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Confessions of a Former Buyer: You Can’t Time the Market

First in a series.

Having bought businesses for the past 25 years of my career I can now give my insights to business sellers on how to best sell what they have worked decades to develop. As a former buyer I had represented the other side. We all have an agenda–this doesn’t make us bad–just normal.

Sellers would often ask me if they had waited too long and miss-timed the best time to sell. Their concerns were often interest rates, economy, COVID-19, and buyers’ appetites.

In reality, the market value of a well-run business will always be present and buyers smart enough to buy during downturns may have taken full advantage. While markets may go up and down–they can only be timed in the rear-view mirror.

The best timing is based on when the seller is ready to sell and prepared to proceed in a deliberate manner. They can then get the most value for their business from a buyer they feel comfortable with. Owners have worked hard for decades, taken all sorts of risk, and made personal sacrifices–they should decide when the time is right.

Many sellers will consider the process for a few years before making a decision. This can be especially true when there is more than one owner. Attempting to analyze the market can just add to the consternation. The most-pleased sellers always feel like they know the time is right for them.

 

Bob Williamson

Pest & Lawn Director, Cetane Associates

September 2023


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We were very pleased to have such a knowledgeable and experienced company in our corner with the team at Cetane. It was obvious that they knew the best process and how to get the ball over the goal line. Their advice throughout the process was greatly appreciated and we thoroughly enjoyed working with them.

— Steve Lombardi, Brodeur’s Oil, Moosup, CT