Succession and transition in a pandemic: Lessons from a stellar dealmaker

Business Transitions Forum

Tracey McVicar, CAI Capital Partners

Tracey McVicar is a Partner at CAI Capital Partners, a mid-market private equity firm, and a former investment banker. At CAI, Tracey and her team have invested over $300 million in equity in ten North American businesses. They specialize in partnering with founders to facilitate their retirement and succession over time. Tracey is a chair/director for many companies, in and outside of CAI’s portfolio. Tracey is active in the community with a number of non-profit and business organizations, and is a past winner of WXN’s Canada’s Most Powerful Women, Top 100 Award and BC Business Magazine’s 50 Most Influential Women in BC.

Tracey McVicar knows deals. Having bought and sold countless businesses, she is a well- recognized and sought-after advisor on them. She understands the challenges and nuances of the world of deals in both a pandemic and pre-pandemic world. She also has some thoughts on how things may look in post-pandemic times.

She will be imparting that wisdom during her BTF NOW session, From Survival to Growth – Your Roadmap to Transition. McVicar has long been a friend of BTF, having attended, chaired and participated in many of our sessions. She gets our world and will be sharing insight valuable to the various types of business owners, founders, investors, buyers, sellers and entrepreneurs attending our virtual conference.

Her first bit of wisdom?

“You have to take control of how you get information. Actively seek advice and intelligence that wouldn’t necessarily come your way organically,” advises McVicar. “What is coming your way organically can be very targeted and maybe not in a positive way. Go out of your way to seek unbiased advice and to participate in forums that you know are credible. This conference is very unbiased and offers lots of time to interact.”

McVicar also has some insight into how current conditions may impact selling. And, in a time when everything has felt a bit bleak, she has a refreshing and optimistic view.

“We are in a golden period – post immediate impact of the pandemic and pre long-term malaise of what this may or may not turn into,” she says. “We are in the golden moment after a battle. We don’t know if there is another fight or if the war is over but businesses are selling, transactions are happening and capital is available. Lean into this if you are so inclined. Try not to lose hope and get discouraged.”

From the investing standpoint, McVicar says there are lots of opportunities and suggests looking for ‘hotspots’ – noting there is a lot of interest in any kind of technology that can facilitate non-physical contact (telemedicine, work from home, online shopping). There are also things that have to keep happening such as roadwork, HVAC and businesses offering services/products related to homes

“There is as much new opportunity as there are broken dreams,” she says.

For those businesses looking to sell, McVicar equates coming through 2020 with a creative pivot and doing nearly as well as you went in to winning a gold medal — and adds that will make you stand out for a while to potential investors.

Lastly, McVicar wants to share the message that the business of succession is very much alive and that no one should despair.  

“The market of buying and selling business is open at this time,” she says. “The overwhelming number of deals that were alive during the pandemic got done. While adjustments were made, it wasn’t the cancellation of deals.

“There is a market – buyers and sellers are out there. Good businesses that performed well might be even more valuable. “

Join Tracey McVicar for this informative and timely session, and let her guide you on the road to succession, transition and successful deals. Register today!