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By Entrepreneur Staff
Succession Plan Definition:
The process of planning for the day a business owner decides to step down from their leadership role
For years, all you thought about was how to get your business going. Now that you're actually making money from your idea, it's time to think about your future. Even though retirement may seem far off now, it's worth it to think about what issues you may face once you stop actively participating in your business.
Death and taxes, while inevitable, should not have to be dealt with at the same time. Savvy business owners need an exit plan. A succession plan aims to ensure that when you retire or die, not only will your business continue according to your vision, but your heirs won't be saddled with a huge tax bill for carrying out your plans.
There are several reasons to have a succession plan in place. First and foremost, family businesses in particular need to make sure they have some kind of succession plan. A succession plan for a family business should address the following questions: Do you want your children to take over the business? Some children but not others? Are your children able to take over the business? Or should they just own it and someone else manage it? If you die, will your spouse get control of the business? If you sell your business outright to your children, will you pay capital gains?
Another important reason to create a succession plan is tax savings. If you die without some kind of plan in place, estate taxes start at 37 percent and ratchet up to a whopping 55 percent fairly quickly. The government gives heirs only nine months to pay this tax,. The first thing to do in preparation for succession is to decide who gets the business next. Keeping in mind that there's a big difference between who runs the company and who owns the company, be realistic in your choice. If your kids don't want anything to do with the business, don't force them. An uncooperative heir can scuttle the whole estate plan after you're gone.
Once you've made the ownership decision, it's a good idea to get a business valuation. Most entrepreneurs are shocked to find out how the IRS would value their businesses. "Highest and best use" is the phrase most often bandied about. That means that while you maythink you could realistically get $100,000 for your business assets, in the eyes of the IRS, they might go for $200,000.
In addition to giving you an idea of what your business is worth, a valuation provides a good starting point for projecting what your tax liability would be if you (or your heirs) were to sell the business. Minimizing this tax liability is at the core of any succession plan.
And, of course, all succession plans must comply with the tax code. The good news here is that in the event of your unexpected demise, there are a few sections in the tax code that might give your heirs a break. For example, IRS Code Section 303 permits, under certain circumstances, the corporation to cash out the owner's stock (upon his or her death) if the proceeds are used to pay estate taxes and administrative expenses. There's also Section 6166, which allows a portion of the federal estate tax to be deferred for up to 15 years (with interest) if the estate qualifies.
If you decide to try to locate someone who'll run your business as you've run it, don't focus solely on skills. Instead, look at the candidates' styles. You want people who think like you and feel like you, even if they don't necessarily have the same set of abilities. Finally, don't restrict your search for a successor to outside your company. In fact, the best successors come from inside the organization. Find somebody in your company who understands your goals and principles and who the other people of the company trust. Grooming a successor isn't an overnight operation. Be prepared for it to take time--even two or three years.
Communication also plays an important role. As the company's founder, you may have an almost mythical standing among your employees. You can not expect anyone to fill your shoes in the eyes of others in the company unless you have personally, convincingly designated them as the heir apparent. You communicate your choice by consistently, plainly saying with words and actions that this is your choice-the person who will run the company after you leave. This job also takes time, but it will pay off in improved effectiveness of the person you leave in charge and, with luck, will lead to equal or even better growth prospects for your company after you leave.
There are infinite ways to divest yourself of your company. Even more so than other areas of estate planning, this is a potential minefield for the novice, filled with such options as trusts, private annuities and self-canceling annuities. Enlisting the right professional is of paramount importance.
The myriad options available to business owners in transferring their businesses to the next generation should not obscure the real reason for undertaking succession planning. Any plan can maximize tax savings, but if you don't take into account family dynamics, you could destroy the business. The basic idea is to shift some of the ownership to the next generation so that the growth of the business is not considered part of your estate.
While transferring assets is a legal and financial operation, transferring control is more psychology-oriented. Your major concerns when handing over the reins to your successor include:
- Make sure that the successor is clearly seen by other employees as your successor, not an interloper or pretender to the throne who can safely be ignored or discounted.
