Top Ways To Spend The 4th of July in Charlotte

If you are new to Charlotte or just simply want to find an exciting new way to spend your 4th of July, the events listed below are some of the top ways to spend your holiday! Since the holiday falls on a weekend this year, you will find great events on both Friday, July 3rd and on Saturday, July 4th.

Friday, July 3rd

Charlotte Symphony Orchestra Celebrate America

Where: Symphony Park at Southpark

Time: 5:00pm – 10:00pm

Description: Enjoy a picnic with your friends and family, listen to the Charlotte Orchestra play patriotic favorites, and top it all off with a top notch firework show following the concert! Buy Tickets Now

Saturday, July 4th

US National Whitewater 4th of July Festival

Where: US National Whitewater Center

Time: All Day Event

Description: Enjoy the outdoor adventure and ambiance of the US Whitewater Center, while enjoying live music followed by a spectacular firework display!  Bring your lawn chairs and blankets as seating is limited! View Details Here

SkyShow 2015 July 4th Spectacular

Where: BB&T Ballpark

Time: Gates Open at 5pm

Description: Watch as Team USA takes on Team Cuba at BB&T Ballpark in uptown Charlotte.  There will be pregame festivities including live music, food, and games that are fun for the whole family.  After the game you will be treated to one of the very best firework shows in the Carolinas.  Buy Tickets Now

These are some of the most popular events in the Charlotte area.  However, there are other events that are highly recommended as well, including:

Matthews, NC: July 4th – People’s Parade and Concert from 5pm – 9pm

Mint Hill, NC: July 3rd – Queen City Brass Band Concert – starts at 7pm

Waxhaw, NC: Waxhaw’s July 4th Celebration – Festivities begin at 10am and finish with fireworks at 9:15

Enjoy your 4th of July weekend with your family and friends and remember to stay safe!  If you are handling fireworks, click here for important safety tips!

How To Find A Company To Buy

Our firm receives many questions on M&A, but by far the most common question is: “How do I find a company to buy?” The answer is a simple one… start with Google and search for companies that are currently for sale. The search will most likely lead you to brokers. Within each industry, there lies a group of brokers who focus on mergers and acquisitions.

One very popular business broker firm in the Charlotte area is Viking Mergers and Acquisitions. On Viking’s website, there is a section for people looking to buy a business and another for people looking to sell their business. Under the “Buying A Business” tab, there is a business listing of all their clients who are looking to sell their business. There you go – you have your answer. It’s that simple!

What else can you do besides searching online?

I recommend trying a direct mail piece. To quote Wayne Gretzky, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”  You may never know that a company is interested in selling if you don’t ask them! Do some market research and look for companies that can add value to your business. 

What else should you look for in a business to buy?
  • Location – Do you want to enter a certain city or geographical area?
  • Lack of a Succession Plan – This one is hard to tell unless you have a dialogue with the owners.
  • Specialized Service/Product – Do you want to offer a new service or a product?
  • Culture – A similar work culture will help the merger or acquisition succeed.

Find a list of companies that fit the profile you are looking for and send them a letter or a postcard. This mailing should address your intentions, show off your background, gauge the interest of the business owner to sell, and be short and to the point. After that, it is up  to you to either follow up or foster the relationship. If you hear back from a business owner, you can fine tune your approach and learn what worked in your mailing or what you should change in order to make it more effective the next time around. You also might learn more about what kind of business owners are interested in selling and you can target similar business owners with your next correspondence.

Interested in learning more about how to find a company to buy?  We will release more blogs on this topic in the near future so stay tuned! In the meantime, feel free to reach out to the team at LBA Haynes Strand for your no cost consultation!

Greensboro Named A Best Place To Live

According to Livability.com, Greensboro is one of the best places to live in the United States. Greensboro came in at #91 on the list, just ahead of Charleston, SC! Reasons for the ranking included Greensboro’s high quality of health care and education and a continuously improving downtown area. 

As far as education goes, Greensboro is home to the third largest North Carolina Community College institution in the state, Guilford Technical Community College. The city is also the home of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and Guilford College. In addition to college education, the Guilford County Public School District is highly respected in the area. The plethora of quality educational institutions makes for a great place to raise a family.

