HistoryThe roots of our business reach all the way back to the start of the 1960s, when an accounting company in Turku called Tilitoimisto Aarnio began consulting in changes of ownership. This operation was transferred through a business sale to Intraline Solutions Oy, which had been founded in 1996. In 2003 Kauppalehti Oy became a part owner of the company and the name Suomen Yrityskaupat was selected in accordance with its main business. The company’s principal owners are still its founders: chairman of the board Matti Aarnio and CEO Juha Rantanen and his family.
Suomen Yrityskaupat’s business idea was born from the question why there was no national service for changes of ownership in micro businesses and SMEs. Apart from a few local actors specialized in business transfers, changes of ownership was mainly a side business from many, such as accountancy firms, auditors real estate agents and lawyers. There were only a few full-time business brokers and only in Finland’s largest cities. It was usual to dissolve a business if there was no transferee within the family. It was as usual that barely anyone became an entrepreneur by buying a business, but the normal practice was to start a new business. This was also true for business expansions: expansion by business acquisition was very rare among small businesses.
Business transfers lacked business transfer culture, procedures, experts, market places, markets, buyers, sellers as well as businesses for sale. In addition, other challenges in the industry were the smaller customers’ lack of understanding of the significance of expertise and the willingness or ability to pay for it. Overall, the customers had a very limited knowledge of matters related to changes of ownership. Especially when it came to smaller businesses the necessary information for changes of ownership was unstructured, unreliable and often only known by the owner. A consequence of this was a lot of preparatory work, which no one wanted to pay for. In addition, financing business transfers of small businesses was a rather marginal operation for the banks and this was probably partly due to the reasons described above. There were no investors looking to invest in small businesses. Thus, the starting position wasn’t very inviting in terms of a business based on expertise. It was no wonder there was no national actor in the industry.
However, Suomen Yrityskaupat believed this state of affairs could be changed. The spreading use of the Internet on its part made systematic development towards today’s operation possible. The conceptualization, systematization and automatization or digitalization of the whole service was viewed as the solution. The goal was to make the work of the experts as close to an industrial assembly line as possible, which meant the decrease of expenses and more time for the actual expert work. A strong investment in our software and their mechanics that lasted for years followed. Smaller businesses provided good material for this development work, as there were many of them and there wasn’t much competition in the industry to provide them with the service. This helped to produce a large amount of repeats and variations, and the accuracy of the calculations and efficiency of the operation were quickly increased. The achieved increase in efficiency was immediately reflected in the prices, which helped to attract an increasing amount of customers. Simultaneously business sales and acquisitions became easier for the customers to understand, which in turn encouraged them to make decisions regarding selling or buying.
Suomen Yrityskaupat todayThe question “why is there no national service for changes of ownership in micro businesses and SMEs”, which was posed when Suomen Yrityskaupat was founded has been successfully answered and in that respect the goal has successfully been reached. The business is nationwide and international. It’s capable of producing a high-quality service in changes of ownership for businesses of all sizes. Our comprehensive service covers all parts of business transfers, such as finding buyers and sellers, advising them, valuations, financing and taxation consulting, reorganizations of businesses, formulating contracts and agreements and of course executing the transfer in practice including marketing. The parties save money in expert fees, because no other experts are generally needed in the transfers.
We constantly broker over 300 businesses of different sizes, some openly and some quietly for sale. We already have over 24 000 potential buyers looking for suitable businesses through us. We participate in around 200 changes of ownership annually. Our website is also the most popular market place in the industry.
Today Suomen Yrityskaupat works according to an operational concept strictly defined in our operations manual. The whole process is systematized from the first contact with the customer to the storing of documents and all other information from the sale or acquisition. All contracts and agreements are standardized, the business has an extensive contract library, the valuations are commoditized and synchronized to potential buyers and corresponding financing. The brokers work according to a common practice and they are trained regularly. The services have a price list. The marketing is centralized, automatized and conceptualized. The brand is the best known in the industry in Finland. Apart from its own personnel the business has an extensive network of expert and numerous partner businesses and marketing channels.
We offer suitable services for businesses of all sizes. Most of our customers are businesses, whose prices range from 200 000 to 5 000 000 euros. For the smallest of businesses we have created the free market place Firmakauppa.fi, where there are over 700 businesses for sale and 250 advertisements by potential buyers. In addition, we produce specialized services, such as small business services, financing services and our own experts for customers who speak Swedish, Russian, Estonian, Spanish or Chinese.
