WHEN Shane Fox sold his telecommunication business in 2003, he used a business broker to make the deal.
And unwittingly found his new calling.
“The broker asked me what I wanted to do and I said I had no idea and he told me he reckoned I had the skills for broking,” says Fox, now one of the region’s most seasoned business brokers.
So what are ideal skills to make it as a broker?
“The main criteria is to be really good at understanding other people’s motivations and needs, why they are selling, and what their goals are,” says Fox.
At news just to hand, he has joined forces with fellow broker Ian Jones to form Merchant Business Brokers.
The Newcastle business brokerage touts itself as being the most progressive, thanks to what it says is a highly advanced web platform that combines a powerful Customer Relationship Management (CRM) with data mining and intelligent client-matching capabilities.
“The platform was built by a couple of developers with applications previously tailored to the financial planning, accounting and banking sectors,” says Mr Jones.
“We have been working closely with the developers to custom build a business broking, cloud-based model that provides more automated, efficient and transparent methods for brokers and sellers to communciate.”
The system allows buyers to log in 24/7 and get quick access to preliminary, non-confidential details of a business for sale, without identifying the business or disclosure of information, before potentially contacting Merchant for more details.
Mr Jones say processes adopted by competitors is “inefficient, time consuming and hard work for the broker, buyers and sellers” in comparison to Merchant’s “seamless” online offering.
“Most other brokerages use ‘out of the box’ software that is often built and designed for the real estate industry and does not cover the variables and specific requirements of professional business platforms,” he says.
With their web offering designed to connect more buyers to sellers, the businessmen say the toughest part of their role is “by far” managing vendor expectations and time frames.
“When a person has made the decision to sell their business, potentially their biggest asset and a big part of their life, they generally have made their mind up and become quite focused on getting it sold,” Mr Fox says.
“The hardest part is managing people and providing them with some of our knowledge and insight before starting the process, and also sometimes sharing the truth about what their business is really worth in the current market if this is different to their expectation.”
Details at merchantbrokers.com.au.