Coronavirus Upside?A Coronavirus upside? Could there really be one? It’s a little early to tell but anecdotal evidence is starting to appear that there may be. As with most industries, ours saw a sudden downshift in early March with the business environment worsening as April dawned. Deals that were in the pipeline were put on hold as buyers waited to see what kind of economic damage would be caused by governments around the world shuttering vast swaths of their economies. Financing sources became more hesitant as values were suddenly less certain. And business owners – even those that had been considering selling – were reluctant to bring their business to market, unsure of whether the business they spent years building would now be valued at a level that would enable them to retire. The market changed so abruptly we, like most people, saw inquiries fall off a cliff. But the market didn’t just disappear in a puff of smoke. Some industries – travel and food services; restaurants most notably – where hit very hard and many of those businesses may be unable to recover. But many businesses in other industries were able to cut back operations to a survivability mode and others, particularly online businesses, actually grew. So, what has changed to warrant use of the word “upside” next to the word “coronavirus”?
A Little Covid Background
In the United States alone, the government-mandated shutdowns have cost more than 36 million people their jobs. Millions more around the world are now dependent of government assistance to meet their basic needs. “Dependency” is a very distasteful word – let alone situation – to a large number of people who just want to live their lives, provide for their families and be left alone by their government.
But many of these people, fearful of not only the possibility of their job vanishing but also the vulnerability of the future they’ve been working toward, are looking for a way to secure their future livelihood. And they’re coming to the conclusion that owning their own business may be the best way to do this.
The Potential Coronavirus UpsideTraffic to our website is up. The number of people reading these posts is up. Inquiries regarding our listings are up. Questions regarding financing the purchase of a business are up. Admittedly, all this is little more than anecdotal evidence and even if this portends a trend, we’re only at the very beginning of it. Time will tell if it will actually play out. But we’re not the only ones seeing this trend. Colleagues of ours around the world – Sydney, London, Toronto, Berlin – are experiencing the same upward movement in activity – some brokers are referring to it as a “spike”. Every time a country’s unemployment number ticks up, traffic inquiring about business opportunities pops. In some places, because business owners have been reluctant to bring their business to market, business brokers don’t have enough listings to satisfy the demand.
Our course, The Basic “How-To” of Becoming a Business Broker”, teaches how to market and sell businesses.