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Succession Stories

You want out. Here’s how to do it without putting all those years of hard work in jeopardy

Aug 12, 2014

by Allison Myggland


What you need to know to prepare your business to thrive once you’re no longer part of it

What is the most important thing you’ve been putting off when it comes to protecting your business? No, it’s not the 80-foot zombie wall you want to build around your manufacturing plant, and it’s not the flood insurance policy you’ve been meaning to pick up since last year (although come to think of it, that ought to be taken care of, too).

The most important thing you need to do is to develop a plan of succession. In 2012, experts from CIBC World Markets estimated that $1.9 trillion worth of assets would change hands by 2017 as small- and medium-sized business owners in Canada retire or sell their businesses. That represents 15 per cent of Canada’s GDP, and the livelihood of more than two million Canadians. We are halfway through that time frame and even if you’re not planning to retire soon, you need to start planning your exit. That may sound dramatic. You’re still young, you’ve got a great team assembled, your clients are loyal, and your health is great – never better! But there will come a time when you’ve decided that you would like a change in pace, or you’ve received an amazing unsolicited offer to buy your company, and you may not be adequately prepared. Or perhaps you realize that if you stepped down today, the foundation you’ve worked so hard to lay will start to crumble.

The larger your business and the more heavily involved you are with the day-to-day operations, the longer it will take to prepare and execute a good succession plan. And because of the delicate nature of business, finding and training the right person to replace you is a process that ought to be measured in years, not months.

So, whether you’re hoping to pass the business onto your family, or you have your eye on a possible future president now working in the accounting department, or even if you’re planning to sell outright, Alberta Venture is here to help.

Vet’s Affairs Passing on the Reins

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