that meets all of the following conditions:
• The person or business receives at least $100,000 in gross receipts from business operations per calendar year. Gross receipts are defined within the act as the total of all receipts from both in-state and out-of-state business operations.
• The person or business is not required to hold a seller's permit or certificate of registration for use tax (under section 6226 of the Revenue and Taxation Code).
• The person or business is not a holder of a use tax direct payment permit.
• The person or business is not otherwise registered with the BOE to report use tax.
Any individual or business that meets these criteria is now immediately required to comply with the new use tax registration requirements. The new law does not differentiate as to type of business, therefore any person or business whether involved in services or the sale of products are required to register with the State Board of Equalization.

The new law is effective as of October 26, 2009 with reporting requirements due not later than April 15 of each year.

We are here to assist you in the registration requirements as well as the compliance with the new filing requirements. Should you need assistance in regards to this very onerous situation we suggest that you contact us directly. The State Board of Equalization has already launched an extensive audit program aimed at those that purchase goods and or qualified services who have not reported or paid the Use Tax in the past, and we are currently working with many clients who have come under this audit program. You do not want to be one of them, and our suggestion is that you contact us first before the State Board of Equalization contacts you.

Should you or your business currently holds a valid State Board of Equalization permit there is no requirement to comply with this new law relating to registration.

We believe that this registration requirement is merely the first step by the State to move towards a sales tax on all products and services as such a proposal has already been made in the State Assembly.

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Friday, November 13, 2009

The Smart Money is Moving into the Restaurant/Bar Business

There is an interesting trend going on in the restaurant and bar selling business. This week we started seeing investors enter the restaurant/bar market. We put 3 deals into contract this week. All three are investors, not operators. All three places are absentee operated. All three have verifiable income.

This is usually where it all begins in every industry after a hard long winter. The investors are jumping! Let’s get those profitable restaurants and bars on the market and let's hope this is a trend!

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Thursday, November 5, 2009

How the Government Politicians Use Panic Syndrom Against Us

Here is yet another example of how politicians use a crisis to gain position on issues they know would never pass under normal circumstances, just as what happen with TARP and the stimulus package. We Americans have to stop this abuse by the politicians who are running up un-godly deficits, killing small business, and capitalism while doing it.

House Bill Would Assure Workers Paid Sick Days
Published: November 3, 2009

In an effort to rein in the spread of the H1N1 flu, Representative George Miller, the chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, introduced legislation on Tuesday that would guarantee five paid sick days for workers sent home by their employers with a contagious illness.

Mr. Miller, Democrat of California, voiced concern that more than 40 million workers did not have paid sick days and that many workers coming into contact with public — like restaurant or school cafeteria employees — would go to work with H1N1 and spread the virus if they could not afford to stay home.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 39 percent of all private-sector workers do not receive paid sick days, while among the bottom 25 percent of wage earners, 63 percent do not.

“Sick workers advised to stay home by their employers shouldn’t have to choose between their livelihood and their co-workers’ or customers’ health,” Mr. Miller said. “This will not only protect employees, but it will save employers money by ensuring that sick employees don’t spread infection to co-workers and customers.”

Under Mr. Miller’s, proposal, which he called “emergency temporary” legislation, workers would be guaranteed the five paid days if their employers sent them home or advised them to stay home or go home.

Under the bill, called the Emergency Influenza Containment Act, workers deciding to stay home on their own, asserting that they are sick, would not be guaranteed paid sick days.

The Centers for Disease Control estimates that a sick employee reporting to work would infect 1 in 10 co-workers.

Business groups have opposed legislation requiring paid sick days, calling them expensive employer mandates for something workers and their bosses can usually work out.

The bill would apply to businesses with 15 or more employees. Under the proposed legislation, workers who follow their employer’s direction to stay home because of contagious illness cannot be fired, disciplined or retaliated against for staying home. The bill would take effect 15 days after being signed and would expire after two years.

Mr. Miller said that he planned hearings the week of Nov. 16. “We would like to move it to the floor as soon as possible,” Mr. Miller said in a telephone news briefing. “The influenza isn’t waiting for the legislative calendar.”

Robert J. Blendon, a professor of health policy at Harvard, said that if millions more people contracted H1N1, many workers living paycheck to paycheck and not receiving paid sick days could face a financial crisis if they or their children contracted bad cases that forced the parents to miss work for one or two weeks.

The bill is co-sponsored by Representative Lynn Woolsey, a California Democrat who is chairwoman of the labor committee’s Workforce Protections Subcommittee. “This bill will ensure that workers who are directed to stay home by their employers can do so without paying a financial penalty,” she said.

In May, Senator Edward M. Kennedy, the late Massachusetts Democrat, and Representative Rosa DeLauro, a Connecticut Democrat, introduced bills in the Senate and House that would guarantee seven paid sick days to all workers at businesses with 15 or more employees.

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Obama Announces Small-Business Lending Push

Published: October 21, 2009
After enduring months of criticism that his administration had done too little to help small businesses weather the recession, President Obama said Wednesday that “there’s still too little credit flowing to our small businesses” and unveiled initiatives he said would open the spigot.
The measures, announced by Mr. Obama at a small records storage company in Maryland, would allow smaller community banks to borrow at low rates from the Treasury Department’s Troubled Asset Relief Program. It would also raise the loan caps on several popular Small Business Administration programs.
Under the administration plan, banks with less than $1 billion in assets could borrow from the program at a lower interest rate than financial institutions are required to pay.
In exchange, banks must demonstrate how they would increase lending to small businesses and follow up with quarterly reports. According to the White House, most business loans by the community banks that are eligible for the new rules are made to small businesses.
In addition, community groups that lend to small businesses in low-income areas under a Treasury Department program will be able to borrow relief money at just 2 percent annually for eight years. In the past, banks have been leery of the such loans because the program allows the government to buy warrants for the banks’ common stock and because it requires the institutions to limit executive compensation. But the small banks probably will not have to issue warrants in that program rules contain an exception for infusions of less than $100 million. The proposal as described Wednesday caps the infusions at $20 million.
The small institutions would be subject to the same compensation rules as any other relief recipient, said Gene Sperling, senior counselor to Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, in an interview. But, he added, “for these smaller community banks, the executive bonus restrictions will usually affect only their single most highly compensated employee.”
But some community bankers remain concerned. “I think that could be a damper on community bank involvement in this program, said Cam Fine, president and chief executive of the Independent Community Bankers of America, a trade association. “Those family-owned banks are not going to want to subject themselves to compensation restrictions imposed by TARP, because it is their own personal money that is the capital of the bank.”
Changing the S.B.A. loan limits will require approval from Congress. The administration’s plans, which would raise the limit on the most popular loan to $5 million from $2 million, are identical to provisions of a bill introduced by Senator Olympia J. Snowe of Maine. She is the ranking Republican on the Senate Small Business Committee and is seen as perhaps the only Republican who may vote for a Democratic-led health care bill.
In a statement, Ms. Snowe indicated she appreciated the gesture. “These actions will help satisfy the capital needs of small businesses looking to start or expand their operations,” she said.
Unlike the S.B.A. proposals, the bailout plan can take effect at the administration’s direction.
“Our goal is to conduct a wide spread consultation with the small business and small bank community for a few weeks, and get this operational as quickly as is practical,” Mr. Sperling said. Check us out at Third Quarter 2009 Data Signals Improving Business-for-Sale Market

