Buying A Business? 3 Ways To Find A Great Broker

If you are considering buying a business, then you’ve probably started looking for a business broker to help you. If you haven’t, you should, as the business transaction process can be dauntingly complex and rarely makes it to a successful closing without some qualified help.


If you are broker shopping, you will quickly discover that there are a lot of options.


How do you choose the right professional to help you?


First, avoid any “part time” brokers. Many, many business professionals like real estate agents, attorneys, accountants – we’ve even come across doctors – “moonlight” as business brokers. Their attempts in our industry are on a part time “dabbling” basis, and as such they rarely know what they are doing. You wouldn’t come to a business broker if someone was threatening you with a lawsuit, so why would you use an attorney to navigate a business deal? Look for business brokers who are only that – full time brokers.


Secondly, you want to avoid business brokers who have “proprietary methods”. Some brokers use their so-called proprietary methods as a selling point, but from an industry standpoint there really isn’t anything about what a broker does that could ever really be proprietary. Any broker who gives you the “I am the only one with the special sauce” routine is trying too hard to impress you instead of focusing on what’s important – finding you the right business.


Third, you want to avoid business brokers who spend a small fortune on advertising. Brokers who are spending money on multiple television ads, massive full-color mailers and dozens of radio spots are again spending too much of their time focusing on the wrong aspect of their business.


What should you use to find a great broker? Referrals. If you find a business broker who gets the vast majority of their business from referrals, then you’ll be in good hands. Referrals come from past buyers, sellers, other industry professionals like attorneys and accountants – and these referrals amount to a great review of that broker’s previous work. Those past clients and professionals trust this broker enough to send the people they know their way. If you are talking to a broker, ask them how much of their business is referral based. A broker with a ton of referrals will be someone who can get the job done and find you a great business.


Would you like to know more about how to decide on a business broker? Would you like to know about our referral rate here at IBB? Ask us! Please feel free to leave any questions or comments here and we would be happy to help.




Michael Monnot

12995 South Cleveland Avenue, Suite 249
Fort Myers, FL 33907




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Buying Or Selling A Business? The Right Help Makes All The Difference

Looking for a business to buy or thinking about selling the business you currently own? Either side of a business transaction is a tough and complicated road – and definitely one you shouldn’t travel alone.



So, who can help me with business transactions? Business brokers can.


A business broker is a professional who helps people buy and sell businesses. They are well versed in the transaction process, and know all of the potential pitfalls so you can avoid them.


Few people outside of the business transaction world truly understand what business brokers are and what they do – so here are the answers to some common questions about our industry:


What do business brokers do?

If you are a buyer a broker can help you search for businesses to buy, help you narrow down your choices, help you put together an offer, help you negotiate a purchase contract, help you with any necessary licensing and permitting and help you work with the seller as they show you the ropes.


If you are a seller a broker can help you prepare your business for sale, help you come up with an appropriate listing price, confidentially market your business, vet potential buyers and get non-disclosure agreements signed, show your business to potential buyers, help with negotiating a purchase contract, help you with the closing process and help you find your next business venture after you sell.


How are business brokers licensed?

Business brokers are typically licensed by their state’s real estate division, but what they do isn’t real estate. To put it simply state licensing divisions can’t possibly have a separate license for every applicable industry, so in some cases a profession is lumped in with an industry that is similar. That is the case with business brokers. They typically hold a real estate license or a real estate broker’s license.


Who is, and isn’t, a business broker?

The buying a selling of businesses and the buying and selling of property or homes are two completely different animals. Property and homes are sold by broadcasting the availability of the property/home to everyone, everywhere. Businesses, on the other hand, need to be sold confidentially – so the approach is completely different. Listings for businesses are extremely vague, and only after the signing of non-disclosure agreements will the name and location of a business for sale be divulged. It is this vastly different approach of sales techniques that makes it critical for business buyers and sellers to work with experienced and qualified business brokers and not real estate agents trying their hand at selling businesses.


