Mr Winter has now won the business broking category in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2018 and has been named South Australia’s best business broker nine times since 2005, including the last seven years in a row.
“Simon’s commitment to educating owners and buyers about the pros and cons of selling and buying a business is central to his business success,” said Angus Raine, Executive Chairman Raine & Horne Group.
A Certified Practicing Accountant (CPA) with a Master of Business, Mr Winter is well-qualified to dissect and analyse businesses and has the experience and empathy to understand them, noted Mr Raine.
“Simon has maintained a very accurate customer database, and as a qualified valuer, he is always in regular contact with owners, especially those he has helped into a business over the past 25 years.”
Mr Winter ascribes his award-winning ways to hard work and his experience as a business owner.
He explained, “In 1996, I came into the business broking industry. Before that, I owned a business in the office products industry which started with a staff of 3 and ended up with 130 employees.
“This experience means that I know what it takes to own and operate a small business and a much larger firm, and this experience enables me to empathise with owners at any point in the business cycle and understand the challenges they are going through.”
Likewise, Mr Winter attributes the success of Raine & Horne Corporate Business Sales to its adoption of digital technology.
“We embraced digital marketing where many other business brokers tried to ignore it. Consequently, many of our competitors from six years ago have withered on the vine as we have made our website and social media platforms the focus of our marketing.
“We have a fantastic website that attracts 500 hits on average a day, and this is activity is generate leads and fuelling revenues. In business, if you don’t change, you’re finished.”
Tighter lending conditions but business buyers are on the ground
Tight lending conditions are the most significant challenge to small business sales in 2018, according to Mr Winter. “Where 80% of our business transactions would involve bank lending, it’d be closer to 30% now,” he said.
However, business owners can find a buyer, if they understand the valuation process. “It’s incorrect to think that the size, location, and turnover are the only factors that will impact the valuation of a business,” said Mr Winter.
“The value of a business is a direct function of how much money you make as it is the measure of everything you do, and, in this environment, you have to be creative to generate more revenue, while there’s no escaping the need for hard work.”
It’s also essential that business owners continue to work in the business, warned Mr Winter.
He explained, “You see time, and again, business owners decide to take a backseat and they hire a manager in place to run the business.
“These firms struggle as small businesses are not designed to be run by a manager but by an owner-manager who puts in the hard yards.”
Long-term planning is a must for a business sale
Planning a business sale about two years before an exit is also critical. Mr Winter explained: “Strangely when many business owners decide to sell, they choose to do so over a weekend. Owners then ring me on Monday and, there is no strategy in place.
“You should be planning an exit strategy at least a couple of years before you plan to move on.
“The strategy usually means taking less money out of the business and working hard.”
Advice for aspiring owners
Mr Winter advises aspirant business owners to be prepared to work harder than ever before.
“Don’t go into business ownership undercapitalised and understand all the costs involved in buying a business such as conveyancing, the stamp duty, bank application fees and so on,” he said.
“Seeking the advice of an accountant is a common move. But be aware that many accountants don’t understand risk, and if you don’t understand operating risk, it can be challenging for an accountant to value a small business accurately.
“Also, the switched-on buyers talk to me about the strategy associated with selling a business before they have even purchased it. The good operators plan that far ahead.”
Simon Winters’ tips for selling a small business
If you are considering the sale of a business, contact Raine & Horne Corporate Business Sales on 08 8361 3074.
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For further media information contact:
Simon Winter, Principal, Raine & Horne Corporate Business Sales on 0419 828 689
Kim Pilkington, Communications Executive, Raine & Horne Group on 02 9258 5400