The economic climate of the past few years has left many business owners anxious about the future health of their company. This anxiety has caused a growing number of businesses to shut their doors for good or put the company up for sale, with owners hoping an acceptable offer will allow them to walk away with much needed cash.
If you’re a business owner, how do you know when the time is right to leave the market? What kind of offer are you willing to accept, and how long can you hold out? Having an exit strategy from the market is always important, even if you don’t expect to sell your business in the near future.
Let’s take the transportation industry as an example. Its health is affected by larger economic forces, and it serves as a good model for surveying the current environment for buying or selling a business.
The existing number of chauffeured transportation companies has dropped nearly 20% since 2008 due to companies going out of business or larger companies acquiring struggling ones for a bargain. Industry observers see something called the “80/20 rule” at work here, with about 80% of transportation businesses struggling to get by while the other 20% are cutting deals and taking advantage of the weakness of competitors.
Suppose you’re the owner of a business that falls in the 80% category. All is not lost – you can still exit the market with a hefty return on investment. After all, the 20% companies are likely to be flexible in their offers and willing to sweeten the deal if your business has potential value. Your transportation business may not garner many appealing offers at first, but there are steps you can take to protect your assets and find the most profitable deal.
Many business brokerage firms specialize in helping transportation businesses owners optimize the market value of their companies and connect to buyers looking for a strategic acquisition. Working with the right firm can greatly improve the end result of the sale of a transportation company. Oftentimes these brokers will have come from the industry itself and have extensive contacts with potential buyers, thereby increasing the potential for a great deal.
There are a lot of complicated, technical issues surrounding the sale of a business, so it’s always wise to hire an outside industry specialist to guide you through the process. The best firms will accurately examine all aspects of your company to determine its value and suggest ways to streamline operations and make the company more appealing in the marketplace. Also, taxes and regulations on the transportation industry can be a headache for business owners looking to sell. Most business brokerage firms have tax specialists who can inform you of any tax implications of a business sale.
Even if you’re unsure about whether it’s the right time to sell your business, it’s important to have regular business valuations or appraisals to keep your exit strategy up to date. As a business owner, you never know when an unexpected situation could leave you needing to quickly offload your company. Frequently updating your exit strategy is also a great way to examine your current business operations, as well.