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Succession Planning: Developing A Plan For Your Business

A business succession plan is a detailed analysis of the business’ assets, liabilities, equipment, personnel, operations and earnings potential.  A succession plan also provides management or the new owners of the business (usually family members) with an outline to follow if there is an emergency.  The plan also would provide a formula for passing the business on eventually when the business owner retires or upon their death.

Many experts agree that business owners should start planning for the sale of their business the day they start their business.  Yet, only approximately thirty percent have a written business succession plan.

Before starting a succession plan, owners should keep in mind the following advice:

1)       Set realistic succession goals.

2)       Think of the plan as a living document.  Revisit it once per year and more frequently as retirement draws nearer or in the event of failing health.

3)       Decide what qualities the ideal successor should possess.  Will the successor be an employee or a family member or will it be an outsider if the company is to continue?

The first step in formal succession planning is to form a team of advisors to plan for the succession.  The team is usually composed of the business owner’s attorney, accountant, banker (if financing is involved), business appraiser, financial planner, and life insurance agent.  Before any meetings with the planning team, owners should be prepared to answer the following questions:

A)      What should the plan accomplish?

B)      What is an acceptable value for the business?

C)      When and how will the business be transferred?

D)      Who are possible successors?

Owners should also know what role, if any, that they want to play in the business after the sale. 

Next, the business’ value must be determined.  This is best accomplished using the services of a valuation expert such as a business appraiser or CPA who spends the majority of their time doing business appraisals.  This expert should be able to help market the business to potential buyers as well as track sales of comparable businesses.

Some common mistakes business owners make at this point are:

·         Talking too much.  The competition (they might want to steal the customers) and employees (a mass exodus) do not need to know immediately that a sale may take place in the future.

·         Underestimating the value of the business.  This is why valuation experts should be consulted.

Next, owners should research the market that would buy the business.  The business should then be evaluated as an investment from a buyer’s perspective.  Third, owners should know ahead of time how much money a successor must have to buy and sustain the business.  The reason for this is that business owners frequently hold a note receivable for a portion of the proceeds of the sale price or the amount of money paid out may be contingent upon future revenue and/or profits.

When owners are at the point where they are talking to buyers, many make common mistakes such as:

·         Thinking a buyer is qualified when he/she is not.

·         Talking with only one buyer.

·         Disclosing too much information too early in the negotiations.

The last step in succession planning is dealing with the after the sale issues.  Former business owners, who are now retirees, should have an investment plan ready for the sale proceeds.  They should have new plans and goals for their after-work years so they do not flounder in their spare time.  They should also remember that the old write-offs, health and disability insurance, club memberships, mileage, etc. no longer apply to them and they must adjust their financial plan accordingly.

A succession plan is just as important as a business plan.  The longer planning is put off, the greater the chance that the business owner and their family could get hurt.

For further information, contact Louis P. Stanasolovich, CFP at (412) 635-9210 or mailto:legend@legend-financial.com



