If you are in the market to buy or sell a business and have made the decision to work with a business brokers professional in the business brokerage industry, please use caution who you deal with.

Unfortunately, not all “professionals” in the industry follow a strict code of ethics or have the highest professional integrity, as they are supposed to. This article will examine some of the more common things to consider and look out for when working with a business brokerage firm or professional.

What is their reputation like in the industry?
Does the firm you are considering working with have a good reputation in the industry? Are they considered honest and ethical by their peers? Be wary of dealing with firms that espouse themselves to be ethical professionals in the business brokerage industry when, in fact, a quick survey of industry peers would suggest otherwise.

As with most things, it is quite easy to present oneself as being a leading, ethical organization. As a potential client, please ensure that this is in fact true and if it is also recognized by the broader profession.

Have they crossed any ethical boundaries?
Before you commit to dealing with a firm, ask around. Have they crossed any ethical lines that they should not have? Have they truly put their clients first? Do they strictly adhere to the Real Estate & Business Brokers Act Code of Ethics?

Before you sign on the dotted line to work with a business brokerage firm or professional, please ensure that they put business ethics first & foremost.

A growing industry may attract unsavory “professionals”
The industry is growing in Canada and this can attract unsavory business brokerage “professionals” to the industry. The field of business brokerage is considered a “growth” field. The number of ‘baby boomers’ retiring over the next 10 years will cause a spike in demand for business brokerage services. Boomers who own businesses in southern Ontario may want to retire and sell a business and boomers who are in the corporate world may decide it’s time for a new challenge and want to buy a small business. The point is that there may be players attracted to this industry who only see the dollar signs associated with such growth and are willing to set ethical behavior towards their clients and industry colleagues aside as a result.

As a consumer, please be vigilant about protecting your interests and please, only work with a business brokerage professional who has a good reputation and if it “feels right.” Usually, if a business relationship doesn’t feel right or if something about the “professional” or firm seems amiss, your hunch is probably correct so find yourself another business broker to work with.

Buying or selling a business can be a convoluted process. The decision to work with a business brokerage professional is a wise one. The vast, vast majority of professionals in this field are ethical and do not cross moral boundaries. The main point to keep in mind is to be careful because, like in all industries, there can be a few ‘bad apples’ that spoil it for everyone.

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