Best Human Capital & Advisory Group publishes chacklist

Exit planning: Attracting buyers and investors

Is it time to sell? Best Human Capital & Advisory Group created a checklist to see if you’re ready to put your nursery on the market.

By Gene Redlin

Uncertain economic conditions in the past several months have created new opportunities for owners of businesses who are able to produce cash flow. They can cash out now. The time has not been this pregnant with opportunity for years. Why?

It’s all about rates and returns. A key number considered when placing a value on a business is the interest rates available in the open market. Many times, the Treasury Bill, or T-Bill rate, is referenced. The lower the interest rate, the higher the value of a business. For some time to come, it will be hard to achieve more than 1% return from interest even in the long term. The Federal Reserve has telegraphed that for the next two years, they will keep interest rates near zero. Investors are seeking better and more reliable returns on their money. They are dissatisfied, keeping it on the sideline, earning almost nothing in interest. Right now, there is enormous liquidity in bank accounts looking for a home. Warren Buffet is reported to have two major holdings — one is Apple, and the other is cash. This legendary investor can’t seem to find a suitable place to park his money for a return.

Many horticultural businesses have reliably generated predictable positive cash flow over the years. The ability to generate significant repeatable positive cash flow year in and year out is highly desired when looking at any business to buy or invest in. If you own one of these companies, it might be high time to sell. For many, it has been a great year, while others have suffered losses.

In horticulture, there is a skill level a buyer or investor must have to own and operate a green-industry business, or at least be able to hire qualified expertise. That is also true in pharmacology, technology, and finance. All those hot categories are driven by superior expertise and innovation. Good people are like gold in this market. Some company owners have visions of their children taking over. Historically, it is unusual for a second generation and even less for a third generation to do as well as the founder did. The old adage “rags to riches to rags in three generations” is still true in many cases. It might be better to find a buyer and leave your grandchildren with cash and not a business to run. There are exceptions, but few.

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