Business Brokers

Have you ever asked someone a question fully anticipating a certain answer and they reply the complete opposite way? You then find yourself almost too stunned to respond…right?

Well, that’s exactly how I feel after last week’s column. If you recall, some poignant questions were posed to the business broker readership. To give you some additional background, in prior columns, if I ever made a statement that did not sit perfectly with a business broker or two, they have been incredibly fast to fire off a nasty email to me.

Given that I have skin as thick as a Buick,

I actually enjoy receiving and responding to them and believe it makes for a healthy dialogue.

In any case, I fully expected a barrage of emails from business brokers defending the industry and pointing a finger to the buyers as the root of any problems (and for me for even suggesting them). Guess what? I did not receive a single email in that vein. In fact,

I received a slew of emails from business brokers echoing the issues identified and furthermore, the majority actually lambasted the business brokerage community.

I could not believe it.

Many of the emails were written in confidence so I won’t share them of course. While I do not want to suggest that the sampling can make for any grand conclusions or qualify as scientific research, the consensus amongst the emails I received from business brokers included the following:

  1. They do not believe that a national multiple listing service would work.
  2. Co-brokering is not done by most because they do not have confidence in other business brokers to share the workload or maintain confidentiality.
  3. It’s harder today to get really good listings. Most simply do not want to split commissions especially in light of the point above.
  4. Having a national certification/accreditation and/or regulatory body to ensure business brokers enter the field with and retain a certain level of ongoing education was an overwhelmingly popular comment.
  5. Almost every broker mentioned that too many garbage listings are taken by others in their field and that is the major reason why the majority of listed businesses don’t sell.
  6. Their opinion of buyers was very consistent: too few are prepared and educated.

I’ve enjoyed the past two columns immensely.

I believe that the top tier brokers recognize the pitfalls in the business buying process and work around them


On the buyer side, I have been preaching for years that the vast majority is ill-prepared and those are the ones who will either never buy, or buy a business that will become a disaster. I am pleased to know that so many business brokers validated this opinion.

I want to thank all of you for the incredible feedback! Hopefully, in time, education at all levels can improve.

Just like every great society makes education its top priority, once all of the participants in the buying process do so as well, it will undoubtedly lead to significant increases in sold business percentages.

That is precisely what we all want to happen.


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