Wenatchee Office located at 238 Olds Station Road, Wenatchee. By appointment call 509-888-7252 or email jim.fletcher@wsbdc.org

Friday, February 1, 2013

Business Succession - Just Closing Is Not A Plan.

You have invested a lot into your business. You invested sweat, cash, worry, hard work, and more cash, what happens to your investment when you are ready to retire? A succession plan is a predetermined strategy specifying the best way to exit your business. Preserving your legacy and your retirement income may depend on identifying how ownership will be transferred. A succession plan should also identify what will happen to your business if you have an accident or serious illness. Will your business just close or is there someone who can operate the business until you return?

Plan Ahead

If you are approaching retirement start planning at least three years ahead. It takes time to select and train a successor. Of if you sell find a buyer who is capable of continuing operations and hence qualify for financing. Preparing key customers and suppliers to work with your successor will protect sales revenues and vendor terms. Address family issues and expectations to provide an orderly transition. Prepare for your retirement financial needs.

Planning to Start a Business

This past year I worked with more than 30 people who want to start a business or buy their first business. Statistically, only 1 in 4 new businesses will still be in business in two years. Those who survive typically have a well prepared business plan, understanding the true market and sales potential, starting with enough of their own money, and dogged determination to survive long hours and a demanding lifestyle.

A good business plan is short and focused on conclusions reached from researching the basics of market place conditions, identifying the real customers, verifying that there are enough customers, a good estimate of startup costs and operating budget for the first year. Sales projections need to be supported with solid assumptions about the market.

Planning to Staying in Business

 “Good fortune is what happens when opportunity meets with planning.” Thomas Alva Edison

The action word in Edison’s statement is “planning” an activity not the end result. One reason staying in business is hard is lack of adequate preparation. Businesses that lack the resources and knowledge to execute their business model and seize the opportunity quickly run out of money. The act of planning means you have though through the desired project as well as thought about what could go wrong. Unexpected events often become death traps for new business ideas. Likewise, as Edison points out lack of information can result in missed opportunities.