Ownership Transition Survey Results

Mass Mutual Life Insurance produced an ownership transition survey back about a decade ago.  The survey results were based on feedback and answers from family-owned businesses.  It produced some very interesting results, and is worth examining even today.  While the survey at this point is quite outdated in terms of the timeline, there are still many valuable nuggets of information to be gleaned from it.  Let’s dive in and take a closer look at the numbers and what they can tell us for 2021 and beyond.

While the Mass Mutual Life Insurance ownership transition survey had a range of important points, the one that leaps right off the page is the fact that a whopping 80% of family-owned businesses are still being controlled by their founders.  A large percentage of those founders are Baby Boomers who will have little choice but to retire in the next few years.

The survey indicated that 55% of CEOs over the age of 61 or older have yet to choose a successor.  This fact serves to emphasize the fact that a “retirement wave” will hit family-owned businesses, and this will lead to some interesting shifts and opportunities.  And while the survey indicated that 13% of CEOs state they will never retire, the reality of the situation is that ownership will eventually change hands.  Business brokers can expect to see an unprecedented wave of interest in their services.  Additionally, prospective buyers will also have a highly unique opportunity to buy established businesses.

The survey also indicated that 30% of family-owned businesses will be changing leadership within the next five years.  Of course, with that change of leadership, many possibilities open up, including the possibility of selling.  However, it is important to note that while there will be a “retirement wave” amongst the Baby Boomers, not all businesses currently owned by Baby Boomers will be placed on the market.

The survey noted that 90% of businesses currently plan on remaining family-owned, and 85% of businesses plan on having their next CEO be a family member.  However, it is important to keep in mind that even if these numbers were to hold true, that means at least 10% of businesses will be up for sale.

It is likely that this number is far higher now than when the survey was conducted due to the aging nature of the Baby Boomer population and owners looking to sell because of pandemic related issues.  Simply stated, there will be no shortage of businesses for sale in 2021 and beyond.

Another important aspect of the survey to consider is the fact that family-owned businesses are not prepared to sell.  According to the survey, 20% of family-owned businesses have not completed any form of estate planning, and 55% of family owners do not have any formal company valuation for estate tax estimates.  Combine these statistics with the fact that 60% of businesses do have a written strategic plan, and it becomes clear that family-owned businesses, especially those considering selling in the future, are most definitely in need of professional assistance.  Many family-owned businesses are ill prepared for the future and have a range of vulnerabilities.  Business brokers and M&A advisors are uniquely positioned to provide those services.

Copyright: Business Brokerage Press, Inc.

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The New Mexican Reports on Santa Fe’s Construction Boom

Business editor Teya Vitu reports that construction is booming in Santa Fe. Seventeen apartment projects and a 68-unit independent living center have been recently completed or under construction. Between January and November 2020, 281 building permits for single-family dwellings were pulled. Construction activity and related job growth have ranked Santa Fe in or near the top ten among the nation’s 358 metropolitan areas.

“Santa Fe ranked No. 7 among metro areas in November with a 14 percent increase, adding 400 construction jobs over the previous November to reach 3,300 people employed in the construction trades, according to the association’s analysis of U.S. Department of Labor data,” writes Vitu. Read the full article on the New Mexican.

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New Mexico Economic Development in 2020 and Looking Forward

From global manufacturing and biosciences, to outdoor recreation and film production, the Economic Development Department (EDD) set the foundation for long-term job growth in 2020, putting New Mexico on the path to sustainable recovery, Cabinet Secretary Alicia J. Keyes said today.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the public health emergency brought unprecedented challenges to small businesses, employees, and the overall economy. But EDD moved quickly in 2020 to assist businesses with direct economic assistance to train or hire new workers, acquire land, and expand infrastructure. The initiatives will boost growth and hiring in the coming year.

“In 2019 we created the most new jobs in New Mexico in more than a decade,” Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said. “And in 2021 we will beat back the pandemic and regain our momentum toward a thriving and diversified state economy, with opportunity for all. We are going to make certain New Mexico is positioned to keep building — and building back better than ever before — in a post-pandemic world.”