Many professionals outside of the business transaction industry make ill-fated attempts to dabble in the buying and selling of businesses on the side. While unqualified real estate agents are the typical offenders – we’ve seen dentists, lawyers, accountants and the like they their hand and fail. The business transaction process is complicated, and to be successful you need to know what you are doing. Part-time business brokers aren’t business brokers, so avoid them. If your good friend or brother-in-law is a real estate agent who thinks they can successfully help you buy or sell a business, they can – by referring you to the appropriate professional. All your real estate agent needs to do is refer you to a qualified business broker, and when your transaction closes your real estate agent gets a referral fee for doing nothing more than making a phone call – and you get the right help.


Who does a business broker represent?

While your business broker is your advocate during the transaction process, they don’t technically represent one side or the other. They are transaction brokers, and therefore represent the transaction itself. For this reason it is possible in many states for a business broker to work for both the buyer and seller’s side.


How does a business broker get paid?

Business brokers make their money by earning a commission when a transaction closes, paid for by the seller’s proceeds of a sale. This is why buyers who spend years searching for businesses without ever taking any serious steps toward buying one (like making an offer) might have trouble getting an experienced broker’s attention. Serious buyers and serious sellers are easily distinguished from those who are just kicking tires.


How can I find a good business broker?

Finding a good broker can be a bit of a challenge, but there are some obvious signs that can distinguish the good from the bad. Great brokers get the vast majority of their business from referrals – from past buyers and sellers who were impressed with their work, from colleagues in other industries who’ve referred friends and family to great success – so ask a potential broker how much of their business comes from this good-review-based source. Good brokers also respond to calls and emails in a realistically timely fashion, have lots of connections within the industry and have some practical experience under their belt.


The message here is the road to buying or selling a business is best traveled with the right help – so finding an experienced and qualified business broker should be your first step!


Are you thinking about buying or selling a business and want to know more about what business brokers do? Do you have more questions about the transaction process? Ask us! Feel free to leave comments or questions and we would be happy to help!




Michael Monnot

12995 South Cleveland Avenue, Suite 249
Fort Myers, FL 33907



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Experience Counts – Why You Need A Veteran Of The Transaction Process

You’ve just entered the business market with the intent of buying yourself a small business, and you are shopping around for a business broker to help you.


There are many factors that separate the good brokers from the bad – but one of the big ones is experience.


Rookie brokers make lots of mistakes, and if you’ve hitched yourself to their wagon for your transaction then you get to live those mistakes right along with them.


As experienced brokers, it can be very frustrating to try and work with these newbies, but it becomes increasingly difficult when they are trying their hand at the business alone and without any guidance – or if they have an experienced broker whom they work for who has given little to no training of any kind.


One of the major ways this lack of experience shows through? Too many showings.


What do we mean by too many showings?


If you’ve ever bought a house, you know that going to see a plethora of homes is part of the game, especially in a fast-moving market where a house has multiple offers the first day it lists. This is not, however, how business sales works – so newbie business brokers, especially those fresh out of the real estate industry, will sometimes try to play the same game by attempting to line up a litany of businesses for their clients to see. It doesn’t work.


First of all, when you are buying a business, you are buying an existing business – one that is open and running with staff and customers. The importance of confidentiality means that the staff and customers can’t know the business is for sale. Therefore, a business seller can’t have a parade of semi-curious buyers waltzing through the front door on a regular basis – it would make confidentiality impossible.