MoralSuomen Yrityskaupat’s business brokering concept is unique even internationally. Except for in the previously described technical solutions, the business has been and still is a pioneer in its view of the roles of the business broker and the service for changes of ownership. The starting point has been that the business broker isn’t someone whose only task is to bring the seller and buyer together. We believe that the business broker makes business transfers possible, is a professional in trade, who with their own work and expertise makes business transfers happen. This is achieved by connecting the interests of the central parties to the transfer, the buyer, the seller and the financier and by creating a balance between these to make the transfer possible.
The seller wants to sell, the buyer wants to buy and the financier wants to finance, which means they aren’t each other’s enemies or opponents. To reach their own goals they have a common problem to solve: how to make a sensible deal happen. For this reason the business broker can’t be anyone’s defense attorney or battle axe, as another professional well might be, but someone who with their know-how makes a successful and conflict-free deal happen. This means all parties reach their goals. We comply with guidelines of the Finnish business broker union (Suomen Yritysvälittäjäin Liitto ry) on fair practice in business brokering (Hyvä yritysvälitystapa) and the union’s general contract terms.
Responsibility for customersLong-term business brokering needs satisfied customers in sellers, buyers and financiers. Only successful and conflict-free transfers makes it possible to be a successful business broker. Suomen Yrityskaupat does not stop at that. We have connected insurance companies, environmental risk assessors, investors, financing experts, business developers, software producers and associations to the changes of ownership. We believe that the business sale or acquisition does not end with the transfer, but that the business is offered expert help with its different needs, which we identify in the selling phase, and in this way we aim to do our part in making sure the businesses succeed and grow. We also make sure that the seller receives the best possible price for their business.
The most developed working methods and tools
We are the only actor in the industry to have national cooperation agreements with all larger banks. With the help of these we have been able to develop our valuation system so far that potential financing is taken into account in the value of a business. For this reason, among others, transfers are almost always executed close to the level of our asking prices and financing is found for the acquisitions.
Our valuation system is developed by us and it has already determined the values of several thousand businesses. This means our valuations are comparable and they form a significant database. Because the value is determined by a broker working on a commission, who also often sells the business themself, the valuation is certainly realistic. Its validity is always measured in real transfer situations.
Our other tools have also been developed during thousands of business transfers and years of experience. For instance, the thought behind our contracts of sale is that they from the beginning include enough binding and protecting terms for both parties, which makes the process in terms of agreements very fast and easy for the customers. Business transfers are open and fair, not fighting or misleading. Hundreds of lawyers have developed our contracts and agreements during numerous business transfers. All their wisdom has been put into the contracts and agreements.
As far as we know, our database is the largest database containing data about business transfers and their prices and structures. Our self-developed sales steering and customer management systems has made the broker’s work efficient, easier and safer. For instance, when putting a engineering workshop up for sale, the system processes our 24 000 contacts and picks out over 1000 businesses and entrepreneurs interested in engineering workshops and sends them the basic information about the target. It’s usual that several electronic NDAs are made during the first hour, based on which our broker initiates negotiations. All events are saved to the system, which keeps the selling process controlled.
Active social actorIn the changes of ownership we have participated in the continuity of over 10 000 Finnish jobs has been secured and conditions for hundreds of businesses to grow have been created. We know what success and failure in business transfers means not only for the different parties of the transfer, but also for the employees, their families and society locally and nationally. Thus, Suomen Yrityskaupat is not only a broker bringing buyers and sellers together, but we are here to preserve the valuable business sector in our country.
Suomen Yrityskaupat has been an active developer of the business transfer industry. We are a founding member of the Finnish business broker union (Suomen Yritysvälittäjäin Liitto) and we are active in the industry’s international associations (TRANSEO) and a partner of the Finnish entrepreneur union (Suomen Yrittäjät) in many of its activities. Suomen Yrityskaupat also actively takes part in public discussion about the industry, has helped to advance changes in legislation and taxation to make changes of ownership easier, worked with the authorities to prevent money laundering and has for years helped develop financing instruments suitable for business transfers.
We annually arrange or take part in tens of training events around the country. We have also taken part in entrepreneurship education and furthered the starting of new businesses. The business’ leadership own the www.perustayritys.fi service, which has facilitated the start of over 15 000 new Finnish businesses already. Suomen Yrityskaupat views the growth and continuity of small businesses in our country as important and we want to contribute to that in the future as well. Suomen Yrityskaupat openly confesses to being a patriotic business.