How to Choose the Right Business Broker
Selling a business often represents one of the most momentous occasions in any entrepreneur’s career. However, while business owners are usually great at what they do, overseeing a successful sale can require an entirely different skillset. Throw in the time consideration while ensuring that the business continues to thrive as a going concern, and it often makes perfect sense to call in the experts.
Business brokers are business people too, but they specialize in facilitating transactions between buyers and sellers to ensure everyone is satisfied. Businesses are their business, and they work with buyers and sellers at every stage. From setting the initial valuation to marketing the business to the right buyers, all the way through to negotiations and completion, specialist brokers such as ourselves can take the hard work out of business sales.
Effectively, you have a team of specialists on hand to ensure progress in the sales process while you continue to focus on what matters. So there’s always plenty of choices when deciding on a broker to entrust with your business sale.
Here, we present the most important considerations to have your sale overseen by your perfect broker.
Location Matters – We are Business Brokers in Southern California
Above anything else, the ideal broker knows the market around your business. Local expertise can be the difference between finding the perfect buyer and settling for little more than a disinterested investor.
Regional knowledge pays dividends from the beginning of the relationship. Brokers active in your area will already have an idea of what your business is worth based on market conditions. They’ll also be able to provide insight into maximizing the sales opportunity based on the demands of customers and prospective buyers alike.
Perhaps most important of all is their local network of contacts. Some people buy one business and work on it until retirement. However, buying and investing can become addictive, and once people get involved with buying and selling businesses, they often come back for more! There’s every chance your broker will already know these people and have worked with them previously. That can take months off the expected lead time for the sale, and your broker will know exactly what their contacts look for in a purchase.
Find Out What Others Have to Say
The chances are your chosen broker will have overseen the sale of dozens or even hundreds of businesses. That means legions of satisfied buyers and sellers that can vouch for their skills and success. (Check out our Testimonials!)
There are two ways to approach this. First, you can ask around your professional network for recommendations. Personal endorsements carry plenty of weight, especially from trusted contacts. Second, they can tell you more about the process from the seller’s perspective and provide genuine insight into what you can expect.
Alternatively, you can identify a broker you’d like to work with and ask them for references. It lacks the organic value of speaking to someone unconnected to the broker but can still give you a great idea of what to expect from that broker in particular.
Do Your Due Diligence
The real due diligence starts with the sales process, and there’s every chance that your broker will take care of it for you. However, it costs nothing to do some timely research, and Google is all you need.
The first result will inevitably be the broker’s website, and even that warrants closer investigation. You can often get an idea of the kinds of clients they’ve worked with in the past and how they approach the sales process. They’ll often also include a range of news and resources to help you prepare for the sale comfortably in advance.
From there, take a look at other results beyond the first one. For example, you might come across testimonials, reviews, and additional third-party information that helps to make the final decision easier.
You don’t have to limit yourself to Google, either. Social media accounts, blog posts, and a veritable treasure trove of information are never more than a couple of clicks away, and you have the opportunity to get to know a potential broker before you meet in person for the first time.
Some Businesses Need a Specialist
Having taken everything we’ve discussed so far into account, you might feel you need a broker that works specifically in your sector. For example, a business broker that only sells restaurants may not provide the right kind of service if you’re looking to sell a bowling alley. However, if you want to sell a restaurant, they immediately stand out as the obvious choice.
Their specialization builds on the same kinds of factors that make looking locally such a great idea. They not only have contacts nearby; they have contacts that already know what they’re looking for, and your business could be the perfect fit.
They’ll also have impeccable insight into the market and can advise on how to prepare your business best to catch the eye of buyers for the best possible price.
Build a Relationship
When you’re happy with how a broker looks on paper, it’s time to get out there and meet them in person. If everything goes to plan, you’ll be working on keeping your business going, and they’ll be working just as hard to find the perfect buyer. In that context, it becomes a partnership, and they work best when the chemistry is right.
Remember that they’re working on your behalf and need to put your interests first. While they deal with multiple businesses every day, this could be one of the most significant events of your career. So make sure you’re comfortable with them, and don’t be afraid to ask all the questions you need to ensure the perfect fit.
Ultimately, they’ll represent you and your business in front of the people you need to convince to part with their money. Their knowledge and professionalism around buyers might not be quite as necessary as your business’s own merits, but they do matter.
Making the Decision
Selling a business is a big deal and should be treated as such. If you only intend to do it once, it’s imperative to get it right the first time. Fortunately, the selection process doesn’t have to be difficult, and reputable brokers are exceptionally good at what they do. At the most basic level, they can effectively advise on the entire process, and finding the right fit is every bit as important as the technical aspects.
If you’re looking to sell a business, we’d be delighted to chat with you about your options and how we can make the sale a hugely satisfying experience. So drop in, send us a message or give us a call to make your dream sale a reality!
We have been selling businesses in Southern California since 2016. Our Business Brokers have over 100 years of combined experience running, growing, selling, and buying businesses. Contact us today and set-up a no obligations and above all, confidential consultation.
Proud members of the National Association of Business Brokers