Every once in a while, we like to stop the action for a moment and highlight one of our brokers so you can get to know them better. In our continuing Broker on the Move series, we recently sat down with Business Broker Ed Larochelle and asked him to give us the inside scoop on where his work takes him.
How long have you been a CREB, how did you get started?
I’ve been a Business Broker for 25 years. After many years owning and operating my own businesses, I was in the process of selling one of them. As part of that transaction, I was introduced to a Business Broker. Our conversations regularly turned to discussions of business operations, business valuation and management, and she said to me, “You should really be a business broker!” I was ready for a new challenge, and I had a lot of business development experience under my belt and felt I could be helpful to others, so I pursued it. I continued to own and operate my own businesses, and joined a business brokerage firm at the same time. As I got going, and really enjoyed it, I decided to get out of business ownership and pursue brokerage full time.
I was in Florida at that time, where business brokerage and commercial real estate were not comingled, so coming to Maine 7 years ago, that was a big change. When I came to Maine and joined Magnusson Balfour, we had agents who were both commercial real estate brokers, as well as business brokers. It makes great sense to have both professions in the same office since they have such overlapping, or at least complimentary, roles in many cases.
What type of car do you drive? What items are in your car?
Honda Accord. I love Honda’s reliability and the great gas mileage. I always have with me different types of measuring tapes, my camera, and a flashlight, and I have the usual tools that a prepared vehicle owner keeps in the car.
What paperwork do you have with you at all times?
I always have with me several copies of all of our agreements – Listing, Purchase and Sale, Buyer – I find it beneficial to have the paper document on hand to go over with clients, the visual is helpful.
I also have packets I have put together of marketing materials for myself and Magnusson Balfour, so that when I am on the road and I see a business I think would be good to connect to, I have something tangible to drop off.
How many business cards do you hand out in the course of a week?
It varies greatly, of course, but I probably hand out 25-50 cards per week, especially if I am visiting a networking event.
Do you attend formal networking events? How do you get out and build your business?
I am a member of Think Local, a networking group with chapters that meet throughout the state, and I attend their Saco group on a weekly basis. I try to attend at least one to two other group activities a month, sometimes other Think Local groups, in the York and Cumberland county area so I can meet and talk to new folks all the time.
What technology could you not live without? Do you have a favorite App that helps you with your business?
Obviously, my smart phone! You have to be able to respond quickly to people these days, and through a variety of communication methods. I really like the Microsoft Office Suite, and it’s great that we can now have it on our smart phones. The OneDrive app allows me to access all my files and documents when I am away from my computer because they are stored in the Cloud, so that is very handy when I’m out of the office.
How many miles do you travel in your car in a week? What is the farthest you have traveled listing/showing a property?
I average around 150-200 miles a week. I try to limit how far I will go because I want to be sure I can offer the best support to all my clients, and if I am over 60-75 miles away that just isn’t possible. Beyond that, I would likely refer someone to a qualified colleague that is closer to them.
How many phone calls, emails and text messages do you receive daily?
Somewhere around 30 a day is average, and it’s a balance between phone calls, emails and texts. I use whatever a client prefers, but I like the personal connection and communication that happens with a person to person conversation, so I tend to make a phone call when I can.
What’s your area of specialty or expertise, geographic territory, and why did you choose it?
My territory is primarily the southern border of Maine to about 30 miles north of Portland. I’ve certainly traveled to Augusta and farther Downeast to the Midcoast when it makes sense.
My expertise is business brokerage. Financials are my specialty, it’s what I have the training and education in, and the experience and expertise from owning my own small businesses for so long. I owned primarily retail operations and startups for the first 20 years of my professional life, so I feel I have a lot of hands-on, real world experience to share with others.
What is the most important personal attribute that you bring to your career?
I’d say self-starter and perseverance. I just do not hesitate to pursue something. I have been an entrepreneur a long time, I learned you just don’t give up if there is something that can be done, and to get creative in solutions. If a client receives discouraging news, or gets frustrated with the process in some way, I always encourage them, make suggestions for alternatives, and look for ways to keep moving in the direction of their goals. My clients seem to appreciate that type of support and tenacity, I am determined to make things work out one way or another. Owning my own businesses taught me that!
What are you most excited about in relation to your career this year?
I love a new year! Every year is a new adventure, I have new goals for my business with regard to the number and average values of my listings. Like any entrepreneur, I have aspirations to increase my income, and my listings are key to that.
What is a professional development goal you have for this year?
I think we are always learning. I’m emphasizing being more aware of my time management, saying no to distractions, and focus on existing commitments. I want to work on limiting reacting in the moment, and be aware of where my time is going and planning ahead.
What’s the greatest bit of advice a parent or mentor has given you?
To do the right thing. There may always be options and choices, some more beneficial to you personally, but if you do the right thing you will never regret it. Always make the decision that will leave you feeling good about it and yourself. Never do something that could hurt someone else for your own benefit.
How do you prefer to relax after a tough day in business brokerage?
I like to catch up with the TV news, and I like to end the day with humor and comedy, so I’m likely to watch something funny whether it’s a late-night show, or something I’ve recorded. I like to go to bed in a good mood!