7 Tips on Picking the Best Business Broker

Thinking of selling your small business? Are you one of those fearless entrepreneurs who think they can market, negotiate and close a deal by themselves or are you going to take the more logical route of working with a business broker? If sanity prevails and you are going to work with a pro, here are a few things to look for to find the best business broker.

1. Get recent references

Ignore all the hype a brokerage firm places in their literature and ask for recent references and then follow up and actually check them out. If you’re dealing with a larger business brokerage, get references from the broker you will be working with. Big offices will always have rookies and you want to insure that the broker you get knows his or her stuff.

2. Work with certified brokers

Many states require that business brokers hold a real estate license but just having that license does not mean that the broker necessarily knows anything about buying or selling a business. In fact a number of realtors turn “business brokers” when the real estate market gets slow. What you should be looking for is certification from the International Business Brokers Association who grants a certificate as Certified Business Intermediary (CBI) after completion of an extensive educational course.

3. Don’t be fooled

If the reason that you are considering selling is because you received a letter or email from a broker with the message “We have a buyer for you” then think again. This is one of the most common marketing ploys used in this business. Without question these brokers probably have people interested in buying a business but not necessarily yours.

4. Don’t rush to a decision

Selling your business is a big deal and one you want to be sure you do right. In your conversation with brokers ask them if now is a good time to sell. Ask for an opinion of value. Coming up with this could take a bit of time and if the broker is reputable, he or she may advise you not to put the business on the market but rather make suggestions on what to do to improve the value. A broker who makes this suggestion is looking to make both of you a bigger buck by making the business more attractive.

5. Pick a brokerage with experience in your industry

Look at current listings that the broker has. Check out both the size and types of industries to insure that he or she has experience in your market place. Again, don’t rely on marketing material find out the facts yourself.

6. How does the broker market

Ask what the broker’s marketing plans are and ask to see samples. If he simply puts an ad in the paper or posts it to a single website you probably aren’t getting the exposure you deserve. Good brokers have networks they can tap to find interested and qualified buyers.

7. Avoid packaged services

At some point in the sales process you are going to need the services of an attorney and a qualified accountant. Your broker will probably offer those services but in most cases what he or she is doing is outsourcing to someone else. If you have your own attorney and CPA just stick with them. Otherwise it may be less expensive to find and deal direct with those professionals rather than getting them through the broker.

Finding the best business broker isn’t really that difficult it simply requires some time and effort on your part. However, getting the best broker makes a huge difference in how the experience plays out and the total value of the deal.

7 Benefits of American Business Brokers

Nobody has to tell you that these are pretty volatile economic times and if you’re contemplating buying or selling a business you are going to be facing some serious challenges. American business brokers have been doing a brisk business over the past two years thanks to a banking collapse and a stock market that no longer appears to be a prudent place to invest. Some businesses have to sell and others have cash that they can’t profitably invest elsewhere so they invest in growth. Business brokers are the professionals in the middle that make it happen for both the buyer and the seller. Here’s a short list of their services.

1. Preparing a business to sell

If you feel it’s time to sell your business a broker can help you put together the best look and then market your business professionally. When you’re selling you should be focusing on what you do best, running the business and making it as attractive as possible, and not be distracted with all the minutiae involved in selling a business. Leave that to the broker.

2. Valuation service

Arriving at a real market value for a business is obviously important to both a buyer and a seller and a professional broker can provide that service. In a sales transaction, the ultimate value of a business is what a buyer is willing to pay. However there are other times when an owner may want a certified value to satisfy estate planning, marital or partnership issues or when facing litigation. Once again the business broker is the pro you can turn to.

3. Closing

As hard and as complicated as it is to market and then negotiate a price, closing can be even more difficult because more people and organizations are involved. A business broker can handle much of the coordination that is required. He or she will have to deal with two sets of attorneys, accountants, possibly two or more banks, government agencies and vendors. This is a critical step and not the time to start learning by on the job training. Let a broker do it.

4. Exit strategy

The time to think about an exit strategy is before you put your business on the market. Discuss with your broker just what you want to do, retire or move on to another opportunity. This will actually have an impact on the method of payout. Many times you can get a more profitable deal if you agree to manage the business for a short time after the sale. There’s also the question of relationships with clients, vendors and employees. A broker can assist you in a strategy that leaves everybody feeling good.

