How to Hire a Business Broker to Sell Your Business

Apr 14, 2011

If you are an entrepreneur, one of the hardest things that you will ever do is to put your business up for sale.  Even if you are retiring or moving on to a new venture, you have poured a lot of time and energy into making your business a success and you will want a good return on your investment.   This is where a good business broker can help.  Not only will they take over the marketing of your business to potential buyers, they will help calculate the appropriate selling price and respond to any offers, freeing you up to run the day-to-day operations of your business.

A business broker is a lot like a real estate broker, in that they match up buyers and sellers of businesses, but a good business broker will also help you get the maximum dollar value.  That’s why it is so important to hire the right one.

Here are some tips to help you narrow the field of potential business brokers:

  • Ask for referrals from your lawyer, accountant or an industry association.  Chances are, someone will know the name of a good business broker.
  • Check the IBBA (International Business Brokers Association).  This is the trade association for business brokers, providing professional designations, conferences and other networking opportunities for over 1,300 members.
  • Find a specialized broker, one who spends most of their time selling businesses in your industry, and who is familiar with the most common principles of business valuation.  Specialists often maintain a network of contacts who may be interested in buying your business.
  • Look at their background.  While this may seem simple, many people are in such a rush to sell that they don’t take the time they need to examine a broker’s credentials and experience.  Ask for references and don’t be afraid to check them.
  • Make sure they can keep a secret.  When you are selling your business, it is usually better to keep it confidential.  A good business broker will be aware of all the common safeguards that must be in place to protect your company, including the use of non-disclosure agreements.
  • Ask about their marketing plan.  Does this business broker know how to position your company to potential buyers and motivate them to buy?  Ask for details about how they will advertise your business to attract the most qualified leads.

There are many factors that go into choosing the right business broker, but not all of them are obvious.  Never allow a broker to pressure you into making a decision too quickly.  The best way to handle such a complex decision is to do your due diligence first.  To find the best business broker, work with the professional team of advisors at Affiliated Business Concepts.