Cornelius, NC 28031

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About Joe & the Team

About Joe

I have bought, sold, owned & operated more small businesses
than anyone you
have met.

Overall – the current number of businesses Joe has owned, operated, bought & sold totals over 400 to date.

  • Publisher of a local magazine – start-up of a women’s magazine.
  • Owned and managed a variety of residential & commercial properties, shopping centers, office buildings, office condos, office conversions.
  • Owned a national Closet manufacturing franchise – 12-person sales force.
  • Owned Area rights to a national restaurant franchise. 
  • Owned Area rights to a national coffee house Franchise.
  • Owned and operated the largest closed market environment restaurant concept in the southeast of approx. 16 years. 
  • Restaurants & convenient stores inside office buildings and single tenant buildings. Supplied by a company-owned & operated 5,000 sf commissary. 
  • Owned and operated a Management Company with over 18 restaurants that focused on single-user buildings such as NationsBank Processing Center, Frito-Lay plant, Jordan Graphics, Schneider Trucking.
  • Owned 5 video arcades (average size 2,500sf) located in Regional Malls in NC.
  • Owned and operated Vending Company with over 105 machines. Located in office buildings in the Charlotte, NC area.
  • Owned and operated a Mobile- Disk Jockey business with over 15,000 songs and the largest selection of records & lighting effects in the area at the time.
  • Owned Card Vending Business serving the hotel and motel industries.
  • Consulted with an Information Technology staffing company during their start-up and again during their buy-out by a national staffing provider.
  • General Manager of a national hotel franchise with over 220 rooms, 30,000sf of banquet facilities and a 6,000-sf full-service restaurant and bar.
  • Childrens Occupational Therapy business, one of the largest in NC.
  • Plant Manager of the largest privately owned bakery in the state servicing national snack & pastry distributors all over the country
  • Consulted for a national auto maintenance franchise and helped owners set up a marketing program.
  • Marine
  • Construction
  • Retail Apparel & Consignment
  • Restaurant / Food Service
  • Bar / Nightclub
  • Wholesale Distribution
  • Retail
  • Plumbing Service Industry
  • Pet Industry
  • Shipping
  • Coffee Roaster
  • Light Manufacturing
  • Franchises
  • Florist
  • Lawn Care / Landscaping
  • Print & Digital Media
  • Pest Control
  • Elder Care
  • Automotive Sales & Service
  • Carwash
  • Consulting / Education
  • Cleaning Services
  • Fitness Industry
  • Daycare / Children Services
  • Defense Weapon Sales / Service
  • Language / Speech Therapy Centers
  • Keyman Office Suites
  • Dry Cleaning Services
  • Custom Apparel 
  • Welcome Services
  • Information Technology / Internet Services

My History

2019 –


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2019 –


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2002 – 


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2002 – 


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2002 – 


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2000 – 


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The Team

Joe Vagnone

Joe is widely recognized as the leading small business broker and advisor in North Carolina.

Joe Vagnone is an award-winning industry expert with over 27 years of experience..  In a recent survey of his clients, Joe was referred to as “The real deal –for- small business,” highlighting his unparalleled expertise in selling small businesses.

Personal note from Joe:

Thank you for your interest in I value your trust and strive to earn it through my hard work and continued professional training. My expertise lies in assisting small business owners in selling their businesses efficiently. I specifically focus on businesses with gross sales of $5 million or less. Selling to small businesses poses unique challenges, but I have developed an exceptional system & custom CRM platform designed to identify target buyers and successfully close deals that others may struggle with.

I have assembled a team of invaluable members who share the common goal of selling your small business. We are dedicated to tirelessly working towards a successful transition that meets your expectations. My reputation as a Master Broker or “broker’s broker” stems from my ability to facilitate transactions that other brokers may find challenging or choose not to invest the time in. I also play a crucial role in helping other brokers sell their small or difficult listings.

