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Getting an EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program VISA

Getting an EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program VISA

The EB-5 or Immigrant Investor Program was created by Congress in 1990. The goal was to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment through foreign investors.

The EB-5 program allows foreign investors to obtain a green card and create a path to citizenship when they buy a business that creates at least 10 new jobs.

At a time when access to capital has been limited, the program has recently been used to launch new businesses, as well as revive troubled small businesses, helping them preserve jobs that would have otherwise been terminated.

Minimum Requirements

EB-5 has two different minimums for investments that qualify for the program.

If foreign investors invest $1 million or more they can buy a business in any state. If they invest less than $1 million, they will be restricted to particular areas as defined by the EB-5 guidelines.

The minimum qualifying investment for the program is $500,000 and must be invested in one of two types of areas. This requirement aims to stimulate economy in rural areas, which are defined by USCIS as areas outside a metropolitan statistical area or outside the boundary of any city or town having a population of 20,000 or more. Other areas that are the focus of the program are targeted economic areas, often referred to as TEA zones and are defined as areas with an unemployment rate of at least 150% of the national average.

TEA Policy

Each state has its own TEA policy. Some states have pre-determined TEA zones, and other states allow you to apply or request for a certain zone.

Each foreign investor must prove that their investment will result in the creation of ten jobs. Since the program is looking to stimulate the U.S. economy, preserving 10 jobs when buying troubled businesses also qualifies.

Business Plan

One of the ways that USCIS determines whether EB-5 visa requesters meet the requirements of the program is by evaluating the submitted proposals. If you apply for an EB-5 investment through the USCIS, the center would be responsible for assisting you in creating an EB-5 compliant business plan.

It is possible to apply for an EB-5 visa without investing through a Regional Center, but this would require the applicant to write his or her own business plan. There are specialized EB-5 consultants who can assist you with writing your business plan if you choose to go that route.

Resource: INC.

EB-5 Links

Low Investment Business Opportunities

If you are an entrepreneur looking to become a business owner, you are in luck. These days, finding low investment business opportunity with a low failure rate is easy. Below are some of the best businesses to own in Florida for 2014.

Healthy Food Vending

Healthy Food Vending is booming. 3.5 million coins are used in vending machine every 15 minutes in the U.S. Americans are expanding their interest in healthier food options for people on the go. Vending machines are low maintenance. You can purchase an existing healthy food vending machine route business in Florida.

Cruise Planners

You can purchase an existing Cruise Planners business. Cruise planners help travelers create and book their ultimate vacation experience, at sea or on land. The worldwide travel industry grosses about $70 billion a year. With over 34 million Americans planning to take a cruise in the next three years, becoming a cruise planner is a great investment.

Tutoring

Tutoring is a $9 billion a year industry. As the owner, you run a tutoring business from your home. You can choose to provide tutoring services yourself or hire qualified instructors to provide services while you coordinate your staff and market your business to potential clients. Franchise opportunities are available through Club Z.

Dollar Stores

Buy franchise dollar store. Entrepreneurs find that dollar stores are very popular and lucrative in every state and town. Dollar store owners have access to supplier networks where they can purchase merchandise at the lowest prices possible. These supplier networks make owning a dollar store a low investment opportunity. Starting capital required is averaged at $50,000.

Mail Box Stores

Buying a mailbox store allows you to provide more than 40 profitable and in-demand personal and business mailing services to customers. All you need to do is secure a low capital investment and you are on your way to becoming a successful business owner.

Home Helpers

With Florida’s popularity among the retired population, owning a home care service business is fabulous, low investment opportunity. Home care helps seniors, new moms and people recuperating from an illness surgery with medical, non-medical, personal care, cleaning, cooking and shopping tasks.

Handyman

Handyman businesses offer services, including bathroom repairs, carpentry, home maintenance, drywall service, deck repairs and more. A handyman business is a cash business that is scalable. 

Automated Spa

An automated spa offers a new and innovative spin on traditional spas. A monthly membership provides customers with access to a private room with a fully automated, push-button spa along with UV services without the need of an attendant. Rejuvenating automated spa services include mechanical massages, facials, hydration treatments, teeth whitening, guided meditation, oxygen therapy, weight management treatments, UV therapy, spray tans and a wide range of skincare and nutritional products.

Painting

Regardless of the economic condition, painting is a necessity to upkeep a home or commercial space. Interior and exterior painting is a business with unlimited potential.

Storage and Delivery

Climate controlled storage and delivery services operate in a unique and fast growing niche. Professional businesses such as attorneys, medical offices and schools have many records on paper and they do not have the space to store those records on site. Paper needs to be stored in a climate controlled environment for preservation. With a storage and delivery business you will be providing a unique set of services to a distinct, yet broad client base.

Contact us today to discuss business and franchise opportunities available to you in Florida.

Easy Steps to Selling Your Small Business

Easy Steps to Selling Your Small Business

Selling your small business can be complicated if you have never done it before. You should consider enlisting a few professionals to help you, like a business broker, CPA and a business attorney. Profits from the sale mainly depend on why you are selling, timing and the strength and structure of your daily operation. Your small business sale will also require a great deal time and effort. Once the business is sold, you may need to learn some ways of handling the profit. The following steps can help you build a solid exit plan while making negotiations as stress free as possible.

