Tune Up Your Goals to Buy, Sell or Build Your Business

As we move into spring a good many of us get that restless feeling prompting us to seek change in our lives.

For many business owners the change involves selling their business. We are seeing an increasing number of owners moving towards retirement.

The recession held back many retirements as owners had lost some of their savings and their businesses were underperforming, resulting in a lower sale price and a shortage of funds for retirement.

Based upon how 2014 has started, this situation appears to be rapidly changing.

We are seeing many more successful businesses coming on the market and we expect this trend to continue for some years to come:

  • Some 35% of business owners are now 65 years or older.
  • The average small business owner retires at 71 years of age.
  • As baby boomers are hitting 65 years of age the number or retirements is beginning to increase, and for the next 10 years this number will soar.

The recession has receded and many businesses are showing improved results. This combination is great for those wanting to own their own small business-more and better choices are available. Although we are not yet back to the 2008 numbers, we expect to be there before the end of 2014 and we foresee continued growth in the number of businesses for sale post-2014.

Business sellers will be facing more competition for the attention and funds of small business buyers, resulting in greater dependence upon using a great broker to find them the right buyer and the right terms for their business transfer.

In the past there have been far more buyers than sellers. By 2018 this will not be the case. The numbers of business buyers and business sellers will be roughly in balance or perhaps slightly more sellers than buyers and the ratio will stay that way for a few years.

If you are planning to sell your business within the next eight years you should be looking at doing it now while the market is hot and interest rates are low.

Making sustainable changes

Spring also rouses a lightening of spirit and commitments to positive changes in our business. Unlike New Year’s resolutions we are likely to make these changes sustainable. To that end I have been working with a personal business coach—Grant Mellow from ActionCOACH – and have found it to be a positive influence.

I already knew what I wanted to achieve for 2014 in terms of my plans for improvements; however, using a business coach who knows what they are doing and who has access to vast corporate resources has helped me move these plans forward. My primary goals this year include the development of an improved CRM system, improved websites, improved recruiting and selection processes, and the development of effective web-based training for new brokers. I also have secondary goals related to finance and administration improvements. These gains will enable us to continue exceeding our clients’ expectations and allow us to help an increasing number of people to achieve their goals of selling or acquiring small- and medium-sized businesses in Canada.

What an exciting year we are having at Sunbelt

For those individuals contemplating purchasing a business the timing is good:

  • The past year showed some improvement in customer confidence.
  • There are more business owners retiring (selling).
  • The interest rates are low.
  • The tax programs are favourable.
  • There are many opportunities to grow and improve the business you buy.

Let the spring awakening be the time of your awakening to the many benefits of owning your own business and take the initiative to contact a qualified business broker to get started.

Sunbelt has a number of new offices in Canada including Saint John, New Brunswick; St. Johns, Newfoundland; the South Shore of Montreal, Quebec; and Sudbury, Ontario. These complement the existing offices in Grande Prairie, Edmonton, Calgary, Lethbridge, Saskatoon, Regina, London, Guelph, Mississauga, Hamilton, Toronto West, Barrie, Kingston, Ottawa, Gatineau, Laval, Montreal, West Island, Fredericton, Moncton, Northern New Brunswick and Eastern Quebec, and the B.C. offices. Update: in the last two years we’ve also opened offices in Toronto Centre, Oshawa/Whitby, and Peterborough/Northumberland in Ontario and an office in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Contact your local office and arrange to meet with a broker to pick up a free copy of our Insider Tips on Buying a Business in Canada or, if you are thinking of selling your business, ask for a free copy of our Insider Tips on Selling a Business in Canada, winner of a Small Business Book Award in the Economics category and a top ten finisher overall.

Both books are also available in French. You can get a free electronic version of these books in English and in French.

Wishing you each a wonderful and productive season.

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Gregory Kells
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