Why Use A Business Broker To Sell Your Business
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 own.
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.
Adding Value to Your Business
If you are considering selling your business, remember that there are positive factors that influence value and those that detract from it. Looking at your business from a buyer’s perspective is important since a prudent buyer will be adding and subtracting these various factors when arriving at an asking price. It is perhaps more important to recognize when the buyer arrives at a price at which he or she will leave the negotiations. Buyers naturally try to buy the business at the lowest possible price possible, however most also have a top price over which they are probably not willing to go. Here are some of the “high value” indicators as well as some of the “low value” indicators to consider when evaluating your business.
Indications of High Value
- High sustainable cash flow
- Room for the business to grow
- Anticipated industry growth
- Competitive advantage – location, area, etc.
- Business niche
- History and reputation
- Low failure rate in industry
- Modern, well maintained facility
Indications of Low Value
- Customer concentration on a few major customers/clients
- Reliance on owner
- Poor financials
- Distressed circumstances
- Few assets
- Product or service sensitivity
- Poor outlook for industry – regulations, foreign competition, price cutting, discount stores, etc.
Considering the above factors and how to address them can help a seller look at the business through the eyes of a potential buyer. A professional business broker can help the business owner sort through the many areas that buyers consider when looking at a business and trying to arrive at an initial offering price.