I am always reminded of the old cliché that time goes too quickly when the end of the year approaches and I write my final blog post until the New Year. 2011 has in some respects gone by very fast, while other events that occurred in the past year seem to have been much longer ago. I think this is probably because there has been such upheaval in domestic and world events, economic struggles, and of course, all of the political nonsense. So now we must turn a page and look forward to a fresh start in the business for sale market in 2012.
In a prior post, I mentioned the great sense of relief I felt from my personal sabbatical of not reading or listening to the daily news and had suggested that you do the same. As our economy sputters along, this approach may be exactly what every stakeholder in the business for sale arena needs to do in the new year.
I have not spoken with anyone in this sector who is overly optimistic about the near term. Most business brokers are struggling, business sales remain in decline, financing of small deals by traditional lenders is not materializing and therefore one can easily adopt a gloom and doom outlook. It is akin to what anyone can perceive on a more global scale when they subject themselves to the daily bombardment of information, most of which is completely inconsequential. Or, as an old colleague of mine used to say: “It’s just a bug on the windshield of life.”
I am, by nature, an incredibly optimistic person. However, I do believe that the alleged downturn we have experienced over the past few years is in fact the new level of an economy and will remain that way for a while. There are simply too many prongs to the carnage for any quick remedy. Given this, the question becomes whether individuals will allow themselves to be held back or will they find a way to successfully work within the parameters. I decided a while ago not to participate in the recession. And so, with that attitude, I have found ways to continue to grow and expand my businesses.
Moving forward to 2012, the successful buyers, sellers and brokers will be those who find a way to get deals done regardless of the external noise and certainly by not paying attention to the naysayers.
Everyone needs to adjust their thinking.
Buyers have to realize that many businesses are not thriving now and so they need to have the wherewithal, confidence and acumen to come to grips with the present status and see beyond to what the business can be with them as the new owner. In order to get deals done, buyers have to be willing to bend and make some deal term concessions. Even in the best of times every business has warts, so forget about the concept of buying that “perfect” business. It never existed nor will it ever materialize.
Sellers have to recognize they cannot sell “blue sky”. Except in very rare cases, their businesses’ value is reflective of the present; not future phantom events that nobody can predict. So to any sellers I say: if you want to sell your business, be realistic with your expectations, flexible with your terms, and when you find a qualified buyer who can get to the closing table – work with them to get the deal done.
For brokers, the past few years have been quite challenging. The ranks of the broker community have shrunk which is a normal evolution in a difficult marketplace and usually a good thing. For the future however, brokers too must toss aside preconceived notions and rigid practices based entirely on legacy. Be open minded with buyers because today, the single most important factor to determine who is a qualified buyer is whether or not that individual has the confidence and fortitude to get to the finish line. All other issues can be negotiated, or at least they should be explored.
I want to wish you a wonderful holiday season and extend my gratitude for your ongoing support of this blog. I hope that I have been able to provide you with some helpful content over the past year.
I also want to thank the Bizquest staff for the opportunity to share my views on this platform and I look forward to do so for many more years.