Market Comment November 2018

Court Guinness resurrects an old column he used to write in which he takes an opinionated and sometimes irreverent view of what he sees in the market place.

In this issue he looks back on the month of October 2018.

I can say with some certainty that October 2018 has been one of business Octobers in business. Not only were there lots of opportunities to speak with readers of this magazine and advertisers old and new, there were also a number of things to get excited about. In addition there was for me a home and office move from Surrey to Warwickshire.

The first thing to talk about this month is retail. Physical retail is going so badly wrong on so many levels. I blame some  landlords for intransigent and not helping their tenants by sticking to the letter of the contract, some flexibility will go along a way. I blame some landlords for being too quick to go for a residential conversation. At the end of the day if a high street goes so does a community. Now that is a shame. I have written elsewhere about making retail an experience. I think retail  as a business wants to do this however I do not believe they have buy in from the property people or the finance people! If retail can change for the better then it is better for everyone.

While we talk about getting people through doors, pub landlords must stand up and take some stick from me this month. News has been reaching me of some hideous and in some cases unjustifiable rent increases recently. Again is a part of a community as much as a retail unit. Pubs have had a tough time in recent years we can see this by the number of closures of pubs. Give your tenants a break! It will be worth it in the long run! The odd percentage point here or there, yes but 20% +? Computer says no!

I now move on to freelancers and independent contractors who are foaming at the mouth after the budget announcement that the tax system of off payroll working (IR35) will not be extended to the private sector just yet.

For many years IT contracting was my trade. That aside this industry has had since 1999 to clean up its act, to change its modus operandi and to move with the times. Writing this one day after the Autumn 2018 budget I have already seen so many contractors bleating on email and social media about this. The problem is that the industry does not want to change. This is a bad thing for projects up and down the country and some need to shape up or ship out!

Aside of this negativity this October has been a lovely month aside of the negativity above. Its lovely to see the property development guys being so active in the run up to the festive season, deals regularly being struck and plans made revitalise properties previously unusable. I note a great deal valour going into these projects too with some developers clearly unafraid to push the boundaries—in a good way!  I hope we see more this sense of adventure in years to come. It is actually a good thing for business as a whole and an excellent thing for the sector itself.

Ins pite of daylight hours drawing in November does look like it will be an excellent month for dealmaking with many people looking to get a large number of deal before  the Christmas party and festive season starts with aplomb.

I look forward to speaking with you all again next month!

Happy dealmaking !

Warmest regards

Court

You can read Market Comment in The Trade House Magazine November 2018 edition.

An interactive version is below.

Current Trends Week Ending 15/04/2018


One thing I love about running The Weekly Deals Free Sheet is the wide variety of new people I get to connect with, speak with and spend time with every week. We invariably chat about their business requirements be it expansion, disposal, mergers, acquisitions or new pastures entirely. One thing this week however has been the large number of enquiries from businesses requiring new capital, new financing, angel or VC finance or in some of the worst cases a more expedient than is usual disposal. The trend amongst disposals is for these businesses is to be sold at a fraction of their market value. At the time of writing I have had 33 such enquiries in the past week alone.

This sort of event leads my enquiring mind into looking for the root cause of such an event.

Could it be that we really are back in a recession? Could the lovely Brexit be having more of an effect than we first thought on the small business? Could it be underlying market change? Could it also be a stubborn sense of “I know how to run my business better than anyone else” that is a common theme amongst many small business owners?

Certainly this is most difficult one to analyse. However if I look at the first three of my suggestions above they have strong possibilities. I would have to say that issues surrounding Brexit causing recession like symptoms if not a full blown recession would sit favourite with my previous experiences around the time of recession. Underlying market change, well things change and people change, the way we do things, the way we work and the way e behave changes constantly on a global scale.

This leads me on to my final suggestion. The stubborn sense of “I know how to run my business better than anyone else” that is a common theme amongst many small business owners. If we combine this with underlying market change and maybe even as much as strong hints of Brexit and recession then, yes, this is the strongest possibility to my mind. You see many small business owners are reluctant to make changes to the way they do things on the basis of “I have always done it this way”. Even if that way does not keep pace with the market or changing customer needs, wants and demands. This can have onward effects to a business, a loss of customers, a loss of a share of a market, a failure to capitalise on business opportunities which in turn could increase turnover or decrease operational expenditure.

33 requirements for new finance or an emergency disposal in one week is very heavy going. So my bets are going on a strong combination of all four of my headline reasons for this sudden upsurge. One thing for sure is that if this trend that has started continues, it offers some lovely opportunities for small business “buy to build” opportunities as well as opportunities for finance providers to increase both ROI and fee income. For those of a “predatory” nature this is only a blip at the moment but it could offer some excellent opportunities. If this trend continues this could have further repercussions on the general market. This is a subject I will cover in more detail on these pages should the need and want arise.

One thing is for sure I am very interested and taking a keen interest in how this current situation plays out.