More Information Than Ever

Like a lot of you I’ve been on more webinars the last six weeks than I usually go on in six months to a year. And, there’s actually been some good ones.

An interesting one was put on by Salesforce and featured Mark Cuban. A few of the things he said were:

  • Now is the time to amplify your brand.
  • Connect with people, don’t sell.
  • Everybody is scared (at some varying level).
  • The disaster recovery programs from the government are like automatic overdraft protection.

A really good webinar was put on by Business Brokerage Press (BBP) and the points the experts made are valuable for more than just the buy-sell industry. Here are the ones I noted with my comments in parentheses:

  • We all need to do a better job of screening potential clients and customers to make sure they’re serious, what they have is viable, they’re viable. (Not just now, always.)
  • Most owners are concentrating on core business functions, not exit planning. (Many are concentrating on survival.)
  • For new clients, now is the time to get paperwork in order and be ready to go when the time is right.
  • Baby boomers are not getting any younger. The tsunami of exiting owners predicted over the last 10-12 years hasn’t hit yet. Maybe this will push it over the top. (I agree, there’s been no spike of exiting owners, just a slow increase.)
  • To business sellers, set a firm expectation of value and cash at closing. (They emphasized the word firm as we know people remember what they want to remember.)
  • To owners who have been coasting – watch out! (Yes, a culture of coasting will be hard to change to one of urgency.)
  • Good people will be available to improve your team. (On my Zoom Happy Hour on April 16 Joe Fugere said they’re looking at all the good people let go by other restaurants.)
  • Show you can bounce back. (Not just for those selling but for those wanting to reassure customers, employees, and vendors).
  • Business buyers will be expecting deals and consider using an earnout.
  • This will push up bottom feeder (business buyers) and it’s way too soon to get freaked out over value. (I agree, I’m seeing the bottom feeders out there, going after businesses in industries hit hard.)
  • Business buyers who want to pay based on the last 12 months of earnings for businesses hurt by COVID-19 won’t want to pay based on the last 12 months for those companies that got a spike. 
  • The reverse is true of sellers.
  • Buy-sell experts are going to have to figure out how to mitigate the situation. We could see deal structures change (more seller financing), more earnouts, buyers will be more cautious, etc. (And, we don’t know how banks are going to look at all of this.)

On the other end of the spectrum, I was on a Zoom meeting with a bunch of corporate people and corporate consultants. Talk about heads in the ozone. These people had no idea about the “real world.” One lady actually said that nobody will want to own a car anymore now that we know we can all work from home. Okay, other than those people delivering things to her home, working in stores, on construction sites, installing furnaces, cutting hair, etc. Or, those who like the freedom of getting out, hauling their boat, going skiing, and other activities.

Conclusion

Regarding the points from BBP, I can’t argue with the points made and I also think you can take out the business buy-sell specifics and apply most of these points to business in general. Businesses shouldn’t coast, we don’t know what banks will do regarding lines of credit and other non-transaction loans, and many of us will have to mitigate numerous circumstances.

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