As a business owner and entrepreneur, you’ve likely poured your heart and soul into your company. So, when it comes time to sell, how can you ensure the best possible outcome? Hiring an experienced business broker is a great place to start. Here are 7 reasons why you should consider hiring a broker to help sell your business:
1. Accurate business valuation and financials
Determining the value of your business requires both knowledge of valuation methodologies and an understanding of the landscape of buyers. A good broker will know how to properly normalize your income statement and how to apply a multiple-of-earnings assessment or alternative valuation methodology. Equally important, a broker will know whether your business is a candidate for a strategic acquisition, and how to price it accordingly. Finally, buyers prefer to purchase businesses represented by a professional because the financial information has been vetted by a third party.
2. Effective marketing
An experienced broker will know how best to position your business to attract qualified buyers. Quality marketing materials, including a “teaser” summary and comprehensive overview of the business, will help attract the best buyer candidates and weed out unsuitable buyers. Brokers may also list your business for sale on their website as well as marketplace websites to target acquirers of businesses that fit your size and profile.
3. The right buyers at the table
The universe of potential buyers for your business may be wide and diverse – from individual entrepreneurs, search funds, and fundless sponsors to strategic acquirers, private equity firms, and aggregators. There are pros and cons to each. A good broker will have in place a robust buyer network, as well as resources to reach additional candidates, so the right parties are at the table. Additionally, a broker can help screen buyers to ensure they have the financial wherewithal to acquire your business, and the right skills to operate it.
4. Effective Negotiation
Purchase price is just one component of an offer. Deal terms, too, significantly impact the attractiveness of a proposal. Is the buyer seeking seller financing or performance-based compensation? Are you required to stay on for a lengthy transition? A broker can help you navigate terms, make informed decisions, and communicate effectively with the parties involved. Additionally, business acquisition negotiations can be emotionally charged. An experienced broker will help the parties keep emotions to a minimum and stay focused on a mutually beneficial outcome.
5. An Outsourced, Efficient Process
Running a sales process can be time-consuming and exhausting. In addition to preparation, the seller will need to manage multiple negotiations and respond to ongoing requests for information. Most business owners have their hands full just running their business. So, it makes sense to outsource much of the effort to a professional. A broker will help you avoid any business performance issues that might emerge if you are pulled in too many directions during the process.
6. Confidential Dialog
A sales process requires disclosure of confidential information to multiple parties. Without the assistance of a broker, it can be difficult to confidentially engage with potential buyers. A broker can approach buyers, even competitors, with a “blind teaser,” followed by a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) before any information is exchanged. Likewise, a broker is less likely than a business owner to inadvertently alert employees or other stakeholders of the sale.
There are a number of legal documents involved in a business sale transaction, including an NDA, Letter of Intent (LOI), and Asset or Stock Purchase Agreement (APA or SPA). While it certainly makes sense to engage an attorney when developing documents, a broker can help defray legal costs with access to boilerplate templates, past agreements, and a working knowledge of the key terms and opportunities for negotiation. Leveraging the knowledge of a broker to help with these agreements, while engaging your attorney for document review and counsel on key deal points, can be an effective division of labor. Finally, a broker can assist in the transfer of assets at the conclusion of a successful sale.
We hope this information is useful as you consider your options for selling your business. We operate The Hatchit Marketplace, a platform for both for-sale-by-owner and brokered online and tech-related businesses with valuations ranging from $25k to over $20 million. Using our extensive industry knowledge, we offer a broker match service to help you find the right assistance for your seller needs.