INDEX
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  • 4 Estate Issues For Business Owners
  • Self-Employed? Map Out Tax Details
  • 10 Easy Steps To Take If Opening A New Business
  • To Buy Or Not To Buy: That Is The Business Franchise Question
  • Ever Considered Helping Your Adult Child Open A Business?
  • Do You Know What Kind Of Business Not To Open?
  • Do You Plan To Move Your Business To A New State?
  • Dispel These 7 Popular Myths About Retirement
  • 4 Retirement Plan Options For Your Small Business
  • Are Stocks Overpriced And Forming A Bubble?
  • 4 Steps To Creating A Dynamic Business Budget
  • Can An Underfunded Small Business Startup Be Successful?
  • What Happens If You Have Excess Capital Losses?
  • This Is Not Granddad's 'Defined Benefit Plan'
  • Despite Much Pessimism, Slow Growth Persists
  • How To Take Your Section 179 Deduction To The Max
  • Squeeze More Out Of Bonus Depreciation Deductions
  • A Common Error In Powers Of Attorney
  • For The Self-Employed: 4 Retirement Plan Choices
  • Which States Are The Most Friendly To Businesses?
  • How Economic Myths Distort Investment Outlook
  • Don't Forget About Roth 401(k)
  • REITs: A Great Diversification Investment
  • Shopping For A Bank Account That Pays The Highest Possible Rate Of Interest
  • The Twenty Top Tax Breaks In The New 2010 Tax Act
  • Investing Defensivley Does Not Mean Deserting Stocks
  • 401(k) Alternatives For Business Owners
  • Tax Court Okays Deducting Cost Of MBA
  • Employers Find Ways To Mitigate Liability On 401(k)s
  • Working Longer: What's A Post-Retirement Job Worth?
  • Slash Taxes By Swapping Like-Kind Assets
  • Transferring The Family Business To Your Heirs
  • Business Owners Get Big Tax Cuts In Recovery Act
  • Move Fast To Corral Emergency SBA Loans
  • Risk Management
  • Estate Taxes And The Obama Administration
  • Gifting A Business Can Cut Estate Taxes
  • A Little Bond Logic Yields Insights
  • Avoiding The IRA Rollover Crackdown
  • Ruling Cites Business Owner Responsibility to 401 (k) Plans
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  • Managing Cash Flow In Tight Times
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  • Understanding the Importance of a Fiduciary Standard
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  • A Primer On Managed Futures
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  • Know The Score
  • REITS: A Very Good Portfolio Diversifier, But Should You Invest In Them?
  • Does Investing Internationally Still Diversify Your Portfolio
  • Another Way To View The Current Valuation Of REIT Sector
  • Understanding Risk-Preparing For The Unseen
  • Bank Loan Funds: A Great Fixed Income Investment As Interest Rates Rise
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  • Identity Theft In The New Year
  • Ways To Improve The Score
  • To Reinvest Or Not To Reinvest
  • Why Not Alternative Fixed Income Investments?
  • Just How Expensive Is The Market?
  • Beware of Brokerage Firms' Misconduct
  • Identity Theft : Correct Those Credit Reporting Errors
  • Risk-Controlled Investing
  • Q & A With Robert Arnott
  • Identity Theft : Applying For Credit? Better Check Your Credit Report First
  • Identity Theft: Everyday Prevention
  • Identity Theft : Help Is On Its Way
  • Identity Theft: Tips To Protect Yourself
  • Identity Theft : Don't Fall For That E-Mail!
  • Identity Theft : One More Reason To Protect Your Credit
  • Identity Theft: A Note About Social Security Numbers
  • What Do Rising Interest Rates Mean For Money Market Yields?
  • Exit Gracefully: How Business Owners Should Plan For A Comfortable Retirement
  • Section 529 Plans Are Popular But Not The Only Way To Go
  • The Importance Of Commodities In A Portfolio
  • A Tale Of Two Hedges
  • IRS Refuses Change Of Section 179 Election To Expense Depreciable Property
  • Small Businesses Need To Be Aggressive On Costs
  • Your Medical File Report May Need A Check-Up
  • Do It Yourself Tax Preparers Watch Out: Tax Answers From IRS Centers Oftentimes Are Incorrect And/Or Insufficient
  • Home Office Deductions: Hoops To Jump Through
  • Property Tax Challenges Should Not Be Overlooked
  • The IRS Will Follow Your Wealth To The Ends Of The Earth
  • Year-End Tax Defferal Planning
  • How To Find A Great Financial Advisor
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  • What Is Risk?
  • 4 Steps To A More Secure Investment Portfolio For Your Retirement
  • Traditional Investing May Decrease Your Retirement Lifestyle
  • Year-End Tax Planning Can Help Generate High Return On Investment
  • Businesses Receive Temporary Depreciation Bonus
  • Understanding Deflation
  • Is Your 401(k) Plan A Failure?
  • Succession Planning: Developing A Plan For Your Business
  • The ERISA Retirement Plan Law Spells Out Fiduciary Issues
  • Evaluating The Quality Of A Company's Earnings
  • Investing In Times Of Uncertainty And Risk: The Importance Of Diversification
  • Tax Issues To Consider When Buying A Long-Term Care Policy
  • Yesterday's Great Companies
  • Businesses Should Be Aware Of States' Use Taxes
  • Expanded Retirement Plan Contribution Limits Create New Opportunities For Business Owners
  • Succession Planning: Developing A Plan For Your Business



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