You also cannot overlook the health care in Greensboro. According to the survey results, Greensboro ranks 14th in North Carolina out of 100 counties in terms of longevity and quality of life. There are 30 hospitals located within 60 miles of Greensboro and nearly 2,200 doctors within the city limits.

Furthermore, downtown Greensboro has been transformed into a vibrant and lively area that serves as the main center for the area’s commerce and culture. The area is boasting with shoppingdiningentertainment, offices, and neighborhoods – the feel of downtown can best be described as “cool.” In a recent interview Greensboro’s Mayor, John Perkins, was asked to describe his city. He had this to say, “We’re trying to make the town cool.  We have 47,000 college students at seven colleges and universities that are here. We want to leverage off that and keep some of that talent here after they graduate. And the best way to do that is to make your city cool.”

Other Accolades:

This is hardly the first time Greensboro has shown up on a “Best” List. Earlier this year Greensboro made appearances on a number of Forbes lists, including:

Slowly but surely Greensboro has grown to become a very important city in North Carolina. As the 3rd largest city in terms of population in North Carolina, expect great things from “The Gate City”. This nickname comes from the fact that In 1891 the city would see the arrival and departure of 60 trains per day. It became an important transportation hub for manufacturers and people alike.

If you are a business owner in the Triad region and would like a no-cost consultation with an established certified public accounting firm in Greensboro, contact us.  Our team is ready to work with your team and provide you with the  services and benefits you expect.

NC House Budget Bill 117: Proposed Changes to Sales Tax, Corporate Tax, and More!

On Thursday June 11th, the North Carolina Senate version of the NC House Budget Bill (HB 117) was filed and included a number of changes from the original bill proposed by the NC House or Representatives. Among the changes are: lower personal income tax rates, a change in corporate taxes, a new formula for distributing sales tax revenue among counties, and a retooled jobs incentive program.

Remember, as of right now, all the changes are only proposed. You should, however, be aware of these changes and how they could affect you and/or your business.

New Sales Tax On Services:

The bill would broaden the sales tax base in order to help pay for new income tax cuts. Among the purchases facing sales taxes are: advertising, veterinary and pet care services, and repairs an maintenance work on personal property such as cars. Also this would mean that large non-profit organizations, such as hospitals, would lose a sales tax exemption.

Personal Income Tax Cuts:

The personal income tax rate would be cut from 5.75% to 5.5% beginning in 2016. The standard deduction would increase gradually over a four year period, meaning a married couple filing jointly wouldn’t owe taxes on the first $18,500 of income by 2020. A single person on the other hand wouldn’t owe taxes on the first $9,250 in income.

Corporate Taxes:

The bill proposes that over the next three years, the state would begin using the “single sales factor” formula for calculating corporate taxes. This means calculating the companies’ tax liability based entirely on sales instead of factoring in their payroll and property value.

Sales Tax Redistribution:

Included in the bill is a new distribution formula for allocating sales tax revenue among counties. Basically the state would distribute 20% of revenue based on where sales occur, and 80% would be based on the population of the county. This new version would allow counties to decide how to allocate revenue between their city and town governments.

Job Incentives:

The Job Development Investment Grant incentives would be capped under the new bill. This has been the state’s main job incentive program which has been out of money for months. The state could then offer up to $15 million each year and up to $30 million during a year in which the state lends a “high-yield project” bringing thousands of jobs.

Because House Bill 117 has already cleared the House, changes can no longer be made in public meetings. Instead members of the House can only approve the version passed by the Senate OR vote it down. In the event that it is voted down, legislators from both chambers would work out a compromise.

If you have strong feelings about this bill, you are encouraged to contact your senators. The Senate is expected to begin voting on this bill this week! To find contact info for your local representatives, please click here!

If you have questions about how budget bill 117 will affect you – reach out to LBA Haynes Strand today. Our team will be happy to walk you through the proposed changes and how they will affect you!

Fraud Alert: Rise in Imposter Fraud

Imposter fraud is the most recent attempt of fraudsters to trick businesses out of money. Imposter fraud is when a fraudster poses as a person or an entity that you know. They could pose as an executive of your company, a vendor, or even the IRS! 

