If you’re in the market to buy or sell a business, you’ve likely heard of brokers who work with both buyers and sellers of small businesses, helping them find the perfect match. However, not all business brokers are created equal, so when it comes time to purchase or sell your business, it’s important to choose the right one. This Benchmark International review will give you everything you need to know to see if they can help you sell or buy a business.
Overview of Benchmark International
Benchmark started in 2008 in the United Kingdom and has accomplished many great things within the business world. They provide brokerage services for those wishing to sell a company and connect buyers to these sellers.
Benchmark’s goal is to make a sale as fast as possible, but they also focus on a long-term customer relationship and building trust with their clients. If you’re looking for expertise in business valuations and auctions for large conglomerates, Benchmark may be a good choice for you.
However, if you’re just looking to buy or sell an established small business with less than 25 employees then Benchmark may also be a good firm to help get you there. They do have quite a bit of experience dealing with small businesses.
Benchmark has 14 offices across the world. Most are in the United States, but some are international. These offices employ approximately 370 employees, according to their LinkedIn profile.
The company has been awarded countless honors. Some include Best Company Sales Specialist, Best of the Best International Finance, Technology Deal of the Year (Over $250m-$500M), and countless others. Along with their awards, they have hundreds of successful sales.
As far as what clients can expect from Benchmark, you’ll find they make a strong effort to maintain strong relationships with their clients. They keep in regular contact to make sure you feel comfortable with your business acquisition or sale process. If something doesn’t seem right, they are open to hearing suggestions on how to improve their services for future clients.
Also, while there are no guarantees when it comes to buying or selling a business, if you take all necessary precautions and follow best practices then Benchmark should be able to help get your transaction completed quickly and efficiently.
Types of Businesses Benchmark International Sells
Benchmark specializes in selling businesses in every type of industry, both small and large. The company sells many different types of businesses, including manufacturing plants, sales companies, retail establishments, franchises and even professional services providers.
You can sell your business privately to an individual or another company or you can take it public. Whatever choice you make will be handled by Benchmark’s experienced business brokers who are ready to help you create/develop your plan to take your company public or sell it to another company or person. No matter what size company you own, Benchmark is there for you every step of the way.
Benchmark International Valuation Process
Selling a business from Benchmark International is somewhat of a mysterious process. Many sellers don’t know how they’re going to go about valuing their company, and it can make them anxious. They promise you – there is nothing to be worried about.
Benchmark has a detailed valuation process that ensures you will have no surprises. It starts with your initial conference call, where they define your goals and work together on defining value drivers for your company. They ask lots of questions and help you determine what matters most as well as what matters least to you as an owner selling their business. Next, they review publicly available financial statements and industry benchmarks.
Benchmark will also have a company representative sit in on calls with your management team. The goal of these calls is to get a detailed understanding of all aspects of your business, such as margins, costs, and growth plans. They’ll ask about operations and key decision makers involved in day-to-day operations. As they conduct these interviews, they build an understanding of what matters most to you as an owner when it comes to value drivers and your exit strategy.
After Benchmark has gone through their process and feels like they understand both you and your business well enough, they will present a valuation range based on current multiples in the market for similar companies.
Sales Process for Sellers
Benchmark International prides itself in providing a smooth transition for sellers. Whether it is the growth or sale of their business, they will provide the assistance needed for success. They call this the Fingerprint Process. Like fingerprints, all businesses are unique. One cannot have the same business as another. They have it broken down into stages.
- Benchmark Square 1: Certain criteria are used to analyze your business. They discuss marketability and terms with you as the seller. Once your business has been analyzed, they will quote your value and provide you with an overall experience to learn what they can do for your company in terms of selling or merging.
- Benchmark 360: It’s here that Benchmark creates a strategy to sell your business. They do research, create a portfolio, a business teaser, and create materials. The strategy is completely tailored to you as the seller. Your business is recognized as the individual business it is. They craft an agreement for potential buyers to protect your information and prevent theft.
- Benchmark Navigate: At this stage, the team at Benchmark begins demonstrating successful results. They show proposals, interest, and begin scheduling meetings with prospective buyers. Their team will do the hardest job for you by sorting through interested buyers and crafting Non-Disclosure Agreements.
- Benchmark Ascend: This stage is to drive interest and value in your company. Offers come in during this time. It is here that the firm looks to increase the value of your company and continue to search for buyers. You may get a buyer during this period.
- Benchmark Destiny: This is the time when due diligence is done and deals close. Without guidance, these last stages can fail. During this time, they attempt to get the most value while also shifting all risk to the purchaser. They become the planner of all meetings and track any tasks needed to be accomplished.
