How mutual connections built trust for a successful deal

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For one couple in their 70’s, retirement seemed a distant dream they couldn’t attain. They needed to exit their business, but weren’t sure how. However, with the support of John Waterston, from Transworld Business Advisors of East Yorkshire, they are now enjoying a new lease of life.

When John first met with the seller of a kennel and cattery business, he recognised them; having previously met them as part of the East Yorkshire business community. They also shared the same accountant, which made it easier for them to fact-check him, as a business broker. “This was an important aspect of their journey with me,” explains John. “They’d had previous experience with a broker, without any success. So for us to have mutual connections from whom they could receive trusted recommendations, was an important influence.”

For the couple in their 70s, whilst they enjoyed the business they ran, and loved meeting returning pets and their owners, they were tired. “He was 78 and she was 75 when they first approached me,” John says. “The business premises was originally an RAF airbase cinema. When my clients bought it over 20 years ago, it had been convert to a grain store, then stables, so they were quickly able to adapt it into somewhere they could live, and provide reliable boarding for pets. Whilst it was a lovely business, with a strong returning customer-base, and profitable prospect, I knew I needed to support the owners to present the structure of the business in such a way it would be more attractive to buyers.”

John worked with his clients to clarify some of the points he knew prospective buyers would want to know, and present them in such a way buyers could clearly see the potential of the business. “With this being a home and a business, there were some slight challenges I needed to help the seller sort through, due to the specialist nature of the property. But, by knowing the sellers, and their business, I was able to act on their behalf where appropriate, rather than increasing their
legal costs.”   

As a result, within a few months, John was working on the finishing touches for a deal with a buyer who was looking to move from the south coast, in order to take ownership of the business. “Unfortunately, due to ill health, this buyer had to pull out within days of signing. However, having been through the process this first time, made the process easier next time around, and the deal was finally closed within eight weeks of finding a new buyer.”

The buyer found this business, with residential accommodation attached to it, was the perfect fit for his family, “The buyer’s mother-in-law lives with them, so he’s been able to provide somewhere for her, where she can spend time with her grandchildren, and daughter,’” John explains. “One of his daughters has a passion for horses, so because there are also stables attached to the business, he already has ideas for developing the equestrian side, including providing special courses for children. When I spoke to the new owner, he had thought it would take a few months, because of the pandemic, before he would break even. But he broke even within the first month.”

The sellers, who remain passionate about animals, are now able to enjoy their retirement, with their four dogs. “They moved South, so they could be closer to family,” says John, “and are very much enjoying their slower pace of life, and freedom. It feels good to have been able to support both them, and the buyer, with their desire for a change in their life-style, at the right time.”

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