Among the most intriguing career choices for business people is to become small business brokers. Many people who have burned out or retired from a corporate or even a small business position are attracted to this field because of its many benefits.
But does the reality match the myths about this work? Here’s a frank look into some of the popular claims about the profession.
1. Make a six figure income your first year.
Actually that’s true. Of course the six figures include all the numbers on both sides of the decimal point.
Sure there are small business brokers making $100k plus. Most likely they’ve been at it awhile. They have proven to the genie who sits on the bag with all the gold that they’re worthy of abundant rewards for mastering the many trials put in their way. Those include, for example, the “clients” who can’t or won’t perform as promised, and the trolls who climb out from under the bridge so they can kill deals.
2. Have complete control over the way you spend your time.
What a privilege to be able to call your day your own, with no one to tell you what to do. Unfortunately it’s not the full day, just those few hours between the 11:00 o’clock nightly news and the rooster’s announcement at dawn.
Guess when that “can’t miss” session with the landlord is going to happen – the very day you had planned to start the vacation trip you’ve long promised your family.
Prospective small business brokers eagerly anticipating the chance to get out on the golf course in the middle of the day don’t know about the owners who will require hours-long meetings about their possible interest in selling out. And there are buyers who somehow get in the mood to make offers only during those holiday weekends when everyone else is at home greeting relatives and firing up the barbecue.
3. The opportunity of working with smart and successful associates.
This is very appealing to the would-be business broker who’s spent years in the workforce dealing with dumbbells and with co-workers so slow that a sloth looks ambitious by comparison.
There are bright, energetic and professional small business brokers who get things done. But don’t expect them to want to do those things with you. And you may be justified in complaining that they’re greedy and rude.
Then, when you’ve been in the business for a while, have some good listings, motivated and qualified buyers and a solid reputation, you’ll be accused of the same things. You may switch from the “for” side to the “against” side of the “cooperation” debate the first time you find out your seller’s confidential information is circulating on twitter, and discover the other broker’s buyer doesn’t understand the meaning of the confidentiality agreement. Or when you get a letter from an attorney asking you to reimburse a buyer or seller for their losses – losses caused by misrepresentations and promises that came from the other broker you agreed to work with.
4. The chance to do meaningful work that really helps people.
There will be times when a seller or buyer will actually say “thank you.” And you’ll feel good about having given the client smart advice and negotiating well on his or her behalf.
Just hope there are enough of those satisfying moments to balance out the frustrations and disappointments caused by those who stand you up, lie to you, change their minds and kill your deals.
So, while there are substantial joys and benefits for those working as small business brokers, it takes guts, determination and perseverance to make the career really yield those rewards. And it’s a good idea, when starting out on this adventure, to have a year’s living expenses in the bank.