1. Why You are Selling
One of the first questions you will get from potential buyers is, “Why are you selling your small business?” Small business owners usually consider selling for one of these reasons:

  • Want to Retire
  • Death of business partner
  • Illness
  • Burnout
  • Boredom
  • Family Issues
  • Low Revenue

Some small business owners contemplate selling when revenues are low, but this can deter buyers. Timing and making sure your small business is ready to sell are very important. If you are thinking of selling due to low profits, consider improving your business before you place your small business on the market. Making some small improvements can mean a much bigger profit for you when you do sell, including:

  • Increasing customer base
  • Adding income sources
  • Improving curb appeal
  • Updating equipment

2. Timing
Small business owners should prepare for selling from the start of their business but at the very least, two or three years ahead of time. Preparing in advance will help ensure that financial records are accurate and that your customer base is well established. Making improvements before you sell will also ease the transition process for the new owner and the business to run smoothly during the transition.

3. Asking Price
A business broker can help you determine the business’s true value so you price it reasonably. Locate a business broker to get a business valuation and sellabilty report. The broker will give you a detailed report on your business’s value. The report helps you determine a credible asking price.

4. Broker vs Independent Selling
Selling a small business on your own can save you by avoiding a broker’s commission. It may be the best option if you are selling your small business to a family member or trusted employee. In most circumstances, a business broker can help with time-consuming tasks, keep the sale confidential and get the highest price possible from the sale.

5. Document Preparation
Put together financial statements and tax returns dating back three to four years and have an accountant review them with you. Make a list of equipment that goes with the sale of the business. Also, update your lists of business contacts, vendors and maintenance companies. Make a copy of your current lease. You will need copies of all these records made into an information packet to give to pre-qualified prospective buyers.

Include in your information packet, a description of how the business is run or a copy of your operating manual. Be sure to have all equipment serviced and running in top condition.

6. Locating a Buyer
Selling a small business typically takes up to 2 years according to complete according to the SBA. Locating a buyer can be a challenge. Business brokers have extensive lists of people looking to buy businesses. Enlisting a broker can greatly speed up the selling process and save you a bundle in advertising. Paying a broker a commission is usually much less expensive that advertising costs over a couple of years.

Here are some tips to help move the selling process along:

  • Have 2-3 prospective buyers just in case the first deal falls through.
  • Keep in contact with all prospective buyers.
  • Find out if your prospective buyers are financially prequalified before giving them your information packet. If you will be financing the sale, work out the details in advance with your CPA or attorney so you and the buyer can agree on terms more quickly.
  • When negotiating, be firm on your reasonable asking price and remind the buyer of the company’s future worth.
  • Put all negotiated agreements in writing. Have potential buyers sign a confidentiality agreement to protect your business information.

    Documents to deal with following the sale:

  • Bill of the sale: transfers assets and the business to the buyer
  • Lease assignment
  • Security agreement: if you are holding a lien on the business

The buyer could request that you sign a non-compete agreement, in which you agree to not start a new business that competes with the one you just sold.

7. After Sale Profits
Before deciding what to do with your profit from the business sale, outline your financial goals, and learn about any taxes associated with the sale of your business. Then, consult a financial professional to determine the best ways to invest the money for long-term benefits, such as becoming debt-free or investing for retirement.

Selling a business is an emotional time for many small business owners. One of the best reasons to consider selling your small business is when the market is “hot”. Timing your sale and enlisting a business broker can ease your burden. In the end, profit from the sale and your new found freedom will make the selling process worthwhile.

Business Exit Strategies Overview

Business Exit StrategiesWhen you first begin a new business, you develop strategies and plan ways to grow your business, but did you realize how important having an exit strategy is? Almost every business owner will want or need to sell their business at some point, for any number of reasons. You’ve started your business or want to start a business because you want to plan for your future right? Don’t forget there may be a business sale in that future and having a business exit strategy is never a waste of time or effort. Depending on your goals, the type of business you choose and the way you grow it should be aligned with your end-game objectives.

Every step along the way, you should plan for a time when you may need or want to exit your business and liquidate your equity through a sale, merger or IPO. You’ll want to build value and equity in your business by selling innovative products and services, developing relationships and distribution channels and expanding your customer base. To assist you, below are of some types of business exit strategies for you to consider and potentially utilize.

Private Sale

Selling your business is the most common exit strategy for any business owner. Business owners often know they will sell their business when it is time to retire but they forget to think about having to sell quickly. An illness or death is just two of the reasons an owner might have to sell quickly and soon than expected. Keeping accurate and complete business records along the way helps to ensure a smooth and quick sell no matter when the time comes to sell your business. When it is time to sell your business, the trickiest part of any sale is valuing the company. Since many small businesses are privately owned, determining the final sale price in a sale is typically more of an art form than science. Make sure you get a few appraisals of the business so that you can average them to find the right asking price.

