Australia has a large number of baby boomer business owners that are currently heading towards or preparing for retirement with no real plan for an exit from their business.
The first thing to do is begin with the end in mind, start to think about – what does my exit look like?
Interest in Employee share ownership plans (ESOPs) has increased dramatically in the last 12 months as business owners seek to ensure their workforce is aligned, motivated and focussed amid the disruption to work arrangements brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
How can you structure your business so you’re ready when it’s time to sell? Craig West has the answers! Having spent 20 years as a strategic accountant, Craig now specialises in advising business owners on succession planning. Takeovers can happen very quickly in the Smash Repair business, so you need to be ready. Even if you have no intention of selling, Craig outlines why it’s a good idea to tidy up your business to maximise the sale value.
One of the most significant transfers of wealth in history is currently underway throughout the world as baby boomers approach retirement (approx. 5,000 are turning 65 per week in Australia). The first baby boomers turned 65 in 2011 and whilst many have delayed retirement well past that age – it obviously cannot be postponed forever. For those who are business owners, the value represented by their business is a substantial component of their overall wealth. This means that designing and implementing a successful exit strategy is a critical component of their comprehensive wealth planning.
Succession Plus has announced the appointment of Amreeta Abbott as a shareholder and board member, following the sale of her NowInfinity business for $25 million to Class. Abbott and her colleague Vitalii Symon, former chief technology officer, both departed the cloud solutions provider to “pursue other projects” following the integration of the business into Class, which was first announced in January.
When selling a business, the big money is in the preparation not the actual transaction, says Craig West, CEO of Succession Plus and executive chairman of the SME Association of Australia.He believes owners should start preparing for a sale, and ideally engage a professional, 12 to 18 months ahead of going to market. An adviser can help a seller secure the maximum price by developing and overseeing an exit strategy that involves de-risking the business, protecting value, implementing changes, securing future income and locking in key staff.
Succession Plus CEO Craig West says the first thing he organises for new clients is a business valuation. After accounting for assets, debts, capital-gains tax and other transition costs, a business’s net value may be different to what its owner expects. “They key thing is, you have to work out what have they got,” West says. “In most cases they don’t know what the business is worth. Is it saleable? Can they pass it on to their kids? Sell it to their employees? They don’t know what their options are.”
Craig West, Managing Director of succession planning and business advisory firm Succession Plus which has offices around Australia, says for some of the clients he has worked with, the thought of separating from their business causes such anxiety that they talk themselves out of exiting and hang on for far too long.
Talking about family aspirations may be daunting, but avoiding succession planning puts business, and family harmony, at risk. At the back of many business-owners’ minds are unresolved questions such as “Is the next generation prepared to take on my family business?” and “Have I had the necessary discussions to prepare for a successful transition?”. Succession Plus CEO Craig West, who helps businesses navigate this difficult journey, outlines factors that make family succession planning particularly complex.
In this episode of Safe Space with Francesco Lombardo, Craig West talks about the challenges in family business transition and the three key things family business owners should focus on to achieve a good outcome.
Succession Plus, one of Australia’s most forward-thinking and innovative companies is proud to announce that they have recently celebrated ten years in business. The company is actively working on expansion plans, into the United Kingdom.
Believe it or not, it pays to think about your exit strategy early in the business cycle. Listen in and learn all about the most common mistakes owners make in this area from author and strategic accountant, Craig West, Managing Director and Founder of Succession Plus.
In the sixth issue of Families and Business Magazine, Craig West shares why employees leave and why attracting, retaining and motivating staff has now become an important issue for business owners.
This episode will have Craig West explaining about how best to plan for the unknown and manage some of the challenges not only family businesses, but all small businesses face in a disruptive market.
Planning for the future when it comes to business, farming and your estate is one of the most important plans to be made and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Succession planning will ensure the future of a business owner’s or farmer’s greatest asset. Wagga solicitor Maggie Orman is passionate about helping farmers and business owners implement a plan to ensure future success.
Smallville – Employees are Keen to Climb the Ladder to Equity – But Someone Needs to Provide the Ladder
While the research undoubtedly shows an increase in employees looking for equity in the business they work for – Australia lags behind on the world stage in providing a mechanism to achieve this. According to recent research in both the United States and Europe, a little over 30% of employees have some kind of equity interest in the business they work for, while in Australia that number is around 8%. A simple mechanism to manage the transition through various stages is the issue – it is not simple, nor smart, to simply take an employee and provide them with equity – and thus the ladder becomes important.
