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Selling A Business / FAQ

According to Marlow & Co Director Wayne Marlow, the most common question from business owners in relation to selling a business is "How do I know if I'm dealing with a real business broker?"

Do some research

Only use a business broker with experience in selling your type of business. Check out their track record, ask lots of questions, e.g. How many businesses like yours have they sold? What is their success rate? It sounds obvious but many people don't do it!

Go to the business broker's web site, see how many businesses like yours they have for sale. If you want to sell your wholesale business and the broker has mostly cafes and fish 'n' chip shops for sale....... GO ELSEWHERE!

Be very suspicious of business broker's websites where the 'contact' details are simply a 1300 or 1800 telephone number. Who are the directors and why won't they put their names and contact details on the website? Where is their real office? Who do you
contact if you have a problem?

See our Previous Sales page for details of recent successful sales.

Assessment of value

Don't tell the broker how much you think your business is worth. Let them tell you. A professional broker will be able to tell you what your business is worth, why the business is worth $X and provide you with comparable sales evidence and fully explain the how's and why's. If they can't, or if all they do is ask "how much you want?" - GO ELSEWHERE!

Business for sale magazines.

Genuine business brokers DO NOT publish or sell advertising space in "business for sale" magazines. Be wary of any company that suggests magazines are a normal part of selling a business.

The myth of business migration

You might have heard something like "Oh yes, there are thousands of migrants coming to Australia, they have huge piles of money and they pay enormous prices for ANY type of business etc. etc."

Is this true? Does it relate to selling your manufacturing, wholesale or B2B service business?

Whilst it is true that there are many migrants buying businesses, the question is what TYPE of businesses are they buying?

It's easy to find the answer.

In the 60s and 70s it was the European migrants running many of the take aways, milk bars and cafes.
In the 80s and 90s the Europeans often sold to migrants from Vietnam and South Africa.
In the 00s and beyond the Vietnamese and South Africans are often selling to Chinese and Eastern European migrants.

Did all of these people have a burning desire to own a retail food business? Or have business migrants historically bought small, easy to operate businesses that will enable them learn the language and local customs of their new country over a few years?

Think about it in reverse. If an Australian was migrating to a non English speaking country what would they do?
Would they spend $1.0 million on a complicated business, where they have to deal with customers and suppliers over the phone and in writing in the local language?

Or would they buy a small, easy to operate businesses that will enable them learn the language and local customs of their new country over a few years?

Beware of any business broker who suggests they have access to a pool of gullible business migrants who spend huge amounts of money (on buying your business, of course!) in a desperate bid to become Australia citizens.


Business brokers are paid a commission on the successful sale of a business. Be wary of up front fees for the sale of a business. If the business is correctly priced and well marketed by a professional broker it will sell and the broker will get paid.

Your customers don't pay you before you deliver the goods, so why would you pay a business broker an up front fee?

Consultancy work is usually on a fee for service basis.


Unlike the sale of Real Estate, which often requires brochures, sign boards and large display adverts, business sales have relatively low advertising costs.

In fact, there are very few reasons to be placing adverts in newspapers these days as most advertising is on-line. In circumstances where newspapare adverts are necessary, the broker should prepare a marketing/advertising strategy and budget with the costs incurred for advertising paid on a ‘pay as you go’ system.

The combination advertising and direct contact with potential purchasers via telephone and through email alerts provide the greatest opportunity to sell a business.

However, most businesses require a business broker willing to spend the time required to research and identify potential purchasers from a wide variety of industry sectors, not just those replying to advertisements in various newspapers. This is where Marlow & Co excels and a good deal of the company’s success can be attributed to our skills in seeking out potential purchasers.

Why Marlow & Co?

Unlike the majority of business brokers who sell cafes, sandwich bars, retail shops, etc., Marlow & Co specialize in the marketing and sale of industrial businesses. Generally these businesses are in fields such as manufacturing, wholesale/distribution, import and business to business (B2B) services.

The marketing and sale of industrial businesses requires a vastly different approach when compared to the sale of retail shops or other small businesses. Marketing needs to be discreet, yet effective. Maintaining confidentiality, especially in relation to customers, staff, suppliers and competitors is vital.

Negotiation skills and the ability to "close a deal" are paramount. To this end, the sales team is headed by Wayne Marlow - Director of Marlow & Co and business broker since 1989.

Wayne is one of the foremost industrial business brokers in the country. His market knowledge and straightforward approach enable him to guide clients through the sometimes complicated process of selling their business.

As the saying goes, "the proof is in the pudding" and over 80% of new clients come to Marlow & Co via referral, mostly from old clients, accountants, solicitors and a range of consultants and advisors


For further information please contact Wayne Marlow - email or 03 9885 3088

Marlow & Co
1st Floor, 261 High Street, Ashburton, Victoria, Australia 3147
PH (03) 9885 3088 Fax (03) 9813 8342

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