By Lisa Schardt, Nexstar® Network Business Enhancement Coach

Family-owned businesses make up 80-90 percent of all businesses enterprises in North America. In addition, family businesses account for 50 percent of U.S. gross domestic product, generate 60 percent of the country’s employment, and account for 78 percent of all new job creation.

So, if you own a family business, congratulations and thank you! You should feel great about what you’re contributing to our country. However, if you’re a business owner approaching your 60’s, I’m sure at times you feel a bit concerned about where your business will go when you’re no longer a part of it. Well, you’re not alone.

According to the US Small Business Administration, many family businesses are decades old and just like you, the owners are wondering how they will prepare their sons and daughters to carry on, serve loyal customers and grow the company when they retire. How can you possibly transfer all of the information and experience that’s in your head?

Here are 5 tips to get you started:

1. Plan well in advance
2. Determine your family goals for the future
3. Select the best person to lead the company – Who is best equipped?
4. Make a plan for the next generation
5. Plan the financial and legal steps of transferring business ownership

Groom and mentor the future leader(s) of your business. Set a goal for the transition and move slowly through the process so you can keep a hand in things and provide mentoring without micromanaging. But, what if no one is qualified or interested? That’s a good question and that’s why we’re addressing some other options here at Nexstar:

Absentee Ownership

This keeps the cash flowing as you transition to a new owner because once you sell the golden goose (your business), it can no longer produce golden eggs. Planning an exit strategy around absentee ownership will still keep the goose in your hand. You hire, train and empower good people and your paycheck keeps coming in while your owner equity increases in the business.

Hire a General Manager

Hiring a general manager is also a good plan. This is one of the reasons we created a General Manager Training Program here at Nexstar. If you hire a general manager now, clearly define your intent, train them on business management,  teach them everything you know and groom them to take over your business, they’ll be ready when you’re ready to retire.

Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP)

Consider selling your business to your employees via an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). According to the National Center for Employee Ownership, about two-thirds of these are used to provide a market for the shares of a departing owner of a profitable, closely held company.

The bottom line is, you have lots of succession options, and I would love to help you find one that works best for you and your business. Let’s talk. Call me at 888.240.STAR.

Nexstar Network is a business-development and best-practice organization for residential PHCE contractors.