As the Chinese Proverb goes, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.”

The best time to start planning the transition of your business was when you founded your business, the second-best time is now. Business owners spend most of their time building and operating their businesses, but often assume certain things will “fall into place” when they are ready to transition their business. Will there be someone in your family or in your management team who will be willing and able to take over the business? Will you find a buyer when you want to sell the business? Will you have to simply close up shop and walk away when you’re ready to retire?

At Cooper Norman, we can help ensure that your business transition goes smoothly, carrying on your legacy and everything you’ve worked so hard for. We offer full-service business transition planning so that you don’t have to worry about what will happen to your business if you’re unable to run it or wish to retire.

business transition planning

Why is Business Transition Planning So Important?

A business transition plan protects business owners when they’re ready to sell the business or otherwise change a partnership agreement or ownership. There are six main reasons why a business transition plan is so important:

  • It’s arguably one of the most important transactions of a business owner’s life
  • Transitioning out of a business can be complex, legally and fiscally
  • The financial security of the owner and their family depends on an effective business transition plan
  • Other parties depend on the success of the business, including lenders, clients, key management, and clients
  • Business transition can expose business owners to legal or financial risk
  • Business owners may not realize the maximum profit from selling their business or partnership

Without a solid transition plan, you may not be able to ensure that your business culture and goals are honored. Many business owners see their dreams and hard work left in the dust if business transition agreements don’t protect them.

Sometimes, your business may not be sellable. If you don’t have demonstrated growth year over year, or your assets are incorrectly valued, then prospective buyers may not wish to purchase your business. If you and your family are planning on the sale of the business to fund your retirement or invest in something else, being unable to sell the business can affect those plans.

An effective transition process addresses three main goals of all business owners: 

  • Financial goals 
  • Departure or sale date 
  • The successor of the business

You may need to build your business or streamline operations for a healthier balance sheet. We’ll also make sure that the transfer of your share of the company or a proposed merger complies with state and federal regulations. Finally, we’ll look at the tax implications of your proposed plan and help you avoid costly tax bills.

After establishing your goals for the business, your Cooper Norman financial planner can help create a plan to help you achieve those goals.

Exit Planning

Exit planning can help make your business look more enticing or valuable to a prospective buyer. Many people have different reasons for exiting their business entirely, and we can help you sell your business for maximum profit and complete due diligence on prospective buyers.

business exit planning

Value Enhancement

Growing your business to help you achieve top dollar when you sell happens through capitalizing on value enhancement opportunities as they come up. We can give you a thorough analysis of the value of your business and then point out opportunities for growth, such as developing stronger customer relationships or adding products and services to enhance your business’s value. With a plan and goals for value enhancement, you can improve the value of your business over time.

Buy-Sell Agreement and Provision Consulting

If you’re in business with a partner or partners, having a written, binding buy-sell agreement ensures a smooth transfer of ownership if one of the partners decides to retire, becomes incapacitated and unable to fulfill their duties, or dies. Buy-sell agreements put a specific value on each partner’s shares, which can avoid costly litigation if a dispute arises. These agreements may give the remaining partners the option of first refusal to purchase another partner’s share of the business and can be especially valuable in a family business.

Merger and Acquisition

Your business transition plan may include the possibility of merging with another company that provides similar services. However, without a plan for integrating your current team with the new one, disputes can quickly arise about who is responsible for which roles, such as handling finances and supervising employees. We can help you create a written plan for merging your company and establish a value for the assets that your business brings to the merger.

This can be a complex process, but a financial planner can ensure that your assets are valued at their true worth and provide debt-to-equity analysis to ensure that your merger is in your best financial interest.

Due Diligence Support

Our business transition planning service is to ensure that you have a good offer for your business or equal share of a partnership. We execute due diligence on your behalf, assessing the proposed transaction’s financial, legal, and other business risks. We will evaluate the ramifications of a proposed sale or merger for your tax situation and your business goals. We recommend that our clients begin due diligence when the transaction is first presented.

Transaction Advisory

We can help you evaluate business transactions and make financial decisions by determining whether or not an investment is sound. This includes an analysis of the impact a transaction will have on your business and goals in determining whether or not a transaction is compliant with laws regulating your industry. We can ensure that your transactions won’t result in complicated litigation and will benefit your business.

Do You Need Business Transition Planning Assistance?

Is your business protected in case something happens to you? Do you have a successor in mind to take over the business? We can help. At Cooper Norman, we offer business transition planning as part of our financial planning services. Call us today to schedule an appointment!

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