One of the key factors in bringing buyers and sellers together is maintaining an open mind regarding deal structure. Additionally, accurately defining the expectations of both the seller and the buyer is essential in establishing a healthy and trusting relationship, which forms the foundation of any successful transaction.

In short, I’ll get you more money faster & a happy buyer…….

The steps involved in determining how to leave the company you have built require careful thought, deliberate consideration, and plenty of experience.

Julie Wozniak

Having Vetted Over 5,000 Buyer Prospects, Julie’s Expertise Is Successfully Identifying and Qualifying Buyers

Julie has been successfully assisting sellers for over 9 years. She specialize in managing the intricate details and emotional aspects of business transactions. Julie Wozniak is highly experienced in handling the marketing process, listing businesses for sale, and effectively showcasing their value to potential buyers. She focuses on identifying and qualifying the right buyers.

Julie personally engages with each buyer inquiry, ensuring they are viable and capable purchasers. She meticulously guides each buyer through a successful proprietary process until the anticipated day of closing. Our commitment to sellers is that any buyer we bring to them has earned the opportunity to meet with them.

Julie pays close attention to developing detailed buyer profiles, which provide sellers with valuable information about their target buyers, enhancing the negotiation and transaction experience.

Joe & Julie are highly regarded small business brokers based in North Carolina. With extensive experience and a strong track record, they are recognized as top professionals in the region. They possess deep knowledge of the local market dynamics and trends, which enables them to guide clients through the complex process of selling a small business. Joe excels at valuing businesses, identifying potential buyer profiles for maximizing value of seller’s businesses, and negotiating favorable deals. They are known for their strong work ethic, professionalism, and commitment to client needs. Julie is known for thoroughly analyzing each business and developing tailored marketing strategies for successfully selling in as rapid a pace as possible. Joe & Julie consistently deliver results and build long-term relationships. Joe & Julie’s expertise extends beyond business brokerage, making them sought-after professionals in the industry.

Skilled Advisors in Dispute Resolution


The key differentiator & often overlooked in formal valuation reports is the word “small.”


– Business valuation always is a fraught undertaking, and particularly so for a small 

professional business like the one in this case. By far, the greatest value-adding

component of this business is its human capital.



Common Mistakes to Avoid in Small Business Valuation during a dispute.


Evaluating the worth of a small business requires experience, as it can lead to either undervaluing or overvaluing the business. To ensure accuracy in valuation, consider the following points:


1.     Neglecting Comprehensive Factors: Valuing a small business goes beyond mere financial statements. Intangible assets, prevailing market conditions, client relationships, supplier relationships and growth potential are crucial elements that must be taken into account.

2.     Selecting the Wrong Valuation Method: Each business is unique, and various valuation methods are available, each suitable for specific situations. Employing an inappropriate method can distort the valuation results significantly.

3.     Maintaining Reasonableness in Assumptions and Conclusions: Inaccurate assumptions and conclusions can undermine the validity of the valuation. It’s imperative to exercise prudence in each assumption and conclusion made, especially when normalizing or annualizing labor, expenses, and equity risk (discount rate). Conducting a thorough review of individual assumptions and ensuring the overall valuation conclusion remains reasonable is essential.

Both Joe Vagnone and Julie Wozniak have completed courses at Harvard Law School’s Program On Negotiation. Joe Vagnone successfully completed The Harvard Law School Negotiation and Dispute Resolution Course, which equips individuals with effective strategies for negotiation and resolving conflicts. Julie Wozniak completed The Harvard Law School Overcoming Resistance in a Negotiation course, which focuses specifically on addressing resistance during negotiations. Their completion of these courses demonstrates their dedication to enhancing their negotiation skills and their ability to handle challenging situations that may arise during business transactions. With their specialized training from Harvard Law School, both

Joe Vagnone and Julie Wozniak are well-equipped to navigate negotiations and contribute valuable insights to ensure successful outcomes for their clients.

