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For Richer, for Broker

This isn't selling vintage Cracker Jack boxes on eBay. VR Business Brokers brokers <i>businesses</i>. Get that? Whole businesses!

This story appears in the February 2001 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Brokering the sale of a business is a lot like brokering real estate, except for one major difference: Selling a business is generally tougher. That's because the seller of an ongoing business faces an interesting conundrum. On one hand, the seller would like all qualified buyers to know the business is for sale. On the other hand, if a potential seller's competitors, customers and employees learn of this intent, the ensuing drama could ruin the business before it can be sold. So rather than putting a "for sale" sign in the front yard, many sellers turn to VR Business Brokers, the franchise chain that holds the top spot in the "Business Brokerage" category in Entrepreneur's 2001 Franchise 500® and whose logo claims it "has sold more businesses in North America than anyone."

VR Business Brokers brings business owners and potential buyers together, but, ironically, the concept itself has been sold to more than its share of franchisors, changing owners three times since it started brokering business sales in 1979. The most recent in this string of owners, which includes one bankruptcy in 1991, bought the rights to manage and franchise the chain in June 1999.

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