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Latest research findings – Succession in the 21st Century – Succession Reset

Succession and Exit

Latest research findings – Succession in the 21st Century – Succession Reset

By , January 2, 2016

According to recently released research from Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, the succession planning challenge faced by baby boomer business owners continues to develop, with only 15% of baby boomer business owners globally having completed their succession plans.  By the time 2020 arrives this group will be aged between 56 and 74 years of age and they presently control many of the privately owned businesses throughout the world.

Some interesting findings from the research include the underlying belief that selling the business is always an option (73.6%), however many business owners still expect the business to be retained within the family at the conclusion of this succession planning process (60%).

Interestingly, the research also highlights the most common advice from respondents was to start the process earlier –  the most common triggers to commence are:

  1. professional advice recommending the plan commence,
  2. the current generation being ready to transition out,
  3. the incoming generation being interested and ready to step up.

For business owners who have completed their business succession and exit planning process –  the vast majority consider they have achieved their principal outcomes (87.9%).

Even more interesting – selling the business for the best price was only the sixth highest priority ( 30.4 % ) though this was higher with just Australian business owners responses – with Continuity of the business ( 86.6 % ) ,  family harmony  ( 73.5 % ) and ongoing jobs for employees ( 72.7 % ) all ranking highly.

The number one barrier faced by family owned businesses was the ensuring fair distribution of assets amongst family members.

According to the author, Dr Richard Shrapnel, the research highlights 8 “guiding principles”

  1. Succession is not retirement
  2. Start with readiness
  3. Set your goals before the journey
  4. Harmony is a must
  5. Price is not first
  6. Plan early, start earlier
  7. Equality is not equal
  8. Ask before you get lost.
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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