Medium-sized business owners plan exit strategies

A third of medium-sized business owners are planning to sell their business, a report by law firm Mills & Reeve has found.

The research into the health of the UK's mid-market sector reveals that 33% of business owners are thinking about an exit strategy.

More than a fifth (44%) report that sustaining business growth has never been harder in the current climate, and 4 in 10 see selling their business as less risky compared to trying to generate growth.

However, business owners planning to sell also face multiple uncertainties:

  • 39% worry they will "miss the boat" if they do not sell quickly
  • 34% are concerned that they will sell too quickly
  • 29% say they are being forced to sell up.

While selling may seem like the best option for many medium businesses, 63% of respondents worried that too many companies are being sold before they have a chance to reach their full potential. This could end up damaging the wider economy.

Claire Clarke, partner at Mills & Reeve, said:

"While owners told us they emerged from the recession with confidence and the belief that they could grow their business sustainably with the right finance and support, to many scaling seems more challenging than targeting an exit.

"Scale too quickly or ill-advisedly and business owners may risk it all. Equally, selling too soon could result in companies failing to achieve their potential, leading to losses for both owners and the UK's business growth stock of the future."

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