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.
St. Joseph's Villa’s Flagler Housing & Homeless Services was one of three entities to earn the National Alliance to End Homelessness' Champion of Change Award. The awards were presented Nov. 17 during a ceremony at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.
NAEH annually recognizes proven programs and significant achievements in ending child and family homelessness.
Flagler completed its transition from an on-campus shelter to the community-based model of rapid rehousing in 2013, and it was one of the nation's first rapid re-housing service providers to be certified by NAEH. > Read more.
Richmond International Raceway's 13th annual Community Christmas tree lighting has been rescheduled from Dec. 6 to Monday, Dec. 12, at 6:30 p.m., due to inclement weather expected on the original date.
Entertainment Dec. 12 will be provided by the Laburnum Elementary School choir and the Henrico High School Mighty Marching Warriors band. Tree decorations crafted by students from Laburnum Elementary School and L. Douglas Wilder Middle School will be on display. Hot chocolate and cookies will be supplied by the Henrico High School football boosters. > Read more.
For our Top 10 calendar events this weekend, click here! > Read more.
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