Starting and selling a business

Complex economic outlook

The Covid-19 crisis will have stalled most prospects of starting a bricks and mortar business in the first half of 2020, but there will be more scope as lockdown continues to ease. Be warned, however, that ongoing social distancing requirements may make many business plans uneconomical at least over the short term. Opportunities to develop a long-planned idea online may have more time to flourish if, for example, you are a furloughed worker, but even then potential customers are likely to have been affected by the sudden change in everyone’s fortunes.

Looking a bit further ahead, the UK’s long-term relationship with the EU is changing irrevocably: the transition period will end on 31 December 2020, and leaving without a UK–EU trade deal in place is still a distinct possibility. Combined with a probable recession fuelled by the Covid-19 fallout, the UK’s economic outlook is not looking particularly positive over the next 12 to 18 months.

When it comes to selling a business, it doesn’t matter whether you are developing a business idea to quickly cash in before starting all over again (the typical serial entrepreneur), planning a smart career move (with the successful sale of a self-started business looking very good on your resumé) or are in for the long haul – planning your exit strategy at an early stage will ensure you don’t pay more tax than necessary. This might be just to the time to do that planning.