consequence checkmate

Business owners are often too focused on day-to-day challenges to plan for the eventual transfer of their businesses. This lack of planning can jeopardize the future of their companies as well as the financial security of their families. Below are the top 5 consequences of not preparing a Business Ownership Transition Plan or BOTP as we call it.

  1. Not Being Able to Afford to Sell Your Business and Retire Most business owners don’t realize just how much money they will need to net from their sale to accomplish their financial goals.
    Owners need to be able to answer these important questions: “Will I be financially able to live out my years in comfort? Will I be able to do the things I have dreamed of doing? What if I don’t net enough from the sale of my business?” Unfortunately, most owners don’t ask these questions until it’s too late. Taxes can dramatically reduce your net proceeds from any sale, even in an owner-financed scenario. Fortunately, there are sale structures that can minimize the tax burden, but time and planning are required to achieve this.
  2. Limited Business Transition OptionsLast minute transitions driven by burn-out or untimely events such as disability, illness, or death can be damaging to the business and limit the options.
    Owners who do not have a continuation or succession plan run the risk that their business will not be able to continue without them. This places them, their business, and everyone dependent on the business for their livelihood in great peril. This risk also decreases value in a buyer’s perspective.
  3. Not Being Able to Keep the Family in the BusinessCountless family businesses have fallen apart or had to be sold because of this lack of planning.
    Most family business owners just assume their business will simply pass from one generation to the next and continue without any planning or forethought. The reality is that less than 30% of family businesses experience a successful transfer from the first generation to the second and it gets worse with each generation. Family dynamics often present challenges and concerns not present in other businesses. A lack of planning can result in ill-prepared successors and strained relationships between those who are  and those who are not involved in the day-to-day operations of the business. Your family harmony, legacy, and financial future depend on making sound business decisions.
  4. Being Taken Advantage of by Unscrupulous Potential BuyersBusiness owners often think that the sales process is all about waiting for someone to approach them and then just completing a bunch of paperwork to close the deal.
    In reality, you need to be proactive and cast a wide net to find the right buyer.  If you are approached, you need to be sure of an interested buyer’s intentions and their financial resources to buy your business before you share any financial or business information, or you put yourself at risk. Following proper protocol and working with advisors can help protect owners. Planning in advance will allow you to find the right buyer and correctly handle unexpected prospective buyers.
  5. Not Being Mentally Ready to Leave Your BusinessOwners need to determine how to extract themselves from the business and what they will do after stepping away.
    Often, we find that business owners’ identities are very intertwined with their business.  Being CEO is who they and gives them their feeling of self-worth.  Separating themselves from the business is a process that takes time. Owners need to ensure that they are mentally and emotionally ready to leave their business and find other activities or interests where their talents can be put to good use.If you are one of the millions of baby boomer business owners who will be looking to transition the ownership of your business to others during the next decade, we encourage you to develop and implement a transition plan 3 to 5 years in advance. This takes time but is worth the effort. When it comes to planning for the future of your business, your family and your retirement, there are no shortcuts to success.

    Create a business ownership transition plan and prepare for what is likely the largest financial transaction of your life. Make it a successful one by planning in advance!


Photo Credit to Benedetto Tozzi; Flickr