“The Economic Development Department is moving New Mexico forward with strategic investments in business expansion and job growth that sets the state on the path toward a sustainable recovery in 2021,” Cabinet Secretary Keyes said. “Now is not the time to pull back on economic investments. We need to support businesses and industries that offer higher wages, economic diversification, and better opportunities for New Mexico’s families.”

EDD has also been working diligently to keep the public informed about existing financial assistance programs. They have been publishing a weekly newsletter that lists economic assistance resources for communities and businesses, and have hosted over 30 webinars since the start of the pandemic in March.

JTIP INVESTMENTS

EDD is emphasizing the nationally recognized Job Training Incentive Program as one of its signature programs that is assisting businesses as they create jobs for new workers or advance skills of existing employees. In 2020, JTIP pledged training reimbursements to 75 businesses across New Mexico in support of 2,380 jobs – 29% of that total for rural jobs and 71% for urban. The average wage in 2020 was $18.61 an hour, over $38,000 annually.

JTIP grants went to firms in Albuquerque, Church Rock, Clovis, Roswell, Sunland Park, Loving, Los Alamos, Rio Rancho, Santa Fe, Las Cruces, Moriarty, Las Vegas, Corrales, Truth or Consequences, Taos, and Deming.

LEDA INVESTMENTS

In 2020, EDD’s LEDA job-creators fund made strategic investments in 18 companies that will create 2,500 jobs over the next several years.

These companies have committed to invest over $761 million in New Mexico over the next 10 years with $150 million in new payroll.

FILM AND TELEVISION PRODUCTION

The growth of the film and television production industry remains an important economic driver for New Mexico as the state looks to diversify its economy.

In January, New Mexico started out the year strong with two of our cities named in MovieMaker Magazine’s for “Best Places to Live and Work As A MovieMaker”. Albuquerque was ranked #1 for large cities for the second year in a row, beating out places like Atlanta and LA, and Santa Fe was ranked #3 for small cities and towns.

In March, New Mexico was cast as host of Deadline Hollywood’s inaugural HotSpots conference, where they shine a spotlight on locations outside of Hollywood. Deadline, a premier industry trade publication for the film industry, brought industry professionals and decision-makers from across the country to experience all that New Mexico has to offer as a film and television production hub.

In November, Netflix announced it was expanding its footprint at Albuquerque Studios to develop the largest sustainable production studio in North America. The commitment includes an additional $1 billion in production spend over 10 years, an additional 1,000 production jobs, and construction of to 10 new stages, post-production services, production offices, mills, backlots, training facilities, wardrobe suites, a commissary, and other flex buildings to support their growing number of productions in New Mexico.

Netflix Co-CEO Ted Sarandos said, “New Mexico provides an outstanding production and business environment in close proximity to Los Angeles with some of the best crews and creative talent in the world. The expansion will bring many new high-tech and production jobs to the region. It allows us to be more nimble in executing our production plans while cementing the status of the region as one of the leading production centers in North America.”

“News of the World,” the Netflix-produced film starring Tom Hanks and filmed in New Mexico, was released on Dec. 25, 2020 and is already bringing new recognition to the state for our commitment to the industry as well as the talented crews and scenic landscapes that make the film a success.

OUTDOOR RECREATION

2020 also marked the first full year of operations for the Outdoor Recreation Division (ORD), signed into law by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham in April, 2019.

The new outdoor recreation infrastructure grants are being used to invest in trails and outdoor infrastructure to help communities attract visitors in a responsible way. The grants are helping outdoor program managers and non-profits create or expand programs to inspire young people to both enjoy the outdoors and respect it.

The office also invested in start-ups by teaching new outdoor entrepreneurs how to start or grow their businesses. This is creating jobs within the outdoor recreation industry that is far outpacing the national average. The Enterprise Center, a state certified business incubator at San Juan College, helped launch four new outdoor recreation businesses with 12 new employees and $260,000 in wages.

ORD also awarded the first Outdoor Equity Fund grants to 25 applicants. Included in that group are three Native organizations / tribal governments (NACA, Zuni Pueblo, and Karuna Colectiva) that will get 449 Indigenous youth outside within the next year.

