Are All Small Business Brokers Created Equal?

Maybe.  However, the education and experience they bring to their clients differs dramatically.  I actually worked with a 22 year old broker who had recently graduated with a degree in art history and his usefulness reflected it.  As a CPA of over 20 years and owner of four businesses, I’m not just imagining, projecting, or selling – I’ve been there – more than once.  Only an owner can appreciate the pressures and hard work involved in running a business.

No amount of slickness or salesmanship can take the place of hard earned experience – nor should it.  The successful sale of a business should not be a ‘zero sum’ game. No one should profit from the loss of the other.  A small business should not be a ‘pig in the poke’. If a sale is made at the expense of the buyer or the seller, the transaction is nothing more than a hot potato contest – something that only the most jaded broker would entertain. I’ve actually known small business brokers who make a living selling the same property over – and over.

An honest broker’s role is to facilitate due diligence so that all parties to a transaction clearly understand the risks and rewards.  Unfortunately, too many folks have been burned by business brokers who are simply chasing a commission.  Reselling the same business (or churning) is all too common.  I have no doubts that brokers can be well worth their commissions but both sellers and buyers should select them carefully.

More Than a Wordsmith