Did Fate Destroy the Chances of Selling a Business in 2020?

Whew, didn’t see that coming. The first two quarters of 2020 have been devastating for some businesses. If you had plans to sell your business this year, is that still possible? And without selling for a huge discount?

We interviewed respected North Florida business broker, Bianca Evans, Transworld to get her thoughts. 

What movement in the market are you seeing? Are businesses still being bought and sold right now?

“I think we are seeing the end of a cycle. Things got tight by mid-March with buyers and sellers not making any decisions for fear of what was going to happen next. By late April, activity nearly stopped. But by early May, we saw the opportunists come out looking for distressed businesses to buy on the cheap. By June, the gates of pent up demand let loose. Just last week I was contacted by a buyer that had his eye on four different businesses. I had to tell him all four were already under contract and he was too late. It’s a good time to sell right now. The market is forcing buyers to act fast.”

Even for restaurants and bars?

“There certainly were some winners and losers in the second quarter. At the time of this article restaurants and bars are not yet able to operate a full capacity so their revenue has been decimated. High-end dining businesses took the biggest hit, They weren’t set up for handling take-out business, so they just had to shut down. Pizza and Italian concepts fared significantly better. They saw less overall impact and quicker rebounds. It’s a bit of an uncertain time for them, so buyers are understandably nervous in this industry, but I’m confident it will rebound-hopefully this summer and not any longer.”

So who were the winners?

“Some businesses not only survived but thrived. Transportation logistics, labs, home services, mold remediation, and even FedEx route businesses have seen big revenue growth. I’m telling my clients in these industries to use the opportunity to “level up” and make some investments while cash flow is good. When they sell their business at the end of this year or next, they will be glad they did because the offer multiple will increase.

Home services are hot. People are spending more time at home than before and noticing their landscaping needs to be redone or they are ready for that kitchen remodel. Government stimulus money helped grease the wheels in those businesses for sure. If any business owners want to list their business for sale now, we have buyers lined up for the right opportunity.”

If your Q2 revenue was just a fraction of last year, that’s probably gone forever. Did it damage the value of your business?

“Yes, no, and maybe is the only answer I can give. I’ll explain, If our current economic climate goes back to normal sometime this summer, there is a low likelihood that the value of the business would be affected at all. It’s because we can explain to buyers that this is not normal and to look deeper at historical revenues pre and post Q2- 2020. Banks will be forced to do the same thing if they want to lend money. We can equate it to other Acts of God such as a hurricane. However, buyers will use the dip in revenues to argue why it should be worth less. That’s why you need a qualified business broker to help you navigate negotiations like this. 

Now, if the dip lasts longer and through the end of the year, it gets more difficult to make the case that dipping revenues were just a temporary thing. We have some business owners listing their businesses now before they fully rebound because they are nervous about circumstances out of their control. Listing now is their safe option.”

What advice would you give to a business owner wanting to sell their business this year?

“Don’t believe everything you hear. Business activity is still going strong and there are buy and sell opportunities everywhere. If health, life, and ambitions are the reasons behind wanting to list your business for sale, don’t wait. There’s no reason to. The first step in that process is to get a broker’s opinion of value. This will help quantify the business value so other strategic decisions can be made to move forward, or not.”  

About Bianca Evans

Bianca Evans is an experienced business broker based in Jacksonville, Florida. She is a top producer in her field. She has made over 150 transactions since 2006 which makes her among the most seasoned in the area. She is a Certified Business Intermediary (CBI), a Certified M&A Professional (CM & AP), a Board Certified Intermediary (BCI), and has her B.S. degree from the University of Florida.

Other notable accolades and achievements:
•The Million Dollar Plus Award 2008, through 2020
•Dealmaker Award top 3% in the state for completed deals 2018

-Most dollars sold in North Florida in 2018

•Sold an array of industries including manufacturing, wholesale/distribution, service, retail, restaurants, professional offices, and more.

•25 years of Sales Experience

She maintains her professional networks by participating in a variety of associations including the International Business Brokers Association (IBBA) and the Business Brokers of Florida (BBF).

One interesting fact about Bianca is that she used to be a business owner herself! She has been on both sides of the transaction when she purchased and later sold that same business. She finds that perspective invaluable when relating to her clients and balancing the many details and emotions.

She is licensed in Georgia and Florida and speaks fluent German.

To reach Bianca, email: bianca@tworld.com or visit her website https://www.myfloridabusinessbroker.com/