Business-for-sale transactions begin to increase after hitting bottom in recent months
San Francisco, CA - October 6, 2009 - -- the Internet's largest marketplace for buying or selling a small business -- today released economic data for the third quarter of 2009. After multiple quarters of declining business-for-sale transactions, the new numbers suggest that the state of the small business economy is finally beginning to improve.'s new Third Quarter 2009 Insight Report shows a 24% year-over-year drop in closed small business transactions. While still lagging behind year-ago transaction numbers,'s previous report -- which included data for the second quarter of 2009 -- showed a dramatic 50% decline in closed business-for-sale transactions when compared to the same time period in 2008. Closed transactions are reported to by business brokers nationwide.'s quarter-over-quarter data also supports the rebound in the business-for-sale marketplace. The number of closed transactions reported in the third quarter increased by 7.4% as compared to second quarter transactions. Just one year earlier, when the recession was hitting its stride, that same quarter-over-quarter statistic dropped 30%.
"After many bleak months for the small business-for-sale economy, the market seems to have hit bottom and is fortunately now beginning to turn around," says Mike Handelsman, General Manager of "As credit eases, business fundamentals recover and SBA lending criteria change with respect to goodwill, we are optimistic that the fourth quarter of this year and the first quarter of 2010 will show increased signs of recovery and growth."
Closed Transactions Increase as Pricing Drops's third quarter data suggests that business sellers are dropping their prices, which is making it possible for more deals to close. For example, the median sale price for closed transactions fell to $149,000 from $189,500 year-over-year, a 21.4% decline in price.
The metrics used to value companies have seen a similarly dramatic downward trend. Revenue multiples on reported closed transactions dropped 9.6% to .62 in the third quarter of 2009, and cash flow multiples dropped to 2.44, a 12.2% year-over-year decrease. The revenue and cash flow multiples are calculated by dividing the selling price of the business by its reported annual revenue or cash flow.
"These year-over-year price declines are dramatic, and suggest there are good deals out there for potential business buyers," says Handelsman. "With unemployment at record high levels, and SBA lending loosening beginning in Q4, this decrease in pricing and valuation numbers has made the prospect of purchasing a business much more achievable to buyers."
Business Brokers Optimistic About Business-for-Sale Transactions
A recent survey of business brokers around the country similarly revealed that they are positive about the future of small business transactions:
34% of business brokers reported expecting to close their next deal within the next few weeks.
75% of survey respondents expect to close their next small business transaction within the next three months.
47% of survey respondents believe small business transaction levels will not fall any further than they were during the second quarter of 2009, which leads 78% of survey respondents to believe that business-for-sale transactions will begin to increase again before Q2 2010.
For more information on the Third Quarter 2009 Insight Report, visit
About BizBuySell: is the Internet's largest and most heavily trafficked business for sale marketplace, with more business for sale listings, more unique users, and more search activity than any other service. currently has an inventory of over 47,000 businesses for sale, and more than 700,000 monthly visits. also has one of the largest databases of sale comparables for recently sold businesses and one of the industry's leading franchise directories. was founded in 1996 and acquired by LoopNet, Inc. in 2004. LoopNet operates the largest commercial real estate listing service online, with more than $500 billion of property listed for sale and 5.7 billion square feet of space for lease. With over 3 million members, LoopNet attracts the Internet's largest community of commercial real estate professionals. For more information, visit
Media Contact:
Frank Krolicki Walker Sands Communications office: (312) 546-4127 email:
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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Colorado minimum wage set to fall next year

By George, someone in Colorado took an economics course! One doesn't raise the minimum wage when unemployement rate is increasing. Will someone please tell that to those clown in Sacramento! And Washington D.C.!

From Nation's Restaurant News
By Alan J. Liddle

DENVER (Oct. 14, 2009) Colorado restaurateurs and other employers may reduce the pay of non-tipped minimum-wage employees by three pennies an hour and pay tipped workers four cents less beginning Jan. 1, according to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.
The wage reduction is based on a state constitutional amendment passed by voters in 2006 that calls for the minimum wage to be adjusted annually based on changes in the cost of living. Until now, inflation has pushed Colorado’s pay floor higher, but that is about to change.
Colorado’s pending wage decrease is believed to be the first among the 10 states that have mechanisms to adjust minimum-wage rates annually based on inflation indexes. The other states with such mechanisms are Arizona, Florida, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Vermont and Washington.

According to a recent Colorado Department of Labor and Employment notice, beginning Jan. 1, the state’s minimum wage will decrease from $7.28 an hour to $7.24 for non-tipped employees and from $4.26 an hour to $4.22 for workers receiving gratuities. While most employers will have to at least meet the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour for non-tipped workers, they may take the full four-cent reduction for employees who receive gratuities because the federal pay floor for individuals who receive tips, $2.13 an hour, is lower than Colorado’s rate.

The Colorado reduction is based on a 0.6-pecent reduction in the Denver-Boulder-Greeley Consumer Price Index between the first half of 2008 and the first half of 2009.
A call to Colorado Restaurant Association officials for comment was not returned by press time. The CRA opposed the wage-indexing amendment when it was put before voters.
Peter Meersman, chief executive and president of the CRA, told the Denver Post that his group will not make a recommendation to members related to maintaining or reducing wages.
Some advocacy groups for the working poor have urged employers not to take the reduction.
A hearing to allow public comment about the proposed order to lower the wage in accordance with the inflation-adjuster mechanism is set for Nov. 6 in Division of Labor chambers in Denver.

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Monday, October 12, 2009

Some People Are Just Too Serious

For those that know me, you know that I laugh a lot. I laugh at myself. I laugh at life's funny situations. I even laugh at politics and the silly things we see that go on in today's world. Darn, one has to laugh to keep sane!

There are those moments in my business where I often say to myself "our business would make a great reality show."

Let me give you an example of the humor I'm faced with each day. SellingRestaurants registers about 150-175 new customers each week. And each week there are those who don't want to play by the rules. They make names and phone numbers up. We've got Ronald Reagan, Barack Obama, and of course John and Jane Doe register on our website, just ot name a few. But the other day, I had the most unsual name register on our website - Sexual Blue.

Now what would the average person think? Of course the average person would instantly think the name is false, right? Well believe it or not, his name is Sexual Blue.

Well I suppose we all make mistakes...sorry Sexual Blue! No one is perfect! Not even your parents!

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Wednesday, October 7, 2009


How often do you go to chain restaurants like B.J.’s, Mortons, PF Changs, Claim Jumpers and whatnot? Did you know you could help your local economy more by going to locally owned restaurants? Think about it. When you spend a dollar at a chain restaurant all the profit leaves the area. If you eat at locally owned restaurants all the profit stays right in your community helping to employ more people. The restaurant owners in turn spend their profits locally.

Personally, I never eat at chain restaurants, not only because I want to support my community, but because the food and service is usually better than the chains. So start helping your community, eat out and eat at locally owned restaurants.

