Since 2008, owners of printing and print-related businesses have been reluctant to sell their companies. Many have been waiting on the sidelines until the time was right. Their waiting game has prompted some marketplace changes – including a new offering from the LaManna Alliance.
Before we get to what’s changed with today’s marketplace, let’s consider what has held up owners from selling their business:
1. Years of economic uncertainty. Here in 2014, we’re still looking back on the recession of 2008 and feeling the effects. It was the end of the boom years for the printing industry, and either you adapted to the New Normal, or you closed up shop.
Because of the recession, we’re more cautious, almost to a fault. The fear that the bottom might fall out again, despite a lot of positive economic news, seems to be a scar from 2008 that simply won’t fade.
2. Too many retirement options. Baby Boomers are considering retiring, but they’re not quite certain what retirement should look like. Owners feel active, alert and ready to contribute to the growth of their businesses. While they may not have the energy of yesterday, they still enjoy strategizing and engaging in their company’s growth.
More importantly, the options for retiring are evolving. It’s possible to work less, but still be engaged with a company from a leadership perspective. The Internet has allowed for retirees to continue to stay engaged with the workforce in a variety of ways.
For some, all these options have led to confusion and uncertainty. Many owners are overwhelmed and unclear of which path their retirement should take.
3. Disillusionment with how businesses are sold. For a long time, I’ve felt like there’s something fundamentally wrong with the role of a business broker in a merger and acquisition. Brokers will represent one party in a deal, and as a result, a natural adversarial relationship occurs.
A synergistic relationship is supposed to be a win-win for both parties, but owners have begun to wonder how that’s possible when a broker is only interested in one side “winning.” I’m not saying this is the case with all brokers, but it has occurred enough so that the perception of the intermediary has been tainted.
Those are three big obstacles to selling, and I’m sure there are countless more (please leave me a comment below if you have a few other objections that I didn’t list).
I do believe, however, that the tide has turned, and the time is ripe for sellers to take action. Here’s why:
1. Buyers are ready to roll. Despite some trepidation, it appears the economy is poised for continued growth. The housing market is coming back, our dependence on foreign oil dwindles on a daily basis, and, hold onto your hat, Congress actually worked together to pass a budget. Sure, there are a lot of unresolved problems, but the overall economic climate looks very good. (Check out this article on 10 Signs the Economy is Improving.)
That’s the reaction I get from the number of qualified buyers who have contacted the LaManna Alliance, eager to either expand their business or enter the marketplace through an acquisition. They want sellers, folks. There’s a lot of cash that’s been sitting on the sidelines, waiting for the right time to act. It appears that time is now.
Photo by mensatic
2. More help for Baby Boomers than ever before. The marketplace recognizes that the confusion on the part of retiring Baby Boomers – particularly business owners – is a real problem. Companies are emerging to help baby boomers ready to exit their companies but don’t want to retire in the traditional sense.
These companies are providing a clear-cut vision and a variety of next-step options, helping owners to understand their options and make smarter long-term moves. It’s a great development, and we’ll highlight one of those companies in next week’s post.
It’s also making a difference, as more baby boomers are selling their businesses (read about it in this article Retiring Baby Boomers are Selling their Small Businesses).
3. A change in how the marketplace helps buyers and owners – starting here. The LaManna Alliance has always worked for a win-win situation, and the launch of our new LaManna M&A Matchmaking Service should serve as a model for others still clinging to the old business broker model.
You can read in more detail about the service here, but the fundamental change is this: We’ve created a service that’s truly designed to create a win-win situation. Our goal is simply to align the right seller with the right buyer. Both parties pay a small listing fee to enroll in the service, as well as a success fee.
The Matchmaking service is designed to do what’s right for both sides of the equation; truly a win-win transaction.
The right economic climate and new marketplace innovations have created a seller's market. I have buyers chomping at the bit to see new opportunities. These are smart buyers, mind you, who are looking for profitable businesses. But they are ready and raring to go, nevertheless.
If you’re interested in learning more, including using our new Matchmaking service, be sure to click on the button below.
Cover Photo by Yoel.