Note: The data discussed in this Insight post was based on a survey by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) of 66 leading economists in mid-October, before the election of last week. Keep that in mind as you read this since, depending on the election results, some of this may be revised.
According to the latest review of leading economists by the WSJ, the general consensus is that the U.S. economy will likely enter a recession in early 2023 and will recover in the latter half of the year. Here is how the WSJ summarized their findings:
The U.S. is forecast to enter a recession in the coming 12 months as the Federal Reserve battles to bring down persistently high inflation, the economy contracts and employers cut jobs in response, according to The Wall Street Journal’s latest survey of economists. On average, the economists now predict GDP will contract at a 0.2% annual rate in the first quarter of 2023 and shrink 0.1% in the second quarter. In July’s survey, they expected a 0.8% growth rate in the first quarter and 1% growth in the second.
Forecasters have ratcheted up their expectations for a recession because they increasingly doubt the Fed can keep raising rates to cool inflation without inducing higher unemployment and an economic downturn. Some 58.9% of economists said they think the Fed will raise interest rates too much and cause unnecessary economic weakness, up from 45.6% in July.
As you can see from the sections highlighted above, the sentiments of the economists recently surveyed have certainly soured since mid-summer of 2022. The following graph shows the survey’s recession predictability in the past few years and the % assuming a recession in 2023:
The silver lining of this recent survey is that the likelihood of a recession in the last survey was slightly over 60%, far lower than the surveys in 2009 and 2020, which each accurately predicted a severe recession in 2008-2010 and a quick pandemic-driven one in 2020. And as noted above, these survey results may be revised since the survey was conducted before 3rd quarter GDP data was released which showed annualized growth of 2.6% in that quarter.
No matter what scenario plays out in 2023, the question for business owners is this: What does this mean to me?
A very good question indeed and one that you will all need to individually consider as you run your business. If demand in your niche slows, then naturally you will have to adjust.
But what should that mean to those of you who have an exit from your business in mind over the next 12 to 24 months? Regardless of economic swings, your need to plan for your eventual exit is paramount.
Two things to remember:
Far too often business owners we encounter operate under the mistaken belief that when recession hits, buyers head for the hills. Nothing could be further from the truth. Certainly, buyers become more focused on their ROI, especially when interest rates increase (as they will be during this recession) and the velocity of deal closings slow (and due diligence lengthens), but deals still get done.
Frankly as you are working harder, faster, and smarter to maintain your business during a recession, buyers are doing the same, and in many cases over the years we have seen some buyers actually increase their activity during recessions.
But most importantly, exiting any business should not be seen as a single moment in time that you reach where the heavens open and the perfect buyer drops into your lap, before you head off into the sunset.
No, in reality, even during seller’s markets, you have to work very diligently to build a buyer ready business and the best way to do that is to have a professional, proven M&A firm by your side giving you the guidance to position your business for an optimal deal even during a recession (or any economic cycle for that matter).
The process, the journey as we see it, is really the key to the entire Generational program. We work with our clients for a long, long time, in many cases well beyond the number of years stipulated in our agreements because our goal is to help every client reach financial success and leave a fantastic legacy behind which will last for years.
To learn more about business cycles and their impact on M&A and how you can prepare your company for your journey, I would recommend now, more than ever before, that you attend a Generational Growth and Exit Strategy Conference. And I stress the word “growth” in the title of our conference in the context of where our economy may be in six months or so.
If you are interested in learning more about preparing your business for the next few months, please use the following links:
And remember this – Economists are experts at “predicting” recessions after they occur! In fact, the very definition of a recession (the textbook definition = two consecutive quarters of real GDP decline) cannot be determined until after the fact! If you try to time your exit to coincide with cycles beyond your control, well, you may really need exit planning advice!
Carl Doerksen is the Director of Corporate Development at Generational Equity.
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After attending a conference with GE, I decided that the value they bring would be worth the expense and as soon as I started working with them, I realized that was the right decision. When we started to get LOIs, Fred Zweifel took the lead on the communication and supported negotiations throughout the process, which got tricky as we moved forward. I learned that it can be common for companies to make a great offer then work to erode that price with their discoveries, but Fred and the GE team kept that from happening.Caroline Connelly, CEO, OptoTest
I decided to attend the conference and hopefully receive some guidance on how to structure an exit plan of my business. Upon arriving at the conference, I was so impressed with the presentation given by Generational Equity that I set a future appointment that week to discuss the possibility of selling my business with their Senior Managing Director David Robinson.JoAnn Ellis, Owner of Fondren 5 Star Kennels
We thank you Eric and Generational Equity making our dream come true.Larry Moore, Owner, A Company Portable Restrooms
I am pleased that I was able to work with Andrew Byrd throughout this experience. From the first meeting we had in Minneapolis I felt that I was in good hands. His knowledge and expertise is second to none. He guided the process consistently throughout. I feel lucky that I was pared with Andrew and could not be happier that I chose Generational Equity to handle this major life event. Thank you Andrew and GenEq for everything!Eric Erlandson, Owner, Action Fastenings, Inc.
Michael worked tirelessly, He followed every lead meticulously and urgently to make sure nothing was missed.Robert Evans, President and CEO of Mealtracker Dietary Software
We were happy to see the interest in our company and what we cherished has not just a valuable company but an important company to the communities we served in.Larry Moore, Owner, A Company Portable Restrooms
We were represented by Michael Goss with Generational. The due diligence was grueling and exhausting, but Michael propped us up and kept us motivated throughout the process. Debi and I continued to ask each other how we could possibly make it through this process without the assistance of Michael. Michael's professionalism and knowledge is absolutely amazing, and we are so blessed to have had him by our side as we made our future dreams come true.Bob and Debi Lee, Owners of BL Technology, Inc and BL Tl Services, LLC
Thank you again for all your guidance and support. Any company will achieve what they intend, if they have you on their team!Rick Nowak, President/CEO, Kurz Electric Solutions, Inc.
