How to Become a Business Broker

After receiving many emails from people interested in becoming business brokers and needing advice, I decided to post a some information about the backgrounds of many of my colleagues, and where to get started to see if this industry is the right fit.

Many professionals in my field enter the business brokerage industry as a second or third career.  Prior to becoming intermediaries, some of my colleagues have been:

  • CFO’s for large corporations
  • Successful businesses owners who had sold their businesses using a business broker
  • Sales professionals from a variety of industries
  • Accountants and Financial Advisors

The rewards that one can gain from being in this business cannot be measured; however, how does one know where to start when there are few resources available about the industry?

Some questions I receive often include:

  • Where can I meet experienced business brokers and intermediaries to ask questions about the career?
  • Is there education available that is more than a series of textbooks?
  • I don’t yet know if this industry is right form me?   Are there courses and training in this industry I can take without having to commit to a particular firm that offers training?

I suggest that the best place to start would be the International Business Brokerage Association, a trade association of business brokers providing education, conferences, professional designations and networking opportunities.  Members come from large and small firms, franchises and independent offices;  members bring experience from the business community, whereas others are changing career paths or are recent graduates just entering into their first career.  The IBBA is THE place to learn how to learn the business, and learn it right.  Please feel free to call me at 407-770-8373 with your questions.

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Growing Your Business: The Importance of Internships. . .

. . . and the impact your business will have on your intern.

Here is an essay from our recent intern, Becca, on the importance of internships to the upcoming young professional. Interns are so helpful in the office, but can also offer to business owners the rewarding experience of helping the next generation prepare for their careers.

There’s only so much one can learn from a textbook; it’s good for the basics, but does it really cover the “real-life” experiences? Over the years, I’ve come to realize that some of the best lessons in life—personal or business related—are learned through experience. One of the best ways to gain this practice is through internships. Whether the company is large or small, an internship really is the most efficient way to get a “hands-on” learning experience in the business world.

First off, let me introduce myself: My name is Becca and I currently live in my hometown Columbus, Ohio. I’m a business management and marketing student at the University of Dayton. During the summers back home, I’ve worked for our family-owned commercial real estate and development company as an intern for nearly three years. Although the experience has been very enriching, it’s still a family business and doesn’t quite give me the challenge I’ve been yearning for. Last year in pursuit of my hopeful business career, I was introduced to American Business Group and was offered a two-week internship in Orlando. My initial reaction was a bit uneasy—it was my first time away from home for that long, and I’d be living in an unfamiliar town. However, as my second time interning for ABG is coming to a close, I want to express how beneficial my years interning have been to my business career.

Like I said, there’s only so much you can learn from sitting in a classroom with a textbook in your hands. It’s the real-life experiences that’ll boost your knowledge of the business world. From the very start, I have been interested in business and knew I wanted business to be a big part of my life. At the time, I wasn’t very sure of which area of business I wanted to focus on—I wanted to explore all concentrations. Fortunately, my internship experience has broadened my horizons and ultimately exposed me to a number of different industries. By interacting with various types of companies and exploring different industries through my internship, I was introduced to the big world of business that was once so abstract to me.

Many people believe the notion that interns are hired just for the non-sense “busy-work” like filing, answering phones, and other administrative work. However, my experiences have been the polar opposite. Sure, I did do some basic clerical work like filing and labeling—it comes with the territory. But while interning, the majority of my time was spent attending workshops, seminars, luncheons, and a boat-load of other things that I still remember perfectly to this day. I would take notes at each seminar and when reviewing my notes afterward, I was surprised at how much knowledge I could gain just after one presentation (and for the record, I’ve kept every scratch of notes I took from each event and have frequently referred to them for information and helpful tips). Additionally, I attended business showings with perspective buyers and attended multiple business listing appointments that I never thought I’d get to experience first-hand. Believe it or not, I even got the opportunity to do things most young adults don’t get the chance to do such as establishing prospective business owner search criteria, organizing and executing direct mail campaigns, and learning about the importance of confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements. If it weren’t for my internship, I probably would’ve never attended such educational events nor gotten the opportunity to explore the different elements of such a great company. Better yet, I can guarantee I wouldn’t have the knowledge I do now if it weren’t for my internship experience. Additionally, my internship allowed me to take the things I learned and apply them to real-life experiences. For example, a breakfast we attended this summer was about social media and networking. A lot of what we discussed had to do with Facebook, MySpace, and other forms of networking. This subject was very appealing to me because not only am I an average teenaged Facebook user, but I’ve recently developed a strong interest in marketing and social networking. The presentation was fascinating and I really took a lot out of it. Since Facebook is something I use daily, it was neat to view this outlet from a business perspective versus the way I’ve normally viewed it.