Mergers

A merger is two companies getting together, establishing the value of each company and merging the two to form one larger company. In most mergers, the company shareholders receive stock in the bigger company which is usually worth more than the stock in each independent company. If you decide to merge your company with another upon retirement, you will no longer have to work the business and receive a share of profits by retaining stock in the new company. Just be aware that in mergers, you may not actually receive money from your stocks until a later date.

IPO

Selling your business in the stock market through an initial public offering is called an IPO. With an IPO, business sellers often get the biggest payout of any other exit strategy. Adversely, it is very expensive to obtain an IPO, business owners easily spend a half million dollars on attorney and accountant fees alone. In addition, there are a lot of restrictions to liquidity via an IPO, so if your business is not in the technology sector or has less than $50 million in revenues, you should strongly consider a different exit strategy. It is also important to remember that the strength and weakness in IPO markets are difficult to predict, therefore much harder to plan ahead for.

Buyout

Similar to a private sale is a buyout where a team or individual, in the same line of work, buys you out and takes over your business. This is typical with small to medium sized businesses that provide professional services in industries like insurance, accounting firms, law firm distribution and manufacturing companies.

A buyout is often tied to performance of the business at the time of the buyout as well as after you exit. Generally, you’ll get a far better deal if the buyout person or company can pay you upfront rather than agreeing to a “leverage buyout” where they use the future revenues of the business over time to pay off their debt to you.

Asset Liquidation

If your business is debt-free, you can liquidate your assets by closing your business and selling off the assets. The challenge in this is finding buyers who feel that your assets have value, and you’ll have to negotiate to get a fair price. With this type of business exit strategy, you will likely receive the least amount of money for your exit. Asset liquidation is often used by business owners who need to sell quickly for personal reasons.

If you are thinking of buying a business or currently own a business, part of having an exit strategy is working with a professional business broker. You never know when life will throw you a curve ball and having a broker at your fingertips, who already knows you and your business, will make it all much easier to deal with.

High Growth Industries for Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs want to start businesses but deciding the type of business to start can be perplexing for some. Florida is the fastest growing state in the U.S. right now in 2014. Growth means a better chance of success for any new business. Knowing the best industries in Florida will also help to ensure success for a new business start up. Add these two factors to buying an existing business that is already successful and you have hit a home run. Below are the four strongest industries in Florida for 2014.

1. Healthcare

It’s no secret that people are living longer than ever before and in home healthcare businesses are in high demand. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that industries related to health care will generate the most new jobs, more than 5 million over the next few years. Florida has the highest aging population due to its popularity as a retirement destination.

As an entrepreneur, there are many healthcare related business opportunities just waiting for your skills, talents and expertise. Healthcare related businesses can range from repairing gurneys and wheelchairs to medical record transcription to in-home health services to medical supply facilities.

An owner of a healthcare business can provide a wide range of services to public clinics, hospitals, residential care facilities as well as individual and family services.

Some specific businesses to explore in the healthcare sector include dietitian and nutritionist, patient advocate, personal and home health care aide, massage therapist, physical therapist, nursing, senior fitness trainer, skin care specialist, home modification professional, medical equipment maintenance and repair, and medical records administrator.

2. Financial Services

The retirement population of Florida wants to enjoy their golden years and not be burdened with finances. People in their retirement years are increasingly seeking help with money management, whether it’s paying bills or estate planning or choosing the right life insurance policy. There is growing awareness that people may outlive their savings and the need to have a financial plan in place has become a top priority.

In addition, traditional employer-provided pensions are being replaced by individual 401(k) and similar retirement plans. People of all ages are looking for experts in retirement investment options and experts who can help them make sound choices. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts industry growth in financial services to jump about 10% over the next 10 years.

Businesses to explore in the financial sector include accountant, personal financial adviser and planner, insurance broker, retirement coach, bookkeeper, financial manager and tax preparer.

3. Leisure and Recreation

The number of retiring workers is literally snowballing and so has the demand for travel and leisure activities. In fact, 23% of travel and leisure businesses in the U.S. have increased their number of employees in the first quarter of 2014, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Bureau also sees long-term growth in leisure services: about 1.3 million new jobs between 2012 and 2022.

Businesses to explore in the leisure sector include hair and skin care, catering, travel agent, landscaper, pet care, recreation services, tour guide, shuttle service, fitness trainer and nutrition coach.

4. Retail Stores

It stands to reason that the rising population means a greater demand for retail shopping. People need stuff, right? Florida is a popular vacation spot all year round. Buying a retail store in Florida is great opportunity for an entrepreneur.

Businesses to explore in the retail sector include souvenir shop, shipping service, boutique, restaurant, fast food franchise, convenience store, gas station, specialty shops, clothing store, laundromat, dry cleaner and retail franchise.

5. Professional and Business Services

Businesses need professional business services, especially in the area of technology. In this field, you’ll need to cast a wide net. Look into buying small businesses and big corporations. There’s a variety of businesses that keep the wheels of business greased and as more people go the entrepreneur route, there’s a growing need for expert advice and services for start-ups.

Businesses to explore in this sector include grant/proposal writer, green-business consultant, human resource specialist, information security analyst, database administrator, management consultant, market research, event planner, translator/interpreter and internet and communication services.