In these instances the fraudster will most likely contact you by email. The only problem is, the email looks exactly like the one you receive from the person you know, even down to the email signature. When the fraudster is posing as an executive at your company, they will attach an invoice and instruct you to make payments, usually by wire transfer. Most employees would take an email from their CFO or Controller as a direct order and would pay the invoice without any hesitation. This is exactly what these fraudsters want. We have heard from numerous companies in North Carolina that have seen this attempt at fraud. Some have caught on to this fraud before sending money, others unfortunately have not.

When the fraudster is acting as a vendor they will most likely send you a similar email as your vendor would. However, they will request that you change the original vendor’s payment instructions and that you pay the account of their choice. In addition, they may also hack into your email account and find trends of who you do business with. This allows the fraudsters to create fraudulent invoices or payment requests with very subtle differences than the original invoices.

So, how can you reduce this risk?

First of all, you need to alert your employees and tell them to be aware of scams such as these. No payments should leave your office without being approved by multiple people in your office. If something seems odd or off about a request for payment, be sure to discuss the matter first hand with the executive or the vendor in question. This could alleviate any concerns you had and could protect your company against this fraud.

Education is truly the best way to prevent fraud. We must learn from what others have seen in the marketplace in order to create best practices in these kinds of situations. We challenge you to discuss openly any external attempts at fraud that you have seen. Discuss these cases with your friends, at networking events, at chamber meetings, on social media, etc.

To learn more best practices and speak to a team of CPAs that understand how to safeguard your business against fraud. Contact us for your no-cost consultation.

Best Business Law Firms in Greensboro

We work with many attorneys and law firms throughout Greensboro and the state of North Carolina. Through referrals and working on joint projects, we have found 5 law firms that are especially great to work with.

The 5 best business law firms in Greensboro (in no particular order):
Carruthers & Roth

Carruthers & Roth was founded in 1937 and is located in the heart of Greensboro. They are a mid sized law firm offering big-firm capabilities delivered with the personal attention and responsiveness expected from a small town practice. Their clients include large multinational corporations, closely-held businesses, individuals, and entrepreneurs. To see a full list of their practice areas, click here!

Contact Info:

Phone: 336-379-8651 | Website: www.crlaw.com

Brooks Pierce

Brooks, Pierce, McLendon, Humphrey & Leonard, LLP is a business law firm providing comprehensive strategic counsel and innovative solutions. Their clients include: businesses, individuals, government, and non-profit institutions. The firm’s expertise extends to every aspect of business law (antitrust, mergers and acquisitions, start-up and publicly traded companies, trusts & estates, and many more).

Contact Info:

Phone: 336-373-8850 | Website: www.brookspierce.com

Womble Carlyle

Womble Carlyle is one of the largest and most technologically advanced business law firms in the Southeast. They have been serving the Greensboro region since 2001 after realizing Greensboro to be a key business center in North Carolina. The office includes 15 lawyers whose practices include: specialty areas of capital markets, corporate and securities, health care, intellectual property, and business litigation. The office is also home to several lawyers of the Firm’s Supply Chain Management practice group which provides supply chain solutions to businesses. While the firm was originally established in 1876 in Winston-Salem, it now comprises more than 550 lawyers in fourteen offices across the state of North Carolina.

Contact Info:

Phone: 336-574-8030 | Website: www.wcsr.com

Tuggle Duggins P.A.

Since 1974, Tuggle Duggins P.A. has been serving businesses and business owners with interests in the Carolinas. Tuggle Duggins is a multi-specialty, multi-disciplinary law firm focused on the needs of closely held businesses and business owners. They provide representation in legal matters ranging from conventional, personal, and business issues to complex legal matters. Their goal is to provide long-term client relationships and delivering exceptional services and results to their clients.

Contact Info:

Phone: 336-378-1431 | Website: www.tuggleduggins.com

Hagan Davis

Hagan, Davis, Mangum, Barrett & Langley, PLLC is a well established and trusted group of attorneys in Greensboro, NC. Dedicated to helping their clients achieve their business objectives effectively and efficiently. Hagan Davis has a proven track record for success, particularly in complex legal matters. There is no typical client of the firm, however most of their clients are influential in business, philanthropy, education, and sports. They deliver results to entrepreneurs and high-income individuals alike.