Anyhow, I could go on for days describing how beneficial my internship experience has been—from learning how to talk on the phone with a professional “phone voice,” giving a strong and loyal handshake, and learning the importance of presenting a business card. However, time is precious and I must return to school to continue with my business education. With this in mind, I’ll leave you with a few final thoughts: it’s not easy to put yourself out there, but being an intern has possibly been the most rewarding and beneficial experience I’ve ever had. I’ve become so much more motivated and determined to have a successful career, and have ultimately learned important and essential tips that are commonly neglected in a classroom or textbook. Whether you’re a business looking for an intern, or an intern looking for a business, internships are so beneficial and should be taken advantage of in every way possible. There’s nothing like an internship that’ll help boost your career in the end. Ultimately, my years as an intern have shaped my life in more ways thought possible—get out there and let an internship shape yours too.

ABG’s Young Professionals Program

In addition to discussing Orlando’s general economic growth and business development on this site, we also like to promote our Young Professionals Program.

American Business Group offers shadowing days and short-term summer internships (two weeks) to high school seniors. We also meet with college students and help them locate internships and meet mentors in their chosen field to increase their job prospects and career success.

Students participate actively in the day-to-day running of the company and attend meetings with business owners, association luncheons and continuing education seminars with an ABG associate.  In addition to boosting their résumés, past students have gained better communication skills, increased confidence in talking with older adults, sharpened their general public speaking, and learned more about basic money management.  Additionally, due to the nature of business brokerage, students get to learn about several different industries in a short amount of time, which may help those who are still undetermined in what major to choose.

If you know of any students who may be interested in shadowing or interning, please direct all enquiries to info @ americanbusinessgroup . com or 407-367-0100.  Students do not have to be business or economics majors.

September Event for Orlando Business Owners

Join me and other Orange County business owners at the The Advisory Board Council’s Reception for Business Owners on Tuesday, September 23 from 5:30 – 7 PM.  Details below.

From the ABC site: “By connecting Orange County businesses with area professionals, the Advisory Board Council offers a powerful management tool to provide expert advice at no cost for your business.”

Important Info:
Tuesday, September 23rd from 5:30-7 PM
Landmark Center Building One
315 E. Robinson Street, Suite 100, Orlando FL 32801
(There is a parking garage and some street parking at the rear of the building)
RSVP is required, so contact reception@advisoryboardcouncil.com by September 19th.  The event is also offering complimentary hors d’oevres and drinks.

Central Florida Small Business Summit – September 26

Spend a day with the business experts and give your business a boost!  The Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce has teamed up with local and state-wide sponsors to bring business counselors, “learning labs,” presentations and headline speakers such as Michael Gerber, author of The E-Myth: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It.

As a member of the Central Florida Small Business Summit’s planning committee last year, I have been eagerly looking forward to this event.  As Orlando increasingly becomes a national key player in the general small business, tech and medical industries, this event is a must for both the established business owner and the aspiring entrepreneur. 

When: September 26 8:30-5:30

Where: Orlando World Center Marriott Resort and Convention Center

Young Professionals’ 30-second Tip – Networking 101

Do NOT be a card collector.  Business card collectors have big books or binders of neatly organized business cards.  Those books are usually worthless because the relationships aren’t nurtured properly, if at all.

If you are still in school, whether high school or college, and someone you look up to or who could be a future mentor gives you his or her business card, follow-up the next day.  

And after the follow-up call or meeting, thank you cards still trump emails.  Get out the pen and paper and connect!

We Used to Save

Below is an April 28th, 2008 article from NPR (National Public Radio):

 

In 1982, Americans saved more than 11 percent of their disposable income. The personal savings rate dropped to just 0.4 percent last year. An economist blames easy credit — and how we think about money.