- Make sure that you are really ready to hand over control. An entrepreneur who lurks around his or her business after ostensibly handing over the reins is only undermining the effectiveness of the person he or she has chosen to lead the business. So when you leave, leave.
More from Management
A business actively owned and/or managed by more than one member of the same family
A group of individuals who've been selected to help advise a business owner regarding any number of business issues, including marketing, sales, financing, expansion and so on; a body that advises the board of directors and management of a corporation but does not have authority to vote on corporate matters
A blend of the values, beliefs, taboos, symbols, rituals and myths all companies develop over time
Agreements that outline business transactions between companies and government entities
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Succession Planning for Small Business
Small businesses have smaller staff with fewer key players. If one important member dies and an adequate replacement is not readily available, the business may suffer significantly. To avoid this, small businesses should have a succession plan in place. Succession planning is a process for identifying and developing new employees to replace key roles in the event that the key role leader retires, leaves, or dies. This can remove a significant threat for small businesses. The Balance helps us to fill in the gaps on succession planning, with all the basics of this topic listed below.
Who Needs Succession Planning?
All organizations, no matter their size, need succession planning. While it is less likely that you will have potential successors for every role in a ten person company, you can minimally cross-train.
The cross-training ensures that employees are prepared to babysit the key job when the employee resigns. This keeps responsibilities from falling through the cracks.
This will keep the mission on track if a key employee leaves. It’s not as effective as having a fully trained employee, but that is not always possible for every role.
How Do Companies Currently Do Succession Planning?
Many companies have not introduced the concept of succession planning in their organizations.
Others plan informally and verbally for succession for key roles. By this type of process, for example, Eric is identified as the strongest player on Mary’s team. This makes him likely to succeed Mary when she is promoted or leaves.
In other conversations, senior leadership teams put forth the names of employees they believe are strong players with great potential in their organizations. This helps other senior leaders know who is available for potential promotion or reassignment when they are looking for an employee to fill a key role.
The advantage of a more formalized system is that the organization exhibits more of a commitment to mentor and develop the employee so that he or she is ready to take over.
Organizationally, it allows all managers to know who the key employees are in all areas of the organization. This allows them to consider strong players when any key role opens up.
Advantages for Employers and Employees
Effective succession planning brings advantages for both employers and employees and it’s worth your time.
Advantages for employees include these:
- Employees who know that a next role awaits them receive a boost to self-esteem and self-respect. This enhances their efficacy and value as an employee.
- Knowing the organization’s plans for your next potential opportunity —and that there is one—reinforces your desire for career development and career opportunities. This development is one of the areas that employees want most from their employer.
- You are able to identify the skills, experience, and development opportunities necessary to help the employee become prepared for progression when the next job opportunity turns up.
- The ability to work with their manager or supervisor to make sure that the employee has a career plan that moves him or her in the direction of their next opportunity.
- The employee’s value is shared with the rest of the organization so that if an opportunity comes up, the managers can consider the employee to fill the role. In an informal system, managers organization-wide may not know the value of the employee and his or her skills. (Even if the current manager has shared this information, in the world of busy, it’s tough to remember.)
Advantages for employers include these:
- You rely on staff to carry out the mission and the vision and to accomplish the goals of the organization . The loss of a key employee can undermine your ability to accomplish these important objectives.
- You need prepared employees to step into roles as your company grows and expands its offerings and services. Or, your lack of developed employees will stymie your growth plans.
- The need to have replacement employees ready if you decide to promote employees or redesign your organization enables you to make necessary changes without being hampered by a lack of replacements.
- Knowledge about key employees is shared with managers organization-wide. This information allows managers to consider the widest number of candidates for any open job.
- The Baby Boomer generation is in the process of retiring. They are taking with them 30-40+ years of knowledge, experience, working relationships, and information. You want to capture that knowledge before it walks out your door.
Effective, proactive succession planning leaves your organization well prepared for all contingencies. Successful succession planning builds bench strength.
