Fifteen times over the last 19 months, Todd Bailey has helped someone sell his or her small business. Bailey, the owner of Transworld Business Advisors, says the work requires walking a fine line.
On the one hand, “We work very hard to maintain confidentiality. The biggest reason is that employees, vendors and customers can potentially sense that there is a problem or change that may not be favorable for them and they may leave. We don’t want that to happen.”
On the other, getting the best price for a business requires marketing to potential buyers.
“None of the buyers ever get to learn any details of the business without a nondisclosure agreement. We become the face of the business owner during the negotiations so we can be the bad guy or good guy or whatever we need to be.”
Bailey started Transworld Business Advisors six years ago. An electrical engineering major at Wichita State University, where he also earned a MBA, he spent 15 years with Graphics Systems, the last five as general manager.
“I just realized I had an entrepreneurial twist and was looking for something new to do,” he said of his decision to strike out on his own.
Bailey is the south-central Kansas franchisee for Transworld, a Florida-based company with about 200 offices around the nation and world. In addition to helping sellers, Transworld represents several hundred franchises that people can buy into, helps business owners who want to turn their operation into a franchise, and helps buyers look for certain businesses.
Bailey said his job usually involves evaluating businesses to help their owners determine the right price, advertising and marketing those businesses, finding qualified buyers and assisting sellers with negotiations. “We are their partner all the way through closing and beyond,” he said.
The company also has lending partners that it can connect with buyers.
Bailey can work anywhere he gets a referral, but says the “vast majority of our sellers and buyers are local,” involving businesses with one to 15 employees.
‘We don’t specialize in any particular industry or market,” he said. “We feel like we specialize in packaging a business to get the best deal possible.”
Accurate current financial figures are the only way to properly value a business, he said – and surprisingly hard to get from some owners. Some owners low-ball the value of their business, others overvalue and a few have a pretty good idea of the market price.
Retirement is the most common reason for selling “but a lot of times we have people who like to start a business, get to a certain point and they’re ready to start a new one.”
On average, it’s about six to eight months to sell a business. Bailey is paid on a commission basis.
Bailey said his favorite part of the job is “getting to learn about all different types of businesses.”
“For example, in one day I will talk to the owner of a small engine repair shop and a restaurant and home health care business and an auto repair business. There are always different markets, different products, different industries to learn about.”
Transworld Business Advisors
Address: 100 S. Market
Owner: Todd Bailey