If done properly, the process to go see/tour a business is much more extensive:


It starts by having a conversation with your business broker about what you are looking for in a business and what your goals are. You will also talk about how much capital you have to invest in a business, and your broker will then take that information and find you a number of listings to look at that will be within your budget and meet your entrepreneurial goals. Out of that initial batch of potential businesses, you will typically be asked to narrow down the choices to just a few – think two or three – that peak your interest. You will then sign non-disclosure agreements for those listings in order to receive the marketing package, complete with the name and physical location of the business. After thoroughly reviewing the marketing materials for your few choices, you will probably prefer one business over the others. Your broker will help you form a list of additional questions you have for the sellers, and you will be given an opportunity to ask those questions during a conference call including the sellers, the brokers involved and you. After all of those steps have passed and you are still very interested in the business, your broker will set up a walk-through of the physical location of the business either before or after business hours when the staff and customers are gone.


What you can’t do in this process is decide that you want to spend a few days touring businesses and line up 5, 10 or more “showings” with your broker. No experienced broker worth their salt is going to waste their seller’s time by trying to coordinate a visit when the buyer hasn’t even bothered to narrow down their choices or ask any good questions. It’s just not going to happen. They’re also not going to put the confidentiality of the business at risk by having too many unfamiliar people coming to the business to meet with the seller during business hours as the staff will know something is up.


If you ask for this type of multi-tour approach and your broker says “Sure!”, beware that you probably have a rookie on your hands. The experienced brokers on the other side of the table aren’t going to play along, and you will be stuck seeing only the businesses listed by fellow rookie brokers.


If you are serious about buying, get yourself an experienced broker and go through the proper steps. You will end up only seeing the businesses that are right for you instead of wasting your own time looking at businesses that don’t fit the bill.


Are you a first-time buyer with more questions about the business buying process? Have you had an experience with a rookie broker that you’d like to share? Please feel free to leave comments or questions here and we would be happy to help.




Michael Monnot

12995 South Cleveland Avenue, Suite 249
Fort Myers, FL 33907

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Buying A Business? Why You Should Stick With One Broker

We’ll start this one by saying as a caveat that if you end up with a dreadful broker who never returns your phone calls, doesn’t show up to scheduled meetings on a regular basis and is all around just bad – by all means, find a new broker.

Caveat aside, many business buyers come to the business-for-sale marketplace and try to play the field, and this never ends up working in their favor.

What do we mean by playing the field? If you’ve emailed 30 brokers in a small local area to request information on potential businesses, then you are doing yourself and your prospects for business ownership a big disservice.


Your business search needs to be focused in order to be successful, and in order to have a focused business search you need to have a relationship with a good broker. This relationship should start with a conversation about several very important things – things that won’t come across if all you are doing is shooting email requests to everyone in the area.

Your initial conversation with a broker might start out as an inquiry into one specific business, but it shouldn’t stay that way for long. A good broker is going to ask you questions that will let them know your direction in your search and help them narrow your focus to just those businesses that would fit with your goals.

What should a broker be asking you?

They should ask you about what your goals for business ownership are. If what you are hoping to achieve is a very flexible schedule so you can spend more time with your kids, then some businesses are definitely out of the question. If schedule isn’t a priority, but making as much money as possible is – then a very different business would be for you.

They should be asking you about what your passions are. Entrepreneurship is no picnic. It can be an enormous amount of work, so you need to be doing something that you can be driven and passionate about or you will end up miserable.

They should ask you about your experience. If you’ve never worked so much as a single shift in the restaurant industry, then it would be a terrible idea to buy a bar or restaurant. Business ownership is tough, especially if you are brand new to entrepreneurship. You don’t want to add learning an entirely new industry on top of it – you will be setting yourself up for failure.

They should be asking you about your finances. You might think you have enough money to buy a particular business, but the reality of buying is that you need far more money than just enough to cover the listing price. You need enough to write the closing check, enough for the deposits for your utilities and lease, enough to buy new inventory, enough for licensing fees, enough for the first few rounds of payroll – the list goes on. A good broker doesn’t want to set you up for failure, so knowing your financial situation will allow them to find you businesses you can actually afford.

The point here is only by having a relationship with a single broker (who knows these very key things about you and about your business ownership goals) can you have any hope of finding the right business.

