Small Business Owners & Succession Planning

November 3, 2010

If you are the owner of a small business you know that one of the keys to long term success is a solid and well conceived business plan. It is challenging to make it on your own and it takes a lot of focus, so most business owners are thoroughly engaged in the present as they work hard to actualize the plan. When some time passes and you look around and recognize the fact that you have gotten over the hump and that your business is going to make it is a very satisfying feeling. But what's next?
Once you know that your business is going to remain profitable throughout your lifetime, what you intend to do with it after you step aside is going to impact your day-to-day decision making. If you would like to keep it in the family, you are going to have to identify your successor or successors and discuss the matter with them. If you are on the same page, you will probably be more likely to reinvest profits in an effort to grow the business than you would be if you intended to sell the business when you retire.
Your business may very well be your largest financial asset, so when you are planning your estate it is going to be the centerpiece. If you are going to sell it, dividing the proceeds in the manner that you see fit as part of your estate plan will be relatively simple to accomplish. But if you are going to pass it on to one or more heirs when there are others who will not be involved in the business, you need to balance the estate in some manner. One way that this can be done is through the purchase of a life insurance policy or policies that are equal to the value of the business shares that you are leaving to those who will be running the business.
As a small business owner you have a lot of things to consider when you are planning your estate. Since your intentions for the future impact your decisions in the present, it is important to make a decision concerning how you are going to exit the business as soon as you possibly can.

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