Develop Employees for Succession Planning
To develop the employees you need for your succession plan, you can use such practices as lateral moves , assignment to special projects, team leadership roles, and both internal and external training and development opportunities .
Through your succession planning process, you also retain superior employees because they appreciate the time, attention, and development that you are investing in them. Employees become motivated and engaged when they can see a career path for their continued growth and development.
To effectively do succession planning in your organization, you must identify the organization’s long-term goals. You must hire superior staff.
Identify and understand the developmental needs of your employees. You must ensure that all key employees understand their career paths and the roles they are being developed to fill. Also, focus resources on key employee retention. You need to be aware of employment trends in your area to know the roles you will have a difficult time filling externally.
Prepare Your Succession Plan
The future is uncertain, but the future of your business can be less uncertain with a solid succession plan in place. Create a more stable and secure business with a succession plan.
7 Steps to Building a Succession Plan
Succession Planning Roadmap
Forbes: How to Do Succession Planning the Right Way
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Small Business Succession Plan 101
Do you have a business succession plan in place? Here’s why this is important, how to identify potential successors, and how to create your plan.
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According to Deloitte, only 1 in 4 private company boards has a succession plan in place. For small businesses, the number of business owners who have a documented business succession plan is even lower, with just 1/3 being prepared for an eventual transfer.
Part of the problem is that the idea of succession appears to be in the distant future. However, pushing business succession planning into the background can backfire, leaving a business owner unprepared for a sudden sell-off or merger. As a result, a small business owner can also leave money on the table.
Drafting a succession plan is the first step toward a successful transition and ensures that the business owner gets a better deal.
What is a business succession plan?
A business succession plan is more than transferring ownership to a family member, which is common in family business succession planning. In fact, there are 4 common business succession plans:
1. Passing the business to a family member
In this case, a small business owner passes their business onto a child or another family member. This is often the most attractive option for a family-owned business. However, it’s important to have a thorough discussion with the family to determine whether anyone actually wants to take it over.
Sometimes it is assumed that a potential successor will want to continue the business. But people change over time, and it’s critical to regularly access whether or not the business is their passion.
Furthermore, to ensure a successful transition, a business owner should leave clear instructions on who will take over the business, and whether other family members should require compensation.
2. Selling to a co-owner
Businesses that have 1 or more owners typically have a loose succession agreement in place in the event that 1 of the owners is unable to continue working. However, it’s important to have a clear buy-sell agreement to guarantee a clear and successful transition.
It’s important to have a clear buy-sell agreement to guarantee a clear and successful transition.
The main downside to this is that if a co-owner wants to buy the business, they will need a lot of cash on hand. Furthermore, if the agreement stipulates that the co-owner should buy the remaining shares upon the death of their business partner, payment can become tricky. Life insurance is often used in this case.
3. Selling to an employee
While there are many candidates for a successor, the best may come from the employee pool. A business-minded employee may be able to keep the business profitable and even expand it.
However, employees typically don’t have the funds to buy a business. In this case, they usually pay the business owner in installments over time.
4. Selling your business to another company or outside owner
You may choose to sell your business to a new individual altogether. Unlike planning for a business partner, family member, or employee to take over the business, bringing in an outside party is often unplanned and unpredictable.
For this reason, it can be helpful to rely on experienced business transition experts to help you navigate the specifics of agreements and strategy.
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5 tips for creating a business succession plan
1. have a plan before you decide to sell your business.
In addition to identifying your potential successor, you will want to define an ideal timeline and price range based on your business valuation. When will you want to retire? How long should the succession plan take?
What procedures need to be taken over? How can you streamline your process to make the transition as simple as possible?
2. Include key stakeholders in succession plan decisions
You will want to include your family, trusted friends, financial advisors, and business lawyers, as well as any other potential stakeholders such as upper management or key employees. This will not only help you plan what needs to be done, but you will also have a better idea of a timeline for when you sell.