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Sunday, October 4, 2009

It is the Darkest Just before Dawn

Perhaps you’ve heard it before –“it’s the darkest just before dawn.” This phrase is used to describe the hope that is coming after a period of hopelessness. Times where it seems the world is ending; where fear paralyzes the masses and stops them in their tracks while the masses, like sheep, follow their “fear sheppard” to the wolves.
I’ve can’t recall the last time I woke up to watch a sunrise. So I don’t know if the phrase it literally true or not. A simple Google and I’m sure I’ll discover it isn’t. But it’s the meaning of the phrase rather than the legalist accuracy of the phrase that matters.
Today, people are uncertain about the future of their personal, as well as the country’s, economic future, stopping people cold in their tracks from making investments and spending money.

I say it is this very time that smart people recognize the opportunities and seize them. I say when it appears to be the darkest, it is time to buy; it is time to invest. Back in March 2009, the stock market looked like it was headed to bottoms that haven’t been seen in more than a decade. The whole nation was paralyzed. The “fear Sheppard” was out in masses and the masses where following the Sheppard. People panicked. People sold their stockholdings. It seemed the darkest.

But had one bought stock at that time, they’d be looking at 60-100% profits or more. I happen to have lived during the 1987 stock market crash known as Black Monday. That day in October the stock market dropped 25% in one day. It has never dropped that much in one day before or since. To equate that drop into today’s market, that’d be like shaving 2,500 points off the Dow Jones in one day.

Even during the darkest of times in earlier 2009, the Dow only fell 800 points or so in a day. So in October 1987 it was very dark comparatively speaking. Of course, today there are far more complex dynamics playing into the market demise. Had one bought in October 1987, they’d be very wealthy today despite the recent drop in stock prices. But in hindsight it was the best time to buy.

I believe this basic philosophy of buying when all others are petrified in stone by the current situation will result in great wealth being created in the future. I believe in not following the crowd, but rather going against the crowd. When the crowd starts buying, then you ought to seriously think about selling. And when the crowd starts selling or stops buying, you ought to think about buying.

So watch the crowd and go the opposite direction and you can’t go wrong in the long-run.

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Government Endorsed and Sanctioned Monopolies - Corruption!

If you recall, my last article touch on how the states liquor license policies are clear violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act yet no one does anything about it. I believe the reason someone doesn't do anything is because the public is not educated on how the liquor license process and how it helps create monopolies.

In the article I want to create awareness of how the liquor manufacturers and the liquor distributors have government sanctioned and endorsed monopolies. But let read what Wikipedia says about the Sherman Act.

"The Sherman Antitrust Act (Sherman Act,[1] July 2, 1890, ch. 647, 26 Stat. 209, 15 U.S.C. § 17) requires the United States Federal government to investigate and pursue trusts, companies and organizations suspected of violating the Act. It was the first Federal statute to limit cartels and monopolies, and today still forms the basis for most antitrust litigation by the United States federal government."

There are four levels in between the manufacturers and the consumers: (1) Manufacturers are the companies producing the liquor, (2) distributors are the ones taking the manufacturers product and selling it to retail places such as restaurants and liquor stores, (3) the retail stores such as restaurants, liquor stores, grocery stores, etc.. and (4) the consumer.

The manufacturers sign exclusive distribution agreements for territories with individuals or companies. This means there is one distributor for each product within a given territory. In other words, if a restaurant wants to buy a case Jack Daniel's, there is only one choice the restaurant owner may purchase Jack Daniel's. The restaurant owner can't go to costco to buy it. He can't use another source to purchase the Jack Daniel's. THe owner has no other choice but to buy from the one distributor. This is controlled by the state and federal licensing authorities.

Here is what the dictionary says about Monopoly:
"exclusive control of a commodity or service in a particular market, or a control that makes possible the manipulation of prices."

In our situation, the liquor manufacturers give exclusive control of their products to one distributor in a particular area. There is absolutely no competition for that specific product in a territory, none! So this by definition is a monopoly. There is no price competition. A vendee must pay whatever price the distributor or manufacturer wants to charge.

But nothing will be done until the public is educated to understand why so many high profile politicians want these distributorships and will often do unethical thing to get them - these distributorship are cash cows!

But the public are the ones hurt through higher prices.

So please spread the word and one by one we can make this an issue where we can pressure our congress to change these rules and we can defeat the big liquor companies, big distributors resulting in our drinks costing less.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

State Sponsored Monopolies

It's been a while since I wrote something. I'm still on the "kick California" mode.

In 1890, congress and the President passed the Sherman Antitrust Act. According to Wikipedia "The end sought was the prevention of restraints to free competition in business and commercial transactions which tended to restrict production, raise prices, or otherwise control the market to the detriment of purchasers or consumers of goods and services, all of which had come to be regarded as a special form of public injury."

In California the entire alcohol industry is a complete monopoly sponsored by the state. In the end, the consumer and the small business are hurt while big business thrives by this state sponsored monopoly.

How is it a monopoly one may question? First let's start with the issuance of liquor licenses, particularly hard liquor. California legislation requires liquor licenses to be issues by county and issued each year. In most cases these licenses are not transferrable to other counties. There are a fixed number issued by county each year. The number issued is based upon population growth ratios for each county. One can obtain a variance to the law, but that's not often done. For example, Mono county has very few people living in it. But Mono county is where Mammoth Lake resorts are located. Every one knows the population can swell during the ski season. There are 12 hard liquor licenses in that county. The Alcohol authorities issued 3 more this year despite there was no growth in population. Those licenses sell for $300,000 or more. These high prices can also be found in Napa, El Dorado and Placer Counties.

The state sponsored monopoly occurs because the only businesses that can afford to purchase a liquor license for $200,000 or more are large corporations building huge restaurants. The small business man has no chance of getting a liquor license. Sure he/she may get lucky and win one during the state lottery. But not likely.

The result is that in those counties where the liquor licenses are expensive the chain restaurants dominate the food and beverage businesses in the area. And the mom and pop restaurants are disadvantaged by not being able to serve hard liquor.

So the state legislators are sponsoring legislation that prevents free trade when they limit the alcohol licenses. The state needs to review this law, as many state already have. There needs to be simple demand and supply analysis complete to determine where these licenses need to be.

For example, if the market is bidding up license prices in a county it is obvious the demand is high and the supply low. Answer: issue more licenses in that county. If the state see license prices are low in another county, then stop issuing licenses.

The market for liquor licenses in California is efficient enough to do these simple analyses. We as consumer need to call our legislators to change these ancient ways of conducting business.

On my next article I will describe the monopoly that exists with liquor brand distribution all across the nation. It is shocking and very few consumers know it is happening.

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Prime Example of Why Government is Not Our Friend!

This week I called to setup a liquor license transfer with the California Alcohol Beverage Control department. After spending 5 minutes navigating through their complex string of "for this push 1, for that push 2...and 10 layers later get a person" I got a person!

I asked for an appointmnet date. They said they could get us in at the end of August. I said, are you kidding me! She said they are very busy and backlogged right now. I said with what. Last time I checked people are closing restaurants and business and not transferring licenses. I added were there lay-offs at the ABC. She said there were no lay-offs. They have a project their working on for the next few weeks and their not allowed to take appointments.

