Have you been wondering how to break into the profession of buying and selling businesses? It’s a lucrative niche and thousands of professionals all over the world make a full-time living helping owners sell their companies. Still, becoming a business broker is an unusual career choice because most colleges and universities don’t teach the needed skills or encourage students to enter the field. In many ways, however, the work closely resembles working as a real estate agent for sellers. The necessary skills are similar, but there are enough differences to make business brokers stand out as uniquely qualified pros in their own right. Nearly everyone who helps company owners market their firms to potential buyers has a college or graduate degree, possesses keen sales skills, specializes in a particular area, and relies on accountants to arrive at specific selling prices. If this exciting career field appeals to you, the following items represent the bare minimum factors for success.
Get the Right Education
Like top real estate agents, professionals who sell businesses tend to have solid educational credentials. A college degree in business, with a major in marketing or finance, is an ideal start. If you have not yet completed college, do so as soon as possible, even if you have to earn an online degree or go to night school. The smartest way to pay for higher education is with a private student loan. Not only will you be able to cover all our education costs, you’ll have the advantage of competitive interest rates and reasonable payback periods. Having a degree helps with just about any career field but is particularly essential for those who want to enter this competitive field.
Brush Up on Sales Skills
You are selling companies for a living, regardless of what label you put on this profession. Unlike typical family homes, expensive cars, and other things people sell, companies can come with huge price tags. It’s not unusual, for instance, to broker deals in excess of a million dollars. That means you need to be an excellent sales person. Consider taking specialized training or boot camps for sales pros. They’re worth the fee in most cases and nearly always help you sharpen your skills.
Use Accountants to Help with Evaluation
Unless you are a CPA, hire a pro who can assist you with putting accurate price tags on the companies you sell. Real estate agents use appraisers and you should too. The difference being that your appraiser needs a different set of skills in order to set an exact value on the entity in question.
Negotiate Commissions Before Attempting to Sell
There’s a wide range of commission charges, but most get somewhere between 5 and 20 percent of the sales price, which is paid by the seller. The buyer never knows how much of a cut you get for making the deal happen, but they usually assume it’s around 10 percent (and they’re often correct). The main thing to remember about your price is that it needs to be negotiated and put in writing before you do any work. Don’t feel as if you need to charge the same percentage on every deal because some will take much more time and effort than others. Be flexible, be fair, and always put the numbers in writing.