Business Succession Planning for a Smooth Transfer or Exit

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Business Succession Planning

Your business has been your baby since you started it. The last thing you want to think about is your exit strategy, right? Your energy is focused on growing your business and making it better, not thinking about its end. But it’s important to do so. Will you sell to the highest bidder? Turn the business over to a relative? Sell to your employees? Go public? Liquidate?

You don’t plan to fail, so don’t fail to plan.

78 percent of small business owners plan to sell their business to fund their retirement, yet less than 30 percent actually have a written succession plan.*A succession plan means having a strategy in place for an unexpected life event such as financial hardship, disability or death, and having a plan for the transfer of ownership of the business.

Regardless of your exit strategy, it will have implications on your employees, your business structure, your assets, your tax obligation and your estate.

Business succession planning may include:

  • A retirement plan, life insurance and personal disability insurance, which can protect you and your family when you no longer own your business
  • Development and training of successors
  • Retaining key employees through equitable compensation planning for management, family, employees, and shareholders

Whether you plan on selling your business, transferring ownership, or are facing a “forced-exit” such as bankruptcy or liquidation, planning your exit is important. Creating a formal business succession plan that outlines who will own and operate the company is an important decision.

*FPA/CNBC Business Owner Succession Planning Survey, 2015