The EU and national governments rely on expert panels and opinions for their policies (EU, 2003; EU, 2006a; EU, 2006b) on SME ownership transfers. Also entrepreneurs depend on expert opinions and advice.
We know from expert studies that expert judgment may lead to confusion and conflicting results. Can we rely on expert opinions in ownership transfers, especially if there are different specialists involved?
71 Dutch SME specialists on ownership transfers (accountants, bankers, business brokers, business consultants) and 10 entrepreneurs were interviewed with open questions. The answers were counted and
the averages of different groups of specialists were tested by one-way ANOVA and Tukey’s HSD. The results indicate that expert opinions are largely divergent on issues, but become convergent on solutions.
Most given solutions by experts are more awareness/information and involving professional advice. Not the accountant, the international most widely used advisor by entrepreneurs in ownership transfers, but the business broker seems best fit to advice. Business brokers are active in more phases of the ownership transfer, are better connected to other specialists and have the most structured working method.
We detect serious market failure to provide advice for entrepreneurs on business transfers. More than one specialist is needed, the best suited advisor - the business brokers - are unattainable for most micro
firms. To overcome market failure transfer vouchers might connect entrepreneurs better to business brokers. Our results are confined by the sample, being small, select and national