The oldest of the baby boomers currently are winding down their careers, including thousands of manufacturing and distribution business owners. A 2011 American Small Manufacturers Coalition poll showed that almost 60% of the firms surveyed anticipated a possible leadership change within the next five years.

Unlike previous generations, however, baby boom entrepreneurs are expected to face fierce competition when courting potential buyers. As many as 3.8 million baby boomer–owned companies will go up for sale in the next two decades, according to a 2012 report by SME Research.

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