Demand for niche market businesses
Beardsley Theobalds, the specialist business transfer agency, has, over the last few months, brokered the sale of four niche market businesses showing that there is demand for businesses that are not ‘run of the mill’.
Some business owners, who are looking towards retirement or who simply fancy a change, think that they have a business that is so specialist or unusual that nobody would want to take it on. However, if that business is transferable (i.e. not totally geared around the business owner) and makes a profit, then there is a market for those businesses; it’s just a matter of judging the correct market price for the business and promoting it to the right audience.
The first deal to complete was on a driver training business providing driver safety and efficiency training to UK and world-wide clients. One arm of the business provides a range of trainer delivered practical courses and another provides on-line, computer based safety programmes; bespoke courses are also offered. The clients are often fleet operators and these courses assist compliance with health & safety, driver legislation and fleet efficiency. The business was being operated by two directors (one based in Spain) and one administrative assistant and was relocatable. The promotional campaign included a targeted approach to a handful of similar operators and advertising (using the appropriate wording) on specialist business transfer websites. A sale was agreed to the operator of a large driving school who responded to an advertisement on one of these sites and he saw the business as a suitable add on to his existing business operations.
Another recent sale was for a specialist tour operator offering ski and snowboard instructor training courses and winter sports adventure holidays. The courses are offered at resorts in Canada, France, New Zealand and Japan. Again the business was operated by just a few people (family members) but, in carving out a niche in the market they established the business to be the ‘go-to’ provider and again healthy profits were being made. With Beardsley Theobalds having a large register of buyers looking to buy a business a mailshot was carried out to people on that register who have shown interest in businesses operated in a similar way (i.e. can be run from home from anywhere) and in the same price range. There was immediate interest from many serious buyers with suitable backgrounds. The buyers were a husband and wife, who have experience in the yachting industry in management, accounts and logistics as well as the husband being a superyacht captain so, with transferable skills, as well as being keen skiers, this niche business was just what they were looking for.
The next sale was of an importer of costume jewellery that sold the items via display cabinets in hotel foyers. The husband and wife vendors operated the business from home with the assistance of two part-time administrators/pickers/packers. With the cabinets being in over 100 sites across the country the business also employs two full time merchandisers. The vendors (who actually bought the business via Beardsley Theobalds in 2004) were looking to retire and responses to advertising came from right across the country. The business was bought by Angelo Lenarduzzi and his partner Jo Butler who will keep the business based in Devon and retain the staff.
An additional sale was in respect of a business that trades as Tenderbuzz which, via a sophisticated website, provides alerts of public sector tenders to firms (who have to be registered with Tenderbuzz) who may wish to bid for those contracts. The business was being operated from home by one person and had the facility to be operated from anywhere. The buyer (who had previously bought and sold business via Beardsley Theobalds) saw that he had the ability to develop the business from the good foundation that had been established.