Some business owners feel that they can sell their business themselves. After
all, who knows the business better than they do. Often, these owners become
sellers by simply placing an ad in the newspaper and waiting for the telephone
to ring. They think of the money they can save by not paying a broker’s fee.
Sounds good, but it very seldom works! First, the telephone may not ring. If
it does, it may be the local competition attempting to find out what is for
sale and for how much. Those who may be interested will visit the business,
ask a thousand questions, leave, and never come back. So much for confidentiality,
proper pricing, qualifying the prospects, and finding the right buyer.
Business brokers are not magicians. They can’t sell an overpriced business
or create a demand that isn’t there. What they can do, however, is market the
business so it is shown only to qualified and interested buyer prospects. Sellers
have to understand that business brokers can provide suitable prospects from
the overwhelming majority of people who don’t really know what they want. Very
few buyer prospects really know what kind of business they want, or what best
fits their needs. In fact, 90 percent of all buyers are considering buying
a business for the first time, and are open to all suggestions. A business
broker can supply many prospective buyers that sellers couldn’t find on their
Very few sellers price their business properly. A business broker has a handle
on the local marketplace, access to market data, and pricing information not
available to a seller. Business brokers are also good sources of outside financing,
if available. In some cases, the full sale price is not the issue, but rather
how the sale is structured is the key to a successful sale.
Business brokers generally have a backlog of buyers that they work with on
a current basis. They prepare a business profile on the businesses they represent,
designed to show the business in its best light. They know how and when to
advertise, when to use trade publications, how to use the Internet, and how
to qualify buyers. Business broker can maximize the price of a business and
create added value so that their fee is generally a non-issue. Sellers usually
receive a higher price when working with a business broker, even after the
fee, than they would if selling the business on their own. Remember, it almost
always pays to use a professional!