Despite predictions that a flood of small businesses would be coming of for sale as owners of a certain generation ready themselves for retirement, many are holding on longer than expected.
I recently wrote a post titled “The $4 Trillion Opportunity for Business Ownership Transition.” That post attempted to quantify the current dollar value of businesses that are likely to transfer over the next decade or so. The post also noted that the massive wave of ownership transitions that some have been predicting for more than a decade simply has not materialized yet.
The Wall Street Journal pieced together a number of possible reasons the transition wave has not occurred:
- Some baby boomers seem to have a tough time letting go of the reins to their companies.
- Younger family members aren’t interested in taking over.
- Some owners are working longer because they have not recovered from the recession yet.
- According to Judy Habib of KHJ Brand Activation, “Baby boomers are so not dead yet…Do you really think we will fade off into the sunset? No.”
- Business owners are in good health and enjoy working.
- There’s more room for growth and boomer owners want to grab it before selling.
I’ll add another reason – procrastination.
The article points out that it takes a long time to get a company ready for sale, and that many owners need to be focused on this while they are waiting. It does take time to prepare a business for sale. See my posts:
- Is Your Business Ready for Sale?
- Is Your Business Ready for Sale? Another post with the same title? I guess I got creative there. Maybe it was Part One and Part Two? But the posts are different!
- If, But and Yes, But…No Way to Sell Anything
Whether there is a massive selling boom or not, ownership and management transitions are inevitable. It is okay for owners to wait on their transitions if they are planning for them and putting the necessary management and ownership transition pieces in place while they enjoy the ride or procrastinate.
Whistle while you work, and be well!
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