Twenty to 40 years ago, economist and Financial Timescolumnist Tim Harford says, “a lot of people were denied credit” because of their income, their gender or their race.

“It seems to me that we’ve always been willing to borrow, we’ve always been keen to borrow, if the lenders have been willing to lend to us,” Harford tells Steve Inskeep.

People have “suddenly been given the ability to borrow more — credit cards, mortgages, unsecured loans — and they’ve taken advantage of that,” Harford says.

“It’s been a good thing until recently. The availability of credit to people to buy their own homes … [and] to smooth consumption, broadly that’s a good thing. But clearly the last couple of years, it’s just gone crazy and loans have been made that people couldn’t possibly repay.”

The availability of credit can cause people to make bad decisions. “We seem to be hard-wired sometimes just to make rash decisions in the short term,” he says.

“You have the credit card, so you can buy it instantly with no consequences. The consequences come further down the track.”

Economists are trying to convince people to take a longer-term perspective. For example, under a pension system called “save more tomorrow,” companies offer their employees the choice of plowing future salary increases directly into the workers’ pension plans.

“When people are given that choice, that’s suddenly a lot more attractive …,” Harford says. “And it’s been shown to be very, very effective in increasing savings rates.”

If the national savings rate bounced back up, would we be better off?

It depends, he says. “How much do you want to sacrifice your income now for income later when you’re richer?”

Harford says that as a college student, he worked and saved money, but sacrificed his own enjoyment in the process. “I made completely the wrong decision,” he says. “That was crazy.”

“Debt is your future self sending you money back in time. So the question is, are you and your future self both happy with the deal? Clearly you can borrow too much, but you can also save too much. We’ve just got to get the balance right, and that’s not easy because the future is uncertain.”

Don’t let frugality poison your workplace

One of my weekly activities to keep me in the loop of my local community is to read the Orlando Business Journal.  I catch up on events, get reminders of my colleagues’ birthdays (if they’re not already in my diary!) and glean a few words of common sense.

Below is an article written by Dr. Linnda Durre of Winter Park.  In this increasingly “interesting” marketplace, I feel that this article couldn’t have come to press at a better time:

Don’t Let Frugality Poison Your Workplace

Orlando Business Journal

April 18, 2008

In tough times, people need to economize, but make sure you are not penny-wise and pound-foolish.

Being frugal is crucial to surviving in a recession, but make sure your actions do not insult your employees.

Those who back higher salaries and other perks for themselves while their workers are counting pennies to fill their gas tanks sow seeds of resentment, revenge and revulsion.

The circumstances at Enron and Adelphia should remind us of the potential fallout.

I’ve had millionaire business owners question my fees, while they drive around in luxury cars, live in 10,000- square-foot homes and their businesses gross in the seven to 10 digits.

If you have bosses, company owners or employers like this, you must have the courage to say no. It’s a powerful little word and works wonders with those who want to run roughshod over the little people.

Someone wanted me to consult for his company, only at a bargain rate. After telling him that if I passed the audition, he could hire me to review his company, he said he wouldn’t do so unless my fees were lowered.

This individual’s behavior revealed the psychological profile of a business owner who is self-centered, insulting and sneaky. Those who behave like this may be the reason why their company may be failing.

Who wants to work for a boss who demeans his worker’s talents and tries to cheat them?

Penny-wise, dollar-foolish is a phrase that captures this type of thinking. These bosses and owners think they are saving money, but instead are sowing seeds of resentment in staff, contractors and vendors.

When you pay people for quality service, treat them with decency and respect. If you praise workers for what they do, they will reward you by working longer hours and turning out higher quality products and services. Employees will feel a sense of contribution because they feel they’re appreciated, valued and acknowledged. You’re building solid relationships, aimed at a prosperous future of working together — based on trust, reliability, honesty and commitment.

If you want a business to last:

  •  Provide excellent, top-quality products and service.
  •  Communicate honestly, openly and often.
  •  Honor, acknowledge and respect your employees, customers, staff, vendors and independent contractors.

 

Linnda Durre is a psychotherapist, writer and business consultant living in Winter Park who has worked with Fortune 500 companies, nonprofits and small businesses. Her Web site is http://www.DrDurre.com. Contact her at (407) 246-4681 or via e-mail at LinndaDurre@aol.com.