Say Goodbye To Your Business (Successfully)

Sep 12, 2018, 15:26 PM
You won't be with your company forever. Are you, your family, and your friends ready for the day you leave your business?

Business succession is preparing for the day you step away from your company: who will take over? But that’s just one of the questions you’ll need to answer when it’s time to move on. Business succession looks at the future of your business, while a newer management concept, exit planning, looks at the future of your business — and your life.

Exit succession considers everything a business owner has both personally and professionally, and puts it toward the time the owner leaves the company. It’s not just money in the bank; many companies have intellectual property like patents or tried-and-true processes that are theirs alone. And every small business has contacts, from customers to suppliers.

At Hastings Mutual, for example, we interact with our network of independent insurance agents, policyholders, and people who just want to learn more about Hastings Mutual.

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Research has shown that the average business owner spends 80,000 hours building a business — that's 12 hours a day, for 20 years or more — but only 6 hours, just 6, planning an exit.

A complete exit planning process include seven steps, and with the help of professionals like an insurance agent, will involve more than just 6 hours. The seven steps are:

  1. Identify your business exit objectives — what do you want to achieve by leaving your business?
  2. Discover your business and personal resources — find the assets you have now, and what you can use it for in the future.
  3. Maximize and protect business value — make sure your company is bigger and better than it is today, so you can earn the most when it’s time to exit.
  4. Discuss ownership transfer to a third party — what to do if you’re selling to another company.
  5. Discuss ownership transfer to an insider — what to do if you’re selling to a family member or another employee instead.
  6. Coordinate business continuity — a back-up plan for your exit plan, if the unthinkable happens.
  7. Personal wealth and estate planning — when the business is secure, take a look at your family and your legacy, and what you can do to help them.

Insurance plays a part in every step of the exit planning process. A life insurance policy can protect the business, especially if there are several owners. They can own policies with each other as the insured in a buy-sell agreement. When the benefit from a policy is paid, it’s used to buy out family members who aren’t interested in the company, and keep the existing co-owners in control.

Property and casualty insurance experts, like Hastings Mutual’s network of independent insurance agents, can help protect the company so it’s worth more when it’s time for that ownership transfer. A workers’ compensation policy adds value for employees, to keep them on the team.

And when you, the soon-to-be former business owner, decide to move on, your home, vehicles, and other possessions have strong insurance coverage to make them useful and enjoyable for many years to come.

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