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Business brokers – who they are and what they do

If we are thinking of buying a house, most of us look at what estate agents have in their adverts or on their books.

If you are thinking of buying a business, then a business transfer agent or business broker is who you might turn to, to see what opportunities there are.

Business brokers work like estate agents in that they try to put buyers and sellers of businesses together and earn their living from the commission they make from facilitating successful sales.

It is of course possible to buy a business from a seller without using the services of a business broker, and business brokerage may already be part of the services offered by estate agents or other agencies familiar to you.

It is relatively easy to find business and franchise opportunities in the UK and abroad listed and advertised for sale. But if you want to get the details, using a business broker may help you to ask the right questions about a business advertised for sale. Business brokers offer a service and they would like you to use and value their skills and expertise, from listening to you and accessing the businesses they have on their books, to smoothing the way to a successful completion of the purchase of the business you want.

It is worth surveying the field of business brokerage because there are brokers who specialise in particular types of businesses and those who have significant local knowledge of businesses and markets, here and overseas. They usually advertise the offer of services dedicated to helping you buy the right business for you and identify the range of legal, valuation and purchase support services they offer.

Business brokers should be able to provide you with access to businesses that are available for sale that you might never be able to find on your own. They may narrow your search for your ideal business, helping you avoid wasted time, although in the end the business must be right for you. If you can provide your broker with a clear idea of what you are looking for and explain the ‘whys and wherefores’ of your search and motivation to buy a business, this all helps towards a successful partnership.

How ready are you to buy a business? A broker who has to educate you in the first steps and practicalities of buying a business is earning money the hard way. How many potential buyers actually finish up buying a business? A small minority. Thus, while it could be very helpful to your cause to engage the services of a business broker, she or he may appear somewhat hesitant if you are a new client, until you demonstrate your enthusiasm and commitment to buying a business.

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