Why Decide Today to Leave My Business in Five Years?

If you are an owner who isn’t sure about what you want, or when you want to leave, why is it so important to decide to act today? Why can’t you wait? 

·         Preparing and transferring a company for top dollar takes time—on average about 5 years. Most of those years will be spent preparing the business for the transfer. If you decide to sell to employees or children (two groups who rarely have any money), they’ll need that time to earn the money to pay you for your interest. You need to be working on family business succession planning.

·         More time often equals greater reductions in risk. Time can be used to design and implement income tax-saving strategies, build value, strengthen your management team, begin a gradual transfer of ownership (not control) to key employees or children. If you wait too long, you probably won’t have time to implement these strategies and you’ll likely end up transferring your business on less-than-ideal terms.

·         The market does not operate on your schedule and may not be paying peak prices when you are ready to sell to an outside party. Witness the state of the M&A market in 2008 and 2009: activity is almost non-existent in many business sectors and down in almost all. 

If leaving a company you’ve worked so hard to build and having little or nothing to show for it, is unacceptable to you, begin planning for succession today.