Approach you search for businesses by searching for a good broker first – then you can count on that relationship to bring you the businesses you should see.

Have you sent a ton of email requests but haven’t actually had a conversation with a broker yet? Do you want to know more about why a relationship with a good broker is so important for your success in purchasing a business? Ask us! Please feel free to leave any questions or comments, and we would be happy to help.




Michael Monnot

12995 South Cleveland Avenue, Suite 249
Fort Myers, FL 33907


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How Do You Find A Good Business Broker? 2 Questions To Ask

Whether you are a business buyer or a business seller, the best way to navigate the business transaction process is with the help of an experienced and qualified business broker.


How can you tell if the broker you’ve been talking to is experienced and qualified? Let’s start by finding out how a person becomes a business broker in the first place.


To become a business broker, someone first needs to have an interest in helping people buy and sell businesses. Business brokers come from all kinds of backgrounds – they are former entrepreneurs, former finance professionals, former real estate brokers, etc. The experience of business ownership and a background in finance are obviously helpful, but aren’t necessary.

When a business broker first starts out, they must obtain the same license a real estate agent needs (there is not a special license for just business brokers, so they get lumped into the real estate industry). Once they have this license they need to work as a business broker/agent for someone who is a licensed broker (just like a real estate agent works for a real estate broker) for two years and then they are eligible to become a licensed broker on their own.


It is not necessary, however, for a broker to ever get the “broker” license if they continue to work with someone who is already licensed this way. As such, if the business broker you are working with doesn’t have the “broker” license this is not a bad thing. In fact in many instances broker/agents work within business brokerage firms for many years with great success without ever getting a “broker” license.


When you first begin speaking with a business broker, you can ask them about what kind of license they hold, but the answer to this question is not as important as you might initially think.


Lots of people have a real estate license but never actually sell a house – and, unfortunately, lots of people also try to dabble in the business market. We come across realtors, lawyers and even doctors who try to be business brokers “on the side”.


As a buyer or a seller, you want to stay well away from these part time brokers. Buying and selling businesses is a complicated process, and you are going to want someone who actually knows what they are doing helping you through your transaction.


You wouldn’t let your family practitioner perform plastic surgery on you – so don’t let a real estate agent or your dentist try to help you buy or sell a business.


Now that you know how a person becomes a broker, what are the questions you should be asking to find the right one? There’s two that can tell you a lot:


1. How many deals have you closed in the last year?

A broker who regularly closes deals is probably well established and clearly knows what they are doing. They have connections within the industry, they know how to successfully negotiate business transaction contracts and they are able to work with commercial property owners to get their clients a lease.

2. How many clients have referred you to a friend or have used you more than once?

A broker with repeat or referral clientele is someone that others have enjoyed working with. The experience was so positive they would trust that broker with their personal connections. Like a great review of a business, referrals and repeat transactions speak volumes about what your experience with that broker will probably be.


The message here? Ask the right questions and you will quickly find out whether the broker you have been speaking to is the right person to help you with your transaction.


Are you looking for a business broker and have more questions about how to find the right one? Want to ask us about how many deals we have closed or how many referrals/repeat clients we have? Please feel to leave us a comment or question here and we will be happy to get your questions answered.





Michael Monnot

12995 South Cleveland Avenue, Suite 249
Fort Myers, FL 33907


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The Role Of The Transaction Broker And How They Get Deals Done


Business sales are inherently complex. There are many aspects of the process of buying or selling a business that can be very different from the buying and selling of anything else. If you have bought or sold a home, for instance, the business sale process will seem very foreign. There is usually more money changing hands, more complex financial issues like the evaluation of the business price based on financial statements and the value of inventory or fixtures, there are usually commercial leases – the list goes on. How does one navigate this complex process?


You employ the services of a professional business broker.


