Your guide to business sales professionals
Several types of professionals can assist you in the sale of a business. Understanding what they do well (and poorly) will help you assemble the right team.
BUSINESS BROKERS specialize in the sale of "profitable" businesses. Good ones are experts at finding buyers and closing the deal. They are paid a percent of the sale when the business changes hands. If your business is small or isn't performing well, you may have challenges getting good service from a broker. (Instead, consider a consulting service and sell it yourself.)
REAL ESTATE AGENTS who specialize in the sale of commercial properties can be very helpful if your business is real estate centered, such as office buildings, car washes, and hotels. Their fees are usually less than a business broker's. But beware. Most agents will list a business publicly, which may damage the business by scaring away customers and employees.
ACCOUNTANTS & ATTORNEYS play essential roles in business sales. A good accountant can help prepare your books, and a qualified attorney should assist in closing the deal. They may be all you need if you already have your buyer. If you still need a buyer, consider handling that yourself or hiring a broker or an agent.
FRANCHISORS & NICHE BROKERS Most franchisors have a "resell" side to their company that simplifies selling your franchise to other franchisees. Similarly, there are firms that specialize in selling similar businesses such as dental practices or auto repair shops. Either way, we recommend you explore finding your own buyer to get a higher sale price.
SECURITIES BROKERS can be the right choice if your goal is to sell stock or shares of your business, rather than the whole thing. Seek out a specialist with the proper licensing who can reference several other successful transactions.
BUSINESS CONSULTANTS can be helpful along the way, especially if they have experience selling a business. They may know a good broker, attorney, or even an interested buyer. It's wise to trust them only in theirs areas of expertise. Get a free consultation with a broker, and compare it with your consultant's ideas.