Where do all the family businesses go?

By Lancashire Business View

29 Mar 2017

It is fascinating to see what happens to family businesses. Think back to the local high street in your school days and some of those businesses will still be there today and thriving and others will be long gone.

By John Green, director, Pierce Corporate Finance

What is it that differentiates, enabling some to prosper, whilst others fall by the wayside?

I often speak to business owners about their succession and retirement plans and far too many have not yet begun to think it through.

Will they simply close the business down or alternatively pass it onto their management team or even sell the business to a competitor or trade buyer within their marketplace?

It is essential to have in place the proper management team to be able to take the business forward once its founder and driving force is no longer at the helm.  Ideally this process will take place some years before any change in ownership such that the management team take on executive day to day responsibility demonstrating their ability to take the company forward in the future.

It is then possible for a management buyout to be organised raising new funding with which the management team themselves become business owners enabling the founder to successfully retire, maybe over a period of time, and the business be re-energised by the new younger ownership.

Alternatively having that broad base of management enables a trade sale to be pursued, and a buyer found, if that is felt to be the best outcome for all concerned.

It is a long journey from starting a business to it becoming successful requiring huge amounts of drive, energy and ambition. The greatest wish of the departing owner is usually to see the business continue to survive and prosper. The sooner advice is taken the better.

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