CAN YOU BELIEVE IT! I told her does the ABC understand people are trying to make aliving out here and these kinds of delays kills deals. She could careless.

To give the inexperienced reader an idea of the issue this is, from the date of the appointment, it takes no less that 6 weeks and now probably 8 weeks to transfer a liquor license. Now with another 6 weeks added because they "can't take appointments" this means the earliest I can close this deal would be 4 months!

Again, another example of mindless bureacrats who could careless about business and people making a living.

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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Technology and Industry Changes - Broker to Buyer

Technology has always been a force in revolutionizing and creating industries. When automobile appeared on the earth, the carriage makers either accepted the new technology or died. When trains appear on the earth either the cargo hauling companies and passenger stage coaches changed or they died. When airplanes came on the earth either the passenger train companies changed or they died. When online travel agencies came on the earth either the travel agent changed or they died.

These are a few examples of how new technology forces change...forever. Is has been said, if the Pullman train car company would have thought of themselves as passenger carriers instead of train companies, we'd all be flying Pullman airlines.

But what happen to all those 10's of thousands of travel agencies that existed prior to the internet? What did we ever do it before the internet? The innovators in the travel industry created great companies such as Priceline and Travelocity based on a simple notion...impower the consumer. And that exactly what the internet has done to so many industries and people who fail to see it coming may as well get hit in the face by a Pullman train car!

So what does this have to do with commerical, residential, and business brokerage? Plenty! Just 15 years ago people who wanted to buy or sell a business had to somehow find a business broker - newspaper ads, phone book, and direct marketing - were the main sources of finding one. And then trying to find the right business or broker was a chore.

The internet removed a lot of the upfront work on finding a broker. But the brokerage business didn't change nor the mindset of the brokers didn't change. Many were theatened by this new technology. To them the internet was just another source of advertising instead of being a new technology leading to a revolution of the brokerage business. For the first time, buyers were impowered by the internet to find the properties they wanted. Soon, sellers realized they were impowered to use the same advertising channels the broker were using.

The brokerage industry is lagging behind technology. The model is changing right now, in front of us all. Instead of broker to broker business models, the brokerage industry is changing to a Broker to Buyer model and perhaps in time is could become a Seller to Buyer model. Yet we still see organizations like CABB (California Association of Business Brokers) and Commerical Multiple Listings Services focusing on the Broker to Broker model in order to compete.

Ultimately the consumer will be impowered to go direct to the seller. There will be a match making service bringing seller and buyer together. The "when" as to timing is sooner than later. So the broker who figures out how to add value to seller and buyer unions will be the big winner. The brokers who are stuck in the old world with broker to broker to buyer business model will go the way of Pullman Coach Cars.

Don't get me wrong, brokers certainly have value to add to every transaction with great strategies in the area of financing, protection, deal nurturing skills, and navigating the landscape of mines to get a deal done. But it has to be done in a world of Seller to Buyer business model.

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Monday, June 29, 2009

Government is Not Our Friend Part IV

In my continue rant of why the government is not our friends as business brokers I'm going to write about what regulations and laws do to the little guy who is simply trying to make a living.

But before I write futher, I want to share a message I received from a prominent Tax CPA in Los Angeles. He writes me this story:

"..the real problems that require resolution to the State problems are to reduce the waste in government - the week before I left I was involved in working with a client on doing work for the City of Moorpark. He normally pays his workers between $12 - $18 dollars an hour which is the prevailing wage in his industry. The City of Moorpark would not sign the contract unless his workers were paid what they considered prevailing wage which was $42.00 an hour. He rebid the contract at that labor rate and was awarded the contract which cost the City an additional $12k for something he was willing to do at the lower price."

There is another example of some brainless bureucrat (remember definition of bureucrat - mindless official) following some rediculous regulation or law which some other bureucrat enacted costing us tax payer big bucks!

Regulations and laws hurt the little guy and helps the monoplies. It hurts the little guy by increasing the hurdle or cost to enter into a particular market. Big companies love regulations and laws because it prevents entreprenuers from chipping away at the big boys on the block. It slows innovation and progress down because it prevents new ideas and approaches to business to freely enter the marketplace. It prevents the spawning on new companies that would otherwise employ millions but for mindless burdensome regulations.

In business brokerage we're faced with constant delays due to regulations and laws which I've pointed out in my prior blogs. Time kills deals. And the state is killing deals because they just can't seem to get out of the pockets of the special interests and run this state like a business. They are running it like a whore house handing out money to any one who wants to buy out our elected officials and by mindless bureucrats who refuse to change, who refuse to revisit their organizations to figure out how to best reduce costs and provide better, less regulated, services to the very people who give them their jobs.

We need a darn revolt in this state!

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Friday, June 26, 2009

The Government is Not Our Friend III

Here is another example of the government adding regulations during tough economic times and making business more difficult in California. Today our escrow company juist sent us a notice reading as foillows:

"Good Afternoon,

I hope all is well you. I wanted to make you aware of the latest to come down from the Department of Insurance in regards to customer service request (see our customer service department email below). The more clearly defined regulations are in effect immediately for our company but officially take effect July 1, 2009. Our passport system will be updated to be in compliance with the property characteristics within the next week. To obtain copies of documents you can contact the county recorders directly and there are several good search engines (ie Data Tree/Cyberhomes) that you can sign up with for a cost and information is available on-line for those services. "

This escrow company in the past could supply very important information about a property to help brokers evalutate the real estate, particularly commercial real estate where comps are not easy to find. But now the state forces them to only supply "Property Characteristics." "Those are as defined in Section 408.3 of the Revenue and Taxation Code, meaning:
· Year of construction of improvements to the property
· Square footage
· Number of bedrooms and bathrooms of all dwellings
· The property’s acreage
· Other attributes of or amenities to the property, such as swimming pools, views, zoning classifications or restrictions, use code designations
· Number of dwelling units of multiple family properties

Unfortunately, we can no longer provide Vesting Deeds, Comparables or a Plat Maps for customer service orders. "

Just one of many, many examploe of how larger government will justify its existence by passing more regulations and more laws. The monster is feeding itself. Sooner or later, food will run out and REALLY LASTING CHANGE will take over! Wake-up America!

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Government is Not Our Friend II

Every once in a while I get on these rants on topics that are near and dear to my vs. government! This is not a partisan article, it is an anti-government article. So if you get offended by those type of article, don't read it!

To continue on my last topic "The Government is Not Our Friend" I want to get into more details of how a larger government means less liberties, more regulations, leading to a less productive business environment; which is EXACTLY what is happening in this country and particular in California.

One important axiom in the business brokerage business, and in any type of transactional business for that "time kills deals." What does this mean? Simple, the longer it takes to close a deal, the higher the chances of the deal failing. When the deal fails, everyone loses, EVERYONE!

So government's role is to help make the process smoother and increase the chance of a successful close, right? NOT! Even though the government is a direct benefactor of getting a deal closed - more fees, more taxes, etc. it makes us transactional brokers crazy with delays and rediculous regulations.

By definition, when government gets bigger, it must justify its existence. How does it do that? It passes more laws and regulations requiring more people to oversee and enforce those new laws and regulations.

