Tips for Choosing the Right Business Broker or M&A Firm

You’re the expert on your business. You’ve seen it through ups and downs and invested years to build your business. It might seem like a no-brainer that you’re the ideal person to sell what you’ve built but there are significant advantages to using a qualified business broker or M&A advisor.

A business broker can be an invaluable asset to the sale of your business, and will likely be able to get a higher sale price than you could on your own. The advisor frees your time and energy to continue running your business and maximizing profits, making your business a more appealing acquisition.

A strong sales team should include a business broker, a CPA, and an M&A attorney. Choosing the right team can save you significant time and ensure your sale is as successful as possible. Interview several brokers so you can select the one with whom you feel comfortable, who is best equipped to meet your needs. Here’s how to begin the selection process:

Check References and Credentials
The most effective business brokers are the ones with a proven track record. Look at the company website to see their tombstones of deals completed. Ask for names and contact information of former clients that you can call to get feedback on their experience with the particular M&A firm.

Some Business Brokers focus on specific industries. Ideally, the broker you choose should have ample experience in your specific industry or at least in a similar industry. This allows the broker to tap their network to locate qualified buyers and negotiate a higher sale price.

Choose a Broker Who Listens and Prioritizes Your Needs
You need to feel comfortable with your advisor, and to communicate openly. A deal requires a good bit of trust, and every seller has different needs. So select a broker who listens to you, whose personality is a good match for your own, and who appears to truly be listening.

Some of this is a matter of personality, but there are a few traits a good business broker should possess. They’re honest, and give a clear assessment of the company’s weaknesses and strengths. They ask about your goals. They tailor a marketing strategy to your needs and situation. They help you navigate your emotions about the sale by addressing your goals, and keeping you focused on your goal of exiting your business successfully and maximizing the proceeds from the sale of your company.

Choose Someone With a Clear Process—and a Respect for Confidentiality
Ask the business broker how and to whom they plan to market your business, and how they’ll screen potential buyers. Protecting your business’s confidential information is key. A good sales strategy casts a wide net, but reveals information gradually, steadily screening out non-qualified buyers and revealing information only to those who are truly qualified buyers. The right strategy allows you to spend your time running the business—not worrying about meeting potential buyers, or stressing about confidentiality issues.

A qualified, experienced M&A advisor can significantly impact your experience and results. They will guide and coach you through the entire process of presenting your company in the best light, identifying and screening potential buyers, negotiating to maximize your proceeds, and guiding you through due diligence and ensuring that your confidentiality is protected. You’ll be putting a lot of trust in this person so don’t rush the process.