Succession Planning for Small Businesses

If you own a small business, you know that someday, the ownership will transfer to another person or group of people. You will want to retire someday and the business will likely outlast your lifespan.  A transfer could be to a family member, a sale to a key employee, or a sale to an outside buyer.

You need to begin planning for this event almost as soon as you open your business. You want to be in control of what happens next, but if you should die unexpectedly without having a transition plan in place, the business could fail.

What Does a Succession Plan Look Like?

Succession Planning

There is no “one-size-fits-all” succession plan. Individual business owners have their own ideas for how they want their businesses to transition. Some owners have a specific date they want to retire. Some want to exit the business with no plans to have anything more to do with it. Still, other owners may want to semi-retire, or leave ownership to another but still be involved in the business, but to a lesser degree than full ownership.  Several options can occur with variations.

Some considerations that should be addressed in your succession plan include:

  • The anticipated time you expect to leave the business. In five years? Ten years?
  • If there is a specific person you want to be the owner when you leave, such as a partner or key employee, then you can have your attorney draw up a purchase agreement or transfer agreement.
  • Have a written operating procedure in place so that whoever takes over the business knows exactly how it works and what is supposed to happen.
  • Have a value placed on the business which will help you in planning for your retirement and a future valuation at the time of the transfer will support the purchase agreement.
  • A certified public accountant (CPA) can help with any tax considerations.
  • Make provisions for how the business can continue under the new owner(s) that allows you to maintain your lifestyle during retirement.
  • Address any contingencies or nuances that may occur.

Review your succession plan annually and make any changes necessary to be sure the plan still reflects your wishes.

Contact Martinez Legal, P.C. for Help in Making Your Small Business Succession Plan

For assistance with any aspect of your business formation and planning for your small business succession, contact our business attorneys at Martinez Legal, P.C. to schedule a consultation. You may also reach us at 940.320.2922.