Successful business owners face an inevitable challenge of transition. These business owners:
- Have been at it for a long time—now they are ready for a change.
- Want to disengage or reduce day-to-day commitment while their business continues to thrive.
- Want or need some liquidity.
- Have a leadership style that may leave management structure ambiguous or incomplete.
- Often have family involved in operations or management.
The businesses themselves:
- Often need to be sold or recapitalized to realize the owner’s objectives.
- May face financial or performance challenges—performance may be adequate, but not what it once was, or could be.
- May have gaps in management that will inhibit success when the founder reduces his/her day-to-day involvement or contemplates a sale.
These owner/entrepreneurs frequently face relationship and ownership issues presenting complex and conflicting objectives with their business partner and family “constituencies”.
Are You Ready?
For years you have worked and planned to build a successful business. But now there are key questions you need to answer for yourself.
- Is now the time to sell or recapitalize? Is the business ready?
- How will you transition your role in the business without the business going off the rails?
- Are family or co-owner’s interests and time horizon aligned with yours?
- What else can you do to maximize the business value you have created?
It is rare to find an entrepreneur who has fully addressed these questions. For whatever reason—simply keeping their eye on the business operations is often all consuming—there are always more pressing issues to address. Then the inevitable comes and the heretofore-successful entrepreneur is unprepared, or certainly under-prepared. It doesn’t go well. Value is lost, or left on the table. Dreams may not be fulfilled.
How Do You Get There?—With a Plan
Transition is an evolutionary stage that is just as critical and complicated as the early stages of building a business.
Just as you built and executed a plan to get into the business, you need to build and execute a plan to get out or move on. The fundamental challenge is one of achieving “alignment” of the many factors that come into play. Planning is critical…advance action is a must…haste is the enemy.
Independent Objective Advisor
The owner/entrepreneur needs independent and objective assistance to work through these complex issues of transition. Unfortunately, the owner typically is “on his own”. Insiders are often part of the challenge and cannot fully help. Furthermore, the range of issues transcends the individual skills of the owner/entrepreneur’s traditional team of advisors (accountants, business and transactional attorneys, trust and estate attorneys, wealth managers, financial planners). Consumed by a “transactional” perspective, these advisors often don’t see the whole picture.
What the owner needs is a transition advisor who is:
- Independent and not conflicted.
- Able to understand the business issues deeply.
- Able and willing to dive into hands-on execution—this is a far deeper dive than a traditional “executive coaching” approach.