Proud affiliate of

Your business is likely your most valuable asset. Finding a reputable brokerage firm is of paramount importance. Since 2003, ENLIGN Advisors has successfully closed hundreds of main street and middle market business sales. Our certified brokers and advisors are trusted, experienced and connected to our national network of professionals. Through the Atlas Alliance, we support business owners in the sale of their businesses nationwide.

What our clients say

Joe Vagnone's New Book

“Its apparent to the reader that the process of buying a business is what helps prepare the buyer for the owning & operating of their business.”

Joe Vagnone is a highly experienced small business broker based in North Carolina. He has built a strong reputation in the industry due to his extensive practical knowledge and track record of successful business transactions. With hands-on experience in facilitating deals, Joe Vagnone understands the intricacies and challenges involved in buying and selling businesses.

Joe’s expertise is grounded in his deep understanding of the local market dynamics in North Carolina. He stays updated on industry trends and economic factors that can impact business valuations and market demand. This enables him to provide accurate business valuations and strategic advice to his clients.

One of Joe Vagnone’s key strengths is his ability to effectively navigate the complexities of the business brokerage process. He excels in conducting thorough due diligence, identifying potential buyers or sellers, and negotiating favorable terms for his clients. His practical experience and negotiation skills are crucial in ensuring a smooth and successful transaction.

Having worked with a diverse range of businesses across various industries, Joe Vagnone possesses a broad perspective that allows him to address the unique challenges and opportunities specific to each business. He understands the nuances of different industries and applies this knowledge to guide his clients towards making informed decisions.

In addition to his extensive experience as a business broker, Joe Vagnone is dedicated to continuous professional development. He actively engages in industry events, networks with other professionals, and stays updated on the latest trends and best practices. This commitment to ongoing learning enables him to provide his clients with the most current and relevant insights.

Overall, Joe Vagnone’s real-world experience and practical knowledge make him a highly competent and sought-after small business broker in North Carolina. Clients can trust in his expertise to navigate the complexities of the business brokerage process and achieve their desired outcomes.

However, Joe emphasizes the importance of using his Step-by-Step Formula to identify the right target buyer. he cautions against dealing with buyers solely interested in a multiple of sales or cash flow, as this approach can significantly reduce the business’s value, referred to as “Valuation Slaughter” by Walter Bergeron.

Their approach focuses on presenting the target buyer with comprehensive details about key employees, intellectual property, proven systems, marketing success, innovative ideas, and the seller’s experience in problem-solving. They highlight future opportunities, a loyal client base, valuable supplier relationships, and the company database as key selling points.

joes strategy involves a team approach – actively seeking out target buyers instead of waiting for them to come forward. By doing so, they aim to maximize the sales price of the business. The emphasis is on showcasing the business’s strengths, potential, and unique advantages to attract the most suitable buyers.



When evaluating professional associates such as attorneys, accountants, and brokers, it is important to look beyond the firm they work for. While the reputation and track record of the firm are relevant, it is crucial to personally assess the skills and experience of the individuals themselves.

The focus should be on determining whether these professionals possess the necessary expertise and experience in both buying and selling businesses. This comprehensive understanding allows them to effectively navigate the complexities of the deal process and provide valuable insights during one-on-one meetings.

The ability to engage in creative discussions, pay attention to details, and negotiate deal structures is highly dependent on the individual’s experience and proficiency. 

Experience truly matters in ensuring a successful and favorable outcome when selling a business.

To sell your business above the current market value, it’s crucial to have a clear understanding of your business’s current state. This involves objectively assessing both the positive and negative aspects. It’s natural to feel concerned about potential problems or issues within your company, but there’s no need to worry. Our team specializes in marketing from your company’s voids and weaknesses.

Buyers are unlikely to purchase a business unless they believe they can improve upon it. Instead of avoiding or hiding your weaknesses, we will help you embrace them. By defining these weaknesses for the target buyer, we can present them as opportunities for the buyer to envision themselves overcoming challenges and owning your business.

Before diving into the weaknesses, let’s start by highlighting the positive aspects of your business. This will allow us to showcase its strengths and potential, attracting potential buyers who recognize the value and opportunities it offers.

