After fifteen years brokering the sale of businesses in South Florida, I could write a book with the varied anecdotes arising from cases in which I have had to intervene. A very common one is the investors looking for a profitable business that does not require the active presence of the owner and that at the same time serves to support the procedures to obtain the American visa.
I am particularly of the opinion that there is no business that can function without the active presence of its owner. However, it often happens that it is the investor himself who suggests to the broker some businesses that appear to be easy to control from a distance, such as gas stations, laundries for purses, automatic car washes or self-storage companies.
In all these cases, if the owner is absent, he will require a trusted person who is in charge of supervising the handling of cash and other sources of income; that inventories are replenished; that the operating assets are properly maintained and repaired; and that the wishes of the clients are satisfied, among other activities.
This person, who could very well receive the title of manager, will deserve to receive remuneration commensurate with his responsibilities and his loyalty to the owner. And, as expected, it is not easy to find a person who is willing to assume this role and who, in turn, meets the requirements of proven fidelity demanded by the buyer.
Even if the distant owner manages to hire the manager of his dreams, he will always have nightmares when he thinks about the theft statistics that plague American companies. According to recent figures compiled by the Statistical Brain Research Institute, companies suffer annual losses of around $50.000.000,000 due to theft of their workers, with 37,1% corresponding to employees in management positions.
Although there are formulas to control temptations such as video cameras with sound or online cash registers, a dishonest manager will manage to obtain timely resources "under the table”. It is obvious that The main obstacle to operating under the absentee-owner scheme is not in the type of business, but in the quality of the manager, who must be efficient as well as clean.
For these reasons, it is difficult for business brokers to outline an operation where the buyer intends to remotely direct the business when it is known that it is “the eye of the master the one that fattens the cattle”. In these cases, the discussions usually turn into an arduous task in which the broker could try to convince the buyer that he would make a better investment if he bought a thoroughbred horse and placed it in any of the great racecourses in Florida…