When it comes to the sale of a small business, there are two ways it can be done. You can either sell the business yourself or use an agent. Agents go by several names such as:
- business transfer agents
- business sales agents
- business brokers
- commercial real estate agents (for selling freehold businesses)
For larger businesses there are other firms who provide these services, such as corporate finance firms, transaction advisory firms etc. Businesses with a turnover of a few million pounds would be better off investigating the services of those firms instead.
How Do You Find An Agent To Sell A Small Business?
It’s not easy. The UK Business Brokers site has several articles on how to choose agents / brokers and they maintain an extensive knowledge base on business brokers. However, the advice on the site is that, with smaller businesses, in most cases the owners are better off advertising their business themselves. Various articles on that site provide advice on how this can be done.
The above site also publishes detailed reviews of the best known transfer agents and brokers including well known names such as:
- RTA Business Sales
- Knightsbridge Business Sales
- KBS Corporate
- Intelligent Business Transfer
- Blacks Business Brokers
- National Business Sales
- and others
There are directories of business transfer agents and brokers at DaltonsBusiness, RightBiz and BusinessesForSale, but you may find that they give prominence to the agents who pay them the most money rather than the best ones or the most capable ones.
The Federation of Small Businesses says, “Beware brokers who, from the outset, seem more interested in persuading you to pay their fees than learning about your business. You want them to ask questions about your business and give an honest appraisal of its value, chances of selling and what you need to do to make it more appealing to buyers.”
But before you engage an agent/broker you might want to assess whether that is the right option for your business. Or read this article at a legal website on choosing agents.
Selling Your Business Yourself
The owners of small businesses sometimes successfully sell their businesses themselves. It is relatively easy to do what some business transfer agents do which is not much more than writing up a brief description of the business and posting it on websites such as Daltons and Rightbiz mentioned earlier.
Here’s a link if you need further guidance on how to sell a business. If you have questions you wish to discuss with other owners who’ve sold their businesses, you could consider signing up for the UK Business Forums and starting a thread, or posting at this location or “subreddit” on the well known Reddit website.