At some point, many business owners have tossed around the idea of selling their business. If you are one of these people, you’ve probably wondered how much your business is worth, or how long it might take to sell. These are usually the top concerns of anyone trying to sell a company they own. If you want to sell as quickly as possible and for as much money as possible, your best strategy is to hire a business broker. We’ve gone over the benefits of hiring a broker over trying to sell a business on your own. However, you might be wondering how to choose the best business broker. Following this interview guide will help you to make that decision clearer.

How many deals do you close per year?

When working with any professional, you want to see a track record of success. Typically, there is a small number of business brokers within each city or region that close a lot more deals than everyone else. You can ask your broker how many deals they close each year. In order to have a basis of comparison, you may have to interview a few brokers, unless you find one with a good reputation and longevity. Equally important as the amount they sell is their experience level. You will want to hire someone who has closed transactions for companies of varying sizes and industries. Ask the brokerage you’re interviewing how long they have been selling businesses. A brokerage that has been around for a long time will have a history of proving their ability to close deals. They must in order to stay in business that long.

Do you work with businesses full-time or also commercial real estate?

You want to make sure that the person you hire to sell your business is dedicated to it full-time. There are many business brokers who also sell commercial real estate, as well as commercial real estate brokers who sell businesses. The process of selling a business requires specialized knowledge and experience. If the success of your broker depends on selling businesses as well as real estate, the urgency to sell your company may not be there. You want the livelihood of your broker to depend exclusively on selling businesses.

A business broker also brings experience with confidential marketing. They know how to market your company for sale without revealing its identity. They have procedures in place to protect private, financial information about your business and only release it to qualified, serious buyers at the right time. Many brokers who deal primarily in real estate use the same procedure for selling businesses and real estate. They do not take confidentiality into consideration and do not take the time to ensure buyers are financially qualified before handing over private information about your business.

How long will it take to sell my business?

Many people who want to sell their businesses expect to do so quickly, but the entire process can take on average 6 months to a year. Depending on the market and the economy, it may take longer than a year. Business brokers have strategies in place to make your business more attractive to buyers and sometimes speed up the sale, but it is, in general, a lengthy process. The broker you are looking to hire should do a good job of articulating this to you. If they try to guarantee a quick sale they are probably just trying to win your favor.

How much can I sell my business for?

A business broker can compare your business to other similar businesses and recent sales to help estimate a sale price, but they also take many other value indicators into consideration. Experienced brokers know how to use intangible assets from your business to enhance its value. They should also know how to recast your financials to show its true earning potential to buyers. When interviewing brokers, make sure you ask about their strategy for valuating your business and determining an appropriate asking price.

When selling a business you can encounter many obstacles. Every transaction is different and you want someone working for you who can be prepared for any potential issues. Hiring a business broker with a long track record of selling businesses of different sizes and industries. Corporate Investment Business Brokers (CIBB) has been a leader in Southwest Florida business sales for a long time. Our brokers have over 100 years of collective experience selling businesses in Fort Myers, Sarasota, Naples and the Tampa metro area, and have exhibited award winning performances. We can help you realize the full potential of your business investment. The process begins with a free business valuation estimate and no-obligation consultation, so contact us today.

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