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Employee Share Ownership May Help Businesses Stay Open as Boomers Retire


Employee Share Ownership May Help Businesses Stay Open as Boomers Retire

By , March 2, 2017

The article from the San Francisco Chronicle discusses the fact that baby boomers own half of the privately held businesses that have employees. In every year, nearly 4,000,000 across the United States retire.

Selling isn’t always an option. According to the report, only 20% of small businesses that list themselves for sale actually find a buyer. More than 85% of business owners do not have a succession plan which outlines who will take over the business when they no longer want to (or are no longer able to) run the company according to a report released by Project Equity last week. Passing the small business onto other family members (family/generational succession) may be possible (about 15% of the owners actually do this) but it’s not always viable. In many cases, the companies simply close.

Employee ownership often works “it’s not as big a shift as people sometimes assume” due to the fact that it’s a shared form of entrepreneurship and differing skills amongst employees actually helps. The structure is designed to protect the employees (from each other and external issues) and provide certainty about how the plan works and what rules the owners operate under.

"Employee share ownership may help businesses stay open as boomers retire."

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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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