A business broker has the skills and knowledge necessary to facilitate the sale of a business, acting as an intermediary between buyer and seller. The best business brokers handle all the paperwork, ensure the proper fees and taxes have been paid, and sees that both parties walk away satisfied.
How to Find the Best Business Broker Near You:
1. See if they're accredited.
Business brokers are, in most states, unlicensed, and in states that require licenses only require real estate licenses, so there is no official "Business Broker License." They're also virtually unregulated, so you're going to have to do some research to find one you can trust.
One way to start down that road is to find out if your potential business broker is accredited by an professional organization such as the IBBA (International Business Broker Association). While that doesn't tell the whole story about the broker, it at least lets you know that the business broker in question has undergone and passed some professional development courses.
2. Find out whether they have experience with your type of business.
Selling a local flower shop and selling a digital marketing agency with international clients requires two radically different approaches and skill sets. It's important that your business broker knows your type of business so they know how to structure the sale, how to effectively market your business, and more.
There are some business brokerage firms that specialize in certain types of businesses or certain industries; seek out those that focus on your type of business or, at the very least, a broker who's sold businesses similar to yours. A broker who knows all the details specific to your industry will handle the sale far more proficiently than someone who generalizes.
3. Look for reviews or testimonials.
Honest reviews can provide deep insight into how a business broker operates, how successful they are, and how easy they are to work with. Don't, however, limit yourself to what can be found online. If you find a broker who seems like a good fit, ask for references. Any reputable business broker should be able to provide them.
If you regularly attend local business meetups, you can also ask around and see if anyone's worked with your prospective broker. Getting another business owner's first-hand account of their experience could mean the difference between a great relationship and an ordeal.
4. Ask about their process.
How does your potential business broker intend to sell your business? How active are they with marketing? How well do they utilize marketing channels? There's a world of difference between posting a listing on a website and letting it sit and actively using all available channels to find prospective buyers.
Experienced business brokers should know the best ways to reach motivated buyers for your business, and should actively market until your business has sold. Also, if your business broker's asking for up-front fees, be wary. Your broker should be in a position to absorb marketing costs in pursuit of the sale and their commission.
5. Create a short list, and interview brokers.
Once you've narrowed your search down to a few brokers, meet with each of them and ask questions. Let them walk you through the sales process. Ask about the number of successful sales. Get a good feeling about how they interact with both you and your potential buyer.
Your broker should be willing to sit down with you and spend some time getting to know you and your business. The better they know you, the better they'll be able to match you with a buyer who will give your business the attention you did.
Business Brokers by Location:
|California Business Brokers||Mission Viejo, California|
|First Choice Business Brokers||San Diego, California|
|The Veld Group||Los Angeles, California|
|Westwood-Benson Business Brokers||San Francisco, California|
|Business Brokers of Oregon||Portland, Oregon|
|Morgan & Westfield Business Brokers||Seattle, Washington|
|Sound Business Brokers||Olympia, Washington|
|First Choice Business Brokers||Las Vegas, Nevada|
|GoldStar Business Brokers||Phoenix, Arizona|
|Sunbelt New Mexico||Albuquerque, New Mexico|
|Certified Business Brokers||Houston, Texas|
|Texas Business Brokers||Dallas, Texas|
|Utah Business Consultants||Salt Lake City, Utah|
|National Business Brokers & Consultants||Colorado Springs, Colorado|
|Denver Business Brokers||Denver, Colorado|
|Apex Business Advisors||Kansas City, Missouri|
|Opportunities in Business||Minneapolis, Minnesota|
|Morgan & Westfield||Madison, Wisconsin|
|Inix Business Brokers||Waterford Township, Michigan|
|Sun Acquisitions||Chicago, Illinois|
|Indiana Equity Brokers||Indianapolis, Indiana|
|Sunbelt Business Brokers||Columbus, Ohio|
|Prime Investments Business Brokers||Potomac, Maryland|
|Synergy Business Brokers LLC||New York, New York|
|Light & Rafael Business Brokerage||Richmond, Virginia|
|Charleston Business Brokers||Charleston, South Carolina|
|Viking Mergers & Acquisitions||Charlotte, North Carolina|
|Atlanta Business Brokers LLC||Atlanta, Georgia|
|Seiler Tucker||New Orleans, Louisiana|
|Boss Group International||Orlando, Florida|
|Transworld Business Brokers||Miami, Florida|
Business Broker FAQs:
What does a business broker charge?
Business brokers typically work on commission or earn "success fees." Most brokers, upon completing the sale, charge 10 percent of the total sale amount. If your business broker is asking for additional fees, investigate and find out what they're for. All marketing charges should be assumed by the broker.
Ask your broker up front about what fees you can expect to pay. If they're asking for more than the standard percentage, find out why. You'll likely want to meet with a few brokers prior to engaging one, so get a good handle on how each of them expects to be paid and what they're going to do to earn it.
Are business brokers licensed?
It depends on the state, but bottom line, there is no business broker "license." The states that do require licensing only require a general real estate license. This is why it's important to thoroughly research your potential business brokers. Find out if they're members of the IBBA (International Business Brokers Association) for a start.
In addition, a few states offer their own accreditation. It's not as binding as a license would be, but it at least shows that your potential broker has spent time with professional development and operates their business in good standing with those associations.
Where Can I List My Business for Sale Online?
How do you sell a business by owner?
If you're thinking of selling your business on your own, be sure you're covering all the bases: properly valuing your business is the first step. The value of your business is a combination of your physical assets, how much your business earns per year, and projected value. There are a number of additional details, such as your exit strategy, making sure your potential buyers are legitimate, and more.
Selling your business without a broker saves you having to pay a commission, but it also means you'll have to do the valuation, the marketing, and the negotiation while you're running your operation. Be sure you've thoroughly assessed the costs in terms of time and labor prior to making the decision to sell without a broker.
How do you buy an existing business?
First of all, make sure you know exactly what goes into running the business. What sounds like an exciting idea in the abstract might end up being far more work than you'd planned. Go into it with your eyes wide open. Once you've decided what type of business you want to operate, look at listings in your area. Be sure your finances are in order and you've properly assessed what the business is worth.
Buyers can also use business brokers to help them negotiate the often complicated process of buying a business. A good broker can give you an idea of the business's projected worth, its viability in the future, and what it will take to run it. Whether you buy on your own or engage a broker, having as many details about the business prior to purchase will help you avoid any unpleasant surprises down the line.