Bad Brokers Bad Outcomes

I've been spending time speaking with lower mm and mm bankers, as well as those in search, SMBs and venture (growth-minded) people. Every day I receive the flood of newsletters related to deal flow, typically interesting businesses that caught some platform or notable people's eyes across software, ecommerce, Main Street. There's a mix of sizes, and if you follow Instagram or TikTok, they certainly trend lower and 'easy' as the finfluencers like to point out (they're not).

All of that takes practice, though, and you get a bit of a luxury as a buyer/searcher in that you can do multiple repetitions. Hopefully these don't get too far before breaking down as then you're stuck paying the diligence fees and the time, effort and energy that went in can be draining (or worse, draining your own and others' funds). But you know who typically doesn't get a second bite, particularly on Main Street? Sellers. And the brokers that typically represent them don't seem to care - at least, the bad ones.

I've seen a fair share of poor advisors/brokers and I've also had the pleasure of working with the good ones, those who know the seller needs to be coached through their one and only transaction, or expectations from each type of buyer that will come to the doorstep. But man, as a valuation provider, a lender, and now an advisor who happens to be curious, some of these are brutal.

How well does it look to not have your successful company's business numbers updated from 3 years ago now? Even if the seller got cold feet, does it inspire confidence if your company and its outdated (and not detailed) numbers show up on their "Current List" with no cleanup on the site. Most people, searchers and companies are doing their own outreach but surely with the influx of accessible tools to help this outreach, it befits sellers to worry about where their companies appear on the internet, and still, in the best light.

Brokers - some of these are later career people of a community who have done a great job to that point, can do most of the business on referrals and keep their day-to-days the same, as the community, groups and conferences provide them plenty of leads, referrals and circle around to find opportunities. Certainly they're doing it because it passes the time and they've been decent in their track record. But I'll be damned if I'm not keeping up with how business outputs have changed and our web presence is paramount if you're going to display anything. It's a lesson for all of us.

Put your best foot forward there, particularly when it's someone else's business/reputation that you're flailing about.