To understand what 2015 means for business owners looking to sell in the United States, we need to first understand the overall financial outlook for 2015.
Here are a few 'educated guesses' about how 2015 is going to look economically in America:
• Inflation and GDP both forecast around 3%. This indicates nominal growth, but it's not moving backwards. Select industries will see significant growth.
• Interest rates are expected to inch upwards, perhaps as much as 5% in 2015. If you are in need of capital financing and can afford to, get it now while rates are lower. If not, rates are still historically very low, so it's not a big issue.
• The overall trade deficit will be slightly lower due to higher exports in late 2014 carrying over into 2015, so import/export businesses and manufacturers with an international market are seeing profits.
• Consumer spending is expected to continue to rise as confidence remains high. Personal income, however will remain about where it is, so consumer debt is expected to increase.
• The unemployment rate is dropping while job vacancies increase. This indicates economic growth is keeping pace with or exceeding available qualified labor in many population centers.
• The average hourly wage will remain constant but average hours per week will be increasing slightly, so some consumers will have more money in their pockets as a result.
• Reshoring is expected to roughly offset offshoring in the manufacturing sector, especially in certain industries where labor is not a significant cost in relation to value.
• All purchasing and inventory indicators show US business is slowly but surely expanding, both manufacturing and non-manufacturing. While confidence is still wavering, overall economic health is good.
What does all this mean for selling your business?
It means that 2015 might be an excellent time to consider selling.
If your business is still alive and kicking in 2015 you've already weathered some very difficult economic times. In general, 2015 should be a better year economically than any you've endured since 2008 or so.
If your company has sustained profitability throughout all or most of the economic downturn, and no major negative issues have arisen that would indicate that could be a problem going forward, that says a lot about the low risk involved in investing in your business going into 2015.
If you're in an industry that's seeing higher-than-average growth at this time, such as construction, transportation, or computer systems design, you're in an especially good position to field high-value offers.
Additionally, if your company is an obvious outlier – boasting consistent profits in an industry or geographic area that is otherwise still suffering – you could likewise see real value for your business in 2015.
However, for some, 2015 might not be the best time to consider selling.
Since the overall forecasts are for very modest growth, a number of industries will remain stagnant or even see declines. While the fact that your company has survived years of economic downturns says a lot about its resilience, it may be difficult to put an appropriate dollar figure on that value in the eyes of a buyer.
In the case of many privately-owned companies, the owner himself – or a small team of key partners or employees – have been the key differentiators that kept the business afloat during tough times.
An inexperienced buyer coming in should be smart enough to realize that they're unlikely to be able to perfectly recreate that chemistry, especially if the current owner is unable to advise them going forward.
That leaves buyers with just the numbers on paper to use in making their decision, and in light of the modest predictions for most industries in 2015, they may not seem very impressive.
If circumstances are such that you must sell in 2015, you may need to rein in your expectations from a sale, especially if you fall into the category described above.
If you don't have to sell, however, long-term forecasts seem to indicate greater growth and higher value in years to come, so staying the course may be the best option.
In the end, making a decision of this magnitude is not something you should try to handle on your own. A professional business broker or accountant experienced in business valuation and other key M&A skills can be your best investment as you enter 2015 considering the possibility of selling your business.
Ready to sell? You are just 10 minutes away from advertising your business to 1.3 million prospective buyers. Sell your business today.