SBM 15 - Clint Fiore: Breaking down the broker business

Breaking down the Broker Business 

I’m changing up the approach a little bit in this edition.

I’ve always been interested in how different industries work so I’m experimenting with a small business breakdown format. 

Let me know what you think.

In this edition, we will focus on Clint Fiore and his brokerage Bison Business.

Fast Facts:

  • Brokerage Market Size: Total brokerage revenue was estimated at $1.3 billion as of 2022 with an expected 3.4% growth rate

  • Number of brokers: There are an estimated 3000 brokerages with somewhere north of 10,000 individual brokers

  • Largest Players: Transworld Business Advisors, Sunbelt Brokers, and Murphy Business Sales with over 100 offices each

  • Licensing: 17 States require a license to operate as a broker

  • Business Model: brokers charge between 4 - 12% of a company’s sales price depending on the size of the deal


  • SBA 7(a) loans are one of the principal ways buyers finance their acquisitions and can serve as a rough proxy for the number of small business transactions happening each year

  • Live Oak Bank is the largest SBA lender, funding $1.85 billion in the fiscal year 2023, according to the SBA weekly lending report

  • Huntington National Bank is the largest SBA lender by number of loan approvals; they approved 7,325 SBA 7(a) loans in the 2023 fiscal year


  • Bison Business has three key distinguishers:

    • Marketing: Bison drives business through social media rather than just relying on personal connections 

    • Team: Clint has built a full team with specialists supporting each step of the selling process

    • Passion: Clint views business brokerage as a mission as well as a business


The Story:

Clint started his career as a pilot and quickly realized he didn’t want to be a cog in the corporate airline machine. 

Striking out on his own, he got into the startup world and was able to sell his first business in 2013. 

While the startup was successfully sold, Clint wasn’t set for life and his appetite for the stress of another start-up was limited so he decided to buy his next business.

Through his search, Clint encountered a pain every searcher knows about bad business brokers. 

That pain mounted over many months of searching until he decided the best opportunity for him wasn’t buying a business,  but providing the brokerage services he saw lacking in the market.

In 2015, he started Bison Business as a small business brokerage. 

Clint started by getting all the key certifications he could in areas like business valuation and by doing what everyone does in professional services: working his network and getting the word out about his new business.

Those tactics worked, but what set Clint and Bison apart was his use of social media. 

The first deal he managed to close came from posting on Facebook.

Clint is now a leading voice on small business X/Twitter and the results have been fantastic. 

Bison Business has closed over 50 deals and counting and the national reach of social media has taken it  from a small regional brokerage centered in central Texas to an increasingly national one.

Clint also built Bison to run as a business not just as a vehicle for himself. 

He now has a full team that supports a seller throughout each stage of the process. 

Many brokers are just a one-person show. 

That approach can be profitable but it ends up being difficult to provide great service when things get busy.

Finally, Clint said it best himself: “If you have the calling to help people then great, but if you want to chase dollar signs, this isn’t for you.” 

Clint sees brokerage as a mission to help sellers and buyers move into new phases of their lives and realize their dreams.

For more on Clint’s story, Bison, and buying and selling small businesses; I will be doing a podcast episode with him so make sure you follow The Small Business Mentor pod. 

You will find the links below. 

I love what Clint’s done with Bison but let’s take a look at the industry in general.

I tend to agree that you better have a passion for this industry because some of the fundamentals are not so attractive.

  • Ease of Entry: (Low) It’s very easy to call yourself a broker so there’s very little to prevent new competitors from getting in. 

In most states, you don’t even need a license. 

  • Steady Cash Flow & Profits: (Low) This is a feast or famine business. 

You have to be prepared for the drought. 

You need to build a full team and marketing machine (like Bison) to get any kind of steady cash flow.

  • Scaling Potential/Owner Dependency: (Low) These businesses tend to be very dependent on the owner and his or her personality and skills. 

Clint has tapped into a way to scale to a certain point, but it’s always going to be hard to find more Clints.

  • Differentiation: (High) It's a game that is saturated with poor brokers. 

Delivering a high-level customer experience will set you apart from the competition.  

  • Pain in Ass Level: ⚠️ HIGH ⚠️You have the Christmas Eve problem. 

Everyone is looking to close by the end of the calendar year so there are often emergency meetings at terrible times.  

Additionally, selling a business is a highly emotional process. 

Most of the time you are going to have to coddle crazy business owners who are selling their babies. 

There are easier ways to make money.  

  • Wrap-up: Clint has solved some of these issues. 

He’s used social media to attract new sellers and buyers. 

Now that he’s gotten traction, he can afford to hire a team to support his efforts and reduce the Christmas Eve problem and owner dependency issues. 

If I were going to do this I would follow Clint's blueprint.

But, it's still a tough way to make money.

I prefer steady cash-flowing businesses with low owner involvement, not callings.

📅 Next Week:

Next week we are going to deep dive into the scrapyard guru Sam Bacon. We are going to learn more about his small business journey and how he made millions in the scrapyard industry.

Keep growing,



The most recent episode of The Small Business Mentor Podcast is live. My guest this week was Dylan Chatterjee. We went into a lot of detail on how difficult it is to grow a professional services company beyond the core client base it starts with. 

Check it out here: 


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