Axial Article About Business Brokers in the United States featuring Crowne Atlantic’s Jackie Ossin Hirsch
Jackie Ossin Hirsch | Owner, Crowne Atlantic
Women often take a back seat to men in the business broker arena, but that hasn’t deterred Jackie Ossin Hirsch, founder of Crowne Atlantic Business Brokers, LLC, in Orlando. Hirsch started selling companies at age 22, and six years later, in 2004, founded her firm. She flew solo until her father, now deceased, and her brother — whom she says is one of her best friends — came on board.
To date, Hirsch has worked on more than 400 transactions in the restaurant, manufacturing, medical, and other industries, focusing primarily on companies with a value of $20 million or less. Roughly 90% of her clients are sellers, and being a Central Florida native with a flourishing network, Hirsch receives referrals from accountants, attorneys, and other business owners in the state. This year, Crowne Atlantic is on track to have an “eclipse” year, she said.
What’s it like being a woman in this industry?
Jackie Ossin Hirsch: Most of the time I don’t notice that I’m different, but I do notice that other brokers view it as strange. Maybe I work a lot harder. But my mom is a Midwesterner and the Midwesterners are just like that: You just wake up and start working. It’s something in the soil there. We work hard and do what we say we’re going to do. If we make a mistake, we say we made a mistake.
What makes your business brokerage successful?
JOH: I get deals because I call people back. We prepare a seller and prepare the business to sell properly up front, and that’s a defining factor. Right now I’m putting together a very elaborate workflow chart for one of my deals. My niche is really solid cash-flowing businesses in Florida. Business is really booming.
What were some of the challenges you faced in 2021?
JOH: I had a record year, but in that record year my husband’s grandfather died, and then my dad died, and then I had COVID for a couple weeks and I lost eight pounds. Then, my husband’s grandmother died and I had to have a hysterectomy — and during that time I did about $30 million in deals. It was a hard year, and I’m open about it. When you do your deals, you still have to have your head in the game, because your sellers and buyers have personal stuff, too, and I often help them through it.
You pay a lot of attention to detail. Can you elaborate?
JOH: Selling a company is not a sale; it’s matching two parties together. So there are nuances, or different details that are important in the transition — and if you miss that, you’ll possibly miss the sale or sell it to a party that shouldn’t be buying it, or the deal might fall through. Understanding culture and understanding some of the nuances that you wouldn’t find on a tax return or website is very important. We are working with entrepreneurs, and this is the heart and soul of the business climate in America, people who are always worried about the future. And when you meet these entrepreneurs and see their passion, and what they give not just to their businesses, but all of the families they support, and their communities, it helps you restore your hope for humanity.
What do you personally look for in a client?
JOH: My favorite attribute is integrity. Some are not so friendly or fun loving. But these are hard-working entrepreneurs. You’ve got to be flexible and really see the golden flower in their soul. And if they operate with integrity and have good books and records and treat their people well, I can work with them. That is why we have such a strong following: Our buyers that come to us know that that’s the kind of deals we have. What I can’t work with are people who are hiring illegals or paying people under the table, or those with other questionable practices.
What has been your most memorable deal?
JOH: I sold a millwork company in 2016 and my seller was sick. He had Stage IV, and I had to get it done for his employees, his wife, and his two kids, and it was heavy. I remember feeling that deal. We had two buyers, one of them in house and another from another broker, but the buyer with the other broker was better for the team, and would take care of the business. So we went with that buyer and had to rush everything, and three weeks later, after we sold it, the seller passed away.
What industries are specifically hot right now in Florida?
JOH: Construction, because we have so many people moving here. That industry just keeps growing. Number two is manufacturing, and number three is relocatable or online businesses. People can live in Florida and run their businesses — they can live where it’s gorgeous and sunny, and right by Disney. We have been so busy with deals coming to us at this point that we haven’t had to do a lot of outbound reach. I feel lucky, but 23 years of plowing the field will get you that type of business.