3. Decide on your minimum requirements for payment
You should already have a general idea of how much cash you want in-hand and how you would like to be paid. Keep in mind that family members, employees, outside sources, and co-owners will all likely have a different payment plan and expectations.
4. Work with a succession planning professional or group
You will want to have a business broker or group that specializes in business transactions, especially when working with an outside buyer. This can be your CPA, a local attorney’s office, a mentor from SCORE, or even a specialist from your financial institution.
Having an expert in the field can ensure that your succession plan is solid, your exit strategy is clear, and that you don’t leave any money on the table.
5. Create a plan for your life post-succession
Finally, you need to have an idea of your life after the transition. Do you want to start another business? Where are you going to invest the money from the buyout?
A small business owner who is used to having $3 million in revenue can suddenly find themselves with $30 million in the bank. Having personal and financial support systems in place can ensure that you have a fulfilling post-succession life.
Business succession planning checklist
When putting together your business succession plans, it’s likely that you’ll have a lot of pieces to juggle. Here are some key considerations to get you started:
- In how many years do you expect to retire?
- What size will the business be when you transition?
- What will be the approximate business debt, if any?
- How will the business prevent the loss of a key employee?
- Who is involved in business decisions and will that affect the potential successor?
- How much does the business’s success depend on your skills and expertise?
- Does the business have systemized management and operations?
- What will be the approximate net worth of your business?
- Will you need a training program for your potential successor?
- Have you developed a clear estate plan?
- Have you considered how capital gains may be affected in tax planning?
- Would acquiring a product or business make your eventual sell-off more profitable?
- Are there provisions in case of bankruptcy?
- How will customers react to the new ownership?
Plan your business, automate everything else
It’s hard to make time to think about the future when you have a million tasks to complete in the present. But it’s possible to kill 2 birds with 1 stone with automation.
Using automation and templates in your business does 2 things. First, it takes some work off your plate. And second, it helps to systemize your business operations. This, in turn, makes it easier to sell your business down the road — even if you don’t have a plan in place.
To get started, check out these free templates for your HR and hiring needs:
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Succession Planning for Small Businesses
Succession planning is one of those things that many owners know is important, but often don’t get around to doing it. In fact, up to half of small business owners who plan to retire in the next five years say they have not yet named a successor, according to the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE).*
Succession planning for small businesses can be as challenging as starting the business in the first place. For some owners, the biggest challenge is facing the reality that one day they will have to hand the reins over to someone else. But failing to plan for small business succession can leave owners ill-prepared for the next stage of their life while also jeopardizing the future of the business
Table of Contents
- 0.1 What is Succession Planning?
- 0.2 Why is Succession Planning Important for Small Businesses?
- 0.3 Who Should Create a Succession Plan?
- 0.4.1 1. Selling to a Partner or Co-owner
- 0.4.2 2. Passing the Business on to Heirs
- 0.4.3 3. Selling to a Key Employee
- 0.4.4 4. Selling to an Outside Party
- 0.5 How to Create a Succession Plan
- 1 How We Can Help with Succession Planning
What is Succession Planning?
Succession planning is the process of thinking and making decisions about how your ownership stake will be transferred once you leave the business. Your departure from the business could be voluntary — for example, you want to retire or start another business venture — or involuntary, such as in the case of death or disability.
One of the biggest keys to succession planning for small businesses is to start the process well in advance. It’s never too early to start thinking about your small business succession plan, but many experts say that succession planning should ideally begin no later than two to three years before you plan to exit the business. This will maximize your control over your business exit and possibly give you the best options to choose from.
Why is Succession Planning Important for Small Businesses?
If you’re like most small business owners, you have worked hard for many years to build your business into a successful enterprise. But it’s possible that you’ve been so focused on growing your business that you haven’t thought much about your end game. Or another way to put it: You haven’t seen the business “forest” for the “trees.”
