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3 Key Business Succession and Exit Planning Messages

Business Owners

3 Key Business Succession and Exit Planning Messages

By , January 30, 2017

According to an August 2016 survey by PWC – The Missing Middle: Bridging the Strategy Gap in US Family Firms – nearly 44% of those surveyed say that succession planning will be a “challenge” within 5 years and just 23% have a robust, documented succession plan in place.

Some interesting changes have also occurred in terms of the exit option preferences of the owners. 41% plan to pass the business on to the next generation (down from 52 % in 2012) and 30% wish to sell to an outside party (up dramatically from 12% in 2012).

Overall, this highlights three key messages:

  1. Start now – good strategy takes time.
  2. Sale/Investor/Exit readiness is smart for all business owners.
  3. The missing middle is the gap between current reality and future goals/outcomes – it does not close without attention.
Craig West

Craig West

Executive Chairman | Succession Plus

Craig West is a strategic accountant with over 20 years of experience advising business owners. His background as a CPA in public practice has provided invaluable experience in the key issues of concern to business owners.

In March 2014, Craig was appointed Executive Chairman of the SME Association of Australia, Australia’s largest small business organisation representing over 300,000 business owners.

In October 2014, he was awarded the Exit Planner of the Year at the Exit Planning Institute Annual Conference in Texas, USA, due to his innovative development of an exit planning process to help business owners maximise business value and achieve a successful exit.

Craig’s proprietary structure - a Peak Performance Trust - has won the Australia-wide award for the Employee Share Ownership Plan of the year twice in four years.

In November 2018, Craig launched SME Experts in partnership with Mark Bouris’ Mentored on Podcast One and quickly grew the monthly podcast audience to over 26,500 downloads; in October 2019, he released a new podcast focused on medium-sized businesses - Mid-Market Matters.

In July 2021, Craig joined the NSW Committee for STEP (Society of Trust & Estate Practitioners) – focusing on advising families across generations.

Craig has also launched a SaaS platform, Capitaliz (which captures the 21-step process), to assist other advisers internationally deliver advisory services at scale.

In November 2021, Craig was appointed Executive Chairman of NSW Leaders, a business mentoring group for leading NSW businesses.

In July 2022, Craig West received the award of Doctor of Business Administration for his research thesis titled “Examination of the key factors driving business exit options in Australian Small and Medium Enterprises.”

Craig is passionate about encouraging business owners to think strategically, maximise the value of their business and achieve a successful exit.

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