Role Of Business Brokers In Selling A Business

Role of business brokers in selling a business is more important than buying a business. However, there are people who do not understand the importance of the role of business brokers when they decide to sell their business. Irony is that some people are happy with giving more time to the selection of a coffee machine rather than to choosing the right business broker. This is a big mistake on their part and can result in not only the loss of money and time but also sometimes resulting in inability to find any buyers.

Here are some points to consider when you choose the business broker for selling your business. However, it is not possible to get a broker who has all the qualifications yet you must look for experience, knowledge, reliability and compatibility with you.

Reliability:
Reliability is essential because the role of business broker in selling a business is very important. How can you judge whether a particular business is reliable or not? The best method is to contact the references given by the business broker. They are in the best position to tell about how the business broker performed the deal. Ask them whether they are satisfied with the role of business broker or not. Also, make sure that the business broker you are going to hire has the capability of taking the transaction to the end and can follow up.

These references can also give you indications regarding the price they got for selling their business. Could they get the price they were expecting? Also, ask them about the consistency of the business broker with the plan charted out in beginning. They can also tell about the level of knowledge the broker has and his capability of providing the right advice. One very important question that you can ask is if need be would they like to hire the same broker again or not. The answer to this question can help you in taking decision quickly regarding hiring the business broker for selling the business.

If the business broker you are going to hire for selling the business belongs to the association of brokers then this is a point in his favor adding to his reliability. This is because the Associations such as International Business Brokers Association apply very strict ethical rules. Similarly, you can gauge the level of the knowledge by asking some questions. The business broker should not only have completed formal education to perform his job perfectly, but also need to keep himself informed about the changes in the particular industry.

Finally, a tip regarding experience of the business broker you are going to hire. If the business broker has ever owned a business then he is a better choice than the others who never run any business.

Life of an Offshore Business Analyst

This article details on the role as an offshore business analyst and the changing role of offshore business analysts.

With the boom in outsourcing and the focus of firms shifting to add efficiency at lesser cost, more BA roles are being created offshore. Not to say that all jobs are being shipped offshore, but we definitely see firms being more receptive to not restricting a business analyst role being only a client facing role. The world of outsourcing has now evolved to the hybrid model (on site / offshore model of outsourcing and in some cases near shore for strategic reasons). In fact I know a lot of firms that have as a mandate for deals a 40:60 rule when it comes to projects. 40% on site and 60% offshore to better leverage the capabilities offshore and of course manage the project margins better. Organizations, project managers and leads often struggle to increase the offshore numbers and reduce the on site number (70:30) or so in the interest of margins.

Traditionally in the IT and the ITES sector, the offshore roles were restricted to development. The growth of Offshore Development Center’s (ODC) in India in the software export zones are a testimony to this fact.

How does it impact you as a business analyst?

If you are a developer or a programmer, then this could be your golden opportunity to scale up to a BA role. Today there is a big gap between the demand for BA and the supply of quality BA candidates in market. While organizations are looking for quality resources that can scale up from being mere programmers and software developers or testers to take up the roles of solution designers and solution providers. While requirement gathering may be one part of your role, BA roles are expanding to include more responsibilities in the name of optimization.

If you are a programmer or a developer looking to scale up to the role of a BA, keep in mind, the task is not simple. I have in the past had emails from readers, who just send me their profile and ask me to do a magic to get them into a BA role. People always tend to take the easy way out. With a business analyst role, this is a “no-no.”

If you wish to be a business analyst, you need to be willing to put in the efforts to scale up from your current role and expand your area of responsibilities with limited to no supervision. You will need to think out of the box (Think outside the bun as it says in Taco Bell ads) and look at adding value to the project and organization. These are sure shot ways to success. I would rather stick to these time-tested methods than trying my feet on short cuts.

What can you do to position yourself better as a business analyst?

Simple – Scale up. Take on more responsibilities in your offshore role. I know it is easier said that done. But that is your only solution to move up the chain to be a business analyst. Please also keep in mind that a business analyst role comes with its own challenges, responsibilities and of course rewards. If you are looking to be an offshore business analyst or are currently in an offshore business analyst role, then a few pointers below might help you.

  • Communication Challenges – An offshore business analyst often gets struck in the web of communication. Being offshore is both an advantage and a disadvantage. It is an advantage because you are more affordable translating to more options and opportunities. It is a dis-advantage because you never truly know what the client is thinking, how he/she is reacting to your comments and what is lost in translation and interpretation over the phone.

So you as an offshore business analyst will need to put in twice the amount of effort to manage client perception than an onshore business analyst. Make no mistake – Onsite business analyst roles are equally hard if not much harder at times. I could be a perfect example. As someone who has been the face of the project for the client, being chewed and crushed in managing perceptions yet swimming through to save face, I had the privilege of being an on site and an offshore business analyst / management consultant. Listening and communication is your core to be great at an offshore role. Work on it.

The effectiveness of the process is always in question depending on the complexity of the business requirement but with time and effort we could evolve to be better in the offshore business analyst role.

  • Standardization of processes – Traditionally it is only the development and testing phase of the projects that were typically done offshore. But things are changing progressively. Now clients require that even the requirement gathering be done offshore through phone and other modes of virtual communication. Though a big challenge, it is well adapted by the industry.If you are an offshore business analyst, look at standardizing your requirement gathering process. Based on your industry and past project experience, come up with effective questionnaire’s that could help the client answer as many questions as possible to provide clarity on scope and requirements. If you do not understand an answer, ensure you do what is needed to get clarity from the client on the question. Never assume an answer irrespective of how logical the answer might seem.

  • If you wish to be truly pro-active, I would in fact, go one step ahead and start circulating questionnaires to industry leaders and to your past clients in your respective industry seeking their inputs on the current challenges in a specific area. This would turn out to be great inputs to help launch your product or service to the client. I’m also certain that the client appreciates the fact that you still think about them and their problems though you are not working on their project at the moment.