I understand and respect your perspective on the importance of hiring an experienced broker when selling a small business. While it’s true that some business owners have successfully bought and sold businesses without a broker, based on your experience, you believe that engaging a broker can lead to a better sale price and favorable deal terms.

You emphasize that hiring a broker is not only about finding a buyer but also about navigating the negotiation process and structuring the deal effectively. The value of a broker becomes evident after the closing, as business owners may realize they left something on the table or encounter difficulties if the deal falls through.

You stress that closing the deal, which includes getting the target buyer to commit and provide the necessary funds, is the most challenging part. By following a step-by-step formula and paying attention to the details, you believe business owners can increase their chances of successfully closing the deal.

Overall, your perspective highlights the significance of experience, negotiation skills, and attention to detail in the process of selling a small business, and you believe that hiring an experienced broker can greatly contribute to achieving a successful outcome.

Joe’s entrepreneurial journey began at the age of 11 when he started cutting grass and delivering papers. He soon transitioned to running a car detailing business. After a brief and unpleasant stint as a dishwasher at a fish camp, Joe found a job at a local restaurant through a friend. This marked the beginning of his passion for the restaurant industry, as he learned the ropes from his mentor, Nick Takis.

Throughout college, Joe continued working in the restaurant business, taking on early morning shifts and working nights and weekends. Alongside his friend Chuck, Joe also ventured into a successful junk removal business, which proved much more profitable than car washing.

Joe’s first significant investment came when he and Chuck purchased a mobile disc jockey business, becoming a popular choice for high schools, colleges, and local hotels due to their extensive record collection and impressive light displays.

Real estate investment became one of Joe’s personal passions at the age of 17 when he met his second mentor, Leon Prenat. Joe began buying, cleaning, and fixing up residential properties, amassing a portfolio of six properties before turning 22.

After Chuck went to college, Joe sold the DJ business and pursued a hotel restaurant food service and management degree at Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC). Despite skepticism, Joe excelled in college, even becoming the student body president. His education helped him become a leader and led to his oversight of CPCC’s banquet facility and restaurant operations.

At 21, Joe bought his first restaurant, a small sandwich shop, which became the foundation for his larger restaurant concept. He expanded to multiple locations, eventually selling his restaurant operations one by one. Joe guided long-term managers in becoming owners and operated under an informal franchise model, earning passive income.

For over a decade, Joe continued his business practice of buying, advising, and selling small restaurant operations, considering himself an early practitioner of capital investment. However, as the economy changed, Joe shifted his focus to brokering deals instead of personally investing in them.

Joe’s entrepreneurial journey showcases his early ventures in grass cutting, car detailing, and junk removal, followed by success in the restaurant industry, real estate investment, and many other small business acquisitions. His adaptability and willingness to embrace new opportunities have been key to his entrepreneurial success. 

Joe’s wife of over 30years – has affectionately referred to him as a “deal junkie” due to his passion for pursuing business opportunities. However, she now supports and encourages his primary brokerage efforts because he has shifted from personally investing his own money in deals to brokering them. 

It is crucial to recognize that not all skilled business advisers are qualified to handle the sale process. While lawyers, accountants, brokers, financial advisers, and brokerage companies can play valuable roles, they may not possess the specific knowledge and experience required for selling a business successfully.

It is strongly advised not to attempt selling a business on your own. According to INC. magazine, going solo is considered the biggest mistake entrepreneurs can make when selling their business. Instead, it is recommended to assemble a team of experienced professionals who can provide guidance in their respective disciplines.

Experience is emphasized as a critical factor in selecting a broker or professional to assist with the sale. It is important to ensure that the broker or firm you hire has a track record of personal and professional involvement with small businesses. This is an area where joe believes he can be of great help, as joe works with various professionals and maintain a Preferred Professional Referral list for their clients.

In summary, selling a business requires a team of experienced professionals with specialized knowledge in selling businesses, and it is essential to carefully choose individuals who have a proven track record in this specific area.