By EMILY MALTBY
Millions of small-business owners may be delaying retirement to their late 60s or 70s and beyond, in hopes of riding out the sluggish economy and a slump in the sales value of small businesses.
But waiting for the market to recover could backfire, according to some who study small-business valuations. If and when the economy brightens, there could be a hefty backlog of retirement-age small-business owners eager to sell out, competing with newer sellers for the same group of buyers.
“If you continue to hold on another day, that’s another day where several more thousands of business owners turn 65. The market will be flooded for small businesses and the valuation will continue to trend down,” says John Warrillow, creator of the Sellability Score, an online tool to help business owners value their firms.
For those looking to sell their business at the highest possible price in order to retire comfortably, “I don’t think waiting is necessarily the answer,” he adds.
The first wave of baby boomers turned 65 last year, and the growing number that will reach that milestone in the next five to 10 years could compound the problem. “That will make the field enormously crowded,” says Steven D. Popell, an exit-strategy consultant in San Francisco. “The number of companies that will be up for sale in the next decade will increase dramatically.”
To receive free advice on the correct time to sell your business contact The CBI+Team by phone (479)770-8989 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Two business owners with whom we were working to sell their businesses died within 2 weeks of one another. Both were still working in their businesses and trying to sell. Both were in their 70’s and had been in ill health.
Both had listed their businesses for sale within 8 months of their deaths. Both left widows behind who are trying to figure out what to do with the assets, employees, customers….it’s a nightmare.
The CBI+Team did our best to help but were limited by time and lack of organization and declining revenues of the businesses due to the ill health of the two principals.
Lesson: Don’t think that you will run your business forever, you won’t. Don’t think selling it is a six month process. Start planning to sell at least 24 months before you HAVE to sell.
Don’t die in your business and leave your spouse with a nightmare. Call us today at 877-582-5200 and we will
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help you plan an orderly exit.
By Jon Holbert
These questions come up often in conversations with business owners. The answers are unique to each individual owner, but there are some constants that I’d like to address.
1) Why Sell?
a) Retirement. Even if you are technically not “retirement age”, business owners are often motivated by the desire stop working full time in their own business. Some will work part time, work for someone else or even begin a new business venture.
b) Health Issues. Many business owners are forced to sell because their health will no longer allow them to work in the business.
c) Interest. Many owners have lost interest in their current business. Let’s face it. Working in your own business can be grueling at times with long hours and lots of stress. Other times business owners have other businesses or interests that require more of their time. FYI— golf and fishing are not other interests, refer
to section a.
d) Timing. Many times if a particular business is the hottest thing going or if it is on the upswing, the timing may be right to get a great price for your business. Sometimes you just have to strike while the iron is hot.
2) Why Now?
a) Market Conditions. No one can predict the future, if you are considering selling, the only time you can be sure of the market conditions is now. As Yoda would say “Difficult to see. Always in motion is the future.” Many times we see owners postpone selling their business and then have some catastrophe or market shift that makes their business worth less or worse, worthless.
b) Taxes. There are some things that are predictable, especially in today’s climate. Those things are higher taxes, more government regulations and intervention. It seems inevitable that there will be a capital gains tax increase in the near future as well as additional regulations concerning employee benefits, environmental regulations and income taxes.
c) Trends. As we slowly recover from the 2008 recession, most businesses are beginning to experience upward trends in sales and profit and these are the trends buyers are looking for. Any business that has survived during the last 5 years has proven itself to be resilient and flexible in dynamic markets.
d) Buyers. With some larger companies downsizing, some retirement age people who aren’t ready or able to retire and with tight job markets for recent graduates there are plenty of willing buyers out there. The question is—are they capable of buying a business? The answer is—yes, many of them can. Now that people can invest their 401k into their own business without taxes and penalties, the door opens for many. Also, recent graduates or younger buyers can buy themselves a job with help from their families.
Using a business broker can help you determine if the time is right to sell. He or she will be up on current trends and market conditions. He or she will carefully screen buyers so that only qualified people will “see” your business and can help with recommendations for valuations and tax consultants.
Ultimately, only you can decide when the time is right to sell your business, but it just makes sense to use a professional business broker to provide confidentiality, insight into the market, bring you screened buyers and provide the consultations you need to make an educated decision. Once again, Master Yoda says “Already know you that which you need.”