Focusing on an exit plan is vital to ensure that your business enhances your life in the way that you want it to, and at the same time will make your day-to-day business more effective. Craig West talks about exit planning and how vital it is for every organisation to take this step to ensure they extract maximum business value.
Craig West Interview- Business Builders on Talking Lifestyle
The Business Builders show provides the best tips on how to build your business, make it bigger and become more successful. In this interview with Nick Bennett and David Koch, Craig West, the Executive Chairman of the SMEA of Australia, shares his views on the recent small business budget and how it will affect the SMEs.
Sentry Group chief executive and chairman Murray Hills said the national licensee group had noticed succession planning was a significant challenge for Australian small to medium enterprise (SME) owners, particularly among the baby boomer generation.
“The depth of challenges facing baby boomers seeking to retire in the coming years is enormous, with the greatest [concern] being that of trying to sell a business in a buyers’ market,” Hills said.
Craig West is a strategic accountant and the CEO of Succession Plus which is a specialised advisory practice focused on small business owners to help them manage the four key strategic issues that SME’s face as they grow – Raising Capital, Building Equity, Protecting that equity and extracting the value you have built when you exit.
Aligned product providers and competitors would see the most strategic value in purchasing a financial planning business and therefore should be considered as part of a business owner’s succession plan, according to Succession Plus.
The head of the SME Association of Australia has urged brokers to consider the value proposition of diversifying into business lending as the home loan market faces stiff competition from online players.
Succession Plus, an advisory firm specialising in business succession and exit planning for Australian SMEs, is expanding its operations into the US.
Happy Landings With Succession Planning
Speak to anyone with experience in succession planning and they will tell you the same thing; to maximise the value of your business you need to plan your exit well ahead of time.
Craig West discusses the impact exit planners can have by helping prepare financial, business, and personal matters.
Brokers could be making more use of employee share plans to engage and motivate their employees to think and act more like business owners.
A business succession planning expert predicts problems on the horizon for many financial advisers and their SME business clients, where each may be putting off their succession plans until it is too late.
The lack of retirement preparedness by small business owners continues to be a major concern, according to Craig West, founder and chief executive officer of Succession Plus.
Australian small businesses represent a retirement income challenge in circumstances where 33 per cent of small business owners have said they are entirely reliant on the sale of the business for cash to fund their retirement, yet 75 per cent do not have an agreed or documented succession plan.
In order to formulate an effective succession plan, SMSF strategists and other practitioners need to know the key drivers of revenue in their businesses, especially those elements that will come into play in the future, according to an industry expert. – See more at: http://www.smsmagazine.com.au/articles/succession-planning-about-knowing-key-indicators#!
Three years ago, Craig West ran a typical small accountancy practice. He had a turnover of $170,000, employed a couple of people and was preoccupied with tax returns for 450 clients. If a client walked in the door and was “living, breathing and had a heartbeat”, West was happy to look after him or her, even with straightforward personal tax returns. Today, West’s AllState Partners turns over $1.6 million, employs 22 people in Sydney and recently opened an office on the Gold Coast.
Craig advises family businesses in particular to work at any strategy and planning decisions, with a clear understanding of how and why they are making particular decisions. Family business owner roles can cut across owner, parent, employer and/or employee. So it’s about putting your hat on and saying, ‘Well actually as a business owner, I’m making this decision; as a family member it’s something different.’
Succession Plus Founder and Chief Executive Craig West says while there are certain issues particular to family businesses, the lessons they can learn are universal: face disruptive market forces head on; have a plan for the worst case scenario, and learn to recognise the motivations driving decision making in the business.
Having the correct sales and marketing strategies in place can assist not only increasing your profits, but in maximising your Business Valuation. On this episode of the Marketing Strategy Show, Craig West talks about the best sales and marketing strategies you need to have in place to maximise the value of your business as well as grow your profits.
What do you need to prepare to attract the right buyer (who will pay more) and convince them of your value and finally make sure they “sign the cheque”? Having bought or sold several businesses over the last 15 years, several factors stand out: 1) How would you add significant value to your business as a buyer? 2) Who has complementary products or services or who already serves your clients?
