Buying And Selling A Business In Challenging Times

Small Business Canada

Nunzio Presta – Founder and CEO, Buy and Sell a Business

Nunzio Presta, BCom is an ex-pro hockey player turned entrepreneur and is currently the Founder & CEO of Buy and Sell a Business – an online marketplace where people can buy, sell and grow businesses or franchises every day. He is known for his speed, endurance, and strong leadership. He has helped build, grow, advise, and set the tone for businesses with one main goal: to add value to the world.

Nunzio is equipped with a wealth of knowledge when it comes to identifying, building, and funding businesses – in addition to being a thought leader on product development, leadership, business & marketing strategy, and building culture. He sits on the board of multiple startups and is part of Startup Canada’s Entrepreneur Success Advisory Council, in addition to being a Startup Canada Advisor on #StartupChats.

Nunzio is a mentor to many entrepreneurs, small business and franchise owners, and is a regular contributor to Thrive Global, a digital resource for individuals and corporations spearheaded by Arianna Huffington.

Nunzio graduated from the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada with a Bachelor of Commerce.

When buying or selling a business, you should always be looking at social, economic, and technology trends. We use this model at when developing products, services, and even marketing campaigns. During challenging times, it’s especially important to be looking at economic trends.

The business environment tends to be more volatile when the world is in a state of greater uncertainty. This generally leads to a weaker economy, and in a weaker economy, we tend to see three scenarios :

1. Individuals face job insecurity and more favourable interest rates for financing. Therefore, they’re often looking to purchase or start their own business in order to “be their own boss”.

2. Existing business owners/leaders with cash on hand look to earn larger future profits by buying a business at a lower valuation, cutting costs while boosting growth, and selling it after the economy has stabilized. It’s an epic flip strategy. It is also used to accelerate growth and take more market share by acquiring competitors.

3. Business owners (in certain sectors) may see lower profits but, if positioned well, can demand a higher valuation due to decreased interest rates and cheaper financing options for prospective buyers.

The business and franchise market still continues to perform well in 2020, however, a survey of our audience of business owners, franchise owners, business brokers, and entrepreneurs, has determined the greatest risks to their business and/or business listings, which could impact their exit :

– Economic recession

– Ability to retain talent

– Government regulations

– Switch from a seller’s to a buyer’s market, which can put downward pressure on valuations

Keeping that in mind, my advice when buying or selling during challenging times would be the same that I would give during good times :


Stay focused and disciplined on building not only a valuable business but a sellable business. Sellable businesses are sold at the right time and align with social/economic/technology trends; sellable businesses are self-sufficient, meaning they aren’t dependent on a particular stakeholder, and sellable businesses have strong and healthy financials. Commit to this framework.


Not only should you be searching for a profitable, valuable and sellable business, you need to search for a pandemic resilient business. In the post-COVID world, it will be even more important to buy a business with a strong digital infrastructure, along with principles, processes, values, and culture that can survive and thrive if another disruption as drastic as the pandemic were to occur. We have a free buyer workshop that can help guide you.

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