What to Look for When Choosing a Business Broker

partial view of businessman shaking hands with woman

Selling a business is often a once-in-a-lifetime transaction, although some entrepreneurs have started and sold multiple businesses in their careers. This process can seem overwhelming for most owners with very little experience with the business sales process.

A successful business sale starts long before the business is on the market. There is a lot of preparation involved, and many things need to be done ahead of time. This type of transaction is very complicated, and it is far different from selling a car or even selling a home. There are a lot of steps that must be taken, and there are numerous potential pitfalls that could mess things up.

With a transaction like this, it is important to work with a reputable business broker with the knowledge, skills, and experience to bring your business sale to a successful conclusion. There are a lot of different aspects to address during each phase of the transaction, and the depth of knowledge gained by specializing in this area for several years is priceless to a business owner.

There are several characteristics you should look for in selecting a business broker. Some of the most critical include the following:

Table of Contents

Make Sure They Are a Full-Time Brokerage

Some business brokers do this full-time and either operate or work in a brokerage, and some do this as a sideline to another business or career. You want to work with a full-time broker who does transactions like this week in and week out.

Check How Many Years They Have Been in The Business

As we discussed earlier, the broker or brokerage team should have several years of experience in the business. Everyone must start somewhere, but with so much at stake when selling your business, it is better not to be a guinea pig. Look for someone who has been in the business for a while.

Make Sure They Have Proven Results

If the business broker has been around for several years, they should have some results to show for that. At the appropriate time, the broker should be willing to provide references from past clients for whom they successfully sold their businesses.

They Should Have a Strong Marketing Plan

A good business broker can put together a comprehensive marketing plan designed to attract qualified prospects and sell your business at a good price and in a timely manner.

Find One That Works on Contingency

Most business brokers work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they only get paid if they get your business sold for you, and if they do, they receive a percentage of the sale. This removes the risk from the seller, and it also helps ensure that the broker’s interests are fully aligned with yours.

Be Sure They Are Client-Focused

A good broker should be willing to spend the time needed to gain a thorough understanding of your situation and your goals, and they should be willing to consult with you and provide you with valuable insights on the business sales process.

Choose a Business Broker with Low-Pressure Sales

Related to the last point, a reputable business broker understands the complexities of these types of transactions and that every circumstance is unique. For this reason, they should not use high-pressure tactics to persuade the owner to do something they do not want to do. Throughout each phase of the transaction, they should always act in their client’s best interests.

The ability to help prepare the owner for sale, properly value the business, promote the business to the broadest market of available prospects, maintain confidentiality, and effectively address potential issues before they even come up are among the skills that can only be acquired by a CPA firm business broker with time and experience. The ability of an owner (who wants to sell) to leverage these skills puts them in the best possible position to receive top dollar for their business.

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