Business Succession Planning
Ray knows firsthand how hard entrepreneurs must work to build their businesses, and he works equally hard to help his business clients plan for the transfer of ownership and control of their respective businesses, whether one is handing over his or her business to one or more children or other trusted family members, to an existing manager or employee, or to an outside buyer. In each case, it is vital to maintain the established good will and loyalty of the business’s customers and shareholders. Continuing to maintain established good will preserves the value of the business for new leadership and ensures the exiting owner of maximizing the value of the business when negotiating the price at which the business is to be sold.
Special Considerations for Family-Owned Businesses
Family-owned businesses oftentimes exist with certain expectations regarding succession of the business to the next generation. The resulting emotional entanglements can be trying and stressful for all of those involved, and can also be damaging for the business in the long-term, particularly when family members disagree about the business’ future direction. Sometimes, those family members most interested in retaining control may actually have the least amount of business savvy and ability, or may unfortunately lack the work ethic to continue to drive the business forward for the years to come. For these and many other reasons, Ray works closely and compassionately with his business clients, providing sound counsel regarding all aspects of their business succession planning, including the following:
- Establishing goals for the owner’s retirement
- Determining the importance of continued family involvement
- Identifying the family members best suited to continuing to keep the business successful for the benefit of all stakeholders
- Assessing the business aptitude and passion for the business among family members
- Creating an ownership and control structure that balances the needs of family members with the requirements of making the new leadership successful
- Structuring the succession plan so as to minimize taxes which may otherwise result from the transfer of the business to family members
- Communicating and discussing the succession plan to all stakeholders
- Documenting and implementing the succession plan
The bottom-line when establishing an effective business succession strategy is that it must work for everyone involved, thereby attempting to preclude, or at least minimize, any family discord. Ray believes in thorough, open and continuing discussions with his business clients in order to work toward this result. While some common goals exist, each business owner planning for succession has his or her individual concerns and desires that must be given their due consideration. By discussing with his clients all of these issues, as well as the succession techniques most appropriate for them depending on their individual situations (including the use of gifting, revocable and irrevocable trusts, family limited partnerships, limited liability companies and oftentimes a combination thereof), Ray is able to effectively counsel and assist each of them in establishing a business succession plan that thoroughly accomplishes their goals while taking into account all of the family members involved.