I quickly recognized that Don was working for Sharpe Mixers above all else, and held our interests above others.Jay Dinnison, Owner of Sharpe Mixers
I couldn’t have asked for a better team than Michael and Deborah. We couldn’t have done it without them.Robert Evans, President and CEO of Mealtracker Dietary Software
I would like to thank you and your firm, Generational Equity, for being our valued advisors in our journey.Bil MacLeslie, CEO, ipHouse
We are very happy with the end result, and are very happy to be able to move forward with all of our future growth plans.Rick Nowak, President/CEO, Kurz Electric Solutions, Inc.
T.D., thank you so much! You are a great leader! I love how you are using your gifts and talents to better others. You are clearly a GREAT COACH! This 3 day session undoubtedly changed the future of our business, and very well may have been the sole catalyst to save my company, my health and my marriage! A genuine “thank you” from the bottom of my heart.Bryan D. Horn, Owner, Over Under Clothing
Greetings Mike. Thank you for the captivating and compelling presentation you made at the Phoenix presentation last week. Over many years in business yours was the most informative and well-presented presentation, on any subject, that I have ever attended! Your energy and enthusiasm combined with your concise and captivating support of your positions with easily understood examples and data was compelling.Pete L.
We had the pleasure of working with Mr. Ahmad Behjati Managing Director, M&A, for Generational Equity during our acquisition of Papa's Dodge in late 2021. Generational Equity and Mr. Behjati represented and marketed Papa’s Dodge. As our primary contact, Mr. Behjati was professional in every facet of this acquisition process, conveying valuable advice most times and assisting us in every step of the process.Rick Greene of Dobbs Equity Partners LLC
I must say that I have never worked with a more driven, competent and focused individual as Don Ho.Jay Dinnison, Owner of Sharpe Mixers
The professionals at Generational Equity then helped develop a roadmap for enhancing the value of the firm and an evaluation report. This was completed by June 14, 2021. We then developed the Confidential Information Memorandum and put Taylor Studios, Inc. on the market by July.Betty L. Brennan, President, Taylor Studios
Generational Equity’s professional staff helped me every step of the way. Their network and professionals are the only reason I sold my company this quickly. For me this is a once in a lifetime sale and I was unfamiliar with the process. I was able to lean on them with questions and concerns.
We knew it would be a difficult task to have someone really understand our business and our market, prior to researching a possible buyer, so it was imperative that we found someone of your caliber, with definite proven experience in this area.Rick Nowak, President/CEO, Kurz Electric Solutions, Inc.
Your wisdom and experience were invaluable to me during this once-in-a-lifetime transaction.Ralph Noblin, President of Noblin & Associates
I need to say an immense thank you to Don Ho for his stellar work ethic, attention to detail, and tireless effort. Also thank you to the whole crew at GE! Without you, Don could not do such a phenomenal job. We were shooting for closing and funding before the end of 2020, due to the uncertainty of the political landscape and taxes. I am happy to report we closed last week and will be funding tomorrow.Dr. Caty J. Catron PhD, RN, VA-BC – Owner, Vic The Picc, LLC
Through the sale process, Generational brought in several interested buyers and we closed in about 6 months. I am so glad I accepted that invitation to the conference and could not be happier with the whole process. The team at Generational coupled with their knowledge and guidance was so valuable that in the end, I know I could never have done this on my own!JoAnn Ellis, Owner of Fondren 5 Star Kennels
I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for all that you have done for us. Not only did you take care of all the aspects of the sale but took extra care to make sure we knew what it looked like every step of the way. I will definitely recommend your company to anyone that is in a position to or looking to exit their business.Shane and Johanna Kline, Owners of Vision Upfitters
Generational Equity’s assistance was invaluable in compiling and marketing our business.Bil MacLeslie, CEO, ipHouse
Generational Equity educated and informed us – so that we could be on the upside of a good decision (to sell).Bil MacLeslie, CEO, ipHouse
The process was much more involved than I expected and your help, experience and advice was a big factor in making the negotiations go as smoothly as possible.Terry D. Wickman, President, Keytroller
I wanted to write you a quick letter to express our appreciation and our delight on the outcome of helping us through the process of our recent sale. We are very happy with the end result, and are very happy to be able to move forward with all of our future growth plans.Terry D. Wickman, President, Keytroller
The most important contribution I think Ahmad made was with his personality and work ethic. He is sincere, efficient, and very hard working. He was available to me at all times, whether it was for specific detail of the negotiation or just to talk through the bigger picture. He listened, advised, and recommended, but never forced his idea or opinions. In the time we worked together, he became a valued colleague and also a friend.Salvo Stoch, Founder and CEO of Sleeping Partners
Thanks to you, the entire GE team and especially Michael Goss for driving a great valuation, coaching me and driving the process across the finish line. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to support GE going forward. P.S. Given my experience with GE I felt comfortable enough to sign up with Generation Wealth Advisors!Tom Currier, Former President & CEO, Rackmount Solutions
The help you provided us during each step of this process made us feel very comfortable and confident we were selecting the right approach to transition our Company.Andy Graham, Vice President, Modern Heating & Plumbing
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