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Business Beat: You Need a Plan for your Business Exit

Last year the Canadian Federation of Independent Business reported that 47% of Canadian business owners are planning to exit their business within the next five years. With statistics like that, if you are a business owner, there is a one in two chance that you are thinking of making an exit yourself.

Eighty-one per cent of those surveyed said that retirement is the reason they will leave their business. Perhaps that is your story as well. Maybe your retirement will happen in that same five-year window, or maybe you have a little longer to plan. Either way, there will come a time that you will make an exit. And when you do, what is the plan for your business? Will you sell it? Dissolve it? Hand it over to a relative? Do you even know where to begin?

If you are unsure about what your exit strategy will be, do not fret about it. You are not alone. That same survey, titled “Getting the Transition Right. Survey Results on Small Business Succession Planning,” revealed that half of those surveyed have no formal exit strategy. one in three are not even sure where to start.

It might be comforting to know that you are not alone. But do not let that prevent you from taking action and making a plan for a well executed transition into your retirement.

Chicago-based business adviser Ted Thomas says that successfully exiting your business will require a series of proactive decisions rather than responding to situations and circumstances.

Thomas says, “It’s almost like the military: Before you go in, you want to know how you’re going to get out.”

Creating a business succession plan and obtaining professional advice is a perfectly good idea. Seeking the counsel and expertise of a business valuator is an important first step. A business valuation is a very complex financial process.

On June 26, APEX Alberta will be hosting a free session to provide business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs with information on business valuations. This session will guide you through important elements like ownership, tax strategies, contingency planning, and structuring considerations.

This upcoming Lunch & Learn seminar will be presented by Drew Jackiw, a local Chartered Professional Accountant with JMH & Co., and it is designed for business owners, family businesses, entrepreneurs, and aspiring entrepreneurs who would like to learn about the business valuation process.

Jackiw will dig deeper into specifics on:  factors that affect value, valuation methods, preparing for a sale, financing an acquisition or a sale, transitioning without a sale to family and tax minimization strategies.

To register for this free event, please visit the APEX website at or call 403-528-2824.

Elizabeth Blair is the regional innovation network coordinator for APEX Alberta. APEX Alberta supports the growth of innovative and technologically-oriented businesses in Southeast Alberta.  APEX Alberta is a collaborative initiative between three core service providers: Community Futures Entre-Corp, Medicine Hat College and Alberta Innovates. 

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