5. Support services

Many brokers will work in partnership with support services such as legal and accounting. Some even work in conjunction with lending or funding sources as well. As a general rule, it is probably less expensive to contract directly with the services but if you don’t have a relationship with one or more already, then the broker is a good bet.

6. Up to date market intelligence

In a sense, business brokers work much like realtors, listing businesses and presenting the relevant facts. Brokers have the latest intelligence on a given industry in a given geographical area which can prove to be invaluable for either a buyer or a seller. And there are other market concerns that they stay current with as well. Perhaps one of the biggest changes for small businesses is in the area of financing a buy. With the banks as tight as they are, it is not uncommon for the seller to provide some or all of the financing.

7. Peace of mind

Buying or selling a business is a complex task and having a broker can assure the buyer or the seller that the transaction was fair, completed legally and save a considerable amount of time. Full time brokers make their living doing this, are professionals and render both the buyer and seller a real service of value.

The first step that a wise buyer or seller makes is to contact a professional business broker.

Why Should I Use A Business Broker?

You’ve come to the decision that buying a business or selling your business is the path that you want to take. The best piece of advice, although biased, I can offer is to retain the services of a business broker or business transfer adviser. Although business brokers usually work on behalf of the seller, there are sell-side business brokers and buy-side advisers. Even if you’re a buyer and you decide not to retain the services of a business broker or transfer adviser, you’ll receive the benefits because a business broker is working with the seller.

The broker is sort of like a clamp that holds things together as the business buyer and seller progress through the business transaction. Below I’m going to explain to you how both business seller and business buyer can and will benefit from the services of a business broker:

Let’s meet-

The good thing about the business broker is, the profession requires face to face meetings. Even though the broker is getting paid by the business seller, the buyer has to meet with the broker in order to view the business as well as so the broker can determine if the buyer is a compatible buyer for the business.

The meeting will be an interview style meeting. Some of the questions that will be asked by the broker are:

1- Can you go into detail about your background?

2- Have you ever purchased a business

3- Do you have easy access to the cash to buy a business?

4- Can you show proof of proceeds on a recent bank statement?

5- How soon are you willing to make a purchase?

In addition to the question and answer portion, you’ll also be given a personal financial statement to fill out and return. Be sure you return this information as soon as possible.

What usually takes place after this meeting is, the business broker will than present compatible business to the buyer. So come prepared with a recent bank statement showing the cash. Time is of great importance. Strike while the fire is hot and move with swiftness.

Expect for the broker to ask you to sign a non-disclosure agreement. The business seller wants to ensure that the word about the business being for sale is kept quite.

As the buyer, you’ll get to see very general financial information about the business of interest and others in the business broker has other businesses available. If you decide that you have serious interest in any of the businesses that are presented, the broker will provide you with more in-depth financial date and also arrange for you to see the business in person.

The broker will act of the best point of contact for the buyer. Any questions or concerns that the buyer may have, the broker can answer all questions concerning the business.

How the business broker helps the seller-

If you’re the owner of a business and you’ve decided to sell, one of the best services that you can retain are the services of a business broker. The broker will oversee the entire process while you continue to run your business.

The business broker will interview all of the buyers. This service by itself is worth the broker fee. Business brokers usually have access to a database of buyers that they’ve acquired over the years. These are buyers that have identified themselves are compatible and financially capable of buying a business. Having access to a list of buyers will speed up the process and help get the business sold while it’s still “hot.”

The business broker will especially prepare a marketing plan for the business in question. A sales prospectus will take time to prepare but your broker will provide you with this required document. In addition, the broker will structure the deal as well as assist the completion of the paper work.

Many owners don’t know how much their business is worth, therefore the broker can assist you with pricing your business. Te pricing of the business is just a starting point. The buyer will get an official appraisal. Between the 2 numbers, the negotiations will start there. Also, you want to ensure that your business is properly priced. You don’t want it to be overpriced not under priced A business that is priced right WILL SELL. The ultimate price of the business will be determined by what it sells for or as brokers like to say-the marketplace.

The business broker is one of the most important advisers that a seller can have on their transaction team. This broker will bring their years of experience to the table. This will help both buyer and seller and ensure both parties walk away happy.