Demographers typically define to Baby Boomers with birth years from 1946 to 1964. It follows that the average age of a Baby Boomer today is 68. Over the next two decades, retiring Baby Boomer business owners will sell or bequeath $10 trillion worth of assets; these assets are held in more than 12 million private owned businesses. (Source: CABB.org)
The current climate for business sales is excellent. As we approach the end of 2018, the stock market has taken a slight turn sideways, yet the economy is still buoyed by 10 years of a stellar bull market. Interest rates remain relatively low, and potential business buyers have access to inexpensive funds, whether through home equity, SBA loans, or other means. In short, it’s a great time to sell a business.
Financial professionals often coach older clients to diversify their stock portfolio, and invest a heavier percentage of their portfolio into less risky funds. This is, in part, because older people have less time to recover if a downturn were to occur. The same logic holds true for Baby Boomers who own businesses. If you take a step back and view your business as a portfolio of stocks, how risky is that portfolio?
The business climate can change quickly, especially for Baby Boomers – many of who may be hesitant to sell, choosing instead to maximize profits for as long as possible. The law of supply and demand is bound to prevail. As Baby Boomers continue to age, there is an undeniable tsunami of small businesses that will change hands in the coming years. As the supply of available businesses rises, what effect might that have on the price of businesses? Factor in the likelihood of an economic downturn, and savvy Baby Boomers are, at a bare minimum, looking around for that exit sign.
What’s the value of your business? Who are the likely buyers? How long will it take to sell in a potentially changing economic environment? These are the questions I help my clients to address. Planning ahead is the key to a successful exit strategy. Whether you’re looking to sell in one year, or in 10 years, I work with my clients to maximize the value of their business when the time is right. And for an increasing number of Baby Boomers, that time is quickly approaching.