The secret powers of setback in selling your business

Business giants are often cited as saying that there’s more to gain from a time of setback than a time of success.  That might make for glib reading while we’re taking strain under Covid-19, but if you’ve been caught by the economic fallout while preparing to sell your business, it’s helpful and reassuring advice.

Many businesses have grown and developed in the worst of economic conditions – even from scratch.  Our own founder and Executive Chairman, Rob Goddard, started his business in November 2008, just at the start of the banking crisis and what became a five-year, double-dip recession.  Along with debilitating depression which led to a suicide attempt, he had enormous debts … and yet he went from broke to millionaire in the following ten years.

It’s hard not to feel insecure when you’re seeing your dreams of a sale threatened by this current market.  Here’s how you can alter your view of Fear and start to use it to your advantage.


Fear can work in your favour if you let it.  It sharpens your instincts and wakes you up.  Many people who lived through The Blitz in London during the Second World War speak of a sense of their being truly alive during that time.  It has often been documented how increased levels of adrenaline can boost a person’s performance.

Your strength, discernment, awareness and your ability to concentrate are at their peak when you experience Fear, enabling you to make better decisions and to act with conviction.  It can also drive you to act differently – break your own patterns of behaviour and to try something new.


Fear can have the exact opposite effect on you, however.  The phrase ‘frozen with fear’ has become a cliché in our language simply because it happens so regularly.  As far as our human evolution is concerned, it’s a helpful effect in itself:  Fear is strong enough an emotion to physically disable us from rushing into a life-threatening situation.

That’s a good thing, right?

Well, yes – except for when you want to harness the energy of Fear to motivate action and change instead.  That’s when you need to bring in a team for support, drive and strength.

Where preparation and planning are important, over-planning and over-analysis can present very real stumbling blocks when you’re preparing your business for sale.  Are you really adding to the growth and streamlining of your business or are you subconsciously choosing to procrastinate?

A good business sales team will hold you to account – give you a sense of obligation to stick to your plan.  It will help you to create a set of goals with steps you can take to meet them within a realistic timeframe.

It will also help you to utilise the ‘fear’ that this time of pandemic stirs up in key areas:


  • It will help you to move forward with your plans and processes
  • It will help you to see the worst- and best -case scenarios
  • It will help you to judge the distance in financial, effort and time between where you are now and where you want to be at the end of the sales process
  • It will help you see where your barriers are and to either remove them or overcome them
  • It will help you to think more creatively about your way forward – perhaps come up with brand new ways for you to progress
  • It will help you to identify opportunities and resources
  • It will stretch you, motivate you and help you to adopt a winner-mentality
  • It will help you to fix your eyes on the goal and to anticipate how good it will feel to get there
  • It will reflect how you are gaining in strength of character

More than this, a good business sales team will get you through your sale with your desired result – yes, even during this world crisis.  If it comprises experts who’ve done it successfully before in comparatively challenging times, they’ll be the kind of people who love to pay it forwards.  One day, when you’re on the other side of all of this, it’ll be your turn to pay it forwards.

Remember, investors do not like to sit on cash.  Rather, they want to put it to work.  The good ones are used to taking risks for the promise of greater returns.  Regardless of the panicky reports and forecasts you read online these days, there’s a huge amount of surplus cash in the world looking for good opportunities.

As a case in point, our last two agreed deals in April 2020 achieved over eight times multiples despite the pandemic.  These transactions were both in the making for over a year.  What’s more, Covid-19 made no difference to the price whatsoever.  Neither acquirer attempted to chip on price.  We haven’t experienced any reduction in prices offered from the market.

So, take heart.  It’s not all bad news out there.  Whether you want to move ahead and sell or to hold back and prepare, EvolutionCBS can help.

Find out how you can start to prepare your business for sale without having to make any premature decisions by talking to one of the team at EvolutionCBS.  You’re welcome to come along to one of our free EvolutionCBS webinars.

See you there!


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