Seizing Opportunity: Acquiring Well-Established Businesses as Australia's Baby Boomers Approach Retirement

by Vanessa Lovie 16th of May, 2023
Seizing Opportunity: Acquiring Well-Established Businesses as Australia's Baby Boomers Approach Retirement
Seizing Opportunity: Acquiring Well-Established Businesses as Australia's Baby Boomers Approach Retiremen

As the retirement age approaches for a growing number of Baby Boomers in Australia, the business landscape is undergoing a significant transformation. The influence of the Baby Boomer generation, born between 1946 and 1964, has been deeply ingrained in various industries, including transportation, manufacturing, exports, trade services, retail, and more. However, as these Boomers prepare to exit the workforce, a series of unique challenges emerge, creating an exceptional opportunity to acquire well-established businesses that are now up for sale.

In 2023, this generation is now aged 56 to 77 years of age, meaning they have retired, are currently entering a retirement phase or looking at their options in the years ahead. With the current retirement age in Australia at 67 years, it is about halfway through this generational period. Many may argue we are now in the peak period of baby boomers' retirement. 

With fewer family businesses being passed down to the next generation, there is a growing necessity to sell these businesses. These enterprises, meticulously nurtured and developed over the years, are now presenting an enticing opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs. Stepping into these successful ventures grants individuals the chance to inherit established reputations and customer bases, igniting excitement among those looking to enter the business world or expand their existing ventures. The availability of these businesses for acquisition adds a dynamic element to the business for sale marketplace, fueling innovation and growth in diverse industries.

The Boomers' Impact on the Business Landscape

Baby Boomers have played a pivotal role in driving entrepreneurship and economic growth in Australia. Many have built successful businesses, contributing to job creation, innovation, and industry development. As this generation nears retirement, the transfer of their businesses to new owners becomes a significant consideration for both the Boomers and the broader economy. Businesses established 20, 30, and 40 years plus are now becoming available.

Baby Boomers motivation for selling a business

Baby Boomers may have a business sale as part of funding their retirement plans 

The Motivations for Selling


  • Retirement Planning: As Baby Boomers look toward their retirement years, selling their businesses becomes a means to unlock their hard-earned wealth and secure their financial future. Many business owners have a business sale as part of their retirement plans - in many ways, it was a superannuation style plan hatched over 20-30 years. Selling a business for $400,000 or more can provide them with a financial path ahead.  
  • Lifestyle Changes: Some Boomers may not be ready for full retirement but wish to pursue a more relaxed lifestyle, free from the responsibilities and demands of running a business. Selling their business allows them to transition into a new phase of life, look for part-time work or change of environment.
  • Succession Planning: Ensuring the continuity of their business is a priority for many Baby Boomers. Selling the business to a successor, such as family members, key employees, or external buyers, becomes part of their succession planning strategy. Succession planning ensures the business has a path ahead and is sold in the best condition, not when it becomes a necessity due to personal circumstances such as health issues. 


The Challenges Faced by Baby Boomers


  • Emotional Attachment: Baby Boomers may have deep emotional ties to their businesses, making the process of selling an emotional journey. Letting go and transitioning into retirement can be a challenging and introspective process. 
  • Market Conditions: The timing of selling a business is crucial, as market conditions can impact the sale price and the availability of potential buyers. Economic factors, industry trends, and market demand all play a role in determining the success of a business sale.
  • Business Valuation: Accurately valuing a business is essential to ensure a fair and reasonable sale price. Boomers may need to engage professional valuers or business brokers to help determine the true value of their business.
  • Exit Strategies: Determining when will be the right time to sell a business and ensuring it is properly prepared. When selling a business for retirement purposes, the owner wants to ensure they can get the most value out of their asset. It could be wise to spend 6-12 months preparing a business for sale to ensure you can obtain an optimum sale price. 

knowledge transfer after selling a business

Baby Boomers possess a wealth of experience, industry knowledge, and expertise that can be transferred

Considerations After Selling


  • Knowledge Transfer: Baby Boomers possess a wealth of experience, industry knowledge, and expertise. As they sell their businesses, opportunities arise for them to mentor and pass on their knowledge to the next generation of entrepreneurs. As part of the sale process, a thorough training period should be included to introduce the buyer to the business, staff and clients. 
  • Entrepreneurial Endeavors: Some Boomers may choose to embark on new entrepreneurial ventures or pursue consulting opportunities after selling their businesses. Their expertise and networks can continue to contribute to the business ecosystem. They may buy another business, start a small business or consult others in the industry. 
  • Earn-Out Period: The owner may choose to slowly transition out of the business. Providing ongoing support and assistance to the new buyers in an employee-style role. 

The Baby Boomer generation in Australia is approaching a significant milestone as they prepare to sell their businesses and transition into retirement. This generational shift presents both challenges and opportunities for Baby Boomers and the broader business landscape. It can place more quality businesses for sale in the marketplace, providing great opportunities for buyers. 

By embracing succession planning, understanding market conditions, and leveraging their experience and expertise, Baby Boomers can ensure a smooth transition out of their business and into the next phase of their life. 

Tags: baby boomers selling exit strategies

About the author

Vanessa Lovie

CEO Bsale Australia

Vanessa is the current manager and CEO of Bsale Australia. Over the past 11 years as a business owner, she understands what it takes to grow a ...

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