Through the process of succession planning, you will start to devise a detailed plan for how and when you will exit the business and who will own and manage the business after your exit. For example, maybe you want to sell the business in five years and use the proceeds to start a new business venture. Or perhaps you want to retire five years from now and fund your retirement with the cash you generate from the business’ sale.
As you engage in succession planning, you will also identify potential candidates to take over the reins of your business. For example, maybe you want to pass your business on to family members, such as your children. Maybe you want to sell it to one or more key employees or executives. Or perhaps you’d like to put your business on the market and sell it to an outside buyer.
Creating a succession plan is the key to accomplishing all these critical objectives. The sooner you start the process of succession planning, the more time you’ll have to think about the details of your plan and execute the plan successfully.
Who Should Create a Succession Plan?
The short answer: Almost all business owners should create a succession plan. The main exceptions to this rule might be very small one-owner businesses and self-employed professional service providers and solo entrepreneurs with no employees.
While some owners associate succession planning mainly with retirement, succession planning should play a role much earlier in a business’ lifecycle. This is especially true when it comes to planning what will happen to the business should you unexpectedly die or become disabled and no longer able to actively participate in the business. Your succession plan will detail what happens to your ownership shares and who will take over management responsibilities in these situations.
As the complexity of your business and the number of people who will be impacted by your exit increase, so does the importance of succession planning. It is especially important in the following scenarios:
• Your business has complex processes. It’s critical that your successor(s) understand your processes and know how to keep the business running smoothly after your exit. Otherwise, operating efficiency and customer service might suffer, which could lower sales and profits.
• There are more than just a few employees. As noted above, solo entrepreneurs and businesses with just a handful of employees might be able to get by without creating a succession plan. But once a business grows beyond 10 employees or so, succession planning becomes critical to help ensure the ongoing viability of the business and employment security after your exit.
• There is more than one owner . Small businesses with two or more partners need to have a plan in place for how each partner’s shares will be liquidated upon the exit of any one partner. This is often accomplished by creating a buy-sell agreement (more details below).
• You have long-term contracts and agreements with your clients. These clients might be disappointed to learn that you are leaving the business, especially if you have established strong relationships with them. Your succession plan will detail how to communicate with clients about your exit and who will be responsible for maintaining these relationships.
4 Common Types of Succession Plans
The type of succession plan you create will depend on the specific scenario of your exit. Here are four common scenarios and the type of succession plan that accompanies each:
1. Selling to a Partner or Co-owner
If you have one or more business partners, you could sell your ownership share of the business to them. This is often the least-disruptive succession option since it doesn’t involve new owners coming in and having to learn the nuances of the business and build new relationships with customers and employees.
A buy-sell agreement is a useful tool for accomplishing this. Buy-sell agreements are legally binding documents that stipulate what will happen to a partner’s shares when he or she leaves the company. They are especially helpful for ensuring a smooth transition of ownership interest if one partner dies or becomes disabled and can no longer perform his or her duties. It helps ensure that if this occurs, your ownership will be transferred to your partners in an orderly fashion and at a pre-determined value.
Buy-sell agreements are usually funded with cash value life insurance or a disability buyout policy. They are also sometimes funded using a “sinking fund” in which partners agree to set aside money voluntarily to buy the shares of a departing, deceased or disabled partner. There are three main types of buy-sell agreements:
• Cross purchase plan — Each partner will purchase a cash-value life insurance policy on the other partners. If any partner dies, the others will use the life insurance proceeds to buy his or her business shares. This type of agreement works best when there are no more than two or three partners.
• Entity purchase plan — Instead of partners buying life insurance policies on each other, the business entity will buy the policies. If any partner dies, the business will purchase the shares and divide them among the other partners. This type of agreement works best when there are more than three partners.
• Wait-and-see plan — This is a hybrid approach that combines these types of plans. The business has the right of refusal and if it doesn’t buy the departing owners’ shares, the other partners can buy them. If they decline, the business entity must purchase the shares.
2. Passing the Business on to Heirs
If yours is a family business where children and other relatives are actively involved, your succession plan might involve passing the business on to them. This will allow you to keep your business “in the family” and preserve your legacy while handing your heirs a successful enterprise, which may provide them with ongoing financial security.
