Considering International Buyers
SuccessionMatching has been helping businesses find buyers for over ten years now, and when you are in the business of succession like we are, it only makes sense that we have explored all of the possible options for finding buyers.
Almost from the beginning we have been interested in the international buyer process, and how we can help give people, and their families, a life in Canada through Provincial Nomineeship Programs. There is a romantic notion to this, given that we live in a stable country with benefits aplenty. Snow aside, Canada has so much to offer in the way of healthcare, warm people, and an immigration program that feels somewhat ‘arms open’.
We are happy to report that over the years we have had the opportunity to help a few families find homes here, and businesses to keep them. But the process of this success left us with a number of hard earned lessons.
Right now, immigration is a hot issue. With all that is going on in Ukraine, everyone is well aware that there is a staggering number of displaced individuals looking for a place to call home – a place for their kids to resume a somewhat normal life, a place to feel safe. Desperately, the team here at SuccessionMatching wants to help them find that, and we have the tools and the knowledge to do so.
Where I think we fall short is in correctly communicating to our sellers just how important this option is not only to selling the business, but also to our country as a whole. Foreign talent in many ways are the lifeblood to our economic communities. If you ask around, finding a fellow Canadian that doesn’t come from an immigrant background is rare. Chances are, your own lineage came from somewhere other than Canada too.
So what lessons have we learnt in working with business owners to sell to international buyers? I’m going to outline the top 3 for you, as they are the most important components to keep top of mind when embarking upon this particular succession journey.
1. Selling to an international buyer will get you cash. Yup, it is hands down that simple. Our provincial governments ensure that anyone buying a business in Canada has the cash to do so beforehand, so the barrier of financing is eliminated. Domestic buyers often hinge on their abilities to find financing, be it traditional or non-traditional. In our experience, securing financing is where most sales fall apart. When it comes to selling to an international buyer, money becomes a non-issue.
2. Selling to an international buyer will take time. This is probably the biggest challenge for most sellers, as many people actually prepare to sell as an afterthought, giving them tight timelines. There are many moving pieces when it comes to this avenue, and when you throw in steps that involve government approval – things have a tendency to lag. Once you have found an immigrant buyer to sell to and the process begins, you need to wait on visits and government checks and so forth. If you want to set up your buyer for success (and we recommend you do) there should be a mentorship period to help them learn the business. Patience is key.
3. People want to move to Canada to provide a better life for their kids. It seems like a simple heart tug, but it is so true. Every international buyer we have ever worked with has done so with the motivation of their children. This makes them impassioned and devoted human beings that want your business to do well so that they can do well for their families. If there is anything that will carry on the legacy of your business, chances are an immigrant buyer will be a solid choice.
Feeling inspired yet? We hope so! If you are a business owner who wants to find out more, or even just a buyer who wants to help international buyers immigrate through this process (yes there are options there too) Reach out to us. We would love to chat with you about all of the potential to be had with international buyers (firstname.lastname@example.org)