Planning for the Future

Have you ever thought about selling your farm or business? Do you know how to start?

If you answered “no,” you’re not alone. A recent Business Development Bank of Canada study found that less than 10% of all business owners in Canada have a formal succession plan. It’s a wake-up call for business owners to start one sooner rather than later.

“Generally speaking, business transitions take between 2-7 years,” says Alison Anderson, Founder, and CEO of SuccessionMatching.com, an online community of business buyers, sellers, and succession planning professionals.

“Business owners who don’t plan well enough in advance can be forced to divest for pennies on the dollar, or miss out on hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions, in tax savings and other opportunities. It’s a very unfortunate situation to be in, which is why we work hard to help our members avoid it.”

Strengthening Rural Communities  

Businesses that shut down instead of transitioning to new ownership result in job losses, decreased tax revenue, and a scarcity of product and service providers that negatively affects everyone in the community. It’s for these reasons that the Community Futures Network of Alberta (CFNA)and SuccessionMatching have partnered on the SuccessionMatching Community Project (SMCP) which aims to bring together community leaders into a partnership that solves local succession planning problems. 

Community Futures Network of Alberta is eager to be proactive about succession planning in Alberta. Through CFNA’s partnership, all business and farm owners across Alberta have access to an annual series of 10-15 live webinars on essential business transition topics. Each webinar features an industry expert for about 30 mins who presents up-to-date information and answers questions. The 2018 SMCP Webinar Series begins on Oct. 3 and will run 15 webinars on everything from a family transition to tax planning.

The Webinar Series is a great way for business owners who aren’t sure where or how to start planning to get an overview of the process and what they can expect. It’s also excellent for people at any stage of their ownership transition to learn more about next steps. Registration can be found at SuccessionPlanCanada.com.

“The webinar series that is a part of the SuccessionMatching Community Project provided a diverse range of topics that were very relevant and spoke to our broad business demographic,” says Parul Neufeld, Economic Development Officer in the City of Abbotsford, on the 2017 series.  “The quality of the information presented by subject matter experts added depth to the webinar series, making it worth the time of our business owners,” she adds.

Whether you’ve thought about it before or not, what’s important is that you start thinking about it, and planning for it, now. You may be comfortable being part of the statistic of business owners who don’t have a formal succession plan, but you don’t want to be part of the statistic of business owners who lost out on the full value of their business when they finally exited. 

 

Start planning now, and in the future, your community, your family, and you will be grateful you did.