If now is the time that you feel is right for you to begin the process of selling your business, go back and review the information already provided. Your next decision, and it is big one, is whether to use a business broker or not. Unless you have already decided against using a business broker, it will pay to call one or two and spend some time with them. Even, if you have elected against using a business broker, you should still interview one or two, just to hear their side of things.
Here are a few things to ask, in no particular order, when visiting with business brokers:
- How will you market my business?
- How much do you think I should ask for my business?
- How will you show my business?
- Do you cooperate with other business brokers?
- Will you display my business on any Internet sites?
- How often will you contact me about what is going on?
- Can you provide any references?
- Are you affiliated with any business brokerage associations or trade groups?
- May I have a sample copy of your listing agreement?
- Please tell about you and your firm?
Obviously, you should ask any other questions that concern you. Business brokers should be able to bring you prospective buyers that you would not be able to get on your own. Keep in mind that most will ask for at least a six-month exclusive listing agreement. This means that any disposition of the business will entitle the brokerage firm to their fee. Commission rates will normally vary between 10 to 12 percent, but they are, by law, negotiable. Many firms also have a minimum fee for small businesses. Some may ask for a small retainer or up-front fee or advertising costs. Each firm has their own policies.
By talking to several firms you will learn what the advantages of each are and which one you feel comfortable dealing with. It is important that you work with an individual with whom you feel comfortable and who impresses you with their ability to sell your business.
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