Oh sure, you'll hear people say regulations are good, particulary after the financial melt-down in October 2008. Many like to point to the financial melt-down situation as a regulation issue in order to justify all the crazy stuff going on in Washington. Don't be fooled. It was simple greed from all angles (consumers as well as corporations) driving that crisis.

There are plenty of regulations in place to prevent that melt-down, but many were simply ignored for the larger cause "get more American's into homes." That was the driving force! Blinders were on from all sides of the aisle. Republicans turned their heads for corporate America CEO's with sickening bonus programs and Democrats turned their heads for the sake of getting American's into home ownership despite the fact they couldn't afford it.

Ronald Reagan once said "Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it." I believe we're entering Reagan's third stage for our society. When the government makes decisions for the individual - and that's exactly what regulation do - it is reducing our individual rights to manage our own lifes.

Sure there are some good regulations such as don't dump into our lakes and land...don't shoot down airplanes...don't distroy whole forests...etc. but there are many regulations burdening our personal freedoms to succeed.

We experience those burdonsome regulations in California with business transactions and business ownership. More and more companies have left this once great state because of the over regulation and over taxation. I believe in 1990 there were 120 or so fortune 500 companies headquartered in California. That's a lot of corporate folks with good salaries. Today I believe that number is about 20 or so. That's a lot of great jobs gone. Why? As I said, over regulation and over taxation.

We as a nation should be concerned with getting rid of regulations and laws that don't make sense any longer. It is rare that our legislators actually remove laws from the books. We have government entities overseeing other government entities overseeing other government entities and so on. Or policy makers need to get rid of the California Bulk sale law! Our state needs to get rid of the budersome ABC liquor license process. Our local governments need to get rid of the foolish over prices transfer of business health inspections. Our DRE needs to make it easier to get a real estate license during tough times and harder during good times - can you believe these guys at DRE!

If our industry of business brokerage has all these regulation causing delays and lost income, I can only imagine other industries where simple changes can make a whole lot of differences to making deals happen. But as long as the bureaucrats - mindless officials - have an open check book to tax us to death in order to keep thier jobs and power base, they will do it instead of looking to make business in California easy to do. We should all be pounding our government to make our lives easier, and growing it isn't the answer!

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Government is Not Our Friend

This weekend I read an article in the Sacramento Business Journal in the Opinion section titled A Government Belittled, Justice Denied written by Ralph Carmona a former University of California Regent and a former university professor. Just given those two positions, I'm sure one can figure out where his political views are coming from.

Ralph argues that our society needs to maintain our local law enforcement agencies and prison systems and not succumb to the pressures of lower tax revenues. That our community needs to pony-up more money to support these critical functions of our society.

Not a surpising response from a life long government employee who has never signed the "front of the check" and has always signed the "back of the check." Practicvally every singe person in this country, and the world for that fact, is cutting their spending. Coming up with creative ways to reduce their spending given their incomes have changes or their expectations of their income doesn't look good.

So why is it these government bureaucrats - bureaucrats is defined as an official who works on fixed routines without exercising intelligent judgement - just can't be like the rest of us and make tough decision on how to manage better with less?

Instead we see these bureaucrats making our job tougher each day by challenging our licensing requirements or increasing or changing regulations or by increasing taxes.

During tough economic times these are EXACTLY the opposite things government should be doing. Government should be making it easier to sell businesses and do business. Instead these these officials who are exercising routines without intelligences are making life for the very people who pay their damn bills more difficult.

Government should be making it easier to get business purchase loans. Government should be reducing regulations making selling businesses easier. Government should be helping the broker by letting him do his/her job and not harassing him/her because they are looking for any and all sources of additional income.

Here are examples of the absue of these mindless government people: Larry Braden has experienced some very clear harassment from the Washington State department of real estate and the worker compensation board. In California, the ABC no longer allows individuals to select any ABC office to begin the transfer process regardless of how backed-up the office you need is. It could take 2-3 weeks just to get an appointment these days. Health departments have increased their fees for transfers - in Sacramento they now charge $1,200 for a transfer. In California we have a bulk sale law that was established nearly 100 years ago during at time when there was ramped fraud occuring with people skipping town and not paying their vendors. The law is so out-of-date that California is one of five states that still has this law in place. This law causes at least another 30 day delay in trying to close a business purchase. Add this to the ABC delay of 45 days, and one begins to ask why am I here in this state?

Yesterday I had a clients who is purchasing a liqour license from us. He owns a bar in the redevelopment area of Stockton, and area where the city is screaming for more businesses to come in. He has a beer and wine license right now and is converting to a hard liquor license. He initally got the greenlight from the city to convert the license. Then out of seemingly nowhere, one of those mindless officials put on the breaks and said, "oh, you now need a change of use permit which will cost you $5,000 and take at least another 60 days." Can you believe it! Absolutely mindless!

In times like these the government is our enemy, yet we Americans have elected a government that is tripling in size, stripping away our liberties and making our ability to do business even more difficult. What the hell are we thinking folks!

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Paradox of Our Industry In These Tough Times

There is an old song by the Clash that comes to my mind as I swim threw this business buying and selling environment..."should I stay or should I go'" but with slightly different words "should I buy or should I sell."

This song is a classic song about a person who doesn't know what to do and who is totally confused. And this is where our market is right now; albeit we've move a bit farther away from the abyss of total darkest of confusion we were in in February. Now there is a light coming over the horizon, and I hope we're not in Alaska where is stays there for sometime.

There are little trickles of buying activities in all areas of our company. There is certainly increased levels of activity across the spectrum of websites with our advertisers generating plenty of interest and the registration levels at our website are healthy at 130+ per week, not bad for this time of year.

What we need though is more content, and quality content at that. And this is where the confusion starts. The market for new listings will lag the market place's demand for restaurants and businesses driving up multiples for the existing inventory. Seller's with good businesses will start to jump back into the market place as soon as they see transactions are taking place. As I said, we're seeing demand bubbling up right now, and this is traditionally the slower time of year. So perhaps old trends will Clash - I had to say it - with new trends. Let's hope!

We have the best people in the business and the best tools to do deals before every one else starts. So let's make it happen!

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Chasing The Antelope...

If there was ever a day where I felt like that Cheetah in the video chasing down the antelope and licking my chops only to have it pick out from right under my gripping teeth, that day was today!

I've worked on one deal since October 2008. It should have been an easy deal from the beginning. Simple asset sale priced at $125,000, right. Wrong! All parties involved in this deal were tough to deal with; landlord, seller, and buyer. I got the deal past hurdle after hurdle, and there were more hurdles in this deal then in a 400 meter hurdle track race.

First, it was the price. Got past that after two months. Then it was the Seller didn't want to transfer the beer and wine license. Got past that in a month. Then it was the landlord trying to take advantage of the new buyer/tenant with a rediculous lease that resembled nothing of their agreement and the buyer went paranoid from that point forward and had an attorney check the lease not once. not twice, but THREE TIMES. Got past that after two months. Then it was a Buyer who had to check with his buddies, attorney and regional franchisor on every move; and his buddies are the experts, right! Got past all those folks.

