A graduate of USC with a Masters in Public Administration, Bob Hughes has a wide variety of entrepreneurial experience from founder and publisher of Orange Coast Magazine– a glossy lifestyle publication of Orange County, to founder and President of Hughes Ad House–the largest mall catalog publication agency in 50 states and Puerto Rico, and most recently as founder and CEO of Canvas Arts–a software development company. In 2002, Bob started Hughes Properties, Inc. a business brokerage company in Palm Springs, California. Hughes Properties successfully brokers both ends of the buying and selling spectrum and works tirelessly to bring business to Palm Springs. Bob is a member of the Palm Springs Association of REALTORS, the California Association of REALTORS, the Desert Area Commercial Information Exchange, and a member of the Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce.
Bob, I understand you’re originally a fellow Southerner–from Alabama, right? What originally brought you to the Greater Palm Springs area?
After my stint in the Air Force, I headed west to attend USC. At first, Palm Springs was my weekend getaway and I kept a home here for decades until I finally was able to live here full time.
You have a long and successful history as an entrepreneur and C-level executive (including CEO of Triton Digital Imaging Systems). How did you come to start a business brokerage?
When I sold my last business, along with a one-year consulting contract for that business, I decided to dedicate time consulting with other entrepreneurs. It’s the variety of businesses that intrigues me. That was about the time someone suggested I become a business broker. Unsure what that even involved, I was close to completing my one-year consulting commitment and knew I would soon have time to get my broker’s license.
I understand that Hughes Properties maintains a comprehensive electronic database and myriad marketing channels that allow users not only to shop for properties to purchase, but also to advertise businesses for sale. Can you tell us more about what services Hughes Properties provides as a business broker to Greater Palm Springs?
I’ve adopted the attitude that I don’t sell businesses, but rather I sell jobs to clients seeking to make their own mark. Typically, these are people who are tired of making money for someone else and want to fully realize the returns of their own hard work and experience. As a licensed mediator for the County of Riverside, I use those skills to help bring buyer and seller together, negotiating the arrangements that best serve the needs for both sides of the table. The Hughes Properties web site also offers an ongoing resource of marketing ideas for businesses and articles from new business owners.
Do you broker any businesses outside of the Greater Palm Springs area?
It seems we continue to get more and more calls from outside our Coachella Valley. Requests from throughout Riverside County to San Diego County have prompted us to open a San Diego Office. We also remain very active in the mountain resort of Idyllwild.
What do you consider to be the nuts and bolts of selling a business?
Selling a business is a very small market compared to selling homes or commercial property. To be successful in this niche you first need to present great listings that show a positive cash flow then determine the strategy to reach the ideal qualified buyers for each business. Ideally, buyers are looking to purchase a business priced at about two to three times the cash flow generated. Cash flow being the amount of money an owner draws from the business; profit, non-cash items, insurance fees, auto expenses and any other personal expenses paid for out of the business.
Bob, I know one of the services that sets Hughes Properties apart from the typical business broker is your company’s sponsoring of E2 Visas. What is an E2 Visa, and what are the requirements? Why are they good for the United States, and specifically, Greater Palm Springs?
The Hughes Properties web site is extensively followed globally which has brought us many buyers from interesting backgrounds. We work with E2 Visa attorneys to streamline the process for this type of buyer. The E2 Visa qualifies someone from another country to live in the US, along with their family, as long as they purchase an ongoing business for approximately $100,000. I particularly enjoy bringing this global influence to our business community; it brings money into Palm Springs and creates jobs. I have brokered businesses with E2 Visas for clients from Canada, Italy, England, Sweden, Switzerland, France and Australia, just to name a few.
Working in business, commerce and real estate at the level that you do, you must have your finger on the pulse of many trends and issues affecting Palm Springs! What upcoming Palm Springs area project or event are you most excited about?
The redevelopment of the downtown mall is the most exciting thing since it was first built in 1985. The city needs this mall to draw more tourists and bring the down-valley market back to historic Palm Springs. Already Marilyn Monroe has lit a spark in the economy; add the mall back into the mix and you’ve got economic excitement.
How do you spend your free time? Please tell us how you spend a typical weekend in Palm Springs.
The perfect weather and the calming, picturesque terrain have always drawn me to Palm Springs. The theatre, entertainment venues, fabulous restaurants and my long involvement with Rotary keep me happy. As an avid hiker I also spend the summer months taking the tram to the cool and beautiful trails of the San Jacinto mountains that tower over our desert. Year-round I’ll constantly hike between Palm Springs and Idyllwild. I now live in the mountains about half way up to Idyllwild and about a 45 minute drive from my office.
Please share with us some of your favorite restaurants, shops, and activities to enjoy in Palm Springs.
I can easily say that from one end of the Valley to the other I love the variety of great restaurants and the sheer number of them. Looking out my office window, I can find excellent dining and shopping within walking distance, then there are all the parades that keep this area hopping.
And what is it that you most love about Palm Springs?
I love the openly friendly character of the people. The healthy, outdoor lifestyle keeps the dress casual and the energy positive. What’s not to like?