What are the key things you can focus on to ensure your business is valuable, attractive and saleable? Is the size of your business “right” for your industry and market in order to maximise sale value? In this article, Craig West talks about the eight (8) internal factors that determine and drive business value.
Craig’s practice Succession Plus is the largest Business Succession and Exit Planning firm in Australia and provides mentoring, advice and strategy for clients looking to prepare their business for a successful exit. In March 2014, Craig was appointed Executive Chairman of the SME Association of Australia, an organisation focused on improving the success of SMEs in Australia.
Morbid Realities Impacting Broker Succession Plans
Too many insurance brokers are putting off succession planning until it’s too late because they don’t want to acknowledge the ‘morbid reality’ of their own mortality, according to a recent report.
There are a number of key trends which owners of Insurance Broking Businesses can focus on to be successful, this Whitepaper focuses on recent developments in Mergers & Acquisitions, valuation, prominent risks and opportunities, with special reference to use of an Employee Share Ownership Plan ( ESOP) as a Business Succession & Exit Planning tool.
Robust risk management and governance processes are cornerstones for financial planning practices seeking to develop and fulfil a succession plan for their businesses.
Speaking at the Succession Planning Day 2016 in Sydney, jointly hosted by Succession Plus and financialobserver, Succession Plus New South Wales partner David Cambridge said the most successful enterprises had and followed set processes.
The employee compensation practices of publicly listed companies are of great interest to employees, investors, business media and researchers alike.
They are also influential in shaping public expectations and by extension, the policies and practices of private companies.
Help Clients Maximise Their Business Value
Selling a business or planning succession can be a pivotal time in a client’s life and advisers have a key part to play. There are a number of questions you can ask to prompt clients to think about this key issue, and to determine the sale readiness of their business.
When it comes to succession planning, bear in mind some essential points to ensure you maximise the value of your business and achieve a successful exit, explains Craig West, the president of the Australian chapter of the Exit Planning Institute.
More than half of SMEs say insurance and workers’ compensation costs have increased noticeably in the past year, a new survey shows. About 37% report significant rises in utility costs, 53% in technology costs and 51% in wage bills, according to the SME Association of Australia study.
Steve Covey’s second habit is ‘Begin with the end in mind’ – this means that every decision we make in business should be made considering our ultimate exit strategy.
The research tells us that most don’t have a strategy around how to do this and therefore often fail to either maximise or extract the value, or both.
Last week we looked at the results of the 2013 MGI Australian Family and Private Business Survey (Read part 1) Succession (or exit) will happen to you sooner or later, and it is important to take charge and manage the process rather than just let it happen to you. I have worked with many business owners who have successfully done this, and in so doing have devised excellent exit strategies. They have managed to substantially improve the value of their business, find a strategic buyer to preserve (and often improve) their legacy, and been able to fund their retirement.
External – what do we need to prepare to attract the right buyer (who will pay more) and convince them of our value and finally make sure they sign the cheque?
Advisers need to position themselves as running either a boutique business or one that takes advantage of significant scale, according to a succession planning expert.
“Accounting practices and financial planning firms fit somewhere in the spectrum between boutique or scale,” Succession Plus chief executive Craig West told attendees at last Friday’s selfmanagedsuper NowInfinity SMSF Strategies Day in Sydney.
Succession Planning And Business Exit Strategies With Craig West
Craig West is a strategic accountant who has over 20 years’ experience advising business owners. As the author of 3 books on the topics of exit planning, employee share ownership plans and asset protection, Craig is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to setting your business up for the future!
In the third quarter of 2012, there were 20,000 businesses throughout Australia up for sale. Six months later, it was 32,500 and by the end of 2014, the number hit 41,200.
Some are calling it the sell-off of a generation; too many Baby Boomer sellers entering their mid to late 60s, wanting to get out of their respective games.
The reluctance of business owners to sell their advice firms is leaving a generation of advisers unable to progress, according to Succession Plus.
Many owners were now working into their advanced years which meant there was “no natural pathway” for younger members of staff to take over the business.
Speaking to Money Management, chief executive, Craig West, said when advisers did eventually sell-up, they were often skipping a generation in their 50s and going directly to those younger staff in their 30s.