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  • Writer's pictureJason Huett

2024 Trends in Small Business Sales & Acquisitions in Wisconsin

Updated: May 7

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In the ever-evolving landscape of business brokerage in Wisconsin, staying ahead of the curve is imperative. Success in this field hinges on adapting to shifting market trends and meeting the unique demands of local markets.

As we approach 2024, we'll delve into what we believe key trends that will significantly influence small business sales and acquisitions in Wisconsin, including insights into the industries poised for growth.

Additionally, we'll explore the impact of retiring Baby Boomers on the business sale and acquisition markets in the Badger State.

Trend 1: "Wait-and-See" Sellers Are Anticipating the Election

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With 2024 being an election year, we anticipate a growing number of business owners will wait to see the outcome of the election before moving forward with the sale of their businesses.

As most election years produce additional stress of the unknown, 2024 is no different — there's a tranche of sellers who will try and sell prior to the election and another sizable tranche of sellers who will wait until the election results are in.

While there are currently more questions than answers in this area, it is our sense that many business owners will wait to list their businesses until the election draws closer. In any case, there is likely to be an increase in the volume of listings, but the timing of this wave is an unknown at this time.

Trend 2: Technology Will Play a Larger Role in Business Sales

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The digital era has revolutionized the process of buying and selling businesses, and in Wisconsin, this transformation will take center stage in 2024.

Recent improvements in AI will benefit sellers who can leverage its power to analyze data more efficiently, find unique ways to locate potential buyers, and use data to tell a compelling story of their business and industry.

Online listing sites will continue to offer a wider reach, but we expect those channels also to be more crowded with new listings. For this reason, sellers and brokers who embrace new channels and technology will have an advantage in terms of generating interested business buyers.

It is our strong belief that those who can leverage Data Analytics and a strong Digital Marketing strategy to properly market listed businesses will stand to win the most.

Trend 3: Seller Financing Will Play a Larger Role

Selling a business can often include the sale of Commercial Real Estate assets as well. We expect traditional bank-sourced financing to be challenging for many buyers given the relatively high interest rates which in turn is likely to end up being a challenge for many sellers as well.

For this reason, we expect an increase in the percentage of business sellers who are more agreeable to seller financing, flexible terms, or a combination of bank and seller financing to help deals get to the finish line.

Trend 4: Cross-Border Opportunities in Wisconsin

Wisconsin's small business market is not confined by state borders. The global landscape continues to shape business transactions, giving rise to an increased interest in cross-border deals involving Wisconsin businesses.

Our data indicates that cross-border mergers and acquisitions are projected to grow by 5% in 2024. Wisconsin-based brokers and sellers who can adeptly navigate these international transactions will find themselves in high demand. Consider expanding your network and knowledge base to cater to clients seeking cross-border opportunities for their Wisconsin-based small businesses.

Trend 5: The Impact of Retiring Baby Boomers on Wisconsin's Business Sale Market

Photo of Baby Boomer

In addition to these trends, Wisconsin's business sale and acquisition market will be significantly influenced by the wave of retiring Baby Boomers. This demographic shift is expected to bring a surge of businesses onto the market as Baby Boomers seek to retire and transition their enterprises.

Baby Boomers own a substantial portion of small businesses in Wisconsin, and their retirement will create a unique market dynamic. As these businesses become available for sale, Wisconsin brokers and buyers should be prepared to assist both buyers and sellers in navigating this transition.

As mentioned in this article, many Baby Boomers do not have a solid exit plan in place for the disposition of their businesses which could give buyers an advantage in many ways. (Tips for Buyers and Sellers can be found here.)

Thriving Industries in Wisconsin for 2024

In the context of Wisconsin's small business sales and acquisitions, several industries are expected to experience notable growth in 2024:

  1. Manufacturing: Wisconsin's strong manufacturing sector continues to present opportunities for small business acquisitions.

  2. Healthcare Services: Given the aging population in Wisconsin, healthcare-related businesses, including home healthcare and medical practices, are anticipated to thrive.

  3. Agriculture and Agribusiness: Agriculture remains a cornerstone of Wisconsin's economy, offering opportunities for small businesses in this sector.

  4. Tech Startups: Wisconsin's tech startup ecosystem is growing, making it an attractive market for small technology businesses.

  5. Hospitality and Tourism: With Wisconsin's beautiful landscapes and tourist attractions, the hospitality and tourism industry is expected to flourish.

In conclusion, Wisconsin's small business buyers and sellers are poised for exciting changes in 2024. Adapting to these trends and staying informed about industry developments will be pivotal for success. As the business landscape continues to evolve, your ability to adapt will set you apart in Wisconsin's dynamic small business market. To your success,

Jason Huett Collaborative Commercial, LLC.


Considering selling your business? Schedule a complementary consultation here.

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