Video 23 – Should I Wait For Covid 19 To Pass Before Selling My Business?

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Rob Goddard:

One of the questions that’s been asked is: Should I wait for the current outbreak, which presumably is COVID-19 this year, before I sell my business? So really interesting, up to the minute question. Advice?

Steve Barry:

It’s a really difficult question because none of us know how long the current crisis is going to last and what the eventual consequences of that crisis will be by sector. Because there are certain sectors that are going to be hit quite hard by it and you have to feel for those organizations that are struggling at present. But there’s clearly a knock-on effect likely for the rest of the economy in terms of what we would see.

Steve Barry:

But if you take the view that the heat of the crisis, in terms of what we’ll see, will be a matter of a number of months but not an elongated period, then my take would be, and I have clients at the moment where I’ve had this conversation in the last 48 hours, where I’ve said to them, “Look, have a think about what needs to be done. There’s preparation work we can do, there’s information we can collate, there’s collateral we can start to craft, the story of the business doesn’t change.” And then what we can do is get ourselves into a position where when you’re ready to move forward because things are looking more certain, then we’re ready to go at that point in time. But it’s a really hard one to answer.

Rob Goddard:

Mike?

Mike Whittle:

Yeah. I mean the climate now is certainly difficult as a result of the measures that governments are taking, but I’m kind of with Steve, I take the view that if you’re running a business, you’re having to deal with geopolitical and financial climate issues that are outside of your control all of the time. And you could wait for all of them to disappear. My advice there is that’s never going to happen in business. So you plan around it as best you can.

Mike Whittle:

There’s a lot of work to do in the preparation of taking your business to market. I default back to the position that if you as a business owner have decided that it’s your strategy to sell your business, and your valuation is realistic, any time’s as good as any other.

Steve Barry:

And I’ll add, if I may, because two other people that I spoke to only yesterday, where private equity financial investors that were calling me specifically to reassure me that the global crisis would not negatively impact on their ability to be able to invest in my client’s business.

Rob Goddard:

So they’ve got good money to work.

Steve Barry:

Yeah. We needn’t necessarily assume that it means all of that is going to stop.

Rob Goddard:

That’s a good point. And for those that are watching this, that are currently in the process of selling, maybe towards the backend of the process, don’t get locked into 15K if it’s a multimillion-pound transaction, get it over the line. Get your advisors, your lawyers, and your financial advisors to get this deal over the line, to turn your shares into cash, because that would be common sense. The devil is in the detail. Don’t lose sight of the ultimate goal.

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