In the town where the talk is mostly startup, lies a huge chasm of opportunity for almost-instantaneous business growth in entrepreneurs preparing for exit and/or retirement.
These are the people who have spent most of their lives building and growing their businesses through the aches and pains of the startup and seed phases, and who have enjoyed solid, prosperous rewards. They may not have become a Google or an Amazon, but they’ve certainly generated a solid revenue stream, they have built up a stable customer base, their company culture has evolved and stabilised into what they wanted it to be, and they’ve simply been doing well.
But for them, at least the outgoing entrepreneur, they’re ready to hand things over to someone new. Whether they’re considering a management take-over, or whether they’re simply looking for someone (or something) to buy them out, they’ve done the hard work and are ready for change.
(This may even be you, that we’re talking about).
Sure, you may have found the next answer to life, the universe and everything, understand that starting up another idea is not the only entrepreneurial step you can take.
According to the California Association of Business Brokers, over the next 20 years, retiring business owners will sell or bequeath $10 trillion worth of assets, held in more than 12 million privately owned businesses. More than 70% of those businesses will likely change hands, offering major opportunities for younger entrepreneurs.
And the picture is no different in the UK either with trends emerging where the new type of startup are those started by entrepreneurs over the age of 50. Where they are growing, they will eventually need buy-out too.
They’ve sailed the storm
They’ve proven the concept. They’ve made their way through the startup process, and, if not still, were probably once very productive. They have a product in the market already and they know what works, and what doesn’t. There may be businesses who have stagnated a bit, simply because it’s lost the energy to keep evolving – but it certainly doesn’t mean that it’s the end of the road for it. It just needs an injection of new enthusiasm. It’s up to you to pick up and move that product into new directions – with an existing brand, support network and infrastructure in place.
They’re probably ready for change
If you’re thinking that it’s going to be easy to simply buy an existing business and not do much else with it, then you’re horribly mistaken. If the outgoing entrepreneur is ready to handover, well, then they know that they’re (and their business) is ready for change. So, although the platter may be silver, resting on your laurels is anything but what you will (and should) be doing.
There is a benefit here though. The business is ready for your stamp, your vision, your direction – and if you spend the time in understanding where the business has been, then you set yourself up to take it to where it needs to be, successfully.
They understand their market
They’ve built relationships. They have a (hopefully) loyal customer-base. Doing your research into any acquisition is critical – and that means getting to grips with their market, their competitors, their buying habits, their seasonal hiccups. And before you plunge headfirst into any acquisition, it’s critical that you download as much of their knowledge and experience as possible, taking the information that is valuable, assessing that and applying the learnings to your new strategy. They’ve tried and tested. It’s for you to take that experience and build and action a new growth strategy for it.
♣ NOTE: Getting started with buying a new business may appear easier than it really is. Once you’ve identified the type of business you want to take over, you need to find it. (Unless you already have). Make sure that you join forces with organisations and individuals that will give you the support you need to make your new acquisition a success. You’ll be needing a range of business support services that will help you in this process. Do your due diligence, take the time to research what you need to know, and be ready to add value – before you’ve even signed the deal.