Passing your business on to heirs can be tricky, however. Your first challenge is deciding who to name as your successor. If one of your children or relatives is actively involved in helping run the business now, this might make the decision a little easier. But there could still be hurt feelings among other children or relatives who aren’t named as the successor.
Think carefully about who is best qualified to take over the leadership reins and make your decision based on this, instead of on emotions or perceived loyalties. Then start the process of training your successor so he or she is ready to lead after your exit. Clearly communicate your decision and the reasons behind it to all family members who are involved in the business to help reduce the chances that there are any hurt feelings or resentments.
3. Selling to a Key Employee
If you don’t have partners or family members who would be good successor candidates, another option might be to sell your business to a key employee or group of employees. This can also minimize disruptions since the employee or employees already knows your business and your customers well and won’t be starting the ownership tenure from scratch.
This option may be accomplished using a one-way buy-sell agreement or an employee stock ownership plan, or ESOP. With an ESOP, you can sell a minority (or non-controlling) interest in the business to key employees over time and gradually liquidate your ownership at whatever pace you desire. This way, you can retain a controlling interest in the business and remain active for a period of time.
To create an ESOP, you will first set up a trust and contribute either cash or ownership shares into it. The cash is then used to buy stock on behalf of the successor employees. The cash contributions are tax-deductible to your business and the employees won’t pay income tax on them until they receive the stock later.
One of the biggest benefits of ESOPs as a succession tool is the positive impact, they often have on employee morale, productivity and loyalty. Employee-owners tend to work harder and show greater loyalty than non-owner employees since they have some “skin in the game.” Small businesses with loyal and productive employees may enjoy a higher business valuation and sell for a higher price.
4. Selling to an Outside Party
If passing your business on to partners, family members or key employees isn’t a good option, then you will probably want to sell your business to an outside party. This might be another business in your industry that’s looking to expand its operations or a competitor looking to grow market share by acquiring your business.
If you plan to sell to an outside party, you should begin preparing for this well in advance by focusing on specific value drivers that will help boost the value of your business when you’re ready to sell. Business buyers are usually looking for certain characteristics in the businesses they acquire that will increase their return on investment. By focusing on these value drivers, you can increase your business valuation and eventual selling price:
• Financial performance — Business acquirers mainly want to see steady revenue growth, high margins and consistent cash flow. So, pay close attention to KPIs like return on equity (ROE), return on assets (ROA) and gross profit margin.
• Management strength — Acquirers are also looking for businesses with a deep management bench that is going to stick around after the acquisition to help ease the transition to new ownership. Therefore, you should invest time and effort into building your management team well before your planned exit and making sure they’re financially incented to remain with the company for the long term.
• Competitive advantages — These are the reasons why customers do business with you instead of your competitors. Sometimes referred to as a unique selling proposition, or USP, they might include high quality, low price or outstanding customer service. Focus on strengthening your USP before your planned exit and making sure it’s sustainable over the long term.
• Customer concentrations — Relying too heavily on one or a handful of large customers is a major concern for most business acquirers because losing this customer could cripple the business financially. So strive to diversify your sales and revenue among a variety of different customers instead of concentrating sales with just one or two large customers.
• Sustained growth — Business acquirers don’t want to just maintain the status quo. They are looking for businesses with strong growth potential to maximize their ROI. Work together with your management team to draft a strategic growth plan that details future growth opportunities such as tapping new niche markets or introducing new products and services.
How to Create a Succession Plan
Depending on the size and complexity of your business, you can either create a succession plan yourself or hire a business consultant to help you. Either way, there are five main steps usually involved in creating a succession plan:
1. Get Emotions in Check. Making the decision to retire and actually taking steps to retire can be two different things for business owners. You have dedicated so much time, money and energy to growing your business and finding success that it may be challenging to actually walk away from it. Many small business owners feel a sense of loss when they exit their business, so give yourself time to address your emotional and mental state surrounding retirement before creating your succession plan.
