If you are considering the entrepreneurial leap, you will likely find many people in your life who are ready to give you lots of helpful (and probably more frequently unhelpful) advice. Friends, colleagues, attorneys, real estate agents and the like will probably be full of unsolicited information.
When you buy a business, you need real help. By far the best person you can have by your side during the business buying process is an experienced and qualified business broker.
Business brokers help people buy and sell businesses, and as a buyer one of your first steps to business ownership should be finding a broker to help you. Your initial conversation with a broker should include a discussion of your goals for business ownership, the amount of capital you have to invest, the areas and industries where you have practical experience, your timeline for buying a business and the like. Having your own broker – someone who knows what you’re looking for and what you want out of the deal – will be instrumental in helping you find the right business.
When I called about a business, there was already a broker involved – so why do I need my own?
Business brokers don’t represent the buyer or the seller in a transaction, they represent the transaction itself. That being said, the broker who you speak to when inquiring about a listing is someone who knows and has a relationship with the seller – and it is their job to get the business sold. Would you be willing to take the advice of an adviser who only knows about the seller and the business and nothing about you? Probably not. Your own broker is going to go through the discovery process with you – and then use that information to help you narrow down the choices of businesses currently for sale. The point here is you should have a broker who knows something about you too.
What if my broker matches me with one of their own listings? Is it a bad idea to have them represent both sides of the deal?
If your broker knows you and your goals, and has the perfect business to meet those goals, then no – it wouldn’t be a bad idea for your broker to represent both sides. Again, brokers represent the transaction, so as long as you and the seller are both comfortable working with the broker it shouldn’t be a problem. In many cases having only one broker in the mix can actually make the transaction simpler.
What did you mean by “experienced and qualified business broker”?
Our industry is a tough one, and while many budding business brokers come onto the market – most never make it to a closing table. We also have lots of moonlighters – people with professional expertise in a completely different field, but they sell businesses “on the side”. For the most part these moonlighters are real estate agents and attorneys, but we’ve even seen neurologists and dentists give business sales a go. If you are trying to buy a business, you want someone who knows what they are doing by your side. If you needed a cavity filled, you wouldn’t call a realtor – so make sure any broker you work with is actually a business broker. Then ask them about their experience. Are they brand-new to the industry? If they are, they will likely have an impossibly hard time getting seasoned brokers to cooperate with them, they will be unaware of the common pitfalls that can derail a business sale and they won’t be able to guide you properly through the process.
When you are ready to buy a business, do yourself and your goals a favor by employing the services of the best adviser possible – a qualified and experienced business broker.
Have you shopped around for a business but haven’t found what you were looking for? Is the “broker” helping you really a moonlighter? Do you want to know what kind of business could help you meet your goals? Ask us! Leave us a comment or question and we would be happy to help you on your journey to business ownership.
5111 Ocean Boulevard, Suite E
Siesta Key, FL 34242