A web-savvy 20-something from Moose Jaw is taking the concept of online dating and applying it to the business world.
Alison Anderson is the founder and owner of Successionmatching.com, an online exit and succession planning service for businesses. Her website uses custom made technology to help both buyers and sellers find each other.
“They log on to the website, fill out a profile and there are different resources there to help clients. Then buyers are matched with sellers based on their compatibilities,” Anderson said.
The idea came to her while working with one of Community Futures Saskatchewan’s development corporations, which helps entrepreneurs and communities grow at the local level.
Noticing there were an increasing number of baby boomers looking to turn the equity in their businesses into cash for retirement, she realized there was a definite need for exit and succession planning for small and medium-sized businesses, not only in the province, but also across Canada.
“In broad terms, there are more than 100,000 Canadian businesses looking to sell to the next generation. In Saskatchewan, there are nearly 12,000,” Anderson said.
The issue, Anderson identified, is these businesses cannot always pass down through family lines. Often the next generation is not interested or is unable to take over the business.
The next option is to sell, but many business owners are leery about publicly displaying the sale of their business, fearing supplier and customer loyalty may suffer. That’s where the privacy and confidentiality of SuccessionMatching.com is a bonus.
“More and more people are meeting online now, and courtships are shorter because they are matched up based on compatibility. The same idea is happening here. You want someone you like to buy your business,” Anderson said.
In the coming months, SuccessionMatching.com will be rolling out partnerships, resources and templates for the site, as references for users. These are in place to help buyers and sellers ensure their legal, tax and retirement implications are dealt with.
Anderson has been working on developing the website for nearly two years, and officially launched her business in February 2012. Since the launch, the website has come a long way.
Recently RBC Royal Bank, one of Canada’s largest chartered banks, partnered with Anderson, enhancing the user experience and skyrocketing her growth opportunities.
In July 2012, Anderson plans to take her business international. Right now she has 15 employees working with her, spread out from the United Kingdom to British Columbia. Despite the growth, Anderson has no plans to move.
“My heart is at home. I want to stay in Saskatchewan and help business owners and entrepreneurs here,” she said.
Anderson said going international means opening up Saskatchewan’s market even more to the growing interest abroad. She sees the opportunity to attract immigrant entrepreneurs to the province over the next few years, and said Saskatchewan is the place to be.
“A lot of landed immigrants have been living in B.C. and Ontario for extended periods of time, and they are looking to come to Saskatchewan because now everyone in the world has heard of Saskatchewan.”
The business climate in the province, according to Anderson, is perfect.
“We are positioned properly here, because Saskatchewan in one of three provinces in the country where immigrant entrepreneurs can come in and buy businesses that are worth more than $150-thousand,” Anderson said.
Something she said can only benefit business owners looking to sell.
“Our site allows any business in any corner of the province to market themselves to the world. The sky is the limit with this one.”
For more information on Successionmatching.com, please visit the website or contact: