Voices: Now might be the time to sell your business

Buzz Harris

Buzz Harris

“I always arrive late at the office, but I make up for it by leaving early.” — Charles Lamb

Thanks to current economic conditions, an environment is developing that may be beneficial to business owners who are thinking about selling their business.

From New York's Wall Street to Reno's Main Street, recent developments are having a direct impact on how both sellers and buyers are looking at business opportunities. In many cases, this is good news for owners who are considering selling their business.

The strength of the local economy has caused many owners to reevaluate how they conduct business, as well as the amount of time they have to put in it.

A common statement heard around the Truckee Meadows these days has been, “business is still very good, but I've never had to work as hard as I'm working now.”

Since profits are still very strong for many Northern Nevada businesses, a seller is in a good position to get a nice price for their business. Basically, when a business is profitable, it will be more attractive to buyers. It doesn't get any simpler than that.

For many owners, it's better to sell out than burn out. The unfortunate result of postponement can be that the decision gets made for them. Poor health, divorce, excess business demands, etc., are very often the symptoms of an owner who should have sold but postponed the decision.

What are some of the signs? Routine acts of decision making and action taking seem monumental. Prioritizing becomes a major daily challenge. Problem solving becomes no more than applying Band-Aids that do not fix anything and many times creates bigger problems in the long run.

Sometimes, the owner isn't having fun anymore, and the day begins with a sense of dread. If this sounds familiar, owners may need to look for a fresh challenge elsewhere.

Another factor in favor of local business owners is that inventory of attractive businesses that are for sale seems to be unusually low. At my firm, our daily efforts are focused on finding attractive companies to replenish our inventory since many have been recently sold.

In fact, in the last few weeks, we have had more than one instance where multiple buyers were bidding on a business and in some cases, transactions were being negotiated merely days after the business was put on the market.

Related to this may be the most important fact of all. There are buyers in our market, right here, right now. Some are disgruntled with what has happened with their stocks. They've realized that, as a business owner, the return on their investments can be significantly greater when successfully operating their own company.

Other buyers are former middle managers and executives who have taken early retirement packages and are eyeing the advantages of being in business for themselves.

For some, it isn't just the money they're dreaming of — it's the desire for more control over their investments, and their lives.

A business broker is a professional who sellers should turn to for assistance when deciding to sell.

With plenty of buyers to choose from in today's uncertain market, it's more important than ever to separate the time-wasters (i.e. those who think they might like to buy but aren't ready for it) from the serious buyers. By allowing a skilled broker to do their job, owners will be able to concentrate on their job — making their business as profitable as possible!

Buzz Harris, a Licensed Business Broker with The Liberty Group of Nevada, writes a recurring Voices column for the Northern Nevada Business Weekly. Contact him at 775-825-3948 or via email at BHarris@TheLibertyGroupofNevada.com.


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