Top 7 Traits of an Outstanding Business Broker

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When selling your business, engaging an outstanding business broker from the start is one of the most important things you’ll do. This is your life’s work, and you don’t want to leave your legacy in the hands of just anyone.

Some brokers are exceptional at what they do. Others don’t have the experience to represent your best interests as you move forward with such a large and complex transaction. Surprisingly, most states only require that a business broker hold a real estate license. That’s it.

7 Traits Of An Outstanding Business Broker

As an owner interested in selling your business, seek out these 7 traits that will go a long way in distinguishing the best broker to represent you:

  1. Life Experience. Business brokers who have spent considerable time in the corporate world and who understand how business and finance work tend to perform better than those who have not. Life experience and business acumen allow brokers to best connect with business owners and better understand their challenges.
  2. Past Business Ownership. It takes one to know one. Business brokers with ownership experience can more quickly grasp the operations of a business and understand business essentials like sales and marketing, scaling a business and change management. While a broker should not be expected to be an expert in every aspect of every business they represent, they do need to deeply understand each business’ value proposition so they can best prepare the business for sale and facilitate the entire sales process.
  3. Facilitating Conversation. A business broker can be likened to a quarterback – one who is able to move all the players down the field to a successful outcome. Great business brokers masterfully coordinate a team of attorneys, accountants, landlords and state regulation agencies (to name a few) to facilitate the sale of a business. They know how to deal with all of these entities and the correct processes and procedures to follow for each. Like a QB, seasoned business brokers have their hand on the pulse of every part of the transaction and are able to anticipate potential obstacles, create workarounds and implement solutions that might not be readily apparent. Just as business owner should not take his or her foot off the gas pedal, a great broker will never get complacent in moving the transaction forward.
  4. Continued Education. The best business brokers are continually educating themselves on industries, market trends and economic forecasts. They continually look for opportunities to increase their knowledge base on topics like financial analysis, business valuation, and how to determine the most likely selling price range. It’s important for brokers to maintain their Certified Business Intermediary (CBI) designation, including the continuing education that goes along with it.  This association exists for the benefit of sellers, buyers and the brokers themselves. The best brokers are lifelong learners who attend industry conferences, educational seminars, workshops and symposiums. Every bit of additional knowledge a business broker gains ultimately benefits their sellers.
  5. Trustworthiness. If a seller doesn’t believe they can trust their broker to do what is in their best interest, there is no real foundation for a good relationship. Being entrusted with the sale of someone’s largest asset is important and something not to be entered into lightly. On the other side of the coin, a good business broker knows when not to engage with a business owner, perhaps one who is not being truthful, is not complying with laws and regulations or who may be hiding something pertinent about the business. The best brokers will only engage with owners who run a good business.
  6. That Extra Something. A great business broker needs to be highly proficient and competent, and also possess a strong moral compass. They need to be forthcoming with sometimes unpleasant information. They should be a great listener and strong communicator with solid presentation skills. The best business brokers are strong negotiators who strive for a win for both the seller and the buyer. Great business brokers exude a sense of urgency – but not at the expense of minding the details.
  7. Maintain a Balanced Workload. Having a long list of active clients may look impressive, but the amount of work that goes into selling a business is substantial. A single broker with more than 15-20 active listings likely does not have the time to devote to each transaction to ensure success for the individual sellers. Business sales transactions are so complex that if someone has more than 15 active listings at any one time, they are more than likely doing a disservice to their clients and the industry – and ultimately are unable to fulfill their pledge to seller.

Selling a business can be challenging in the best of circumstances. Finding an experienced, outstanding business broker is a key element in the successful sale of your business. If you are even considering selling your business in the near future, start researching brokers early, and keep these 7 attributes in mind as you’re choosing the person who will represent you and your business.

Gregg Kunz is a Colorado Business Broker and Certified Business Intermediary (CBI). Prior to becoming a business broker, Gregg held executive leadership positions in Fortune 500 companies where his responsibilities included building and growing successful sales organizations. He is the principal broker at Rocky Mountain Business Advisors, a Denver Business Broker, and is widely considered an expert in Mergers & Acquisitions. Contact Gregg at 303.474.5582.

Please note: Our office is in Denver, and our business brokers cover all of Colorado, the Front Range, and the greater Denver metro area. If you’re looking for a “business broker near me,” we fit the bill if you’re anywhere in Colorado, New Mexico, or Wyoming.