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  • Writer's pictureJason Huett

Business Brokering in Wisconsin: Tips for Buyers and Sellers

Updated: May 4

Wisconsin is a unique location when it comes to buying and selling businesses. If you're a business owner, there are no restrictions and no license required to sell or buy your own business.

However, if you're like most people, going at it alone isn't optimal. If you're buying or selling a business and want to enlist the knowledge of a seasoned professional, they will need to be a licensed real estate agent in Wisconsin.

Prefer to watch instead of read ? Click the video below to watch the YouTube video.

The thought behind the law is that many business owners own their own commercial property along with their business.

This can pose a challenge - most real estate agents, whether on the residential or the commercial side, struggle with the skillset needed to broker businesses. For example, an in-depth understanding of financial statements:

  • Profit and Loss

  • Balance Sheet

  • Statement of Cash Flow

  • Proformas

Even more daunting can be understanding key functional areas in a business including:

  • Sales & Marketing

  • Human Resources

  • Operations

  • IT

For this reason, the strongest business brokers often have a background in entrepreneurship, sales, marketing and commercial real estate - it's a tall order to fill.

Let's get onto a few tips for business owners (sellers) and business buyers...

Tips for Business Owners:

Photo of entrepreneur

  • Put together a team of experts including your accountant, business broker/agent, attorney, and business coach if available.

  • Gain clarity over the type of buyer you need to attract - document this with detail so you can attract the right type of prospect.

  • Tell a story with data (financials), but also outline the opportunity for the new business owner to grow the business.

  • Know your numbers and be able to explain abnormalities in your financial statements.

Tips for Business Buyers:

Business buyer

  • Be aware of risks associated with the industry and business type - is the industry growing? Or, is it contracting?

  • Develop your own proforma based on on your projections and use them to challenge (or support) the basis for the asking price.

  • If you can't negotiate on price, try and negotiate on Terms (e.g. more flexible payment terms, owner transition terms, etc.)

  • Consult with an Accountant and Attorney during Due Diligence.

  • Examine the narrative (story) that the owner is selling - does it make sense? What would a devil's advocate say?

Working with a business broker can provide many advantages; perhaps the greatest advantage is to enlist the skills of a third party who has less emotion than yourself. A skilled business broker can serve as a buffer between you and other party and help you from making emotionally-charged decisions.

Want to learn more about selling your business? Click HERE. And, buying a business — HERE.

To your success,

Jason Huett

Founder | CMO Licensed CRE Agent


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