So 8 months later and on the day of the posting of the ABC license, buyer, seller, franchise rep for buyer and I meet at the restaurant to post the license. Buyer asks, by the way, the phone number is included in the sale, right? I say no, you're buying a asset, not a business. You changing the name. The sellers owns another place just down the road in the next town and they're going to transfer the number, right? Buyer say, then I don't want the place. Deal over!

One can never know when immaterial points like the transfer of a phone number can kill a deal. Needless to say, I was amazed! I still hold-out some hope and I will try to get creative to try to make the deal happen, but I'm laughing at the

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I use to say....

In recent times I'd say I was working twice as hard making half as I say I'm working four times as hard making one-quarter as much. Not really, but it often feels that way.

Deals have gotten tough, but not impossible. It just seems like it takes patience and thought at every step of the way and if a beat is missed, the deal is lost.

As Steve McFarland so cleverly wrote today about the humorous video showing the man running after an antelope that was chased-down by a cheetah...

"Oh, I get it…it’s a mixed metaphor!! Let’s see, the forest represents a very hard way to make a living, not much food (deals) to forage, the Cheetah is the hungry agent finally tracking down a buyer/deal (the antelope), so close you can taste the money, when suddenly it’s snatched away at the last minute by an evil landlord or something of the like…am I close??"

Yes Steve you hit it on the head! But it all means we need to do better setup of our deals, better planning while in escrow, exercise patience during the process, and most important be thoughtful at every step. Lean on each other for advice and don't go it alone out there.

Things do seem to be picking up in April after a very slow February and March. But the big deal just are not connecting yet for two reasons: (1) buyers are not willing to pay the 2-3 times annual cash flow in these market conditions primarily because they believe the 2008 results won't show great earnings and because they believe the future of economy isn't promising and (2) the banks are still tight with credit standards and with making loans.

Those two points seem to be improving and perhaps in the next six months we'll see buyers gain confidence and the bank begin to start making loans. In the meantime, we MUST be prepared for the wave that will hit us because the one thing we've learned during these tight times is that there are plenty of folks out there with the 20% down payment to purchase a $300,000 business. So let's go after those businesses with good earnings and encourage them to sell. Pull out those old leads and find the nuggets of gold and let's SELL!

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Friday, April 17, 2009

IT Only Takes One

Every deal has one buyer, one seller, and one good broker to close it. It only takes one listing to find one buyer for one broker to make one deal happen.

In the world of brokering, any product sales will boil down to this simple concept of one seller, one buyer and one broker to make a deal happen and the broker that has the best tools to quickly and effectively identify the "ones" will do deals and make money. And the broker that can attract a large pool of buyers and has the tools to identify the "one" will win.

The disorganized broker who has bad habits, fails to followup on all leads, doesn't use the available tools effective, will fail and many have already left the business.

As the agents of SellingRestaurants and SellingStores know, we are doing things with technology that brokers haven't even dream of doing let alone are doing. No one has better buyer management tools then we do. No one tracks buyers better than we do. No one has more relationships with buyer than we do, no one!

But unless the agent diligently follows through with each buyer contact, all those great things SellingRestaurants and Sellingstores internet engine does becomes worthless.

The agent's job is to find the one and use the tools. And My job is to give the agents the best tools in the industry to do so.

It only takes one! Now find the one.

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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I Feel a Breeze in the Air - Get Those Sails Out!

There seems to be a breeze in the air around here. Some of these buyers who have been sailing around the bay are pulling their boat into the dock. Joe and I put two deals into contract today and I know have have several more on the verge of getting into contract. Perhaps this is the sign we need to see out there and perhaps the winds will start to pickup and drive more boat into dock.

Of course, the tough part is still to come in getting these deals closed. But nevertheless, any sign of the potential breakout of sale is good. I suppose all markets behave in similar ways. When the stock market starts to drop like a rock, people stop buying stocks and wait on the sidelines watching carefully for the time to jump back in and then we get a rally.

Take the housing market for example. Only until recently have we seen multiple offer situations grasping the marketplace. So when people start to jump-in, they do so like herds of cattle going to get fed.

I know I have at least 3 other deals in the works besides the one today. What do you have going on? Let's all pray this it the uptick we've been waiting for and let's hope you have the inventory for it!

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General Business Discussion Around Buying and Selling Businesses: DON’T GUARANTEE THAT LEASE!

General Business Discussion Around Buying and Selling Businesses: DON’T GUARANTEE THAT LEASE!

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Monday, April 6, 2009


Leases can be huge liabilities for restaurant owners. Most leases are personally guaranteed by the tenant. This means, the tenant guarantees the rent will be paid through the whole term of the lease, even when the business is closed and not making money.

All too often tenants are shocked to find out the landlord is pounding on their door asking for the rent and foreclosing on their home in order to collect past due rents. Or worse yet, they sold the restaurant and the new owner has failed to pay the rent so the landlord is asking the old owner to cough-up the monthly rent or else.

Yes, the reality of the situation is when a tenant defaults on a lease, most leases give the landlord the right to literally take every thing they own to pay the rent as long as the landlord follows the legal process.

But there is a growing trend SellingRestaurants has developed and initiated with several landlords that eliminates the need for a personal guarantee. And in this economy it could takes years to fill a restaurant space with a new tenant costing the tenant possibly hundreds of thousand of dollars.

To a landlord there is nothing worse than having a restaurant space go dark and having the tenant strip it. Restaurants have vast and expensive infrastructures in place that often cost 10’s and in some cases 100’s of thousands of dollars to build. From plumbing to electrical to sewer and all the special permits required in-between, a restaurant has some great value even when it is closed and longs as it is turn-key, ready to open the next day. In addition, it is far easier for the landlord to lease a turn-key restaurant than it is to lease a stripped facility.

To a restaurant tenant there is no less value in a restaurant sale than the liquidated value one gets from striping a restaurant and selling it piecemeal. A turn-key restaurant could sell for $50,000+ but piecemeal the restaurant and one may fetch $5,000 to $10,000 for the equipment. And don’t even think about stripping it and storing it. The cost to store it will quickly exceed the price one can receive for the equipment.

SellingRestaurants works with hundreds of landlords each year. In recent months SellingRestaurants has spearheaded negotiations with landlords to eliminate the personal guarantees and replaced it with a reversion default clause whereby the tenant hands the landlord the restaurant keys and title to the property and walks away from the lease with no further obligation to the landlord. No more rent, period! This doesn’t eliminate a tenant’s right to sell the property per se, the tenant can always do that. But it significantly reduces the tenant’s lease obligations and personal risks.

So one may say that’s a lot to give a landlord. The truth is it isn’t. One can blow through $10,000 in rent in no time. And all one may get for the equipment is $10,000. And the liability for a lease could be huge.

So would one give-up $10,000 to be relieved of all liabilities relating to the lease. Well, this author certainly hopes so!

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Sunday, April 5, 2009

California Leads...

There is an axiom in our nation that says California leads the nation into economic hell as well as economic heaven simply due to its size of consumption of goods and services. And it is also said that residential housing leads an economy into hell or heaven.