What is a business broker? They are sometimes also known as a transaction broker, meaning that they represent the deal. This is why it is possible to have one broker for both the buyer and seller side of a transaction. Having only one transaction broker for a deal between a buyer and a seller can be helpful in situations where both parties can trust the broker involved. As they represent only the transaction, having one person as a go-between can make negotiations go more smoothly than it would if there were multiple brokers involved.


While it is more common that each side of the deal will have their own broker, both essentially represent their party’s part of the transaction instead of representing the people themselves.


Why is this a good thing? When a lot of money is changing hands things can get out of hand very quickly. Business deals are messy. If the deal starts to go south, as most do at some point in the process, the broker is there to protect the deal. This is different from what an attorney might do in the same situation – in that an attorney’s job is to protect their client from any and all risk. If business brokers were employed to do the same thing, prevent any and all risk, it would be impossible to get a deal to closing because all business dealings, business sales included, come with a fair amount of risk.


The broker or brokers representing the transaction is what gets deals done.


Having someone to keep the deal moving is truly helpful, but you should also be able to trust the broker or brokers involved. Your broker is there to help you navigate this incredibly complex process and to help you either successfully sell or successfully purchase the right business for you. A good broker will go the extra mile for their clients because your eventual success as a business owner or seller leads to your broker’s success within a healthy small business market. 


Are you thinking of buying or selling a business and want to know more about the role of a business broker in the process? Please leave us a question or comment here, and we will be happy to answer any questions you might have.




Michael Monnot

12995 South Cleveland Avenue, Suite 249
Fort Myers, FL 33907

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Don’t Hate Your Business Broker, Choose the Right One from the Start

As with any industry, there are great business brokers and there are those who are not so great. How do you ensure that the broker you choose to list or buy with is one of the great ones?



Ask questions.


What kinds of partnerships do they have with other brokers and with broker’s associations?


If a broker is a lone-wolf of sorts with no industry connections, they might have a tough time properly marketing your business or getting access to the listings you are interested in.


How many transactions have they closed in the last year?


If a broker has only closed one business transaction in the last year, they are likely not the broker for you. Results will speak volumes about work ethic and knowledge of the industry.


Do they work in a very large office with many brokers, or do they work in a much smaller brokerage?


The benefits of choosing a broker that is part of a much larger firm may be the associations with other brokers that they have in-house. This might give you access to more listings and more potential buyers. Just remember to ask about a broker’s individual results. The firm they work for may have sold 50 businesses last year, but they may have only been responsible for one. On the other hand, there are some in the industry (usually those who are part of a very large office) who will tell you that using a one man shop or a small brokerage is a mistake. This is not necessarily the case. Look at the results and inquire about the industry associations they have. A one man shop or a small brokerage might be your best bet because they are able to achieve success without the backing of a larger firm – a surefire testimony to how they work.


Are they really a business broker?


This might sound like a ridiculous question, but it is an important one. Some involved in the real estate industry will try to help clients with buying and selling businesses while they are working on home and property listings. Selling a house and selling a business are two completely different things. You might have a great realtor, but that doesn’t mean that they will know the first thing about a business transaction. Other types of professionals may try to broker business transactions as a side business. Business brokers are specialists and their field, so use a business broker for any business transaction if you want to ensure a successful transaction.


Are past clients happy?


Look for a business broker with positive reviews and testimonials from former clients. Ask about whether they have repeat clients, and if they have any references. Also inquire about how they get the majority of their new business. If it comes from referrals, then you know they are good at what they do.


As with any major business decision, do your homework. The right choice of business broker can make your buying or selling experience a very positive one.


Are you a buyer or seller and want to know more about how to choose a business broker? Would you like to know more about how we help our clients through a business transaction? Leave any questions or comments here and we would be happy to help.




Michael Monnot

12995 South Cleveland Avenue, Suite 249
Fort Myers, FL 33907

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Taking the Entrepreneurial Plunge? Important Things to Know About Finding a Business

Deciding whether or not to venture into the entrepreneurial world?



