Seven criteria for comparing business brokerage firms and mergers & acquisition intermediaries to the time tested, performance documented professionals at International Business Associates.
The choice to explore the sale of a business is a significant decision by an entrepreneur. The selection of professional representation to manage the process commonly follows this conclusion by a business owner wishing to achieve a sale for a market to premium value in a deal facilitated employing best practices. The following are seven reasons why more people have used IBA to sell their companies than any other firm in the Pacific Northwest:
The sale of a business is a sophisticated, nuanced process requiring an extremely diverse set of comprehensive knowledge. Successful deal facilitation requires knowledge of accounting, finance, investment, tax, law, real estate, business, government policy, demographic trends, and psychology. When seeking knowledge, it is recommended to obtain the counsel of experts. IBA professionals are regularly sought after by entrepreneurs, lawyers, CPA’s, bankers, wealth advisors, real estate brokers, trade associations, and the media as speakers at seminars, conventions, and for interviews. In addition, IBA provides as a community resource a complimentary library of articles with new content added weekly on its blog written by IBA intermediaries and over eighty collaborative partners from a spectrum of professions on issues relevant to the rapidly changing dynamics of the mergers & acquisitions marketplace. The most important item being purchased in the selection of a business broker to sell a company is knowledge. Few M&A firms in the United States are IBA’s equal in terms of possession of knowledge. All of our business brokers welcome comparative analysis on the metric of knowledge with our competition. Many members of the IBA team have industry specific knowledge not held by generalist brokers or firms that do not have the deal flow necessary to create a sustainable business model focusing on specific industries and geographic areas.
No business brokerage firm has sold more businesses in the Pacific Northwest than IBA. We have successfully facilitated over 4300 transactions in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska since 1975. The seasoned executive leadership of IBA with a President & CEO, Gregory Kovsky, now in his third decade at the helm of the organization, provides an unique, experience resource to the brokers on the IBA team and all of our clients directly or tangentially with over 300 completed transactions with his personal signature on them. No business owner selling a company they have invested significant time, energy, and resources building should want to trust the sale to someone “learning” on the job. No firm in the Pacific Northwest has more experience than IBA in the sale of businesses. Individually each of our business brokers and as a firm we welcome direct comparison with all parties regarding track records of performance getting deals successfully closed.
Mergers & acquisitions require a diverse, specialized skill set. The best business brokers have the ability to wear an accountant’s visor to value a business; step into an attorney’s shoes to build infrastructure that maintains confidentiality; take to a sales professional’s lectern to create a marketplace, persuasively convey the positive attributes of a product, and justify its market value; work a conference room as a polished negotiator to get intelligent, thoughtful parties to “Yes” with divergent interests; and roll up their sleeves as an administrator to facilitate progress through necessary deal steps & processes by accountants, lawyers, banks and/or investors. It is strongly recommended that any business broker being interviewed be asked about their most recent & difficult transactions, what they learned, and what they could have done better. Skills can always be sharpened and improved. Every IBA associate is in relentless pursuit of excellence in their professional skill set. Experienced, knowledgeable parties recognizing the specialized skills required to expertly sell a business ranging from lawyers to CPA’s and real estate brokers to bankers have our firm on speed dial when they have a client wanting to sell a business, why not seek the same level of skill facilitating your deal that the parties in the “know” want for their clients in the Pacific Northwest?
Smart individuals recognize that success often depends on having the right tool or resource to problem solve through a situation. In business brokerage, knowledge & experience are the primary resources used to navigate the business sale process. No person possesses knowledge & experience about everything. Intelligent people have the ability to consult with and delegate projects to experts in the relevant field when specialized knowledge is required. No firm in the Pacific Northwest has a larger Rolodex of “best of the best” professionals and resources available to support its mergers & acquisitions activities than IBA. It often takes a village of business professionals to complete a transaction. Need a business attorney, we can provide a slate of “deal making” lawyers to interview. Need a CPA to help with due diligence or tax strategy, we know many that specialize in privately held companies and family businesses. Need a bank to finance a business or real estate acquisition, we can provide a list of banks currently financing deals in your geographic area or industry. Need a specialized professional or access to a government agency, we likely have a contact for your need. It takes years to build a resource network, IBA has a curated group of professionals established from decades of successful transactions available to our clients.
There are two dominant business models in business brokerage. One business model, the compensation model employed by IBA, is a commission model where the business broker is paid 100% on performance upon completion of the transaction when the client is paid. The other business model involves the business broker being paid upfront fees & retainers. In theory, both business models end with approximately the same level of compensation for the intermediary after a successful sale. However, it is also true that many businesses represented for sale by business brokers do not sell due to incorrect pricing; the business broker’s inability to create a marketplace for the company filled with interested parties; an intermediary’s inability to get interested parties to reach across the table and shake hands on a deal; and/or the inability to locate the funds necessary to complete the transaction. Business brokerage is a “black & white” profession with a clear objective, sell businesses. It is IBA’s position that the “best of the best” in business brokerage are paid 100% on performance. Any salesperson that seeks a retainer generally does not have confidence in their abilities as a salesperson or has a business model that prioritizes their needs over those of the client.
The business world of today is dominated by transactions done over the Internet, telephone, and email. Virtual engagement is a significant component of client/intermediary communication, however at multiple stages of the business sale process there is no satisfactory replacement for direct, personal engagement to convey comprehensive information, discuss sophisticated topics, or build rapport. Meetings can occur at the business being sold, however confidentiality concerns can mitigate when or if that should occur while selling a company. It is a reasonable expectation for an entrepreneur seeking to sell their business that their business broker have the ability to provide a clean, confidential, professional location to hold meetings. IBA has physical offices in the cities of Bellevue & Spokane in Washington and Portland, Oregon with conference rooms that can facilitate meetings involving 2 to 20 people. We welcome the opportunity to meet with parties at our offices or alternative locations convenient for a sell side client. It may be a simple metric to assess a business broker, but ask yourself do you want to discuss the sale of your business at a Starbucks where family, friends, employees, customers, or other parties might stop by the table to say “hello” or in a confidential, conference room setting where no one can eavesdrop on the conversation?
The relationship between a business broker and their client is commonly short (3 – 9 months at IBA), but personal with frequent communication. As a general rule, people do business with people they know, like, and trust. If initial communication with a business broker is not collaborative, informative, and positive then an alternative professional representative should be interviewed for the position. All intermediaries at IBA start our relationships with a smile and firm handshake. Is there a better way to do business with another person?
Please contact our office if you have any questions regarding the representation we provide our clients or if you would like to schedule a time to meet with an IBA professional.