Should Business Buyers Work With a Broker

Buying a business is one of the most important financial decisions you will ever make. For this reason, it is important to find the right business (based on your passion, skills, and budget) so you are in the best possible position to succeed. Many buyers wonder if they should work with a business broker when looking for a business to get into. Though it may not be necessary, there are several reasons working with a broker can be helpful:

Access to Qualified Listings: Business brokers have listings of multiple pre-qualified sellers. This allows them to offer you a wide range of options in a timely manner. Searching through dozens of business-for-sale listings on your own can be a daunting task. A broker can hone your search to only the available businesses that meet your qualifications.

Assistance with the Process: Purchasing a business is a complex process involving lots of paperwork and plenty of due diligence. If you have never been through this process before, it is very helpful to work with a professional who can help walk you through it. Even seasoned business buyers often continue using business brokers because of the assistance they are able to provide.

Assistance with Negotiation: One of the most difficult aspects of purchasing a business is the negotiation. In some instances, it is very useful to have a buffer between the buyer and the seller during this process. For example, with many businesses, the buyer will want the seller to stay on either as an employee, consultant, or in another role after the transaction is completed. Because of the likelihood of a continued working relationship and the need to preserve it, it is usually best to let someone else handle the tough negotiation.

Access to More Financing Options: Most buyers will need some level of financing to purchase their preferred business. This can come from family, a traditional bank, an alternative lending source, the seller, or a combination of sources. Business brokers handle commercial transactions every day, and they are typically familiar with all the available financing sources, as well as creative ways you may not have considered to structure the deal. For example, with many CPA firm transactions, the seller is willing to provide financing and payment structures that are based on the firm hitting certain financial benchmarks in future years.

No Cost: Seller Pays Commission: There are two ways of looking at this last point. It is true that in almost all cases, the seller is the one paying commission to the broker for the sale of the business. This also means that the broker represents the seller and may have a fiduciary duty to act in the seller’s best interests. That said, brokers also act as intermediaries between the buyer and seller, bringing them together to work out win-win deals for both parties. They may represent the seller, but it is also in their best interests to fully consider the needs of the buyer. Because if the deal does not materialize, there is no commission paid.

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