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Have you spent years building your business and decided it’s time to move on from it? Then you are in luck. There’s never been a better time to sell a business.

If you are looking ahead to the next phase of life, you are not alone. Right now nearly 57% of small businesses are owned by Baby Boomers, which means we speak to clients every day who are considering either retirement or another business venture.

At Alliant, we take the time to ask questions about reasons for selling the business and what future plans look like. This allows us to build a plan around goals and objectives during a sale. This one of the many benefits of using a business broker to sell your business.

Finding the right business broker is an essential. That’s why we encourage business owners to ask these five questions when looking for one:

Are you an individual broker or part of a brokerage?

Similar to real estate, business brokers have the opportunity to work solo or be part of a team. Certainly, some individuals thrive on their own. However, having a team means networking, marketing, and servicing is widened to more people and more possibilities. That can be a tremendous factor is terms of client experience as more attention can be given to each client.

What is your experience?

There is no substitute for experience. There are a few key questions to ask along these lines. How long has your broker been a broker? Did they have past business experience prior to joining a brokerage? Do they have experience handling different kinds of negotiations, including small business, remote sales, and mergers & acquisitions?

While your business won’t fit into all of these categories, your broker’s professional history will inform your sales process. Each transaction is unique, with it’s own story and negotiating points, and over time a broker will go from good to great by building a working knowledge of how to navigate the entire process successfully in many different scenarios.

Our team has over 100 years combined experience and our breadth of knowledge allows us to confidently lead the sales process for businesses of all sizes. We put our money where our mouths are — we are a performance based brokerage. We don’t get paid until the deal closes. Learn more about our payment structure below.

What is your marketing plan?

This question ties in with the former as brokers with experience selling businesses similar to yours will already have a number of experienced buyers in their back pocket. It’s also another benefit of using a brokerage team as they can cast a wider net.

Every broker will have his own marketing plan and approach. For example, at Alliant we use a combination of print media, trade publications, internet marketing, direct mail and telemarketing as part of our process.

The most important aspect of any marketing plan is confidentiality. Details of the sale must be kept quiet to prevent both clients and employees from interpreting the sale as negative. You’ll also want to keep the sale from competitors, who could potentially try to poach customers and employees alike.

What is your proof of performance?

Most business owners want to work with an experienced broker who has a proven track record of successful sales. However, it’s important to ask more in-depth questions related to your specific needs. Inquire about their success overall as well as in your specific industry, region, and business size.

You want a business broker or brokerage team with experience selling businesses similar to yours.

You also want to look for testimonials from satisfied clients and ask for references once you engage with the brokerage team. Click here to read our client testimonials and be sure to ask us for references in your industry.

How do you get paid?

Inquire about how the broker will be paid for his/her services. Some brokers charge a listing fee for marketing the listing. At Alliant we don’t get paid until the deal is complete. In other words, we only get paid a “Success Fee” when we close the sale.

Selling your business the right way with the right broker means you get paid what you deserve. An experienced broker will not only help you get the true value of your business during a sale, but will save you time and headaches throughout the process.

If you are considering selling your small business, call our team today to speak with an expert about how to get started.