Is Now A Good Time to Execute Your Exit Strategy ?
The last 3 years have caused a backlog of business owners to delay exiting their quality established businesses. Some felt in 2020 that they should build back up their businesses or that the time was not right for incoming buyers. Few would have expected that the pandemic would still involve restrictions in place in 2022, and are worn down from it.
Platform 1 expects an acceleration of business owners looking to exit over the next 12 months which could put pressure on the available pool of people to come into these businesses.
An analysis of 171 unique business visits from Platform 1 over 2021 and early 2022 has shown that over 63 % of business owners who had signaled they were contemplating succession had still not even started executing a plan by June 2022. This continued the holding pattern that was also in place in 2020 as the pandemic hit. A common comment from owners over the last 3 years has been that they had felt they needed to build back up their business to pre-covid levels prior to exiting. For some this was out of concern that their business value may be reduced. For 10 years there has been talk about a tsunami of business owners exiting their businesses but that had largely not occurred prior to the Covid period. With baby boomer business owners delaying further, and not getting any younger, this prediction is expected to come to fruition soon.
Recently we signed up a new client who I first started talking to in July 2018. Platform 1 have been seeing an increased level of serious business owner activity over the last 4 months. It’s clear that many are now “just over it” and realise they need to execute on a plan.
While demand from business owners is building up, this is not being matched by an increase in available and willing people looking to go into these businesses. The pool of talent is available but not increasing, due to our aging population, so business owners who are ready to exit may not want to delay further.
Getting on board a Business Partner now as part of a succession plan is an option that allows a business owner to exit over time and extract more value from the business while improving their lifestyle. By gradually exiting the business owner is only selling down a portion of their business at todays value. The talented incoming Business Partner has the brief to grow the business which will provide greater returns for the owner over the upcoming years.
While the overall pool is not increasing there is also a bigger pool of people prepared to buy into a business gradually than outright ,especially in today’s market, with talk of a recession in mid to late 2023.
Don't "miss the boat" and baby boomer business owners who know they are in the frame for succession, should act now.
About the Author
Mike Warmington is a Director of Platform 1 NZ Ltd - The New Zealand market leaders in business owner transition. Platform 1 specialises in using executive search techniques to find people with capability and capital for business owners wanting to transition.