One author has estimated there are 17,000 practicing intermediaries who assist business owners with the sale of their business. So how do you pick the right one to represent you when the time comes to sell your business, which is likely to be one of the largest and most important financial transactions of your life?
Since the process of selling any business can take up to a year or even longer, it’s a good idea to start planning 2-3 years in advance to prepare your business for sale, and selecting an experienced M&A professional to assist in the process. Certainly, you will want to interview several candidates before selecting one, but what should you be looking for? Here are a few suggestions:
- Make certain that you meet with the individual who will actually be working on your engagement. Some larger firms will send a senior partner to get the listing, but then assign the engagement to someone else in their firm.
- Ask questions about their education, experience, professional credentials, and track record. Any professional intermediary should be happy – even proud — to share this with you.
- Make certain that your business is a good fit for the intermediary and vice versa. There’s no point in “parking” your business with an intermediary who is not genuinely interested in working on your engagement.
- Ask for examples of how the intermediary has added value in assisting other clients with the sale of their business. An experienced intermediary should have a network of contacts/ resources who can be called in to solve various problems that may arise with getting any deal successfully closed.
- Ask for references from recent clients and actually follow up and call them. Look for evidence of their integrity, trustworthiness, professionalism, with an emphasis on getting the best deal for you while protecting your confidentiality.
- Finally, determine if you and the intermediary will work well together with your other professional advisors to accomplish your goals. If not, keep looking.
If you know of a business owner who’s thinking of selling or buying a business and who might benefit from a complimentary consultation with us, have them contact me, or any of the M&A professionals at www.bradwaygroup.com.
By: Mike Ertel, Transworld M&A Advisors