A business agent is a person who takes on the responsibility of handling another individual’s or group’s business affairs. The exact duties a person with this title has may depend on the clients he serves. In many cases, however, a business agent spends a significant amount of time negotiating contracts on behalf of his clients. He may also help to manage his clients' finances and schedule their public appearances and travel. Sometimes a person with this title also helps his clients create a positive public image and deal with conflicts.
Often, business agents work on behalf of individuals who are in performance or sports careers. For example, a business agent may work on behalf of a singer, actor, or musician. He may also work on behalf of a professional football or hockey player. Sometimes business agents have authors or artists as their clients as well; some may even work with an organization. For instance, these agents sometimes work on behalf of the members of a union.
Much of a business agent’s job may center around negotiating, as a person with this title typically seeks attractive contracts on behalf of his clients. He may handle in-person contract negotiations as well as those that are performed over the phone or in writing. In some cases, he may negotiate multiple contracts for his clients. For example, he may negotiate a record deal for a singer and then negotiate acting contracts for the same individual. When a business agent works on behalf of union members, however, he may work to negotiate contracts with employers and help to settle disputes.
Often, this agent also spends a significant amount of time handling financial matters for his clients. For example, he may collect money that is due to them and handle payments for travel and activities in which his clients engage for promotional reasons. An agent may also offer financial advice to his clients. For example, he may offer tax advice specific to his clients' financial situations.
The requirements for becoming a business agent may depend on the preferences of the clients a person seeks as well as the industry in which he will be involved. Many aspiring agents earn college degrees, though a college education isn’t strictly required. Usually, experience in the industry in which the person will work, math ability, and negotiation and communication skills are considered more important.