Made outside of the normal grant cycle as an emergency COVID-19 response to the urgent needs of the community, a grant was also awarded to the Gallup-based nonprofit, Silver Stallion, for creating a Mobile Ride Center — a mobile bike shop to travel the Navajo Nation and repair kids’ bikes.

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Economic Development Releases Latest Economic Data for all 33 Counties

The Economic Development Department has published the most recent series of county economic reports with detailed economic and employment data for all of the 33 counties as well as a statewide snapshot, Cabinet Secretary Alicia J. Keyes said today.

The reports with a Dec. 2020 publication date cover the first quarter of the 2021 fiscal year – July, August, and September 2020 – during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

“This community-level data, delivered in a timely and readable format, is proving valuable to small business owners, lawmakers, and local officials as they quantify the impacts of the pandemic on county economic activity,” Cabinet Secretary Keyes said. “These reports are just the beginning of an initiative to support all of our communities, big and small, as we work toward economic recovery.”

The statistical information is compiled from several sources, including the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions, and Taxation and Revenue Department.

The reports are available on the EDD website here or EDD.NEWMEXICO.GOV.

 

 

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The Importance of Owner Flexibility

You shouldn’t expect to sell your company overnight.  For every company that sells quickly, there are a hundred that take many months or even years to sell.  Having the correct mindset and understanding of what you must do ahead of time to prepare for the sale of your company will help you avoid a range of headaches and dramatically increase your overall chances of success.

First, and arguably most importantly, you must have the right frame of mind.  Flexibility is a key attribute for any business owner looking to sell his or her business.  There are many variables involved in selling a business, and that means much can go wrong.  An inflexible owner can even irritate prospective buyers and inadvertently sabotage what could have otherwise been a workable deal.

Be Flexible on Price

A key part of being flexible is to be ready and willing to accept a lower price.  There are many reasons why business owners may fail to achieve the price they want for their business.  These factors range from lack of management depth and lack of geographical distribution to an overreliance on a handful of customers or key clients.  Of course, one way to address this problem is to work with a business broker or M&A advisor in advance, so that such price issues are minimized or eliminated altogether.

Be Prepared to Compromise

In the process of selling your business, you may want to achieve confidentiality and sell your business quickly and for the price you want.  However, the fact is that most sellers find that it is possible to have confidentiality, speed, and the price you want, but not all three.  Ultimately, you’ll have to pick two of the three variables that are most important to you.

Be Patient

A third way in which business owner flexibility can boost the chances of success is to embrace the virtue of patience.  By accepting the fact that businesses can “sit on the shelf” for a considerable period of time, you are shifting your expectations.  This realization can help reduce your stress level.  The fact is that stressed out owners are far more likely to make mistakes.

Sometimes Losing is Really Winning

A fourth way in which business owners should be flexible is realizing that you and your lawyer will not win every single fight.  There will be many points of contention, and a smart dealmaker realizes that it is often better to have a good deal than a perfect deal.  You may have to make sacrifices in order to sell your company.  Simply stated, you shouldn’t expect the other side to lose every point.

At the end of the day, a savvy business owner is one that never loses sight of the final goal.  Your goal is to sell your business.  Seeing the situation from the buyer’s perspective will help you make better decisions on how you present your business and interact with prospective buyers.  Maintaining a flexible attitude with prospective buyers helps to position you as a reasonable person who wants to make a deal.  Goodwill can go a long way when obstacles do arise.

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Major Expansion at New Mexico’s Spaceport America

Recently constructed, SpinLaunch’s 10,000 square foot Integration Facility and Mission Control at Spaceport America

A company that is developing and testing a mass accelerator with the aim of launching satellites into space orbit, using kinetic energy instead of rockets, is expanding at New Mexico’s Spaceport America, Cabinet Secretary Alicia J. Keyes announced today.

SpinLaunch signed a lease at Spaceport America in 2019 and has since invested in test facilities and an integration facility. The company is now set to hire an additional 59 highly-paid workers and complete the build of its suborbital centrifugal launch system for its next phase of development. SpinLaunch expects to start test launches in New Mexico in 2021.

