If you are like most small business owners, your business means everything to you. You’ve spent your life working hard to make it successful. That is why it’s vital to plan ahead for your eventual transition out of the business so that is successful as well.
In 2016, the first baby boomers turned age 70. Over the course of the next 10 years there will be a flood of baby boomer owners hoping to transition out of their businesses and into retirement. As an owner, your relationship with your business has a life cycle. You are on a path that is leading you and your business toward your eventual transition. Whether your transition is one year away or ten years away, you need to have a proper plan to help get a successful outcome.
Ownership transitions can be voluntary (on your terms) through family succession, management buyout or sale to a third party or it can be involuntary through death, disability or divorce. Regardless of how or when your transition occurs you need to be proactive and prepared to increase your odds for success.
I suggest that every owner put together what I call a “Master Plan”. This is a written plan that integrates the needs of the business with the personal needs of the owner. It’s a road map that identifies all of the business and personal issues and addresses them with a coordinated strategy. The first step is to pull together your team of stakeholders and professional advisors so they can communicate and collaborate with each other as well as with the owner. This team should be led by an advisor who has been specifically trained in and experienced with owner transitions. A CEPA designated advisor (certified exit planning advisor) might be a good start.
Charles Kedra, CEPA, CFP