Here are ten of the most serious consequences suffered by owners who neglect to prepare their businesses for future sale or transfer (or, “exit planning”).
- The sole owner dies or becomes permanently disabled, but has insufficient (or no) life disability insurance, no business succession plan, and no estate plan.
- The business experiences a sudden, catastrophic loss and all of the owner’s financial eggs are in the business.
- There is no comprehensive buy-sell agreement between partners and one of them dies, or, the partners have an irreconcilable falling out; both of these situations commonly result in litigation.
- The business is hit with a massive and legitimate legal claim and there is no asset protection in place.
- The company’s key employee quits, taking the best customers and employees with him, and the company has no non-compete agreement to prevent his actions.
- The owner wants to retire and sell the business to a family member but there is not enough time to make the transfer and pay minimal taxes.
- The owner has selected a capable non-family heir apparent but doesn’t have a succession plan in place and can’t realistically fund the transfer.
- The dream buyer comes along unexpectedly and makes an offer that can’t be refused, but the owner can’t make the sale because of the prohibitive tax cost and a complete absence of independent retirement income.
- An agreement to sell is made with the dream buyer because the owner has the tax and retirement income issues covered, but the buyer reduces the offer after finding aged accounts receivable and owner loans on the books. In short, the company’s books were not in order.
- The business is struck by an unforeseeable set-back; it lacks financial planning and an exit strategy, as well as the in-place support from legal/financial advisors needed to help it weather the storm.
Guest Post by Lou Kastelic of Jordan Crandus.
Jordan-Crandus, P.A. is a primary business consulting firm specializing in the small to mid size company market where we have been assisting our clients since 1979. Our consultants provide investment-banking services representing buyers and sellers of businesses,advice on mergers and acquisitions, and assistance with enhancement programs to increase cash flow. We also provide business valuations for those looking to exit business ownership, mergers and acquisitions, employee stock ownership trusts, divorces, estate planning, buy/sell agreements, and any of the many other reasons appraisals are needed.
Photo courtesy of kevin dooley.