Successful transition of your business involves determining the most advantageous path to succession of the business management and ownership while considering the requirements of the business to survive, maximization of its value to you, and includes consideration of your tax situation, your retirement goals, and ultimately fits them together to develop a plan for the succession of the business and for your ownership of it. A sound succession plan will guide you through these issues.
Business succession planning is a two-part process. One part is about the business; it involves a plan to develop a capable team of management and employees to provide guidance and direction for the business as leaders leave. This plan should consider the business’ overall strategic plan and coincide with it. Providing for the succession of management will add value to your business.
The second part is about the transfer of ownership of the business. Your business may be one of the largest, or the largest asset in your investment portfolio. It is likely one of your treasured accomplishments. To properly provide for your future and the future of the business and its employees, a plan for succession of the ownership of the business is important. A business owner has three viable options for the succession of their business ownership: to pass it on to their heirs, to sell it to company management or the employees, or to sell it to an unrelated third party.
The Family Business Institute found that about 30% of closely held businesses survive into the second generation, about 12% into the third generation and a mere 3% into the fourth generation and beyond. CNBC and the Financial Planning Association conducted a study that showed 78% of small-business owners plan to sell their businesses to fund retirement, but only 30% have a documented succession plan. Many situations play into these statistics, but a safe statement is that without a business succession plan, your business is less likely to be one of the survivors into future generations.