The Hardest Thing in the World is to Ask for Help

Nov 7, 2023

The Hardest Thing in the World is to Ask for Help

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse ( has been read by over seven million people since it was published in 2019. The beloved book offering wisdom for all ages appeared for numerous weeks on the New York Times and Wall Street Journal Best Seller Lists and recently won an Academy Award for its animated adaption. It is a worthy addition to any family’s library.

The interaction between the boy and the horse in the book is relevant to the world of business sales. In one section, the boy asks the horse, “What is the bravest thing you’ve ever said?” The horse answers, “Help”. In another section, the horse says, “Everyone is a bit scared, but we are less scared together.”

These passages convey succinctly a common interaction between business owners and IBA M&A intermediaries. Entrepreneurs by definition are leaders, self-reliant, and risk acceptant.   They are used to being in control and making command decisions.  It is for these reasons, that frequently when it comes time to complete an exit strategy from business ownership that it is a highly stressful experience because it involves unfamiliar terrain where their knowledge, experience, and skill are often not beneficial.  A mature leader is not afraid to ask for help.  A true professional does not take advantage of this position of weakness, but shares knowledge, experience, and a skilled helping hand to address the deficiency.

How does IBA support business owners in need of assistance with the sale of their businesses?

  1. All conversations with IBA are held in strict confidence.  Ideas, concerns, and strategies can be shared without fear they will enter into the public domain.
  2. IBA offers complimentary opinions of the market value of privately held companies, family businesses, and associated real estate to potential clients. This is done by our firm to demonstrate our market leading knowledge, experience, skill, and customer service.  In our provision of this service, we do not care whether a business owner wants to sell in 2024, 2025, or 2030.  Our objective is simply to establish ourselves as a trusted resource when and if an entrepreneur wants to sell their business.
  3. IBA does not charge a penny for our services until a business sale is completed. This does not change for projects no matter if the anticipated sale price is six, seven, or eight figures. IBA is unique in the industry in that its large team of business brokerage professionals has the ability to successfully represent business owners in transactions from $500,000 to $30,000,000.  No other firm in the Pacific Northwest has the spectrum of knowledgeable, experienced, highly skilled intermediaries on its team willing & able to complete main street to middle market transactions with high attention to detail employing best practices.  It is also commonly recognized that elite salespeople are comfortable being compensated 100% on performance and do not need retainers. If a business broker asks for a retainer or fee up front, it likely speaks to a lack of confidence in their abilities and a historical inability to get paid sufficiently to support themselves on performance.
  4. IBA has a robust, comprehensive Rolodex of support professionals willing to help us and our clients achieve their transaction goals. We, as a firm, have no hesitation in “phoning a friend for support” when we are stumped by a question. The following is an example of how that call should work, if you have the right resource:

The following is a list of a few of the professionals we can make introductions to or seek support from on behalf of clients during transactions:

    1. Attorney
      1. Business
      2. Real Estate
      3. Bankruptcy
      4. Estate
      5. Employment
      6. Tax
      7. Litigation
      8. Intellectual Property
    2. Accountants
      1. Corporate
      2. Due Diligence
      3. Tax
      4. Entity Formation
      5. Industry Specialists
      6. Quality of Earnings Reports
    3. Lenders
      1. Small Business Administration (SBA)
      2. Conventional
      3. Loan Brokers
      4. Hard Money
    4. Appraisers
      1. Real Estate
      2. Business Assets
      3. Inventory
    5. Due Diligence Inspectors/Professionals
      1. Real Estate
      2. Environmental
      3. Equipment
      4. Technology
      5. Human Resources Infrastructure
    6. Fractional Executive Management
      1. CFO
      2. CMO
      3. CIO
      4. COO
    7. Wealth Advisors

Evidence of the large number of collaborative professionals in our network can be found on the bottom of our blog home page ( where a list of the individuals who have contributed to this free library resource developed for the entrepreneurial community is located.

The Beatles famously sang in their song
“Help!” (

Help! I need somebody
Help! Not just anybody
Help! You know I need someone

IBA has been there since 1975 for business owners in Washington & Oregon in need of assistance with the sale of their companies.  We plan on being there for another 48 years.  Please let us know how we can help.  If we cannot personally help, we will likely be able to provide a referral to someone who can be of assistance.  Asking for help is a sign of confidence, not weakness. All questions are welcome. All conversations are held in strict confidence. No fees are charged until project completion.

IBA, the Pacific Northwest’s premier business brokerage firm since 1975, is available as an information resource to the media, business brokerage, mergers & acquisitions, real estate, legal, and accounting communities on subjects relevant to the purchase & sale of privately held companies and family-owned businesses.  IBA is recognized as one of the best business brokerage firms in the nation based on its long track record of successfully negotiating “win-win” business sale transactions in environments of full disclosure employing “best practices”.