Succession: If You Fail to Plan, You Plan to Fail

Carmel Valley San Diego Community | Succession Planning | Rich Mino | Financial PlannerSuccession Planning for the Family Business is Critical, But Not Always Easy

The family business – the bedrock of the American economy – rarely survives the transition from one generation to another.  Possible reasons are many, yet any working list will reflect an underlying problem: dealing with transition issues often leads to a plethora of other problems that many families simply prefer to avoid.

When you think about it, the problems a business must overcome to survive beyond one generation are indeed formidable.  A short list might include psychological factors affecting the founder, dealing with children, sibling rivalry, and external forces such as competition.

Let’s add dimension to our picture by considering a specific problem: the “lifecycle phenomena.”  The lifecycle of a business is inevitably tied to the lifecycle of its founder.  As the founder ages, inevitably a slowdown occurs.  The reduction in energy can lead to a gradual unnoticed liquidation of the business.  Warning flags may be everywhere if you look for them: loss of market share, flat earnings, increased family salaries and “perks,” rising inventories and receivables, and more depreciation than investment.

Overcoming the Difficulties

Unfortunately, the problems indicated by the warning flags can be difficult to articulate, given the nature of the family business.  The founder may operate as much on intuition as on information generated through a formal process.  Management controls, accounting systems and the like may give an incomplete picture of the business, thereby magnifying an already delicate problem.  Often, a founder may have an intuitive sense that action is needed; he or she only needs a strategy for exploring the various possibilities.

A good way to accomplish this is to ask yourself three questions which will probably lead to many more:

  1. What is the emergency plan? Namely, what happens if you are disabled for 12 months? Talking about temporary succession often makes identifying problems and recognizing their possible occurrence easier for the business owner.
  2. How would you support yourself if you chose to walk away from the business in “X” years? The variable “X” might relate to a general age or a specific year. This line of questioning focuses on choosing to leave, rather than the potentially unsettling consideration of early death or retirement due to disability.
  3. After your death, what responsibilities do you see your children having in the business? Do any or all of them take the reins? If so, who will lead? If not, how will the business be sold? The only way to find answers to these questions is to talk honestly with your children.

By focusing on how the business will run after the owner’s departure rather than on succession, strategies can be developed in a way that is more comfortable for all parties.

Carmel Valley San Diego Community | Richard Mino | Del Mar Financial PlannersRich Mino, a financial advisor with Del Mar Financial Partners, Inc., works closely with families and small businesses in the Carmel Valley area.  He is passionate about making a difference in his community through financial literacy programs, and focuses on building strong relationships with all of his clients so that he can be a resource to them where needed most.  An active member of the Del Mar Kiwanis, Rich supports his Carmel Valley community through local service projects, and by sponsoring the Builders Club and Key Club leadership programs at Carmel Valley Middle and Torrey Pines High Schools.  In 2012, he is working to implement a financial literacy educational program to help prepare and educate kids with the challenges that they will face as they begin and graduate from college.  He is a registered representative of Securian Financial Services, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC. Securities dealer and registered investment advisor.  Del Mar Financial Partners, Inc. is independently owned and operated. 12526 High Bluff Drive, Suite 280, San Diego, CA 92130. 438300 DOFU 01/2012

The information in this article is not intended as tax or legal advice, and it may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties.  You are encouraged to seek tax or legal advice from an independent professional advisor.  The content is derived from sources believed to be accurate.  Neither the information presented nor any opinion expressed constitutes a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.  This material was written and prepared by Emerald. © 2012 Emerald Connect, Inc.

Securities and investment advisory services are offered through Securian Financial Services, membe FINRA/SIPC. Copyright 2010 © Custom Communications Insurance Publishing.
Material in this article may not be reprinted without permission.
Securian Financial Group, Inc.
400 Robert Street North, St. Paul, MN 55101-2098
©2010 Securian Financial Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
F70288-26 11-2010 DOFU 11-2010


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