Client Story: The Retiring Business Owner
Needed a succession plan
John spent forty years carefully and thoughtfully building a thriving, valuable business. As he approached his mid-sixties and began to consider retirement, he knew that he wanted a seamless transition plan in place to transfer ownership to his adult son, Michael.
He was confident in Michael’s ability to run the business, but he felt like the weight of the world was on his shoulders, trying to secure the future success of his family and prepare for his own retirement. He wasn’t sure how to handle the situation and needed help. John had a friend who had recently gone through a similar situation, who suggested that he reach out to us.
How We Helped
We knew from experience that John needed a defined business succession plan, and we quickly set to work. We evaluated all facets of his business through a series of interviews and questionnaires, and we also coordinated with all of his advisors, including his accountant and real estate attorney, to ensure that we had a comprehensive understanding of his situation.
Following this information-gathering stage, we crafted a robust succession plan tailored specifically to John’s personal circumstances and business model. This included a guide that outlined every step of the transition, as well as the timeline. The plan addressed the following areas of the business:
Corporate governance & internal policy
- Operational controls
- Familial council
Formal estate & succession plans for ownership
A bespoke shareholder’s agreement
An independent valuation of the business
We supported John throughout the execution of the plan to achieve the expected outcomes. As a result, John was able to ensure the continuity of his business and oversee the successful transition of his leadership role as CEO to his son.
Family-owned businesses account for 90 percent of all business enterprises in North America. However, only about 30 percent survive into the second generation, according to the Family Business Institute. Those that survive understand the value of succession planning and have business owners that make informed decisions about how to move forward.
Here are some key lessons that business owners should take into consideration when planning for the future:
- It’s never too early to begin planning for the next generation of leaders to manage, and ultimately own, your business
- Succession planning is not just logistically complex, it also carries a lot of emotion regarding close relationships and preserving the culture and integrity of a business. A good succession plan should address and help mitigate these components
- It’s important to define and document what you expect of your successor and the future of your company so that you can select someone who will be successful – or provide them with the necessary training to empower them – regardless of the personal relationship
- Open communication helps to ensure that all parties have a shared understanding of the goals of the transition and future of the business
If you’re a business owner, an experienced advisory team like ours can give you the confidence to pass your business on to the next generation, who will preserve the value and enable continuity during the transition and in the future.