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Vail Valley business broker looking for sellers

Scott N. Miller
Vail, CO, Colorado

When’s the last time you heard a broker ” any kind of broker, in the Vail Valley or elsewhere ” talking about a seller’s market?

Joe Tomasic is the Eagle County broker for Business World Brokers, a Carbondale-based company that specializes in business sales. Right now, he’s looking for buyers.

“I’m so short on inventory right now,” Tomasic said. “There are so many people wanting to buy right now.”



Ironically, the tough economy has more people looking for businesses to buy, Tomasic said. Buyers these days include people looking to diversify their own holdings, former Wall Street types who have been laid off or let go, and people in other occupations who have lost their jobs.

“People say they’ll buy a business and that will be their job,” Tomasic said. “They’re willing to take that risk.”



While businesses like construction aren’t particularly popular right now, Tomasic said service businesses ” and especially those that cater to outdoor or active lifestyles ” are selling quickly. Those businesses include everything from carpet cleaners to ski rental shops. “I could sell two (ski shops) a week if they were available,” he said.

Tomasic got into the business brokerage business through the 2007 sale of a couple of his own companies, All Mountain Sports and All Mountain Transportation. Business World Brokers handled those sales and Tomasic soon found himself working for the company.

The difference between business sales and a conventional real estate deal is “night and day,” Tomasic said.



“A real estate agent focuses on location, location, location,” he said. “We focus on the balance sheets.”

With the right numbers, a business in Timbuktu can be as good a buy as one on Bridge Street, he said.

The problem, he said, is that many sellers believe their businesses are worth more than they really are.

“I’ve been through that myself, and it’s a tough conversation,” Tomasic said. “I’ve had to swallow my own pride.”

So, what kinds of businesses are most valuable right now? As always, profitable ones. But businesses that are profitable in this economy can really stand out.

While there aren’t many sellers right now, Tomasic said people who sell have a few things in common. Some are looking to retire, some are ready to try something new, and some are just tired of the grind that’s so common with any small- to medium-sized business.

“I’d been running my businesses for 10 years,” Tomasic said. “It was running pretty well, but I was tired.”

When most business owners reach that point, they also come to the realization that they haven’t figured out a good way to leave their companies. Only about 15 percent of small business owners have an exit strategy, Tomasic said.

“There are a lot of great businesses that just die when the owners do,” he said.

To avoid that fate, Tomasic encourages business owners to sit down with their accountant, attorney, and, of course, a broker when they decide they want to do something else.

“There are so many buyers looking for deals right now,” he said. “Compared to a lot of other brokers, I’m in a different situation.”

Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 748-2930, or smiller@vaildaily.com.

http://www.bwbcolorado.com


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