“Spaceport America is the next frontier for innovation,” Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said. “It is a magnet for companies on the cutting edge, like SpinLaunch, and New Mexico is glad for their partnership with and investment in our state. I’m incredibly excited about this latest expansion at the Spaceport. We’ve only begun scratching the surface of what’s possible in aerospace technology in Southern New Mexico.”

The State of New Mexico, through the Economic Development Department’s LEDA job-creators fund, is supporting the expansion with $4 million, paid out in phases as SpinLaunch reaches economic development goals.

“SpinLaunch is part of the growing community of businesses creating jobs and innovating new technologies at New Mexico’s Spaceport America,” Cabinet Secretary Keyes said. “We see the state’s space cluster as an important economic driver to diversify the economy with higher-paying jobs in Southern New Mexico.”

The company, expected to spend $46 million of private money in construction and expansion over 10 years, will generate an economic impact of $239 million over that period of time statewide.

SpinLaunch founder Jonathan Yaney said the technology behind the company is a cleaner and more affordable way to reach orbit.

“Our technology enables a 10 times reduction in the current costs and complexities of reaching orbit. As the number of rocket launches rapidly increases, SpinLaunch uniquely reaches space without releasing pollutants into critical layers of the atmosphere. We’re satisfying both the economic and environmental demands of a space industry experiencing exponential growth. This is the first time in human history we have an alternative to rockets,” Yaney said.

SpinLaunch has also qualified for job training assistance through the state’s Job Training Incentive Program (JTIP). According to Yaney, the economic development initiatives were essential for a small company like SpinLaunch, as it works to innovate and bring to market a unique business.

“SpinLaunch will grow into thousands of employees as we develop,” Yaney said. “When you’re this young of a company, with this bold of a concept, being able to receive assistance is absolutely essential. This support was instrumental in deciding to come to New Mexico.”

Sierra County is the fiscal agent for the project and the Sierra County Commission will consider the LEDA ordinance in the coming weeks.

“Sierra County is excited to collaborate with the Economic Development Department and SpinLaunch on this project,” Sierra County Manager Bruce Swingle said. “This project will create 59 new jobs in the region, at an average salary of $72,322. In a rural community, these high-paying jobs will have an immediate impact and significantly boost our economy. High-paying jobs mean more revenue for our schools, hospital, and infrastructure.”

Yaney said SpinLaunch will strongly recruit from New Mexico’s universities and is reaching out to NMSU and New Mexico Tech for its talent. As the company moves toward test launches, its hires will shift toward engineers and other technical experts.

 

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Getting the Most Out of Confidentiality Agreements

When it comes to buying or selling a business, there is no replacement for a solid confidentiality agreement.  One of the key ways that business brokers and M&A advisors are able to help buyers and sellers alike is through their extensive knowledge of confidentiality agreements and how best to implement them.  In this article, we will provide you with an overview of what you should expect out of your confidentiality agreements.

A confidentiality agreement is a legal agreement that essentially forbids both buyers and sellers, as well as related parties such as agents, from disclosing information regarding the transition.  It is a best practice to have a confidentiality agreement in place before discussing the business in any way and especially before divulging key information on the operation of the business or trade secrets. 

While a confidentiality agreement can be used to keep the fact that a business is for sale private, that is only a small aspect of what modern confidentiality agreements generally seek to accomplish.  Confidentiality agreements are used to ensure that a prospective buyer doesn’t use any proprietary data, knowledge or trade secrets to benefit themselves or other parties.

When creating a confidentiality agreement, it is important to keep several variables in mind, such as what information will be excluded and what information will be disclosed, the term of the confidentiality agreement, the remedy for breach, and the manner in which confidential information will be used and handled. 

Any effective confidentiality agreement will contain a variety of key points.  Sellers will want their confidentiality agreement to cover a fairly wide array of territory.  For example, the confidentiality agreement will state that the potential buyer will not attempt to hire away employees.  In general, this and many other details, will have a termination date.

The specifics of how confidentiality is to be maintained should also be included in the confidentiality agreement.  Parties should agree to hold conversations in private; this point has become increasingly important due to the use of mobile phones and in particular the use of mobile phones in out-of-office locations.  Additionally, it is prudent to specify that principal names should not be used in outside discussions and that a code name should be developed for the name of the proposed merger or acquisition. 