Organizations are now looking to bridge the demand / supply gap of business analyst by promoting senior programmers and solution designers to the take up business analyst responsibilities. Are you up for it?

Your resume, experience and expertise could make all the difference between you being a BA or remaining a programmer. Do visit the services page on our website – “The Smart Consultant” to understand what we could do to help you with your resume and transition to your dream business analyst role.

As always, I wish there was a perfect black book to help you. But there never is.

For those of us who believe a BA role is to necessarily only meet with clients and gathering requirements, I hope this article is a wake up call. Welcome to the changing world of business analyst.

For more information on business analyst certification, please refer to the IIBA website.

If you are an offshore developer or a BA or a BA working onsite then, please share your thoughts and experiences through the comments section of my blog.

Making the Most Out of Selling Your Small Business at Retirement

Retirement is the holy grail of the working individual’s lifetime. Having the free time to travel, spend time with grandchildren or pets, or even hitting the links at the nearest golf course is what gets many through the forty plus years of hard work and dedication they commit to day after day. When it comes to retiring for those who own small businesses, the same thought comes to mind. How do I sell my business and make the most profit?

Selling a business in today’s economy is not an easy task. The unemployment rate is at an all time high and many individuals are seeking the help of the government in the form of stimulus checks and unemployment income. What does that mean for the small business seller? Simply put, help is needed. It is near impossible to sell a small business alone or without the help of a small business broker. According to the Business Brokerage Press, the average business broker has a 14-24% success rate, where as an individual sale may only be effective up to 2% of the time. That’s almost ten times the success.

Finding the right broker can take some time and research, but it is well worth the effort. The right broker can provide your business with the exposure it needs and the help you need to find the perfect buyer. Business brokers are a part of every aspect of the selling process, from advising, advertising the business through a network of buyers, screening potential buyers, structuring the sale (including valuation) and all the negotiations there out. Business brokers also guarantee complete confidentiality and identity safe guarding.

Retirement should be enjoyed, not spent worrying about income. Make the most out of your retirement years. Work with a business broker to obtain the maximum profit from the sale of your small business and leave the legacy you deserve.

Is Going Direct Really Cheaper Than A Broker Or Price Comparison For Small Business Insurance?

The UK media is currently awash with advertising slogans from direct commercial insurance companies targeting small business owners in an attempt to make them switch their provider of business insurance.

‘Get 12 months cover for the price of ten’ and ‘You won’t find us on price comparison websites’ are typical of the slogans emanating from these companies, in a language more akin to the selling of car insurance than the traditional professional and almost stoic approach to the selling of business insurance cover.

In the current recession, price has become the determining factor in winning the war of market share for all goods and services and insurance is no exception. Prudent small businessmen and women are looking to cut costs in all areas of their business and the large direct insurance companies are well aware of this.

The large insurers are also aware that the UK market has over five million small businesses of which a fifth are sole traders, self-employed and people working from home, many of whom are familiar with purchasing their personal insurance direct with the provider, either by phone or on the Internet.

There are three types of provider in the current market for business insurance in the UK.

Intermediaries such as insurance brokers and agents, price comparison sites and direct commercial and business insurers.

Each has their own advantage and disadvantages, however whether one distribution channel is cheaper than another is often a subjective view from a particular trade, or dependent upon factors many of which cannot be quantified in price.

Direct Insurance companies claim to be able to offer cheaper polices because the cut out the costs of the middleman. It is certainly true that direct insurers do not have to pay an intermediary for the cost of the lead or introduction, however it is questionable whether this cost saving is actually reflected in the prices offered to the public.

Certainly there are economies of scale to be made by centralising the life-cycle of a policy from sales point to claim and renewal, however all those functions that are performed by an intermediary still have to be carried out in-house by the direct company and these have a cost.

Many large composite insurers often have distinct direct divisions with their own target market and premium rates. The same company may also have a broker or intermediary division or channel.

It is quite often the case that a large broker with a large book of business of, for example, small builders liability, will receive much more preferential rates then the same companies direct channel, because that insurance company wishes to retain that brokers clients.

Commercial Insurance brokers then are often able to offer preferential rates because they have more flexible schemes and arrangements than the direct channel.

One of the main benefits of using an insurance broker or intermediary in purchasing commercial insurance for small business, cannot be quantified in price and is worth the commission or fee that they may charge. That is advice, market and product information and knowledge, access to various markets such as Lloyds and some human help if the worst happens to a business and a claim is needed.

A commercial or business insurance broker is often able to negotiate far better claims settlements than if an individual were to deal direct with the insurer. The main reason for this is once again the insurer wishes to retain that brokers share of the total risk pool and will often pay out to a broker on an ex-gratia basis. This cost of this service is not quantifiable at the quote stage where small business cover may well just be valued for the price paid or the covers bought.

The third major way in which small business owners can purchase cover is by visiting a price comparison website. All the major UK comparison sites have recently begun to offer online cover aimed particularly at the small business sector, with under 50 employees. This is in direct competition with the direct insurers for television and media advertising space, aimed in particular at self-employed tradesmen and women who require business liability insurance and perhaps commercial van cover.

The comparison price proposition is that they can compare the market or at least a small section of it, to find the cheapest business insurance. They often do not provide any assistance in the purchasing decision-making process and the reality often is, that the cheapest commercial and small business insurance can be found in one of the other distribution channels.

It is therefore important that a small businessman shops around and takes some time to compare offerings including premiums, covers and services from all three sales channels. Prices tend to vary immensely by trade across the direct, broker and comparison markets and often it is a case of finding the provider or supplier who is the industry leader for a particular business type or trade in order to make large savings.