So you’ve decided to sell your business. Good for you! It’s the right move for a lot of people especially if they’re getting burned out on the day to day bustle of running the shop. It’s time to reap what you’ve sown and enjoy your friends, family and sleeping in a bit. Maybe you’ve started shopping around for a business broker to help you sell your business. Selecting the right broker for you is no easy task. You want to ensure your broker is knowledgeable, considers your feelings, and works tirelessly to get you the best possible price. How do you know?
There are four key questions you can ask to help you quickly and easily separate the good brokers from the bad.
How do you get paid?
It’s not uncommon for business brokers to take a percentage of the sale. It works for some and if you’re comfortable with that, fine. But make sure you understand right up front how much they’re getting paid and how it arrives. More importantly, you shouldn’t be paying for anything before you sign any agreements. I have found that I am able to be more open and honest with clients when there is a flat fee stated right up front. This provides comfort for the client and ease for me.
How many other clients have you helped?
Get references and check ‘em twice. There is no reason you shouldn’t be doing your due diligence when selecting the individual or company that is going to sell your life’s work. Aside from getting references from the companies you are considering, ask around in the restoration industry. Has anyone used this company or know someone who has? Get some feedback from them as well.
What business markets do you work in?
It takes a lot of time and effort to build the knowledge necessary to successful position and sell a business in the restoration industry. In some ways, your business broker needs to know more about the industry than you do. They need to be able to think of the macro – what items affect the broad price of products and the businesses that offer them.
Now this isn’t always the case but if your business broker says, “Oh yes, I work in a number of different businesses!” it could be that they aren’t heavily proficient in a single one. They may have a very broad based of knowledge but not a very deep one. Niche and special isn’t bad.
How long does this take?
Preparing a business for a successful sale, from start to finish, takes at least 18 months on average. Any broker that tells you they can successfully sell your business in less time is a.) much better at their job than me or b.) yanking your chain. The broker needs to work with you and in many cases your staff, to assess the value of the business, price everything appropriately and line up prospective clients. This takes time.