My First Full Year as a Business Broker in Brisbane

by Arnold Pierce Kelsey 17th of October, 2022
My First Full Year as a Business Broker in Brisbane
My First Full Year as a Business Broker in Brisbane

My first full year as a business broker in Brisbane, without Covid, is done and dusted. 

As I’m a firm believer in supporting fellow business brokers and expanding my knowledge through training, I joined the Australian Institute of Business Brokers soon after I started as a business broker. I recently attended the AIBB’s annual conference at the Novotel in Sydney. 

Due to Covid, the past couple of conferences were cancelled, this was the first conference since 2019, and it was my first. The AIBB conference was a complete success and was attended by a very large number of members from every state and territory in Australia. The keynote speakers and the expert panels were definitely first class. 

The annual awards were presented, recognising business brokers’ achievements for the past year. The only disappointment at the conference was the fact that I didn’t win the “Rising Star” award. For the past several weeks, I was told by a number of business brokers that I was going to win, and I even convinced myself. 

The 2022 financial year was my first full year as a business broker in Brisbane, without the serious Covid interruptions of the previous year. It has been a fantastic and very successful year for me, including multi-million dollar settlements and listings. 


Joining ABS Business Sales

I only became a business broker with ABS Business Sales in Brisbane a couple of years ago, and I am now firmly established as a leading business broker in Queensland. After a chance meeting on a Tuesday evening at Eagle Street Pier with Ken Allsop, the principal, and then a meeting with Helen Gordon, the General Manager of ABS Business Sales, I was asked to join the team. 

It was a very difficult decision for me to make, but I accepted. My reluctance was based purely on the fact that I basically didn’t know anyone in Queensland, I moved to Brisbane less than three years ago.  

Finding listings appeared an insurmountable task; after all, not a single business owner in Queensland knew who I was. Some of my esteemed colleagues are known by almost every business owner in Queensland. 

It was not going to be an easy task. With my background, education, business experience and work ethic, being a capable business broker was never an issue that concerned me.



Establishing My Position

Promoting myself as a business broker was going to be extremely difficult. As business sales are mostly transacted in secrecy, I couldn’t just walk into businesses with my card and introduce myself. I can’t have a sign on my car advertising my services, if I did that and went out to dinner, with my car parked out the front of the establishment, people would think that the business was for sale. 

I decided that I had to network in business circles as much as I could. Just as I started attending networking events, Covid appeared and stopped all events for a very long period of time. 

A friend from my horse racing days back in Melbourne, who is now rated in the top 1% of the real estate agents in the United States, suggested that I should be active on social media. He said that it was very common for real estate agents to promote themselves on social media, and I should do the same. He advised me to promote everything that I did, special events in my life and, of course, all my achievements, big and small, truthfully and accurately. 

He said: Let the public know who you are and what your capabilities are. When I started checking out the social media platforms, especially LinkedIn, I noticed that there was very little activity from business brokers. I started and have continued to post on a regular basis. I don’t know if it’s a coincidence, or maybe I encouraged others, but nowadays, there’s a lot more activity on social media from business brokers. 


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Journey So Far

I started reasonably well as a broker with ABS Business Sales in Brisbane. After only four months, including the Christmas/New Year quiet period, I signed up six businesses, which is a very acceptable number of listings even for the most experienced brokers. 

Unfortunately, with the arrival of Covid, business sales right across the board came to a grinding halt. For months on end, business brokers were not listing or selling businesses. I was only able to obtain a single listing in six months. 

To top off the quiet period obtaining listings, five of my listings closed their doors due to Covid. I was completely disheartened.

I was encouraged by some colleagues from our office and even from competitors to continue as they felt I would be a successful business broker. Eventually, slowly but surely, things improved.

I have gone from strength to strength. I have proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that, if a business can be sold, I’m able to do it. There isn’t a single transaction or negotiation that is beyond me. 


A Story of Success

My biggest satisfaction has come from selling a business that was already on the market for twelve months with another high-profile firm without a sale. The seller contacted me through LinkedIn. As I usually do, I requested the financials and information on the business prior to our meeting. 

When we met, I advised the seller that the advertised price for his business was far too low. He was shocked, and he asked how is that possible, and if that’s the case, how is it that we haven’t been able to sell it?  

I told him that, in my opinion, the ads for the sale of his business were not promoting it properly. I told him that I could sell it for three times the price. He told me that he wanted to sell it urgently. 

I reduced the price accordingly in an attempt to sell it quickly. Not only did I have the business under contract in just over thirty days, but at a substantially higher price. 

Happy seller, happy buyer and one very happy business broker, not too bad for the new kid in town.


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About the author

Arnold Pierce Kelsey

Multiple award winning business broker.

As a distinguished multimillion-dollar transaction expert, Arnold demonstrates profound proficiency in ...

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