Hoosier Ombuddy: What’s your plan for your business’ future?

Close your eyes and think back to your childhood. Go ahead, do it! Think about a place where your parents took you as a child to buy candy. Was it a little mom and pop place down the street? It was for me in Portage, Indiana. My grandfather used to take me to the store down the street to buy Skittles. I had so many great memories of the store, its workers, and the conversations we shared to and from my grandfather’s house. On a trip home from college one summer, I learned that the store closed.

How could a family business that was such a pillar in my community just shut its doors?

Family owned businesses generate over 50% of the US Gross National Product. When it comes time for the current owners to retire, these entrepreneurs face the challenge of defining a clear transition of ownership, commonly referred to as succession planning, for their businesses.  Do they know what they want to do with the business when they no longer want to own or operate it?  Is there a plan to sell or transfer ownership to another family member?  Is there a market to sell it to an unrelated party?  Should the business just be closed?

The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers resources for developing a succession plan. Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) has five recommended steps for succession planning, which can help provide practical direction that can help you choose and train your businesses successor. The Southwest Indiana Chamber and Southwest Indiana Small Business Development Center has formed the Family Business Alliance, which provides resources that support and encourage the health and growth of family enterprises by providing educational events, networking, and access to industry experts, including successive generational ownership. You can learn more about this program here.

The most important tip I can pass along to business owners is to “begin with the end in mind”. Good planning is good business!  There are many resources available to help you plan for the future. Looking for a few? Check out these 5 steps to create a viable succession plan.

These are just a few resources that I found available for succession planning. Did I miss something? Please tell me so I can continue to share information with veterans. I can’t say this enough, thank you for your service and good luck with your business! Please continue to follow #HoosierOmbuddy for tips and resources available to business owners across Indiana.

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