Estate Planning

Succession Planning

Most of us who have ownEstate Planninged a business have had the dream of a son or daughter taking over the helm.

I’m still trying to get my daughter involved. My son is also a successful broker making far more than I did at his age. But his heart is trading lumber instead of the NYSE or private equity.

So I know family succession doesn’t happen like it used to. This is likely a good thing.

Kids came into the family business because that was all they could do.

Now the opportunities in education, undreamt of career choices, and simply the need to be the master of their own destiny works against a parent’s dreams of passing the reins within the family.

If there’s no one in the family to take your place, what are you going to do?

One choice is pass it on to senior staff but they need the funds to complete a purchase. Can they afford it? BDC can sometimes help with this and this is worth exploring. ATB, another government lender has stepped up to the plate. I’ve even been called by BMO folks looking for new  business commercial business. They say they too would look at financing a business transition.

Another choice is to start early and slowly to find the right buyer.

My working assumption here is that you are not actively trying to sell but know you will have to down the road.

You have choices.

There are firms out there who I have worked with and who specialize in preparing a business for sale.  I can put you in touch with these folks if you are uncertain that your business is ready.

If you think a new operator or strategic buyer could step directly into your business, you and I  can instead slowly start to look for the right buyer.

And I  know that time allows you to be picky about your buyer.

So think of this as a ‘reluctant’ offering. We’ll simply show a firm ‘just like yours’ without telling folks who it really is until we confirm their qualifications.

Another route is for you to give me a list of strategic buyers. These could be your competitors, folks doing what you do in a different location or folks providing a different service or product to the same folks you sell to.

I can discretely call these firms without revealing your identity and search for interest.

You will set out what a new buyer needs to keep your firm successful in terms of time, talent, and treasure.

As interest appears, I will qualify them according to the attributes you believe they need. If they pass, I will let you know who they are and you can decide if the time is right to follow up on their expressed interest.

Business brokers do not do ‘listings agreements’ like the Realtors do. Instead we do commission agreements so there is never an obligation to pay me unless:

  • I am the cause of you discovering the buyer and,
  • there is a successful transaction

You should already have trusted experts in estate planning and taxes. I work well with your other professional advisers. This team will ensure that we do is right for you.

No rush. But when you are ready to explore this idea, give me a call anytime and we’ll talk.

David Page | An Alberta Business Broker

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