Gearing up for better times

August 4, 2014

By Greg Bolton, head of corporate finance at RMT Accountants & Business Advisors Ltd

George Osborne’s recent visit to the North East was designed by the Government’s communications supremoes to be a watershed moment in the UK’s recent economic history.

Timed to coincide with the latest GDP figures, which showed that the UK economy had grown by 0.8% during the second quarter of 2014 and that it had finally battled its way above its pre-recession peak, the Chancellor’s tour of Virgin Money’s Gosforth HQ provided a clear line in the sand from which an election campaign could be launched.

While always taking what any politician says with a pinch of salt, the economic atmosphere in our region is tangibly better than it was 12 months ago – everyone might not yet be feeling the impact of this in their pockets, but the pessimism that has haunted us since 2008 seems finally to be dissipating.

One of the impacts of this for my industry is something of a loosening of the purse strings from the traditional providers of capital for business acquisitions.
An understandable reluctance to get their fingers burned in difficult times, coupled with business owners holding onto assets that they might otherwise have sold due to a feeling that they won’t get maximum value for them, has held back the North East’s merger and acquisition market in recent years.

However the trend now appears to be changing due easier access to capital and a greater number of opportunities in the market place..

If you’re one of these company owners who’s now looking to realise the benefits of building up a business through the difficult last few years, what should your priorities be for securing the sale you’re looking for?

Showing that you’ve successfully achieved solid sales and profits in the past is clearly important, but it’s equally important to be able to show that you’ve got the structures in place to carry this on in the future.

Potential buyers are going to be interested in three main areas – your client list, your brand/reputation and your infrastructure, all of which will combine towards creating sustainable value in your business.

As part of this, ensure that you’re investing appropriately in staff recruitment and training, as their expertise and commitment will be central in setting the business up for further success in the future.

Getting robust, independent advice on your plans will help you get everything in place as efficiently as possible.

The climate for securing a business sale is better now than it has been for several years, but having everything properly in place is the best way for company owners to get the outcomes they’re looking for.


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