If you are a business owner, chances are that your business is your most valuable asset. What plans do you have to build your business value so that you can exit your business with the money you need to enjoy the retirement you deserve? What plans do you have in place to protect that value from lawsuits, key employees who leave for a competitor (with your confidential information), or your own death or incapacity? What plans do you have to transition the business to children, key employees, or a third party?
If the answer is none, you are not alone. The estimated 25 million small businesses in the U.S. form the backbone of the economy. Recent studies show that 66% of the current U.S. business market is owned by baby boomers, with upwards of 75% of those owners indicating they plan to exit their business within the next ten years. Yet, the vast majority of these owners are woefully unprepared and have no written plan to guide them to a successful exit.
If exiting a business is the most significant financial event of a business owner’s life, why are so few prepared to make a successful transition? In many instances, it is because they do not have a team of qualified and experienced professional advisors to help guide them through the planning process. Our Business Succession Planning group helps business owners design and implement transition plans to achieve a successful exit from their businesses. We start that process by helping them find answers to the following three critical questions:
- When do you want to exit the business?
- To whom do you want to transition the business?
- And for how much?
Once a business owner articulates answers to these questions, we design a plan that will provide a roadmap to a successful exit from the business. These plans often involve several of the following components:
- Business valuation
- Personal financial and retirement planning
- Risk management and tax minimization planning
- Employee incentive and retention plans
- Buy-sell agreements between co-owners
- Owner estate planning, liquidity planning, and wealth transfer planning
- Stock transfers to family members, insiders (such as key employees or co-owners), employee stock ownership plans or ESOPs, or third parties
The exit planning process is difficult and takes time, focus, and resources. If you are a business owner who has spent years, if not decades, building your business, you owe it to yourself, your family and your employees to ensure you have arrangements in place to successfully transition the business.
Our Estate, Succession, and Tax team is one of the largest in the region. Our extensive experience and expertise in these fields led to Koley Jessen being named among the “Best Law Firms” by U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers, who gave it a Tier 1 Ranking for Trusts & Estates and Tax Law. Chambers High Net Worth Guide also recognized Koley Jessen as a leading firm in Private Wealth Law in their 2019 rankings.
Our team also includes a BEI Certified Exit Planner (CExP™).