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How to appoint a business broker or business sale agent when selling a business

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I want to sell my business – where do I start?

To understand which professional services provider can support you throughout the business sale journey, you will need to acknowledge the role of business brokers and business transfer agents. The term business broker and business transfer agent, or business sale agent, can be used interchangeably and refers to a professional intermediary specialising in selling businesses on behalf of business owners.

Brokers and business selling agents typically sell small to mid-market businesses. Large businesses with higher market share may take the accelerated growth route by pursuing a merger or acquisition, likely to be fronted by a merger and acquisition (M&A) advisory firm. When selling your business, your company will need to make formal preparations and consider whether to appoint a professional adviser to navigate the sale process. 

Why should I appoint a business sale agent or broker to sell my business?

A business sales professional can share industry knowledge to help increase exposure to your business and direct you to a reputable buyer searching to buy a business in your sector. Brokers can help prepare your business for the sale process and present your business in the best light to prospective buyers to increase your chances of attracting competitive offers.

Founded in 1956, we have over 60 years of experience in the business sale trade and hold professional relationships with over 10,000 registered buyers. Enlisting a business sale broker can unlock access to a vast pool of actively searching buyers and pave an exit route for you as the outgoing business owner.

How to choose a business broker to sell your business

If you are wondering how to find a business broker to sell your business online or offline, you will need to research business sale agents and their reputation, price structure, experience, and geographical coverage. Their success rate will reflect on their ability to sell a business successfully and their track record will pinpoint sector specialisms and provide a starting point for comparable business sales.

Business sale experience – An experienced broker will have access to a vast database of prospective buyers. Question when the business was established and research the team of business valuers and sale agents. Online review platforms can give you access to client feedback, customer experience and provide context to completed sales

Sector specialisms - At Selling My Business, our industry specialisms extend from retail, professional services, and construction, to sub-sectors, such as fish & chip shops, post offices and convenience stores, but not limited to. By judging business sale agents based on their past performance, you can gauge if they have the skills and knowledge to sell your business fast

Broker fees: Business brokers and business transfer agents offer a variety of payment structures. When researching how to choose a business broker, you should enquire how much they cost, including commission fees, advertising fees and upfront fees

We run through business broker fees to help you determine which arrangement is suitable for your business when choosing a business sale agent.

Selling My Business
  • Previous sales and acquisitions experience
  • Sector specialisms and average success rate
  • Sales value expectations and growth potential
Free Guide Download
10 Key Questions to Consider Before Appointing an Advisor
Our Essential Checklist to Selling your Business

How much do business transfer agents or business brokers charge?

When selling a business, you will need to plan your finances carefully to successfully facilitate the business sale process. By ringfencing necessary funds, you can paint an accurate image of your financial position after selling the business. In addition to earmarking funds to cover broker fees, you may decide to invest in the business before placing it on the open market. Settling outstanding liabilities and perfecting the image of your image can increase face value as assessed in your business valuation, and therefore attract higher offers.

A frequently asked question from business owners looking to sell a business is – how to sell my business for free. When appointing a business broker or business selling agent, you will need to understand their payment terms and avoid parties charging an extortionate upfront fee.

Common ways business brokers charge fees to sell a business include:

Commission fee – When appointing a business transfer agent, you will need to pay a commission fee, either upon signing up, after sale completion or a combination of the two through a retainer system.

The commission fee will typically range between 2 and 12% of the sale price, or they may charge a fixed sum, whichever is higher. Some business brokers may charge no upfront fee, so you can appoint them free of charge, however, be aware of additional costs, such as advertising fees

Advertising fee: Although business brokers may charge no upfront fee, you may be required to pay advertising fees to list your business up for sale, produce marketing collateral and promote your business to prospective buyers

Additional costs: As part of the business selling process, you will need to budget for legal fees, such as solicitors to administer the sale and lawyers to draft contracts and heads of terms agreements. You may also need to pay an accountant to bring your financial records up to date for a business valuation, and for the viewing of prospective buyers

Business brokers specialising in national business sales may vary in their approach when charging to sell a business compared to small business brokers based on specialisms, resources, and industry experience. If you are searching for a ‘business broker near me’, key decisions makers may also include price and demonstrable sales in your sector.

Why choose Selling My Business to sell a business?

At Selling My Business, our team of business transfer agents and business brokers are available nationwide and can begin the business sale journey on a no upfront fee basis. We can also arrange a business valuation through our business valuation calculator to answer what is my business worth. Our reputable team of in-house business valuers can assist small businesses for sale by owners and larger businesses.

For more information or to arrange a business valuation, contact the Selling My Business team or visit a regional office of business brokers near you.

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