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How Business Succession Planning Can Improve the Present as Much as the Future

Author: Jack Stibbs

More Baby Boomers than ever who own their own businesses are thinking seriously about retirement. Time really does fly when you’re having fun! At Stibbs & Co., the first thing we ask a client looking to retire is, “Do you have a business succession plan in place?” Surprisingly, we find that in many cases, the answer is no. How can a successful business owner not have planned out what would happen to his or her business when it’s time to retire and enjoy life?

Typically, the answer is that they have been too darn busy starting, running, and growing the business to reflect on what their end game would look like. Just as often, business owners assume for years that their son or daughter was going to take over the business, only to find that he or she has chosen a different career path.

Our firm believes it is the obligation of the professional advisor—especially the business attorney—to counsel their entrepreneur and business-owner clients to think ahead. It is always much easier to avoid problems than solve them. Do you have a clear plan in writing for what will happen to your business when you’re ready to move on to other things? Does anyone else know about it? These are important questions to answer, and Stibbs & Co. can help. We know how critical it is to set a business succession goal as soon as possible so the owner and other stakeholders can implement the plan and work toward the same goal because we’ve helped many Houston-area business law clients navigate the process.

Your end game goal may change over the years, but no matter what twists and turns life and business throw your way, our firm can help you focus on the return you have worked so hard for. Perhaps a business-owner client planned to sell his business in three years, but the opportunity to merge with a competitor came up. Now his or her plan is to work six more years with a combined company that has increased market share and then sell his interest. These are the kinds of changes and possibilities Stibbs & Co. helps our clients navigate successfully.

How do you come up with a plan if you do not have one? Well, the best way to begin is by looking at your competitors in your market to see what they are doing and talk to your suppliers, vendors, and customers. From these dialogues, create a plan that you can start to build around. Bounce your ideas off of your professional advisors and start detailing your plan, including a timeline for implementation. Plans will change through the years, but a plan that flexes is far better than no plan at all.

We know business succession is probably not a favorite topic to devote your time and energy to. That is why we are here. Contact Stibbs & Co. today so that we can apply our many years of experience with succession planning to help craft the perfect business succession plan for you and your business. Someday, maybe soon, you will be glad you did.