According to BizBuySell's quarterly Insights Report, small business sales remained robust, continuing the trend of a consistent, healthy business-for-sale market. Opportunities abound on either side of the table.
It's a good time to be a seller.
Long-term trends show that small business transaction volumes in the first quarter of 2014 remained strong, with 52 percent more sales per quarter than during the Great Recession. 1,726 transactions were reported to BizBuySell in the quarter, making it the fifth straight quarter with more than 1,600 transactions. This is a benchmark not seen since the second quarter of 2008.
The small business transaction market hasn't yet worked through the pent up supply of and demand for small businesses that built up over the long recession years, which is also reflected in sale prices. In Q1 2014, the median selling price was $175,000, roughly $25,000 higher than the median sale price witnessed during the 2010 to 2012 period.
It's an even better time to be a buyer.
Why? Value for your business-buying dollar. While sellers are getting much higher prices than they did just a few years ago, buyers are getting better value for their money. This is shown by multiples, which remain at historic lows. The average multiple of revenue for sold businesses in Q1 was 0.59 and the average multiple of cash flow was 2.21. To put this in context, this cash flow multiple is roughly 18% lower than the multiple seen prior to the Great Recession. Buyers are now getting 22 percent more cash flow for their business-buying dollar than they did prior to the recession.
The most recent numbers and the longer-term trends show that both small business buyers and sellers are working out deals in today's market. The depressed transaction activity from late 2008 through to the end of 2012 created the supply and demand fundamentals for a sustained recovery. If it continues, and access to acquisition financing continues to improve, 2014 should be a banner year for small business transactions.