Safeguarding documents is another area that should receive considerable attention.  Digital files should be password protected.  All paperwork should be kept in a safe location and locked away for maximum privacy when not in use.

In their enthusiasm to find a buyer for their business, many sellers have overlooked the confidentiality agreement stage of the process.  Most have regretted doing so.  A confidentiality agreement can help protect your business’s key information from being exploited during the sales process.  Any experienced and capable business broker or M&A advisor will strongly recommend that buyers and sellers always depend on confidentiality agreements to establish information disclosure perimeters.

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How to Optimize Your Chances of Selling Your Business

The simple fact is that selling your business is likely to be the single most important financial decision you’ll ever make.  With this important fact in mind, it is essential that you prepare far in advance.  Let’s dive in and take a look at some of the key items you’ll want to check off your list before placing your business on the market.

Think About Legalities

When it comes to selling a business, legal issues should be at the forefront of your thoughts; after all, selling your business does involve the creation and execution of a complex and detailed legal agreement.  There are many times in life where it is possible to cut corners, but hiring a good lawyer or law firm is not one of those times.  Moreover, you’ll want to settle all litigation, environmental issues or other issues that could potentially derail a sale.

Deal with Serious Buyers

Working with a good business broker or M&A advisor is an essential part of the selling process, as these professionals will help you to weed out “window shoppers” as well as prospective buyers who are simply not a good fit for your business.  Any serious buyer should be willing to submit a Letter of Intent.  Everyone should be on the same page as far as price and terms as well as what assets and liabilities are to be assumed.  This second point reinforces the first point.  It is essential to have an experienced lawyer helping you through various aspects of the sales process.

Be Flexible on Price

You should also be prepared to accept a lower price than you might ideally want.  There are many reasons that this may occur, ranging from a lack of management depth and a lack of geographical distribution to a dependence on a limited number of clients.  Reliance on a small number of customers and/or clients can give potential buyers pause, as it could raise concerns regarding the stability of your business.  Addressing these issues years before placing your business on the market can help you best achieve the price point you desire.  This is yet another reason to work with a business broker in advance.

Improving Your Chances for Success

In terms of achieving the price that you want for your business, there are other steps you can take.  Increasing the visibility and profile of your business is always a savvy move.  Consider attending trade shows, boost your online profile via stepping up your social media game and explore creating a coherent public relations program.

Finally, selling a business is often a waiting game.  You have to be psychologically prepared to wait a considerable period of time before your business is sold.  The fact is that most businesses do indeed sit on the shelf for a considerable period of time before they are sold.

Preparation, patience and good organization will dramatically increase your chances of selling your business and achieving an appropriate price.  The sooner you begin organizing your business and working with experienced professionals, the greater the chances of success will be.

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Cost-Effective Ways to Promote Your Business’s Reopening

ARTICLE BY: NAOMI JOHNSON

If you are a small business owner, chances are you’ve never experienced anything quite like the challenges created by the pandemic. Maybe your business has been closed since March, or maybe you’ve been allowed to reopen at a limited capacity. Whatever the circumstances, it’s essential to prepare for the future—a future where your business is up and running, whether it’s at full capacity or not.

For you to be adequately prepared, not only will you need to make any necessary adjustments to your daily operations, but you will also need to market your reopening so that people want to visit your business when the time comes. We invite you to consider a few practical, cost-effective ways you can do just that:

Make Budgetary Changes

When you are in a tough place financially, it can be hard to accomplish your goals and push your company forward. The first step should be revisiting your budget so you can effectively allocate any money that you do have.

Along with reopening and laying a foundation for long-term success, your business will need money to promote your reopening efforts. Fortunately, there are numerous ways to access both government and private financial assistance and funding during these strange, uncertain times.

For example, the Small Business Administration (SBA) is offering Express Bridge loans for businesses that are struggling during COVID-19, as well as SBA traditional loans unrelated to the pandemic.

Re-Focus Your Marketing Initiatives

With the pandemic having such a significant impact on businesses and the greater public, it’s likely you need to make some major adjustments to any marketing and advertising initiatives you had in place. Everything has changed, and your priority must now be to let consumers know that it’s safe to visit and shop at your business.

