We are Business Brokers, but we have also been buyers and sellers of our own companies and have a multi-view perspective on the qualities you should look for when considering an intermediary to represent you during the sale of your business. Here are some of the main considerations.
Licensed & Insured:
In Ontario, an arm's length for profit intermediary acting as an agent of the buyer or seller in the acquisition or disposition of assets related to the sale of property or a business must be licensed (See below for our list of who can legally sell your business). That said, there are individuals and even M&A advisory firms that operate outside these licensing requirements and are not insured. Some because they do not know, others because it is too cumbersome to get licensed and difficult to get E&O Insurance. If the broker or advisory firm you consider hiring is not licensed or does not have appropriate E&O Insurance, be cautious as you may not have any recourse if they are negligent and damage your business during the sale process. Additionally, for buyers, this could mean that any deposit they provide is unsecured. Crossbridge Business Brokerage is a registered business brokerage in Ontario licensed to represent both buyer and seller in the sale of assets and real property of a business. The brokerage adheres to strict trust guidelines and random audits to ensure clients are protected and their funds are correctly administered and accounted for. Additionally, Joe is individually registered under the Real Estate Counsel of Ontario and is permitted to intermediate the purchase and sale of a business and its assets including real property. Joe is also insured for Errors and Omissions (E&O Insurance) along with buyer deposit insurance. Understand Taxation:
It is extremely important to understand that the final sale price of a business is not what you get to keep. Taxation has a large impact on what you actually take home. Since the sale of a business could be subject to personal income and capital gains taxes, the tax liability could be significant if not properly addressed early in the process. A highly capable Business Broker will understand finance and taxation to be able to help develop a tax strategy to ensure you take the most home. Waiting until the end of the deal to find out your tax exposure is poor practice and could leave you shocked. At Crossbridge Business Brokers, we understand taxation is critical to a successful sale and a happy client. This is why a tax plan is one of the top 3 action items we focus on the moment we engage a client. Every deal we manage has a comprehensive tax analysis completed by your advisors or our tax partners to ensure the sale proceeds are maximized and we all have a clear understand of what you take home. The importance of taxation cannot be understated. Ethics & Honesty:
These two qualities may be obvious, but you still need to convince yourself your Business Broker is ethical and honest. To validate ethics, we believe a Business Broker should be accredited with at least one regulatory body or association that governs and monitors their ethical behaviour. To confirm honesty, we suggest that you speak to previous buyer and seller clients of your Business Broker. Crossbridge Business Brokers is governed by not one, but two separate Associations that require us to comply with two separate but similar Code of Ethics for us to maintain our licensing and certification. Secondly, as part of our onboarding process, we provide potential clients the opportunity to speak to our past clients. We are grateful that we have served exceptional clients over the years and that they are willing to not only validate our performance but provide the perspective of someone who has recently gone through our process. We pride ourselves in our ethical and honest professional service as it is paramount in creating a credible relationship with our clients.Professional:
Your Business Broker should appear and act professionally as they will be a reflection of you and your company when they are in front of buyers. We believe a Business Broker should have corporate ownership experience or at minimum, Executive Level Management experience as these professional qualities cannot be taught and are valuable in understanding your circumstances and enable them to act as a professional ambassador of you and your business. Furthermore, your Broker should be a full-time professional Business Broker where 100% of their daily focus is selling businesses and not someone dabbling part time in business brokerage. At Crossbridge Business Brokers, we are a full-service Business Brokerage, and we focus 100% of our efforts on helping sellers prepare and sell their business to the right buyer. We have over 30 years of business ownership experience and have been executives at well known Canadian companies. We have been in our client’s shoes and have the expertise and track record to professionally represent our clients. We are also a Commercial Real Estate Brokerage, although we only trade in Real Property if it is part of the sale of a business. Qualified & Capable:
We believe every Business Broker should be a subject matter expert supported by experience, training, and certification. Experience and training demonstrates capability while certification demonstrates they are qualified to represent a buyer or seller in the trade of a business. However, it is important to recognize the two are not the same. A Real Estate Agent may be qualified on paper to sell your business but may not be capable if they have not sold many businesses. Conversely, your accountant may be capable to sell your business as they know the finances intimately but may not be qualified because they are not licensed or certified. Trust the sale of your business to only highly qualified and capable Business Brokers to get the best results. From our team, Joe is a licensed Business Broker and Commercial Real Estate Agent. He is also a Certified Business Intermediary (CBI), a designation certified by the International Business Broker's Association. Joe is also a Certified Mergers & Acquisition Professional certified by Coles College, Kennesaw State University. Bob is a Certified Business Coach with extensive M&A experience. Additionally, Joe and Bob have a combined 70 years of professional corporate experience. These certifications combined with our corporate experience demonstrates our qualifications and capability to sell your business. Business Experience:
We believe that your Business Broker should know what it's like to be in your shoes and appreciate the value of what you have built. Being able to appreciate sweat equity and knowing how to operate a business is an invaluable experience. Additionally, your representation should be able to demonstrate experience through past deals, current processes, case studies, etc., to earn your confidence and prove they have what it takes to fully achieve your objectives. After a decade of successful deals, we not only have the experience but also a refined process and enough case studies to ensure a successful sale process. Further, we have been buyers and sellers of our own businesses and have been in our client's shoes and appreciate their situation. Having this experience, we know where to find value where others cannot. Value Confidential Information:
Your confidential information and "Secret Sauce" is perhaps the most valuable asset to a buyer as it is the most difficult to reproduce. It is often the piece that differentiates the success of two similar businesses. Giving your confidential information to just anyone could leave your business exposed to loss of employees, customers or vulnerable to potential competitors. At Crossbridge Business Brokers, your confidential information is a top priority and extremely important to us. We have written in-depth on this topic. Click here to learn more about how exactly we handle your confidential information.
Selling a business is a process, not an event. It is a series of steps that if not handled in the right sequence could have negative impacts to your business or the deal. Your Business Broker should have an impeccable process and be able to demonstrate its proven effectiveness. Do not be afraid to challenge even the smallest of details to ensure their process is fully refined. At Crossbridge Business Brokers, we take pride in our proven 10 stage, 250 step process which we have continually been refining for over a decade. We not only track and manage the steps we are responsible for but manage the activities of all the other advisors and third parties who affect the transaction. Click here to learn more about our detailed process. Responsive Communication & Engagement:
The number one complaint we hear about other Business Brokers is that they do not get back to their clients and are nonresponsive. Your representation should be in regular communication and be able to demonstrate how they will keep you engaged as to what is happening and maintain a tight documentation process to protect your interests. At Crossbridge Business Brokers, we project manage and plan out each deal start to finish. There is no guessing what we will work on from one point to another. Additionally, we have short, but routine weekly meetings with our clients to keep them updated of the progress, follow up on action items and provide meeting minutes after each meeting to generate a solid paper trail for everyone to follow. We are proud that our clients have commented this is an area we excel in. Subject Matter Expert or Offer a Specialty:
Whether it's valuations, machine appraisal or selling dental practices, your Business Broker should have a specialty or be an expert in a specific field. It takes discipline and determination to develop a specialty and is a quality worth seeking. At Crossbridge Business Brokers, we have been business owners and operators of lower middle market high tech nuclear and robotic automation manufacturing businesses. We have designed and built automation machinery all over the world and have been in hundred of plants across the globe. We have a combined 60 years of experience in automating processes and improving efficiencies in manufacturing operations. As a result, industrial businesses with technical, complex process including trades, machinery and manufacturing are, without a doubt, our specialty. Mastermind Support Team:
Selling a business requires an abundance of skillsets to sell a business for maximum value. If the Business Broker lacks some of the skills or experience, it is important that they be surrounded by a team of experts able to support them and their client throughout the process. At Crossbridge Business Brokers, we are experts in the acquisition and sale of businesses with a focus on preparation, financial analysis, and taxation to maximize the sale. That said, we are not accountants or lawyers and don’t provide financial or tax advice but rather, rely on our Mastermind Team of advisors in corporate finance, corporate law, taxation, and estate planning. We collaborate with each advisor on a routine basis to provide counsel to our clients or to compliment our client’s counsel and advisors. We have the Mastermind Team with the full suite of services to ensure your business is sold right the first time and for maximum value.