The housing market in California started its decline in mid-2006 with an apparent peaking by late 2008 and early 2009. I speak to real estate agents all the time and I'm told that transaction rates are dramatically increasing from Southern California to Northern California. I know in my own backyard that the housing market in the Roseville/Rocklin area has seen dramatic increases in activity. In fact in my neighborhood track of some 60 upscale homes, there is not one home for sale. And in a neighborhood just down the street with probably 300 homes, there is not one for sale.

Given the Sacramento housing market was one of the hardest hit in California I see this as a great sign of good things to come. As the housing market takes shape and forms a solid bottom consumer confidence increases and home equity begins to grow again. With this folks start to eat out more often and restaurant sales increase. We're already seeing the restaurant sales increasing across the state. But I'm cautiously optimistic about these signs as the tax refunds could be driving a major portion of this increase - amazing what happens to an economy when the government gives the people back some of their own hard earned money! Oh, that's right the old ways don't work any more according to our politicians of today.

Nevertheless, the signs are finally looking good and the smart buyer will start his move soon otherwise they will miss these low priced asset sales and low earning multiples.

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Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Turn Around in Restaurants is Here

As with any economic contraction, each industry goes through a contraction period where businesses fail in large numbers while the strong businesses get creative at reducing costs and turning a profit. There is a point where the contraction begins to end. This point is identified not when restaurants stop closing; rather when the sales of the surviving restaurants begin to increase. This is the leading indicator. It doesn't mean restaurants won't continue to shut-down, it means the shutting-down trend will slow in the coming months followed by a flattening period for a year.

In recent weeks I have spoken to dozens of restaurant owners and the tone in all my conversations is sales are up. Perhaps this is in part due to tax refunds hitting the bank accounts this time of year and in part due to consumer confidence increasing. Whatever is causing it, it is good. But is it sustainable? I don't know. But it certainly is better than what's been happening in the past 18 months.

In terms of restaurants purchases we should see this translate into buyers finally jumping into the market place and buying those jobs. We're seeing buyers making offers, albeit low ball offers right now; but nevertheless offers. The smart buyers will see the current price levels as absolute bargains and start picking up these steals as people are picking up those home bank repos.

The brokerage industry is no different than any other industry during an economic contraction. In 1997 real estate agents tried to get into our business. In 2008 they all died. In 2008 business brokers started to die as well; in part because the real estate agents, who knew nothing of this business and under priced their commissions and understated the work and risks, cut into the business brokerage commission pie hurting the existing business broker base.

So the broker with the most inventory will start to shine once the turn-a-round comes. Those brokers who cut back marketing and advertising and have low listing inventories will die on the vine just like all those restaurants that have died in the past 2 years.

Creativity, problem solving and perseverance will guarantee success.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

We've Entered a New Era - Congress Has Become an Angry Mob With No Rule of Law!!

Yes, congress has taken on the personality of an angry mob who is out to hang any one they don't like, agree with, or who happens to make big bonuses. In congress' latest action, they recently passed a bill to tax certain individuals’ bonuses from AIG at a 90% rate.

Sure AIG should have never paid those bonuses, no doubt! We all can certainly agree with that. But there are two bigger stories the press isn’t focusing.

The first story is the mod mentality of our elected officials. The headlines should be saying “Congress Hang AIG Executives.” We should be concerned when congress gets angry and then tries to pass laws slapping this certain class of people with penalties that would clearly violate our constitution. Yet, the press glazes over this act and fails to point out how this kind of congressional leadership is akin to an angry dictator slapping any one they want with extra taxes who disagrees with them or their philosophy.

It even concerns me more that the public is so blinded by this congressional action that they are not raising up and questioning their congress person. When our congress takes actions because it feels good, and that action is clearly unconstitutional, we’re all in trouble. They have sent a message that the rule of law means nothing to them and that they are above the rule of law. This AIG special tax is an example of an angry mob ignoring the rule of law in two areas.

The first area is the obvious constitutional issue of passing laws aimed at specific class of individuals. Congress can not select classes of people and pass laws to control those people. We are a nation of equal rights and equal laws. In other words, in the AIG case, they have decided to issue a special tax for those people. The tax has nothing to do with income levels. It solely had to do with working at AIG. So if Congress decides they don’t like the money the executive make at Apple, they could pass the same laws. Absolutely absurd!

The second law broken was making a law retroactive or back dating after the event occurred. Congress can not retroactively tax individuals. Can you imagine one day waking up to discover on your pay check they have taken your whole pay check because congress decides to increase the tax rate dating back to 2007 and make it retroactive? How scary is that!!!

And finally, congress has thrown out contract law and ignored the fact contracts must be upheld otherwise they become worthless. Our entire economy is based on contract laws and when our elected officials can merely ignore those laws any time they get angry, then what makes us any different than a third world dictatorship?

What is concerning to me is our president says he would have signed the bill! My lord what have we done!

Second, AIG has received $170 billion to bail them out. So the obvious question is where’s the $169,836,000,000? Now doesn’t seem more important to focus on the big picture here…like who cares about $164 million when there is another $169.8 billion going somewhere else! Sure I don’t want those slime buckets at AIG getting it, but we have a much bigger issue and why aren’t our congress people making an issue out of that?

Let me help you understand where the $169.8 billion has gone to…big picture…60% to foreign entities and countries and 40% to U.S. companies like Merrill Lynch, Goldman sack (Paulson’s old company), Bank of America, etc. Now where is the congressional outrage here! If there was ever a place where congress could impose their Nazi mob mentality it is here! Cancel those foreign contracts! Our tax dollars are going to support those foreign companies. Am I missing something here! And they are worried about $164 million!!!!

And finally, the story not even being mentioned let alone told, is the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac stories. The purpose of these two entities was to create liquidity in the residential real estate markets. They would buy mortgages from banks and accumulate these mortgages. Where do they get the money to buy those mortgages? Simple, from investors looking for a safe home – or at least they thought it was a safe home – and most of those investors are foreign countries looking for a safe place to park, say a few billion here and a few billion there. Now who has that kind of money? Yes, you guessed it the Chinese just to name a major investor.

Over the years Freddie and Fannie accumulated $2+ trillion in mortgages. All of us know what’s happened to real estate in the past two years. Common sense tells us the value of that $2+ trillion has taken a dive. But since these two entities are government owned now, we can’t get information about what’s going on with their books and how much have they borrowed from the tax payers to pay those debts to countries like China? I can assure you it is a whole lot more than $170 billion paid to AIG.

If our congress wants to save the tax payers $164 million from bonuses paid to AIG, that’s fine. But we deserve a congress who oversees the whole forest and not the blade of grass on the forest floor. There are hundreds of billions of our tax payer dollars going to foreign companies and governments. These companies made investment decisions and accepted the risk, albeit no one knew how risky it truly was, and they should suffer the consequences of their risk taking. I don’t see any one bailing out my 401K!

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Have You Missed the Bottom?

The headlines that seem to be dominating stockmarket reporting these days is whether the stock market hit bottom a couple weeks ago when the Dow Jones hit 6,500.

Well, I not so bold as to guess whether it did or didn't. But on a national and global level the stock market tends to be a leading indicator of where the economy is headed. I hardly call a couple good week on the market a tend, but at least it's not falling off a cliff like it has been over the past 18 months.

