Biography of Willard Michlin
Willard Michlin in the early 2000’s: after being a business broker for over 10 years, Willard decided that it was time to create a major impact on the business brokerage community. He decided that he had a mission in life. That was to make sure that business purchase negotiations between business buyers, business brokers and business sellers would be on an even footing, with full disclosure by all parties to the transaction.
In the early 1990’s when Willard became a business broker, he had one major concern. He did not want to see retired couples take their life savings and buy a business, only to have them go broke shortly after the purchase. His best friend Marty reminded Willard that he had been trained in business consulting and had years of personal experience running his own businesses. Marty told him, “Don’t let your clients go broke.” With that point of view, Willard jumped head first into being an honest business broker.
He joined business broker organizations so that he could learn the ethical way to sell a business. These organizations were: Southern California Business Brokers Network (SCBBN), California Association of Business Brokers (CABB) and International Association of Business Brokers (IBBA). Because of his many years’ experience, he was given the title of Certified Business Broker (CBB).
So What is an Honest Business Broker?
A broker is an agent for either the buyer, seller or both in a business sale. The dictionary describes them as, “A person who acts as an agent or intermediary in negotiating contracts, buying and selling, etc.” An honest broker is one who always puts his client’s needs and wants above his own. In business brokerage that is doubly hard because the broker over 90% of the time is a dual agent representing both the buyer and seller. That can be very tough on an individual when the seller pays the commission and if the business is not presented in a favorable light to the buyer, he probably will pass on the deal.
There are a few other issues. Most brokers do not have an extensive accounting background and when they were trained to be business brokers, they were told that if they spent time reviewing and confirming the financial numbers that they could be held accountable, if what was presented to the buyers was wrong. This created a “see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil” environment.
Furthermore, because 90% of small business buyers do not have extensive accounting backgrounds, they could not determine the accuracy of the seller and broker-provided information. The brokers were put in a very difficult situation. If they pushed the buyer to dig too deeply into the financials of the business, the deal could be lost and a large commission could be also be lost. This was and is an unfair position to put business brokers into.
This Drove Willard to Become an Advocate for Business Buyers.
He does this three ways. First, he makes sure that buyers received a fair and true representation of what the business historically was doing, financially. Secondly, Willard started educating buyers extensively about the industry they were considering entering. Lastly, he researched and educated the buyers as to the true market value of the business that was under consideration.
Willard’s mottos have become “I watch your back” and “No one gets taken advantage of on my watch.” So far that has been very true.
To increase his knowledge and skill Willard started to study everything he could find on the subject of fraud in business. He joined the Association of Certified Fraud Experts, and passed the required training to become a Certified Fraud Expert.
What to Expect on the Site
You will find on this website many blogs and articles written to educate buyers about the business of buying a business. This is not a simple activity; it takes hard work to find that just right business, and then get it for a fair market price.
How Willard Became a Business Broker
Before Willard became a Business Broker and Due Diligence CPA he worked in the family manufacturing business since he was 12 years old. Then he went out on his own buying real estate that was in foreclosure. He fixed them and refinanced them so he could buy more and more. He also built low-income apartment buildings that were not slum properties. Willard was very proud of his building, and so were the tenants. He put tile floors throughout long before it became fashionable in expensive neighborhoods.
To help finance the real estate activities he became a hard-money loan broker. That means he arranged private money 2nd trust deed loans for people with credit issues where they could not borrow from the banks. Willard likes to jokingly say that his ad in the LA Times Newspaper read, “Call me when the Mafia turns you down.”
After surviving two real estate crashes Willard decided to study consulting and business brokering. This brings us up to where this biography began. Today Willard’s activities include:
CPA due diligence; Business Brokerage; Business turn-around consulting; running a Specialty insurance inspection business and managing his family real estate.