Blog

Jan 25

I've just got off the phone...

Posted by Craig Weston at Wednesday, January 25, 2017

I’ve just got off the phone with one of our great clients.

They run a really good business and are looking to buy another totally unrelated business to the one they already have.

They ran some numbers and asked me to tell them what I think.

The numbers themselves looked quite good BUT when I took a closer look I could see that there were some key things missing. Things like missed overheads, missed variable costs, Kiwisaver etc.

I think with any business purchase it’s important to get a second opinion. Often as a buyer one can get too emotionally involved to see things objectively. 

They have agreed to let us prepare a simple but comprehensive plan for the new business.

I’m glad because I want them to do well and the plan will help to de risk the venture and give them solid information on which to base their purchase decision.

Craig

Nov 25

Buying a good business

Posted by Craig Weston at Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Don’t know what it is…….

……… but recently I have had an influx of good people wanting to buy good businesses. In spite of the risks, the economy seems to be chugging along albeit not quite a “rock star” one.

We have heard for many years that there is this huge wave of businesses about to be sold by ageing baby boomers. When I analyse the approaches we have recently had, it doesn’t yet seem that way. As well as the purchase of existing businesses we also have clients involved in new start ups, and expansion of existing operations.

Using my small sample, the age group that are selling are not predominately baby boomers. They are younger ones moving on to something new.  The really interesting thing is that 50% of the ones buying or expanding are baby boomers!

We love this kind of work. We employ tools that help make the complex simple. It is stimulating working with people who are seeking to do something new.

Craig

May 09

Selling a business - a client story

Posted by Craig Weston at Friday, May 09, 2014

“The time has come – I want to put my business on the market”

In our accounting business, this is a phrase we hear from our clients from time to time. I suspect we may hear it quite a bit more over the coming few years.

It has been said for quite some time now that “baby boomers” will be retiring in droves and there will be a huge number of businesses going on the market. Well, we haven’t quite seen that yet.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that these “baby boomers” may have been holding off selling because they don’t know what to do afterwards (“what am I going to do after I sell up?”) and perhaps because the GFC delayed them getting a good price.

In any event, we will likely see more businesses changing hands soon, so if you are thinking of selling, it may pay you to read on…….

We recently assisted a client to sell their business. Our client was a long standing one – he and his wife had been in the business for over 30 years and had done pretty well. As with most businesses, there had been some lean years but overall the business had provided them with a good life.

They used a broker to help them sell the business. The broker found the buyer and facilitated the necessary communication and agreements between the parties. Using a good broker can help the process hugely. Brokers already know a range of potential buyers and can often match those with the seller.

There was a time for due diligence – this is where a price is already agreed on but the deal is still subject to the purchaser checking “under the bonnet” to make sure the business runs well and what is being represented by the seller is in fact true eg are the sales that are reported, actually there & likely to be there in the future?

In the end the deal was done and the price paid. But there were a few things that in hindsight we all learned could have been done better. These include:

  • While we would all agree that a “gentleman’s agreement” on certain “small things” is an honourable way to go, sometimes after the event it may not be that secure. Our advice – tie down as much as possible in a written signed agreement. This can save a good amount of heartache after the event.
  • As the seller, don’t allow the purchaser to make use of your supplier accounts, because they need time to get their own ones sorted. Best they sort this themselves.
  • If you are selling stock, tie down the valuation methods clearly and succinctly, and know how you will deal with obsolete stock. Get specific written agreement from the purchaser about that.

Finally understand that when you sell a business that has been part of your life for a long time, there will be an emotional parting from it. There will be a sense of relief but also a sense of loss. Prepare for this well and you will emerge much stronger and ready for the next challenge.