Sold Business 2018: I have gone from selling a business with no broker, to buying a business through a broker, to selling my most recent business, this time using a broker. I have one more surprise to this journey, but I'll save that for the end.
In June of 2018 I sold my New York Swim School using Transworld Business Advisors (TBA). After making many mistakes selling my first business, including not knowing the person who bought my business was a broker himself I knew I wanted a broker for this transaction. I chose Transworld because I had previously bought a different business through them and it was a positive experience.
In the first 60 days they brought quite a few potential buyers in for meetings. They managed the process of pre-interviewing the candidates, weeding through the prospects and answering preliminary questions. They had prepped me, that I would ultimately be the one needed to close the sale. TBA explained to me that the buyers need to build trust with the owner before they make an offer, and even though their questions had been answered I should expect the buyer to look for confirmation directly from me. They were right, as most if not all candidates wanted to know directly from me, why are you selling? - what will you do next? and what would you do if you were the person buying the company?
In less then 90 days we received a full price offer. The broker had encouraged me to consider seller financing and I believe that was a factor in the interest we received and our ability to get a full price offer. My deal was for 50% at closing and the balance over the next few years. It took us over 4 months to get from that accepted offer to the closing, which was stressful. Having people with experience along for the ride helped. Besides navigating the process they reassured me that this roller coaster ride was not unusual when selling. They also eased my mind by continuing to engage buyers and have several back up offers at the ready if our deal fell through.
In June of 2018 we closed the deal and celebrated with a dinner at a New York steakhouse. As per the agreement I continued to consult for a short while after. A limited amount of time at no charge, and then continuing beyond for additional compensation. I have received my first payment from the seller financing as agreed.
The experience had it's drama, but it was also rewarding. So much so, that in trying to figure out what I wanted to do next I made an unexpected decision. I ended up talking to Transworld Business Advisors about becoming a broker. I recently completed training and have my first few listings. I believe having been in the sellers shoes I will be able relate to their issues and strongly represent them.
My advice would be to talk with people who've been through the process. Whether you use a broker or not, you'll be more informed at the end of the conversation than you were at the start.