Yes, you can sell a business without a broker, but you might not want to. While business brokers specialize in selling businesses and a good one generally brings a higher success rate and potentially higher end price to the transaction, a business owner that is professional, can hold emotions in check, and is realistic in pricing a business can have great success in selling without a broker. If you are a business owner thinking about selling on your own, the best thing you can do is get organized, educate yourself, be realistic on price and timing, and put together a marketing plan and budget. Typically nobody knows a business like an owner, especially for a well run business, but often times business owners have attachment, can be emotional, or are not realistic and thus those type of owners will simply not be able to sell the business. Keep that in mind when you are looking to sell and think about what is best for you – selling on your own, or using a professional business broker.
Ask yourself these questions before you decide whether or not to use a broker.
- Can you separate emotion from the business?
- Do you stay cool under pressure?
- Are you willing to negotiate?
- Are you being realistic about your asking price?
- Do you have the budget to market the sale on your own?
- Are you responsive to phone calls and emails in a positive way?
- Do you have the time to allocate to dealing with potential buyers?
- Do you understand your business and business value fully?
- Are you able to put together a clean marketing package with clean financial history?
- Do you have an idea on who the right buyer might be?
- Do you feel comfortable with transaction paperwork?
If you answer no to most or all of these questions, then you should probably consider using a business broker. Keep in mind if you answered “no” to most of these questions you will have a harder time selling your business as it is as you will have to be involved regardless, but a business broker will help to mitigate many of the areas you may struggle with.