Family businesses have multiple issues that work against the successful continuation of the business. Fortunately, with focus and planning, most of these can be easily overcome by paying attention to the details.
Key Issues Include:
Generational transition. Only a third of all family businesses successfully make the transition to the second generation.
Aligning interests. Alignment of interests between current owners and others becomes more pronounced as members retire and turn over the reins to the new generation, while at the same time looking to the company for their retirement income.
Balancing financial returns. Creating buyout agreements is challenging. When the retiring generation looks to the value of their interest, they sometimes tend to look to a balance sheet number. In fact, the true value of a business many times is ultimately based on independent third party evaluation.
Interfamily disputes. The interest of one family member may not be aligned with another family member. These situations can become even more difficult where there is, for example, a divorce of a family owner or a death and the surviving spouse is holding stock (and voting rights), but is not involved in the business.
Estate and Inheritance issues. These include taxes and probate delays upon the death of a family owner.
At the Gleason Group, we utilize a structured process for business transition. Our goal is helping you create a viable succession plan, provide you financial independence and clarity in retirement, and positioning the business for continued success and growth.
Taking steps now will save money and time, help assure the continued success of your business and enable you to feel confident about your ultimate decision and your retirement.
Step 1: forming your team
The first step is to get the right professionals on board to help you make the best decision possible. We help you identify and organize your team of professional advisors. Together, we review the current succession plan and reasonableness of your goals. We develop a collective vision, goals, and objectives for the business.
We discuss the importance of continued family involvement in leadership and ownership of the company vs. the option of bringing in professional management.
Step 2: establish a Process
With the help of your unified advisory team, we then identify and establish governance processes for involving family members in decision-making. Your team works with you to establish a method for dispute resolution if needed. We establish personal retirement goals and cash flow needs of the retiring family owners and identify goals of next generation management as well as work with you to communicate succession plan to family/stakeholders.
Communication is the foundation upon which all successful family business transitions rest. Developing good and effective communication skills, habits and processes are critical.
Step 3: ESTABLISH the Plan
We help you identify successors – both managers of the company and owners of the business. We help you identify active and non-active roles for all family members as well as the required additional support for the successor from family members.
Ownership is the overarching umbrella that ultimately must be understood. As ownership contains the wealth and the control, it is important to understand how, when, and to whom ownership will pass, and how much. Within this is the question of those family members who may not get ownership, but may receive liquid assets for estate balancing purposes.
Step 4: your estate plan
With the help of your CPA and estate planning attorney, we address taxation implications to the owner/business upon sale or transfer of ownership, death, or divorce.
We review your existing estate planning to minimize taxes and avoid delays in transfer of stock to remaining owners or spouses.
We also work with your advisory team to help create a buy/sell agreement that is fair, reflective of the value of the business, and minimizes taxes.
Step 5: the transition
Consider options: outright purchase, gift/bequest, or a combination of these.
If your business is to be purchased, we consider financing options including financing from an external party or self-financed from the you on a deferred payout basis.
Finally we help establish a timeline for implementation of the plan. Being early and proactive about your family business succession planning will minimize conflict and maximize the ability for the business to do well in the future. At the Gleason Group, we’re here to help.