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The Entrepreneur’s Corner

Solidifying the long-term future of your business
Here’s an important question for busy business owners – what’s next for your company? Not just tomorrow or even in the months ahead, but when the time comes that you or one of your key employees retires or leaves the organization unexpectedly?

At a time when many baby boomers are thinking about retirement, those who own a business need to plan not just for their life after work, but for the future of the firm they’ve committed so much of their lives to. In a small- or mid-sized business, the owner and perhaps other key personnel play such a vital role that special planning is required to prepare for circumstances in which any of these individuals is no longer part of the organization. If your business doesn’t have a succession plan in place, it is an issue that needs prompt attention.

There are a number of questions to consider in helping prepare for the period of transition a company inevitably faces. They include:

• Who is in line to follow the principals of the firm? The most fundamental aspect of a succession plan is to have a replacement (or replacements) in line. In many cases, a family business will move from one generation to the next. In other situations, a trusted employee or group of employees may need to be groomed and prepared to assume control of the company in the future.

• How will control of the business be transferred? Once successors are identified, there are a variety of ways that control of the business can be transferred to them. Among the options are an outright sale to the new owner – either in a one-time transaction or an installment sale – or the use of a trust vehicle, such as a grantor retained annuity trust (GRAT) or a grantor retained unitrust (GRUT). Those are irrevocable trusts to which you transfer appreciating assets while retaining an income payment for a set period of time. At either the end of the payment period or your death, the assets in the trust pass to the other trust beneficiaries (the remainder beneficiaries). The value of the retained income is subtracted from the value of the property transferred to the trust (i.e., a share of the business), so if you live beyond the specified income period, the business may be transferred to the next generation at a reduced value for estate or gift tax purposes.

An important consideration in the decision-making process is potential tax ramifications, particularly for the seller. There are tools available to help reduce the potential impact of capital gains, estate and gift taxes when a sale occurs. Good planning plays a critical role in making sure that both the seller and the buyer achieve the most favorable results.

• What forms of protection are in place in case an unexpected event occurs? The need to implement a succession plan can sometimes strike without notice. Businesses that involve partners or likely successors, for example, may benefit from having a buy-sell agreement in place.

A buy-sell agreement lets you keep control of your interest until the occurrence of an event that the agreement specifies, such as your retirement, disability, or death. Other events, such as divorce, also can be included as triggering events under a buy-sell agreement. When the triggering event occurs, the buyer is obligated to buy your interest from you or your estate at the fair market value. The buyer can be a person, a group (such as co-owners), or the business itself. Price and sale terms are prearranged, which eliminates the need for a fire sale if you become ill or when you die. Remember, however, that you are bound under a buy-sell agreement.

Business succession is a complex matter. It involves close work with a financial advisor, tax specialist and an attorney experienced in these types of matters to structure a solution that is most suitable for your business and potential successors.

Justin R. Martin is an associate financial advisor with Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. Contact him at (804) 320-3105 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).
Community

Lions Club donates backpacks to elementary school

The Richmond West Breakfast Lions Club (based in western Henrico) recently donated 59 backpacks to the Westover Hills Elementary School on Jahnke Road.

Above, club members display some of the backpacks prior to their distribution. > Read more.

Glen Allen student to perform at Carnegie Hall

Thanks to a first-place win in The American Protege International Vocal Competition 2014, Glen Allen High School student Matija Tomas will travel to New York City to perform at Carnegie Hall in December.

At the first-place winners recital in Weill Hall, Matija will perform Giacomo Puccini’s opera aria, “Chi il bel sogna di doretta.” She will perform with other vocalists from around the world and have the opportunity to win other awards and scholarships.

Locally, Thomas has performed with Richmond’s renowned Glorious Christmas Nights, Christian Youth Theatre, and WEAG’s Urban Gospel Youth Choir. > Read more.

Gayton Baptist Church dedicates new outreach center


The John Rolfe YMCA and Gayton Baptist Church have partnered in an effort to bring greater health and wellness opportunities to the community.

Through this partnership, the John Rolfe Y will run Youth Winter Sports programs, including basketball and indoor soccer, in Gayton’s newly renovated $5.5 million outreach center that features a new gymnasium, youth and teen space, social space with café, meeting space and full service commercial kitchen. > Read more.

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Entertainment

New Henrico biscuit shop thrives with grandmother’s recipe

Tim Laxton rises at 4:30 a.m. every day for a biscuit. But he’s not rushing out to any restaurant to get his favorite Southern comfort food; he’s baking his own from scratch and serving them up from his bakery on Lakeside Avenue.

Laxton opened Early Bird Biscuit Co. & Bakery in early July and since then biscuits have been flying out of there.

The self-taught baker draws hungry crowds in with a biscuit of the day like the Old Bay Cheddar, but the buttermilk biscuits are the staple.

“On a Saturday I generally make about 400 biscuits with my two hands,” Laxton said. “I’m constantly making biscuits all day long.” > Read more.

Restaurant watch

Find out how your favorite dining establishments fared during their most recent inspections by the Virginia Department of Health. > Read more.

CAT Theatre announces cast of Sherlock Holmes play

CAT Theatre’s 51st season will open with Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure, which will run from Oct. 24-Nov. 8. Adapted by Steven Dietz, it is based on the original 1899 play by William Gillette and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and was the winner of the 2007 Edgar Award for Best Mystery Play.

The plot follows what seems to be the end of the career of the world’s greatest detective as he is confronted with a case far too tempting to ignore. When the King of Bohemia faces blackmail by famed opera singer Irene Adler, Holmes and his faithful companion, Dr. Watson, find themselves falling into the trap of evil genius Professor Moriarty. As Holmes says, “The game is afoot Watson, and it is a dangerous one!” > Read more.

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Registration ends today for the Henrico NAACP Freedom Fund Dinner on Sept. 27 at Quioccasin Baptist Church, 9011 Quioccasin Rd. The speaker will be Ms. Clayola Brown, president of A.… Full text

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