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A Once in a Life­time Op­por­tu­nity is Here: Are Cana­dian Pri­vate Busi­ness Own­ers Pre­pared?

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Canada’s cur­rent gen­er­a­tion of pri­vate and fam­ily busi­ness own­ers largely con­sists of baby boomers—and they’re quickly reach­ing re­tire­ment age. We’ve long spec­u­lated about the ef­fects this mass shift would have on our econ­omy and now an un­prece­dented trans­fer of wealth and re­spon­si­bil­ity is underway.

At PWC Canada, we work with busi­ness own­ers to pre­pare their com­pa­nies for a suc­cess­ful sale or suc­ces­sion and help the next gen­er­a­tion (next gen) feel equally ready to carry those com­pa­nies for­ward. Own­ers need to be think­ing strate­gi­cally about their long-term exit plan, as it will ar­rive sooner than they think. Here are four things to keep in mind.

1. Busi­ness trans­fers are emo­tional for ev­ery­one in­volved.

• Pri­vate com­pa­nies are a vi­tal part of the com­mu­nity.

• Both cur­rent and next gen own­ers need to be trans­par­ent in their com­mu­ni­ca­tion through­out this tran­si­tion—with their em­ploy­ees, with their cus­tomers and espe­cially with each other.

For the next gen, con­tinue to foster an open di­a­logue with the cur­rent busi­ness

2. There are mul­ti­ple stake­hold­ers to con­sider.

• There are plenty of peo­ple with a vested in­ter­est in your busi­ness, but none more so than those who stand to in­herit it. Both cur­rent and next gen lead­ers need to rec­on­cile their views, val­ues and vi­sion for the fu­ture of the com­pany.

• With­out tak­ing steps to guar­an­tee a seam­less tran­si­tion to your suc­ces­sor, the con­ti­nu­ity of your busi­ness will be at risk.

Suc­ces­sion can be espe­cially com­plex be­cause each sub­se­quent gen­er­a­tion grows and spreads out. Some­times sell­ing the busi­ness

• own­ers and show that you’re com­mit­ted to con­tin­u­ing their legacy.

• be­comes more prac­ti­cal than pass­ing it on.

Fig­ure out early on whether or not you have will­ing suc­ces­sors; be­cause if not, it’s time to pre­pare for a sale or to find the pro­fes­sional man­age­ment you’ll need to con­tinue the busi­ness.

3. Be­fore your busi­ness trans­fers, max­i­mize its value.

• If you’re leav­ing the busi­ness, max­i­mize the value of your com­pany so you can sell your busi­ness at a higher price and give your com­pany a com­pet­i­tive edge, pro­tect­ing your legacy and em­pow­er­ing the next gen for suc­cess.

• Make sure you have not only the tech­no­log­i­cal foun­da­tions to fu­tureproof your com­pany in a

• chang­ing world, but also the strat­egy, tal­ent and cul­ture to thrive.

Con­sider work­ing with an ad­vi­sor to pro­vide you with a third-party per­spec­tive on your busi­ness as­sets and base­line val­u­a­tion. This will help iden­tify lowhang­ing fruit for driv­ing up the deal value of your com­pany and dif­fer­en­ti­ate you from com­peti­tors.

4. New ideas, new growth and a new gen­er­a­tion.

• Our Once in a Life­time re­port ex­plores the chang­ing land­scape of Canada’s pri­vate and fam­ily com­pa­nies, pro­vid­ing own­ers with the ad­vice, tools and real world suc­cess sto­ries they need to nav­i­gate the tur­bu­lence and seize op­por­tu­ni­ties every step of the way. I en­cour­age you to read through the se­ries as well as the ac­com­pa­ny­ing in­sights from our pri­vate com­pany ser­vices ex­perts. Reach out to our team so we can help you cre­ate a suc­cess­ful plan. - Ayns­ley Price

Part­ner, Pri­vate Com­pany Ser­vices, Small Busi­ness So­lu­tions­ceinal­ife­time

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