These stages help organize the sale. This helps you as the seller understand the process. Organization is the key to running a successful business; therefore, using this type of organization is crucial to selling or merging your company.
Not only does the organization of the steps help you understand the process, but it also shows your investor that you are serious about your company. If you are merging, this can be helpful when starting a partnership with the other party.
More On The Sales Process
Before a prospective seller even enters a meeting with Benchmark, they undergo a 30-day buyer qualification process. Once accepted by Benchmark, they have access to some of industry’s most experienced deal advisors and can choose from one of two paths: Sell privately on their own or put their business up for auction. In both cases, sellers will get access to Benchmark’s proprietary Screening Tool that helps them evaluate buyers before engaging in due diligence. This critical step ensures that sellers only engage in conversations with qualified buyers who are serious about making an offer on a company. Sales end with a binding Letter of Intent (LOI) signed by both parties.
Once Benchmark has identified a potential seller, they set up a discovery call to discuss what is being sold, why it is being sold and who are prospective buyers. Next comes due diligence which consists of three phases: financial, legal and operational. The purpose of all due diligence is to ensure that only qualified buyers are allowed into an auction or engage in binding negotiations with sellers.
It’s important for sellers to be fully aware of what information will be shared with buyers during these phases as it can impact their decision on whether or not they want to move forward with the sales process. For example, knowing that your contact information will be shared could make you apprehensive about moving forward if you have concerns about privacy.
Benchmark International Success Rates
How successful is Benchmark’s business-buying process? Benchmark International has successfully transitioned over 100 businesses per year since 2017. Year over year they grow over 20% in closings as well! It’s clear that Benchmark knows what they’re doing.
So, how does Benchmark achieve these results? For starters, Benchmark’s buying process is designed to be streamlined and efficient. Clients are guided through a series of steps designed to save time, money and effort for everyone involved.
The stats on this business brokerage are quite impressive. For example they have 500,000 registered buyers, 300 deal makers & analysts, staff that can speak 17 languages, and the #1 ranked website in their field according to Alexa. On top of that they’ve closed over $7 billion in deals, hold 54 national and global awards, and have specialists across 12 industry sectors. That’s a lot of data that points to one thing, Benchmark International knows what they’re doing.
Fees Charged by Benchmark International to Sell a Business
The cost to sell a business through Benchmark International varies by size and industry, but generally falls around 10%. Businesses with higher annual revenues may pay higher fees because their businesses are easier to sell than those with higher revenues, which can often take more time and resources. To find out how much you’ll pay in fees, Benchmark reviews your business to calculate its valuation before it agrees to become your advisor. Its advisors then conduct a market analysis to ensure that all of your research is current and that a potential buyer would actually be interested in purchasing your business. Benchmark International’s fees are comparable to those charged by other leading advisors.
You will be asked to pay an upfront fee that is calculated based on your business’s valuation. Benchmark International charges a percentage of your company’s net proceeds if you sell it, which is paid after closing escrow. This percentage ranges from deal to deal, depending on how much money you receive for your business. You are also responsible for other costs related to selling your business, such as legal fees, travel expenses and other transaction-related fees.
Pros of using Benchmark International
Before you buy a business, it’s good to get an idea of what your purchase will entail. As with most major financial decisions, there are both pros and cons associated with purchasing a business. When you’re evaluating all of your options, make sure you understand what working at Benchmark International will be like.
The pros of using this company are that they are professionals in their field. You as a business owner can sell your company using a professional business broker.
Highly Awarded Company
Benchmark has received 54 national and international awards. This means they are doing something right when it comes to representing buyers and sellers.
Huge Database of Buyers
This business brokerage has a massive list of potential buyers. Their website states that their database of buyers is over 500,000. This is quite large and if you decide to sell your business with them, means your deal will be seen by a large number of people.
Large Amount of Deals Closed
With over 100 deals closed a year, the power of this business broker is quite evident. In fact, they have done over $7 billion in deals over the course of their time being in business. This is truly an amazing stat.
There are claims that once contacted, potential clients were spammed with calls and emails. Another common complaint is that their payout is cheap and that during Covid-19 they contacted businesses to attempt to convince them to sell.
On Glassdoor, there are quite a few former employees of this firm that have left very negative reviews of the brokerage. If a company doesn’t spend time making sure that their employees are happy and productive they can have problems with productivity. Benchmark International is large enough where it’s difficult to ensure all their employees are a great fit.