A business agent is an individual who takes on the responsibility of managing another person’s, company’s, or group’s business affairs. His or her exact duties will depend on the type of contract that had been arranged with the client.
Most business agents will spend much of their time negotiating contracts on behalf of their clients. Some may also help manage their finances and arrange their public appearance schedules and travel itineraries.
A business agent may also be the client’s public relations officer, i.e. they are responsible for creating a positive public image.
Business agents may handle the affairs of artists, musicians, athletes, authors, companies and unions.
Actors, sports professionals, authors, artists and musicians usually have a business agent, especially the most famous and successful ones.
According to the Cambridge Dictionaries Online, a business agent is:
“A person who represents a person or company in matters of business and who can make business decisions, agreements, etc., for them.”
Small companies wishing to export
If your company wishes to expand into a foreign market but does not have the resources to open offices and employ staff there, an option is to have a business agent who lives and works in that market.
This person represents your company in his or her home market. In this type of arrangement, business agents are only paid if they manage to generate sales. They usually represent more than one company.
In some markets, including Japan, Saudi Arabia, or China, having a business agent may be the only way to generate decent sales because local firms are reluctant to do business with foreign companies.
A literary agent is a business agent who acts on behalf of an author in dealing with publishers, plus anybody else who is involved in promoting his or her work.
The agent sends the author’s manuscript out in order to get the best bid for publication. As they know editors and people who work in the publishing world, they are generally able to generate more business than authors could on their own.
These agents know who to send an author’s manuscript to, because they are aware of who is looking for a new crime writer, children’s author, science fiction story, etc.
As well as finding somebody to publish an author’s work, literary agents also negotiate with the publisher on behalf of the author.
Not only are literary agents necessary for authors, they are extremely useful when deadlines need to be extended.
Football (soccer) agent
In the UK, a football (US: soccer) or sports agent negotiates employment contracts for athletes.
As an agent, they talk to team owners, managers and trainers to find their client the best deal. They may also handle sports people’s public relations matters as well as their finances, including investments and taxes.
The UK government’s National Career’s Service says the following regarding being a football agent:
“To do this job you will need to need to know about finance and business management and have a passionate understanding of sports. If you have excellent communication and negotiation skills and you enjoy following trends in sports, then this role could be for you.”
Most sports agents in the UK are qualified lawyers or have a background in contract law. A degree in business studies may help, the UK government says, but adds that there are no set entry requirements to get into this work.
Union business agent
In the US, a business agent could also be a labor union officer who represents all members at one company. They are elected by union members and paid by the union to speak on its behalf to both the public and management.
Union business agents work at the level of the union local (a branch of the union membership).
Video – The life of a football agent
This video talks about the life of Tony Paraschou, a football agent.