Do I need a broker to sell a business?

The simple answer, no.

Selling a business does not mandate a broker.

As a business owner, you will be selling a product that has been your heart and soul for many years. And you want to get the price that it deserves but also give it to a buyer who will take it to new heights.

Of course there are situations where a broker may be needed, due to the enormity of the deal or complex matters. But at the end of the day, the point of hiring a broker as a business owner is to find you a buyer. That is all. All the other logistics including organising the sale paperwork and showcasing your business will be left to you or other experts you choose to hire.

So let’s flip it - why do you not need a broker to sell your business?

Not all brokers are specialised

As you enter the broker market, you will find that many brokers are not specialised in your particular industry. They thrive on selling businesses, but that doesn’t mean they know your industry inside and out. The best person who knows your industry and your business will be … you.

Of course, a broker can provide you with advice on the sale process and having done it day in and day out, they are best positioned to know the shortcuts. But you should keep in mind, you will not be getting specialised industry experience with all brokers.

Not needed in certain situations

If you are selling to your family or friends, using a broker may not be necessary at all. Or if your company has a lot of liabilities and debts to pay off, the broker is going to add a further cost to your already struggling business. It may be better to cut your losses and do the sale yourself.

Easier than you think

This is the most important point that business owners tend to forget. To sell your business without a broker is actually not as difficult as you may think. Especially since there are now a range of online platforms, like that can be used to advertise your business and find a buyer pool. Kip Mann, a Leeds-based entrepreneur found selling a business through an online platform got responses very quickly and the price to use the service didn’t make a dent at all in the overall sale price.

If you’re worried about marketing and advertising, the online world has made connectivity so much easier and this also means connecting buyers with sellers. The role of a broker is to find a buyer for you but when that is no longer the problem, why appoint a broker at all? Don’t spend money on the middleman, get connected to your buyer directly. As online platforms are not brokers, there is no excessive brokerage fee. Rather, you will be looking at a fixed fee to use the service, but nowhere near the fees of hiring a broker. Also, since you don’t have a broker, you can meet your prospective buyer sooner and also screen them early on.

It is true that using a broker gives you access to their pool of buyers but in the digital age, online platforms and social media have stepped up the competition for brokers. You may even find you can create your very own personalised buying pool.

You are the best negotiator for your business

You may think you need to have excellent negotiating and sales skills but remember, you built this business. Who could be better at showing it off to the buyer than you? Once you hand it over to the broker, the personal touch disappears almost instantly. A broker will not be emotionally invested in the sale like you and it is also unlikely that they will spend as much time on selling your business as you may hope. Selling your business on your own may actually mean you sell the business faster than if you were to have a broker.

It is you who has the familiarity with the day to day running of the business. Even if there is a buyer, you’re the one who will be taking them through your premises. The broker won’t do that. So a lot of the work is already being undertaken by you.

Cut out the middleman

You have faith in your business, show that to your prospective buyers. There is no reason why you can’t sell your business without a broker. In fact, you may find that you save a great deal of time and money by doing it on your own.

At the end of the day, the broker’s biggest strength lies in finding a buyer for you. But with social media and online listing sites, finding a buyer is not as difficult as it is made out to be.

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