Business in 2020: Catching a Falling Knife

Here at Apex, we’ve been proactive in advising our clients as 2020 has unfolded. We began the year by discussing issues that might come in an election year. As the first wave of lockdowns occurred we encouraged people to look at federal funds (and followed up with detailed information on PPP). As the lockdowns continued we shared our long term outlook (don’t panic) while offering short-term changes that could help businesses adapt to the continuing chaos.

But now it’s the second half of 2020 and there’s no “normal” in sight.  What now?

We’ve heard many business owners say “2020 is a write-off.” While we understand that thinking, there’s also a danger in the phrase… It assumes that events know when December 31st comes and hence switch off just because it’s a new year. A new year may be something that we as humans pop champagne over, but the universe is indifferent. It just keeps going. Hence, with months of an unprecedented business climate, we should have more wisdom under our belts, and more importantly, we should use that wisdom.

Our position at Apex is unchanged. We look at the fundamentals and the transactions that we continue to handle. Our business has not stopped. There are still buyers and sellers looking to do deals. Every industry is different. While food and beverage and entertainment may be tougher to sell at the moment (yet some of them still continue to move), some businesses have temporarily put their listings on hold as they experience record years.

However, your position may have changed.

Leaving the Corporate World

You may have been someone who was already looking to leave the corporate world and enter business ownership, but now you have cold feet.  Is having a job any more secure in this environment? While business owners are indeed facing challenges, they do so knowing they have the most control over their destinies. They can live and die by that self-determination, and that’s preferable to waiting for an ax to fall. Does COVID-19 really change whether a business is the best vehicle to determine your own destiny?

Selling a Business

You might have been someone looking to sell a business. You still need to do what’s necessary to prepare that business for sale. And that includes guiding it through challenging circumstances. As we’ve discussed before, companies who showed good performance in 2009 and 2010, following the 2008 financial crisis, made for even more attractive acquisition targets. Those companies showed resilience, not just doing well when the sun was shining, but when the storms hit. Has COVID-19 changed your desire to sell your business, or just demanded more perseverance and resilience from you?

Falling Knives

In this second half of the year, we aren’t waiting for events to “happen to” our clients. We are encouraging them to take matters into their own hands. If it feels like you’re trying to catch a falling knife, get some gloves on and reach those mitts out. Success in life doesn’t come to those who passively wait in fear for the next disaster, but those who, amidst setbacks and challenges, fill sandbags for what may come next. They keep their eyes on their environment close and far, watching for opportunities.

Feeling paralyzed about what to do in 2020? Talk to one of our advisors. While this is all of our first time through COVID-19, it’s not our first major financial shock. We have great advice and guidance for you.