Contact Info:

Phone: 336-232-0650 | Website: www.hagandavis.com

If you need a business law firm in Greensboro, NC, these five law firms are the best place to begin your journey. Each firm comes highly recommended by the Principal Members at LBA Haynes Strand. If you would like a specific attorney’s information, please contact us.

Are We Living In “The Merger and Acquisition Age”?

Could this be a term of our times? Are we really living in The Merger and Acquisition Age? According to recent business trends posted in the Kiplinger Letter, merger activity is on a roll.  Not just in the U.S. but across the globe. Merger activity in the U.S. has hit a 15 year high in the first quarter of this year with consumer-oriented firms leading the action. But that’s not the only industry finding success in mergers and acquisitions. Pharmaceutical, technology, energy, mining, and electric utility companies are also finding success.

What’s So Appealing About Growing Through M&A?

Easy. It is a way to effectively grow or even double your business overnight and the timing could not be better!

The baby boomers have been a driving force in Middle Market M&A in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. The eldest members of the 78 million-strong baby boomer generation turned 68 in 2014. The youngest boomers will turn 66 in 2030. Many baby boomer entrepreneurs will sell the Middle Market businesses they founded, and this factor will remain the driving force in M&A for at least two more decades! To put this into perspective, consider this: Based on recent data supplied by the US Census Bureau, there are just about 1.2 million Middle Market firms with sales of $1 million to $1 billion annually. Collectively these 1.2 million firms had sales totaling $9.8 trillion and carry a conservative market value of $4.9. About 800,000 of these businesses are owned by baby boomers. Between 2014 and 2029 (15 years) an average of 43,000 of these businesses per year will be disposed of… about two-thirds of these by sale. These numbers are huge and unprecedented.

Technology is also playing a large role in today’s Middle Market.  Because of the speed with which new information is being released, Middle Market firms have dramatically shortened business cycles.  New technologies and approaches launched by Middle Market firms routinely disrupt and eclipse other Middle Market firms, even Upper Market firms, and sometimes entire industries.  This has forced business owners to become increasingly proactive and infinitely more responsive to their clients and prospects, impacting not only Middle Market business operations, but also the timing, frequency, and execution of the sale of Middle Market companies.

Business can be described as an ecosystem.  As in all ecosystems the big fish eat the little fish in order to survive.  This is not a new phenomenon in M&A, but it is a more frequent one as the pace of business life continues to change.  Survival of the fittest is not just a Darwinian construct for living creatures.  It is equally applicable to business, especially the “Middle Market Sea”, which is the spawning ground for Upper Markets.

So are we living in The Merger and Acquisition Age? It certainly appears that way and it appears this trend will continue for the next few decades completely reshaping the way that Middle Market companies grow.  If you are not thinking about the M&A marketplace… it’s time to start and LBA Haynes Strand can help you.  Click the button below to download your free report and begin your M&A journey!

Top 25 Largest General Contractors in Charlotte

Congratulations to the “Top 25 Largest General Contractors” in the Charlotte, NC region! This ranking was reported by The Charlotte Business Journal and was based off of local billings in 2014. To take a look at the companies, click the individual links below.

Top 25 Largest General Contractors
  1. Turner Construction Co.
  2. Balfour Beatty US
  3. Choate Construction Co.
  4. The Whiting-Turner Contracting Co.
  5. JE Dunn Construction
  6. Blythe Development Co.
  7. Blythe Construction Inc.
  8. Rodgers Builders Inc.
  9. Shelco LLC
  10. Adolfson & Peterson Construction
  11. Vannoy Construction
  12. A M King
  13. Samet Corp.
  14. Carocon Corp.
  15. Edifice Inc.
  16. Myers & Chapman Inc.
  17. Matthews Construction Co., Inc.
  18. G.L. Wilson Building Co.
  19. Robins & Morton
  20. Hickory Construction Co.
  21. Doerre Construction Co., LLC
  22. Shiel Sexton Co., Inc.
  23. Concorde Construction Co.
  24. Bradley Construction Group
  25. Dellinger, Inc.

The Top 25 General Contractors in the Triad of North Carolina were announced last week. Click here to see those companies.