Communicate to customers and potential customers the steps you are taking in response to COVID-19, including operational changes, safety protocols, and other details.

Bolster Internal Communication

Along with getting your message to consumers, it’s essential to ensure that effective internal communication is in place. This applies to your current staff as well as any remote freelancers on your payroll. Establishing regular communication and staying connected will help your operations run smoothly. Setting clear expectations for when each worker should be available and using collaboration apps like Slack and Microsoft Teams are a couple of the most practical ways to achieve this. Remember too that everyone needs to make digital security a high priority. Take the time to make sure you and any remote staff are staying up to date with antivirus software and maintaining protection for your network.

Reopen with a Bang

Finally, you will need to entice consumers to come back to your business when you are reopened. Think of any deals that you can offer, whether it’s discounted items, a storewide sale or exclusive promotions for email subscribers. And make sure that you are building hype for the reopening by using all the right channels, such as social media platforms and email.

A Word on Walking Away

Small businesses have scratched and clawed to stay viable during the pandemic. In some cases, business owners have decided now is the time to step back and leave the business in new hands. If you’ve hit a wall and it’s time for you to move on, consider working with Sam Goldenberg & Associates to help sell your viable business. To learn more, we invite you to call us at 505-820-0163 or email us at info@samgoldenberg.com.

No one needs to tell you that re-opening your business during or after the pandemic is a big deal. Along with careful planning for your reopening, be sure to promote it to the best of your ability as well. Reworking your budget, modifying your marketing initiatives, establishing effective communication, and drawing customers to your business through promotions and digital marketing are all methods that can help you accomplish this.

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Insights from BizBuySell’s 3rd Quarter Insight Report

Most business buyers and sellers are wondering what 2021 and beyond will bring.  BizBuySell and BizQuest President Bob House provided a range of insights stemming from BizBuySell’s 3rd Quarter Insight Report and a survey of over 2,300 business owners. 

The simple fact is that the pandemic has most definitely had a major impact on the buying and selling of businesses.  This fact is obvious.  But diving deeper, there are a range of insights that can be gleaned. 

First, owners do understand that COVID is a massive force in business right now.  According to the survey, 68% of owners feel that they would have received a better price for their business in 2019 than in 2020.  Only 37% of respondents felt that they would receive a better price this year.  Of owners who felt that they would receive a lower price in 2020 than in 2019, 71% of these owners said that their assessment was directly tied to the pandemic and its accompanying economic impact.

A question on the survey asked owners if the pandemic had impacted their exit plans.  55% responded that the pandemic had not changed their exit plans.  Additionally, 22% said that they now planned on exiting later, and 12% stated that they planned on exiting earlier.  In short, the majority of business owners were not changing their exit plans.

On the other side of the coin, buyers are acknowledging that the present seems to be a very good time to buy.  A staggering 81% of buyers stated that they felt confident that they would be able to find an acceptable price point.  In terms of their purchasing timeline, 72% of respondents stated that they were planning on buying a business soon.  Survey follow-ups indicated that large numbers of buyers were also planning on buying in 2021.

Generational differences are playing a role as well.  Baby Boomers tend to be more optimistic than non-boomers as far as their overall views on the recovery.  43% of Baby Boomers now expect the economy to recover within the next year as compared to just 30% of non-Boomers.  House pointed out, “Baby Boomers are the generation that did not plan, which makes it harder for them to adjust transition plans if they were preparing to retire, as small businesses don’t have the infrastructure and management teams in place to wait out a bad cycle.”

Based on the information collected by BizBuySell’s 3rd Quarter Insight Report and their survey, it is clear that there is a new wave of buyers on the horizon.  The report supports the notion that the pandemic has made small business ownership an attractive option for new entrepreneurs.  Factors driving new entrepreneurs into the marketplace include everything from being unemployed and wanting more control over their own futures to a desire to capitalize on opportunities. 

Finally, House notes that 2021 could be a “perfect storm for business sales,” as 10,000 Americans will turn 65 each and every day.  This means that the supply of excellent businesses entering the marketplace will likely increase dramatically.

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