One path to entrepreneurship that many choose is to buy an existing business. This can be a good option for a number of reasons.


First and foremost, the business has already been set up for you, and the business model has been proven because the business is currently up and running. The location is equipped and a customer base has been established too.


What do you need to do to get started if this is the path for you?


The first step is deciding on a type of business to buy. More often than not, a budding entrepreneur will start the process by seeing what businesses are available. This is a mistake because it can cause you to fall in love with a business that you know almost nothing about.


When entering a new business venture, you should choose something where you have at least a bit of background or experience. The learning curve for a new business owner is a steep one, and that’s without having to learn an entirely new industry as well. Give yourself a great head start by deciding on an industry before you search, and be sure to pick an industry you know.


The second step is to begin your search. Now is a great time to employ the services of a business broker, as they will have access to more business listings than you will be able to find on your own, they will know about businesses that are not yet on the market, and they will be able to market you as a buyer to other business brokers and their sellers.


Talk to your broker about the goals you have as a business owner, like how many hours a week you want to work, what type of return you are looking for after your investment, where your experience will suit you best and how much capital you have to invest. Identifying your goals, experience and available capital are critical to finding you a business where you can be successful. If the broker you are working with hasn’t had this conversation with you, perhaps it is time to find another broker.


You can also do a cursory search for businesses on your own. Start by visiting our Business Search page.


Once you find a business that fits your goals, you will likely decide to make an offer. This step is then followed by a period called due diligence where you will get a chance to review the business’ finances in depth. After this review you will be able to decide if you would like to proceed with the sale or not.


Are you ready to take the entrepreneurial plunge? Do you have questions about the search process or are you unhappy with the help you are getting from your current broker? Leave us a comment or question here; we look forward to assisting you with your business search!




Michael Monnot

12995 South Cleveland Avenue, Suite 249
Fort Myers, FL 33907

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Picking A Broker? Why Referrals Are A Big Deal

If you are looking at businesses to buy or are thinking about selling the business you own, you should really, really care about referrals.




Buying and selling businesses can be a tough and messy thing to do, so there are professionals out there called business brokers who help buyers and sellers reach a closing table.


Like any industry, there are business brokers who are fantastic and there are business brokers who are terrible at their job. How can you as a buyer or seller figure out if the broker you are considering working with is great or awful? Ask them a simple question.


How much of your business comes from referrals?


Referrals happen when previous clients or industry professionals like accountants, real estate agents or attorneys find out that someone is looking to buy or sell a business. They refer that person to a business broker they have previously worked with or know on a professional basis.


No one is going to give someone the name of a business broker they hate, so if you are working with a broker who gets the bulk of their business from referrals – it can tell you as a potential client a great deal about how this person conducts themselves in a business transaction.


We, for instance, get a great deal of our business through the referral process. Like 60-70%. Does this mean that we’ve made every client absolutely happy? Nope. But it does mean that we work very hard to get our clients to their goal. We do more than is expected and our past clients see that – especially when the other broker in the transaction does little to nothing to help the deal along. The difference between what we do and what the other broker in a typical transaction doesn’t do is the reason people send their friends our way.


The same goes for the professionals we work with throughout the transaction process, like attorneys and accountants. They’ve typically worked with other brokers who make big mistakes and expect everyone else to do the work for them – and after working with us they send any potential business our way instead.  


If you want the best help on your journey to buy or sell a business, your best bet is to ask any broker about their referral rate. The good ones will be happy to tell you that they get a good chunk of their business from happy past clients and business associates.


Would you like to know more about what business brokers can do to help buyers and sellers in a business transaction? Do you have questions about our referral rate? Ask us! Feel free to leave any questions or comments here.



Michael Monnot

12995 South Cleveland Avenue, Suite 249
Fort Myers, FL 33907

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Michael Monnot


12995 South Cleveland Avenue, Suite 249
Fort Myers, FL 33907


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