Frank Chebalo has been working in the business brokerage industry for more than a decade. He’s worked as a staff broker at a successful brokerage firm. He’s operated his own independent brokerage business. And since joining Murphy Business, his Hampton Roads brokerage firm has become one of our most successful offices. So if anyone knows how to find a business broker, it’s him.
If you ask Frank, he’ll tell you that most people aren’t sure what to look for in a broker. That’s partly because most people misunderstand the role that business brokers are supposed to serve.
“People say to me, ‘Oh, you sell businesses.’ But when you look at what we do, that’s not actually right. What we really do is solve problems for business owners. And that doesn’t always mean selling the business.
“At the end of the day, we’re individuals helping other individuals solve a problem.”
In Frank’s view, if you’re selling a business, you don’t just want to find a business broker. You want to find a business broker who’s a committed problem solver.
Don’t Just Find a Business Broker, Find a Problem Solver
“We’re dealing with people where they’re selling the assets that they started, nurtured, and grew. So it’s not about finding just any buyer, but a buyer who’s going to carry the business forward.”
Frank says that the first problem most brokers need to solve is helping clients understand the brokerage process. Due to the confidential nature of business brokerage, many business owners have a hazy understanding of how a business actually gets sold. It’s important to find a business broker who makes that process as clear as possible.
“The reality of what we do is very difficult and complicated, and most people don’t fully understand it. So the first thing I’ll do is sit down with a person and talk them through what selling their business looks like. That way, they get an understanding of how the process evolves, even if now’s not the right time to sell their business, which it isn’t for a lot of people.”
At that point, Frank says it’s important that you find a business broker who can accept that answer.
“A lot of people will come back a year later, and by then, they’re ready to sell, and they’re in a much better position.”
Frank notes that it’s best to find a business broker who takes this problem-solving mindset into the sale process as well.
“We’re dealing with people where they’re selling the assets that they started, nurtured, and grew. So it’s not about finding just any buyer, but a buyer who’s going to carry the business forward. Someone who will keep it going long after the sale. And in the end, our clients are thrilled, because they’ve exchanged out the business, which was their ultimate goal, and they feel that they’ve handed it off to the right person.”
What Problem Solving Means for Business Brokers
“All of a sudden that energy and creativity comes back to them. And lo and behold, the business starts to perform again.”
Frank offers another example of why it’s so important to find a business broker who’s more interested in solving client’s problems than selling their business.
“The most difficult situations are the ones where the business owner has allowed a business to deteriorate in performance. By the time they come and talk to us, they need to get the business sold, because they’ve run out of energy. They’re coming to us saying: ‘I need to sell my business. It’s getting away from me, it’s costing me money, I can’t keep up. I need it sold.’ And at that point, you have to say: ‘We’re not in a good place here.’
“I’ve done this a few times, where you enter into a consulting arrangement, and you help bring the business back up to speed. You make things more manageable. You get someone else involved. And you give the owner time to live their life again. All of a sudden that energy and creativity comes back to them. And lo and behold, the business starts to perform again.
“A lot of times, at the end of that process, the owner doesn’t want to sell their business anymore because it’s fun and rewarding and profitable again. And even though we didn’t sell their business, we solved their problem.”
The Advantages of Murphy Business vs. Independent Brokers
“There’s a built-in wealth of knowledge with Murphy that you don’t get with independent brokers.”
When it comes time to find a business broker, Frank says that there are advantages to hiring a broker who’s part of an established brand, like Murphy Business. Having worked as an independent broker himself, Frank says that independent brokers can have trouble finding time for their clients.
“As an independent broker, I had to do a lot of back-office work by myself. But Murphy does an excellent job of taking care of that work. Now I have that time back, so I can put that time into my clients, where it’s needed.”
He also stresses the value of finding a business broker who is part of a larger, trusted network. This way, they can draw on the expertise of other experienced brokers.
“Over the years, and this is known industry wide, the organization has attracted the best of the best,” he explains. “There’s a built-in wealth of knowledge with Murphy that you don’t get with independent brokers. And when I’m facing an unusual problem that I don’t know how to solve; I can find a business broker who does and give them a call.”
Want to find a business broker in your area? Call us today at (888) 561-3243 and connect with your local Murphy Business office.