Podcast: The secret to successful succession planning

Written on Mar 07, 2019

By Jessica Salerno, OSCPA senior content manager

The_State_of_Business_Logo_2017_v1Hopping into your car and driving off into the sunset might be what you envision after selling your business, but it’s rarely that simple.

"Two deals are never the same and it’s an emotional transaction,” said Doug Meyer, founding partner at Brixey & Meyer. “Because when you’re selling your business, you only have one shot."

Meyer joined us on the, The State of Business, to discuss how to consider succession planning when it comes to selling your business.

“If a business owner comes to me and says, ‘I’m ready to sell,’ I say we need a couple years to get the business ready most of the time,” Meyer said. “The first thing they should be thinking of is their personal vision, and what’s important to them as far as what the exit looks like.”

He said business owners should consider whether they would sell to a family member, employee, partner or an outside party. Another part of the initial discussion he has with owners is what is important to them as they leave the business. It might be to maximize cash, to ensure their clients and employees are taken care of, or some combination of both.

Ideally, Meyer said, owners should begin thinking about what it would mean to sell their business when they first start it. But if you’re near retirement, he suggests planning at least two years beforehand to ensure all the right steps are in place.

One issue he said many business owners don’t consider when selling is how dependent the business is on them, which can make a business less attractive to a potential buyer. Clients or products that are so heavily tied into the owner don’t have as much value after you leave.

“I’m extremely transparent,” Meyer said. “I always tell my clients, ‘If you’re looking for someone to just agree with you I’m not your guy. I’m going to challenge you, I’m going to ask you to take calculated risks and trust the process. We get one at bat, and we need to do this right, because you can’t sell your business twice, so let’s make sure we’re selling it the right way.’”

Listen to the podcast episode to hear the complete conversation, including one of the most common mistake business owners make in succession planning.

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