2. Determine your exit timeline and goals. Decide when you want to exit the company and what you want to achieve from your exit. For example, do you want to keep your business in the family to secure your legacy? Give key employees an opportunity to acquire and run the business? Or grow the business to boost its value and sale price to an outside acquirer?
3. Choose your successor(s). Assuming you don’t plan to sell to an outside entity, you must decide who is going to succeed you as the owner and president. Keep in mind that there’s a difference between ownership succession and management succession. For example, you could tap one family member or key employee to be the new owner and other family members or employees to be successor managers who are more involved in day-to-day business operations.
4. Formalize your standard operating procedures. There are probably a lot of processes and procedures you and your employees follow that you don’t really think about anymore because you’ve always done things this way. Before you exit the business, these standard operating procedures, or SOPs, should be formally documented so the new owners know how to follow them. For example, you might need to create an operations manual, organizational chart or employee handbook if you don’t have one.
5. Value your business. Having a formal business valuation performed by a certified valuation professional is a key part of small business succession planning. The business valuation will play a key part in many aspects of your succession plan. Most importantly, it will serve as the basis for setting a realistic sale price for your business and give you a good idea of what you can expect to receive from a buyer, whether internal (a family member or key employee) or external.
6. Prepare your business. Look for anything that may delay or negatively impact the transfer of your business. This may include an evaluation of your personal and business tax returns by a financial professional, as well as a review of any potential local or state tax issues. If you have a business presence in multiple states, this may also help avoid potential tax issues.
Now is also an ideal time to contact a tax professional if you’re thinking about restructuring your business for tax purposes. They may be able to help navigate the potential drawbacks and highlight any benefits that may result from a restructuring.
7. Plan the finances. The financial aspects of exiting your business will depend on what type of succession plan you develop. For example, if you sell your business to partners or co-owners, the buy-sell agreement will cover most of the financial details. But if you sell it to family members, key employees or an outside buyer, you might have to finance some of the purchase if they can’t obtain a business acquisition loan. Carefully consider the potential risks of owner financing before agreeing to this with an acquirer.
8. Do your due diligence. If your business’s financial documents aren’t current, now is the time to remedy that.
Standard documents to review may include:
- Incorporation documents
- Equity ownership records
- Meeting minutes
- Tax classification records
If you have equity holders, do you know if they are entitled to a right of refusal? Additionally, if your business owns any intellectual property, are you certain it’s been properly registered? The answers to these questions may have considerable implications for your transition plan.
Start thinking also about your existing business relationships. Existing long-term contracts or distribution agreements may need to be evaluated as well.
9. Include your employees. Your planning will include key leaders in your business to ensure a smooth transition. However, don’t overlook sharing your transition plan with all your employees. Have answers ready for some tough questions, as you should prepare to be as transparent as possible. Securing employee buy-in can be a powerful element to your strategy and that can lead to essential conversations with those you trust most. In fact, research has shown that 62% of employees would be significantly more engaged at work if their company had a succession plan.
Remember, your business isn’t the only thing that is going to change through your transition. The livelihood of your employees and their families will be impacted as well, so it’s important to allow them to voice their concerns. Creating a safe space for open conversations may help alleviate their worry and retain your key employees.
How We Can Help with Succession Planning
If you haven’t given much thought to succession planning before, now is a good time to do so. The team at C.W. O’Conner Wealth Advisors works with business owners and their families to create succession plans based on their unique goals and objectives. Call us directly at 770-368-9919 or email Cliff at email@example.com or Kevin at [email protected] to learn more.
C.W. O'Conner Wealth Advisors, Inc. Duluth, Georgia
3175 Satellite Boulevard, Suite 110, Duluth, GA 30096
© 2023 C.W. O'Conner Wealth Advisors, Inc. Duluth, Georgia.
Serving the Communities of:
- Johns Creek
- Greater Altanta Metropolitan area
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