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The Partnership charter

The Partnership Charter by David Gage Millions of people co-own closely held companies, family businesses, and business partnerships, but establishing them and keeping them together is never easy. Here, finally, is the guide they have been waiting for.... Read More

Succession Planning

Successfully transferring leadership in business and family to the next generation is the ultimate achievement for many entrepreneurs. It assures that their legacies will be long-lasting and well appreciated.

As with any significant achievement, a successful business transfer requires planning, skill, investment, effort, expertise – and time. Business succession planning requires strategies to address:

  • management training and transition,
  • ownership transfer,
  • estate planning,
  • next-generation relationships, and
  • personal finance and retirement.

The early assistance of BMC Associates — combining business, financial, legal, and psychological expertise — can reduce the risks and difficulty of this critical once-in-a-lifetime undertaking.

The consequences of mishandling family business succession planning are often very painful:

  • Conflict among family members. The personal price of a flawed business succession plan is often emotional pain, costly litigation, and lasting damage in relationships.
  • A sense of unfairness. Entrepreneurs’ plans for the next generation can seem unfair and alienating to many family members if developed without their participation or without a clear explanation.
  • Unfulfilled children. Estate plans — well drafted for tax purposes — often unintentionally deny sons and daughters of the opportunity to realize their dreams in the family business or in other fields.
  • Business decline or failure. Inadequate preparation for the next generation management team can quickly undercut the value of a business built over decades.
  • A troubled retirement. At a time when many entrepreneurs are looking forward to the rewards of a lifetime of effort, an unsuccessful transition can create one of the most stressful periods of life.

The best way to avoid these risks is to begin considering the succession planning process as soon as possible. Preparing a new generation of business and family leaders is a multiyear, often multi-decade, process. BMC recommends that family business owners begin to consider their transition strategy as soon as a younger family member joins the business. Work on estate planning and succession should begin ten or more years before an anticipated change.

We will collaborate with your trusted professional advisors, including attorneys and accountants, to fully address all of these issues.

Lawyers and accountants are indispensable in planning for business succession. They offer expert guidance on many issues, including wills, tax strategies, investment vehicles, and business valuation. But, working alone, they may not have equivalent expertise in equally critical areas such as:

  • Developing a common vision. Working with parents and children to assure that they understand one another’s needs and dreams and address those in estate and other plans.
  • Management development and succession. Providing appropriate training and experience for top management to family and other designated successors.
  • Family governance. Developing the next generation’s family communications, understanding, and organization to enable sound, collaborative ownership of business and other assets.

Working with your other advisors, BMC will address these crucially important topics for your successful business ownership transfer.

BMC Associates will help you and your family to identify your individual goals and combine them into a family vision of the future. We will work with you and your other advisors to assure that wills, investment plans, and other succession documents implement that vision. We’ll also work with you to be sure that your current business plans integrate with your long-term personal and family goals.

Our approach is one that encourages collaboration between the generations. We work with both parents and children or other heirs — often obtaining input from the younger generation for consideration by the senior individual or group.

Depending on the exact circumstances, we will structure the process in a combination of individual and joint meetings or three-day Family Retreats. Because of the complex business and personal issues involved in family businesses and partnership, BMC Associates employs a strategy of co-consulting. An associate experienced in business — management, finance, or law — and one experienced in psychology and family dynamics work as a team on succession and estate planning projects. The outcome is a practical result from both personal and business perspectives.

Contact BMC today to learn more about how we can help.