Business Succession Planning

Succession Planning

Did you know that 79% of business owners have no written transition plan and 48% have done no exit planning at all? And on top of that, roughly 50% of all business exits are involuntary and are forced by dramatic external factors. You need to have a well-thought-out plan of what happens if something unexpected happens to you or someone in your family, directly impacting your business.

Owners need to plan for how they want to walk away from their business not only in a perfect scenario, but also in a worst-case situation. Throughout the exit planning process, it is critical to consider the following scenarios that force owners to exit their business hurriedly, and often leaving value on the table. They are often referred to as the 5 D’s:

  • Death
  • Disability
  • Divorce
  • Disagreement
  • Distress

We often think that a Will addresses the needs upon the death of an owner. If your partner or spouse passes, do you have the ability to continue their job at the level they were performing it? If you’re put in a position where you need to stay home to take care of a suddenly sick or disabled family member, what will happen if you are forced to exit your business due to your inability to come into work?

It is important to run through the tough questions about what you want to happen to your business if you have to exit your business prematurely. Statistics have shown that in the four years following an owner’s death, sales declined 60% on average and employment fell 17%, resulting in a decline the overall valuation of the business. Additionally, two years after an owner’s death, firms are 20% more likely to fail or file for bankruptcy. It is important to have a plan in place to avoid these issues happening to your business in your sudden absence.

Have you planned for these contingencies? Part of our role is to educate the business owner on how to de-risk the business. Some of the largest risks to the business can be planned for and some cannot. These are events that are usually out of your control and can ruin the value of your business.

Successful Business Transitions

At ECWA we have a team of trusted advisors who help business owners in the following ways:

  • Structure a succession plan by connecting the owners with trusted attorneys.
  • Understand their business value by receiving a reliable business valuation that identifies industry metrics. This can help identify weaknesses that can be corrected before the business owner ultimately sells.  This also helps us to provide financial planning using accurate numbers with what is possibly the largest asset for the business owner.
  • Identify tax planning solutions to ensure that the business owner maximizes their bottom line.
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