The credit crunch
is hitting business owners on many levels, including one they may not have seen
coming. According to the
New York Times
, many small business owners who had hoped to sell their
businesses and retire on the proceeds are finding their plans must be delayed,
if not abandoned. The problem is not so much that their businesses have lost
value, but rather that banks are reluctant to lend money to prospective buyers.

There are
options, but business owners need a well-reasoned approach to sift through
them. Using the old Wall Street ratings system, consider whether it would be
best to

Sell Now
  perhaps taking less money, but
enjoying the currently low capital gains tax rate;

Hold Now  – run the business for a few more years and
let the economy recover, but be careful you don’t “take your foot off the gas”
and let your business slide (and devalue); or

Buy Now
invest in the business, or find investors to provide the financing for a sale.

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