What no deal means for entrepreneurs looking to sell up

  • 13 Feb 2019
While the games of brinkmanship continue between Brussels and Downing Street, and between various parliamentary factions, the country waits to see who will blink first. And all the while, the business community must tread water pending more concrete outcomes which cannot be more than a few weeks away. 

For SMEs, who now represent 99.3% of the UK business landscape, this lingering uncertainty is annoying and unwelcome in equal measure. 

But how damaging is this impasse for those looking to exit a UK business now and/or in the immediate post-Brexit period? 

So, will No Deal mean no deal for you? 

Understandably, potential business buyers will be looking to acquire a stable business investment. That means the possibility of economic fragility, which an unsatisfactory Brexit may precipitate, will probably have some detrimental impact on buyer confidence. 

Furthermore, a no-deal exit is particularly likely to exaggerate this effect. And as a result, many firms, companies and individuals are now holding off making major business decisions until such time as the business climate returns to more stable conditions. 


The state of contingency planning 

Smaller businesses in particular are simply unable to prepare for every possible outcome. And for most, the information they have been given by government is lacking the clarity required to formulate effective business plans. 

Without such planning in place, SMEs looking to sell cannot offer the kind of certainties serious buyers will demand. This is especially the case when it comes to fielding questions such as: “What will happen to this business post-Brexit?” or indeed, “What will happen post a No-Deal Brexit?” 

A period of adjustment 

A likely coming scenario is that, in the event of a no-deal Brexit, buyers will want to wait and see what happens to markets, the wider economy, and the specific business sector involved.

Thus, the value of many businesses may suffer a dip during this period of reassessment. And a no-deal departure, which would also mean no formal period of transition, could be a worry for small businesses. So, it will also be a matter of concern to potential buyers wishing to acquire a small business. 

They will need to know how trading practices will be affected, whether there are knock-on risks elsewhere in the supply chain and how all this is predicted to impact on customer confidence. 

If you are looking to sell your business, use this period of adjustment to prepare your business for sale. Making your business as attractive as possible to potential buyers will help you stand out to someone that is looking to buy!


SMEs may weather the storm

The uncertainty of a No-Deal Brexit is a worrying factor for potential buyers and small business owners alike. Most will not be making any major decisions while preparing for a possible no-deal, and this will almost inevitably mean a much smaller number of people looking to invest in a new business until this transient uncertainty passes. 

At the end of the day, if you have a good business that it valued at the right price, you will always be able to find a willing buyer no deal Brexit or not!

So, with those two factors working in combination, and especially if you are working regionally rather than internationally, your business could still be an attractive proposition to potential investors. 

Thus, if you are an SME perhaps looking to sell, you should not be scared off the task at hand.
By Jo Thornley, Head of Brand and Partnerships at Dynamis. Joining in 2005 to co-ordinate PR and communications and produce editorial across all business brands. She earned her spurs managing the communications strategy and now creates and develops partnerships between BusinessesForSale.com, FranchiseSales.com and PropertySales.com and likeminded companies.


Views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of FSB.

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