Now is the time to take control of your life by becoming your own boss!

Friday 10th July 2020

The impact of Covid-19 related Government guidelines and restrictions have caused a lot of people to review their working lives. Many employees have been furloughed whilst others have already lost their jobs and, sadly, significantly more will undoubtedly join the latter’s ranks! Even those currently working – either from home or at their employers’ business premises – are feeling somewhat fearful for what the future may hold as far as the security of their positions is concerned (and that is without attempting to account for the eventual effect that automation and AI may bring to the employment table). Consequently, a mixture of fear regarding job security and a desire to improve income and stability has led to a considerable increase in the number of people now contemplating the idea of owning their own business.

Another factor encouraging people to consider having their own business is their desire to improve their quality of life. For many, who live in large towns and cities, the attraction of moving to more environmentally friendly areas is an increasingly powerful draw, whilst the majority of those currently facing lengthy commutes to work would also like to dispense with the cost and downtime involved (and for whom working from home is not necessarily the answer!). Whereas, employers’ business locations usually dictate where their employees work, when people are free to purchase a business almost anywhere in the country (and beyond) they can be very selective as to what and where.

Historically, going-concern businesses have mainly been acquired by those in the 45-60 years age bracket – people who often no longer have mortgages, whose children have grown up and left home and who are now ready for a complete change of direction. Most of them had harboured the idea of owning and managing a business with a view to being able to achieve fuller rewards for their efforts whilst also being in much more control of their own destiny. These aspirations have certainly not changed, but the above mentioned age group are now being joined by much younger aspirants. However, these people have generally not got the advantage of having cleared their mortgages and usually their children are still living with them. Nevertheless, with the financial support of family and/or friends and with lending facilities and all time low interest rates in their favour, the vast majority of these younger people do not feel hidebound by their current circumstances. No longer do they consider themselves to be locked into their current lot – the events and their experience of the last three months and their fears for the future have tended to concentrate their minds on the possibility of a change in direction, leading to the prospect of a more satisfying and rewarding next phase in their working lives.

On the subject of raising finance to buy a business, prospective buyers (especially the younger group referred to above) are increasingly being supported by family members who have experienced a continued fall in returns on their savings in recent years. With rates of return now considered by many to be totally unacceptable, they are quite prepared to help another member of their family to acquire a business by way of a personal loan or investment in the chosen business. This not only helps with the business purchase but also creates the opportunity for a better return on their capital. Consequently, a win/win situation for them and their kin. Meanwhile, others with private capital investments and not satisfied with yields are themselves acquiring businesses as investments and then providing opportunities for members of their families or friends to manage the businesses for them, with a view to enabling these people to buy the businesses from them over time. As they say, where there’s a will, there’s a way!

During the last few months we at Beardsley Theobalds have seen a marked increase, not just in serious prospective buyer enquiries but also in enquirers wanting to have telephone conversations or virtual meetings with our business vendor clients (whilst physical meetings were, of course, not permitted). Now, however, since the recent easing of lockdown restrictions more and more people are wanting to visit businesses being offered for sale in order to inspect them and have more meaningful meetings with the owners (arranged, of course, with social distancing guidelines firmly in mind). As a result, sales are picking up and the prospects for business transfers are improving by the day. With increasing numbers of people now looking to buy businesses this trend looks likely to continue.

So, if the possibility of acquiring a business appeals to you please do visit our website – www.beardsleytheobalds.co.uk – to see if there is something available which whets your appetite!

Roger Mundy

Managing Director

Beardsley Theobalds – the specialist business transfer agency