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What Is It Really Like For Small Business Brokers?

Perhaps you've imagined yourself working among the area's small business brokers, enjoying the fun of putting deals together, making a great income while you're at it.

And while all the good things you've heard about the profession are sometimes true, there's actually more to that story.  For example:

1. High-income myth: Yes you can make a six-figure income the first year. Of course the six figures include the numbers on both sides of the decimal point. The riches don't start flowing from your business brokerage practice right away. First you need to convince the genie who sits on the treasure chest that you've earned the right to the rewards. And you can only do that with lots of hard work, some time and experience, and the pain of a disappointment or two. Or three.

2. Satisfaction of working with your professional peers myth: Half the fun of quitting or retiring from that boring job may have been saying "adios" to the nitwits you had to tolerate for so long. Now you can work with small business brokers--colleagues who are smart, creative and able to get things done.

Problem is, as much as you'll look forward to working with them, they probably won't return your phone calls and when you do track one down, he or she will likely decline your invitation to expose their listings to your buyers.

How unfair! How greedy! You just won't be able to understand why they don't care to work with you. Then you'll have the experience of trying the "˜cooperation dance' with an incompetent business broker (yes there are some) who doesn't know how to protect the confidentiality of your listings. Or someone whose claims and promises manage to pave the road to the courthouse, where you'll be defending yourself from charges that you committed fraud and misrepresentation.

You'll be relieved to know that once you have a stable of good listings, a database of qualified buyers and a solid reputation as one of the capable small business brokers, the non-cooperation problem won't interfere much with your business.

3. Organize your own time myth: Finally out of that nine-to-five rat race and you're looking forward eagerly to the freedom to structure your day, every day, any way you want to. It means long lunches, afternoons of golf, and three-day weekends to make life so much more fun.

And yes, you can do whatever you want with those hours, so long as it's the hours between about midnight and six a.m. The remaining time, your posterior--and the rest of you, for that matter--belongs to your clients.

So, when it comes time to choose between the long-planned family outing and a sit-down to write an offer on a gas station (in hopes you can solidify a transaction so you can pay for that outing) guess what decision you'll make.

Here's a hint: If you expect to make it as one of the successful small business brokers, it's best to have a strong marriage and kids who don't need much of your attention.

4. Joy of helping people myth: Indeed, there may be times when your expert advice and superb service actually make it possible for the grocery store owner to retire with a little fund to show for all his years of hard work. And you'll always be remembered with gratitude by that single mother whom you helped to get into a thriving business so she could support her family.

Remember those episodes. Cherish them. It'll help to counter the frustration and anger you experience when that seller is a no show--the one who said he wanted to list his vending route right away, so "would you mind canceling your vacation?" Or when your proud feeling of accomplishment over putting that big deal together is shattered by the landlord's refusal to cooperate, or the due diligence revelation of major discrepancies between the seller's statements and the facts.

Go ahead. Jump headlong into the adventure waiting for you as one of California's small business brokers. Just remember it's best if you are very patient. And it's useful to be a bit of a skeptic.

Author The Author: Peter Siegel, MBA, founded (in 1994) and has built into one of the country's most popular online marketplaces for business opportunities and for a full range of services from small business brokers and other professionals assisting the entrepreneurs who buy and sell small California businesses.

Categories: BizBen Blog Contributor, Business Broker Information

Comments Regarding This Blog Post

Many sellers don't see the huge amount of time that brokers spend trying to get their listings sold. As a broker, we have to meet with many buyers, who most of the time never end up buying anything. A seller may only see us negotiate contracts and close deals, but there is plenty of time when we are doing activities that don't directly equate to income.

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