When I was studying finance, there was a rule of thumb stating that the stock market leads an economic recovery or recession by 18 months. In other words, when the stock market picks-up steam and is consistant for a few months period of time, it tends to indicate the economy will get stronger. I use to believe this indicator and it use to hold up. But boy did the stock market miss it on this recession. I think that's why we saw these huge declines because every one was caught off guard with the size of the financial/housing crisis.

So all buyers of assets are sitting waiting for signs of the turn-a-round before they jump into buy. These buyers include not only stock market buyers, but home buyers, business buyers, commercial real estate buyers, bond buyers, venture capital, etc.

I've read that there is $11 trillion dollars in cash sitting and waiting for the opportunity to buy something. When these folks do decide to start buying, will it be a steady and calm buying process or a bit of a frenzy?

Just like the ups and downs of the stock market, I believe human behavior is one that panics and when folks decide to jump in, it will be a bit of a frenzy. So when folks decide to start buying businesses, we can expect a sudden jumping in of buyers.

Monday, March 16, 2009

What I've learned during recessions

During my adult life I've lived through 5 recessions, each with a new foot print as to the cause of the economy going south. In 1973, it was OPEC jacking up the price of oil, causing long lines at gas stations and driving up the cost of everything. I remember the meat section of the grocery stores being empty. I recall pushing my car in gas lines that would take 2 hours of waiting to get only 5 gallons of gas.

In 1979, the Carter administration allowed the Iranian government to be taken over by a radical Muslim group, followed by the hostage situation and then by Iran's inconsistent oil production causing shortages and higher oil prices. To combat the inflationary effect, interest rates were jacked-up to levels never since in that century nor ever seen since that time. This caused what was coined as stag-flation, and we're still feeling the affects of Iran Carter's decision today.

Late 80’s and early 90’s, the housing market combined with savings and loan debacle and the Bush I tax increases led to the weakening of the economy which caused a trickle down into many other industries.

In 2000, the bursting of the dot-com bubble combined with Enron and the accounting practices caused the economy to sputter. For me this was the first time I started to see the corproate corruption in sizes no one could imagine.

Now in 2008, we're faced with a recession of greed. Greed not only at the corporate level, but greed at the individual level. This greed has led to liquidity issues and bank failures and bank bail-outs along with rediculous governmentspending program that will kill the economy more. Many want to blame the housing market collapse, but it is much deeper than that. Greed combined with a society that has no sense of responsibility and a sense of entitlement is the underlining cause. When people can walk away with no obligation, it is easy to take risks. when the government will bail you out when billions are lost, yet when billions are being made the employees are raping the company for their bad decision nonetheless!

in any case, each recession had a different causes; but nevertheless the results were devastating to so many people yet from the flames of each recession arose some great companies.

In the late 70’s Apple Computer and Microsoft were born creating a new world of business and entertainment. In the late 80’s AOL, Amgen, and Cisco and many others started gaining stardom and size creating new industries and employing millions.

In the late 90’s and early 2000’s the internet behemoths of Google, Yahoo!, Amazon, and E-Bay were hatched into, creating a new industry that we’re just beginning to completely understand and use.

And here we are today, in the mists of another recession and when many are wondering who will survive, I’m wondering who will be born to create a new and exciting new industry? Who will create millions of new jobs in our new world?

Recessions force people to do things they’ve always wanted to do but they were too comfortable in the their high paying corporate jobs to take risk. Now that they are out of work and looking for income, they start to think, create and build. How exciting is that!

This isn't something you'll read in the press!

Friday, March 13, 2009

This Was a Great Week!

To the folks getting this via e-mail notice, the whole point is for you to comment back and just talk in general about what's going on in your area of business.

I would hesitate to compare our business trend to that of Wall Street, but this week was a sure reflection of it. Just as Wall Street had a good week, so did we. We closed 3 deals and put 5 into contract; and this after the longest dry period I've seen in my 5 years in this business.

This is in contrast to the previous 6 weeks where we only saw one deal close and one deal put into contract. It's nice to be able to see positive things happening. Stuart Schlosser closed his first deal! Steve McFarland his second! Joe Ranalla's on a string with three closed in the past 6 weeks putting him in second place in the company with John Powers at the top. Good work folks!

In addition to the three folks we hired in the past month, we brought on another new person in Seattle, Michael Carney who is an experienced broker. That makes 5 agents in Seattle where we're expecting great things to happen.

Our buyer registration remains strong. Let hope that the SBA does get some of that so-called stimulus dollars - suppose to be $3 billion - and we start seeing lending starting again so the big commission deals start to roll-in. Those deals have been dead over the past 18 months.

Many of you may not know, but we've formed an alliance with in Georgia and Florida. We have a lot in common with them and I'm learning new things all the time, as they are as well.

Next week I expect things to continue to move at a faster pace. Sacramento area is still weak, but there are signs of it picking up. San Diego has been quiet lately. Orange County as well. Rodger and Steve are making things happen in the Inland Empire while Stuart is busy as a bee in Los Angeles. Larry Braden and his team are gaining momentum every week. I expect to see great things from those guys this year...John, you better pick-up the pace if you're going to sell 35 restaurants this year you are 6 behind!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

We're Finally Hearing rumors of Economic Turn Around

Is has been said the darkest moment is just before the sunrises. Today there was a lot of positve news flowing out to the market. First, Citi Bank CEO said they made a profit for the first two months of this year. Of course, one needs to understand what exactly profit means in order to understand whether he is being truthful.

And with all the CEO's lying through their teeth lately, I have some doubt. Call it being gun shy, but i have a few bullet holes in me as a result of trusting these bankers. Nevertheless the market took it in stride and shot up today.

Then the fed chairman comes out and says he believe the recession will end by the end of the year. I've actually heard him say this several times over the past month, but he was also saying last year that it wouldn't be as bad as it is today. Hummm...does he truely know what's going on out here?

And here we are in California with 10+ pus unemployment and going up and their going to raise taxes? I finally understand...we're going to tax our selve to property! Wow what a brilliant idea. The last guy to try that was Jimmy Carter, and now Barack Obama.

All that being said, the stock markets performance was impressive today. The stock market is a leading indicator of what's to come. I believe if we see a stabalization of the stock market over the next few months, then perhaps the Fed Chairman is correct that the recession will end by the end of the year.

If this is true, then the time to buy assets is now before the demand for them turns-up and prices go up as well. Restaurants is one of those assets that will experience appreciation after getting beat-down to rediculous prices.

If you want to comment please add your comments to this blog.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Buyers and Activity - Becafeful of Sellers Who Don't Want an Escrow

We've had some exciting buyer registering activity happening lately with record number of buyers registering on our website in the past month and continuing on into March. We've been averaging 200 new buyer a week since early February, which right at our highs for this time of year. So there is great buyer activity going on.

On another note, I'm hearing more and more that buyers are getting into deals with sellers without doing an escrow. That dangerous especially in these times where sellers find themselves in debt to government agencies, vendors and the landlord. Remember, a buyer assumes those liabilities unless they go through a proper escrow.

I once had a client call me who thought they were getting a great deal on a restaurant they just purchased until he discovered after he bought it the the seller owed the state $50,000 in back taxes. He had to pay it!

So beware of seller who don't want to do an escrow!