The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) found that between 2007 and 2012, the number of small business owners over the age of 50 increased to almost 51 percent. Translation? More than half of small businesses are headed by someone nearing retirement age. Most green industry owners are focused on day-to-day activities and getting the job done. Retiring may seem a long way down the road, but it is never too early to start thinking of your exit strategy.
Create a succession plan
The SBA advises any business owner, including someone in the green industry, to develop a succession plan. If you want to pass your business on to the next generation, first you need to see if a family member is interested in taking over the reins. Don’t assume that your son or daughter want to step into the boss’s shoes. You’ll want to have a frank conversation to determine if he or she is interested, understands the work and requirements to run the company successfully, and is a good fit. If all of that works out, you will need to determine how that transition will play out.
Chris Casselberry, owner of Quality Turf Management in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, understood what was involved in passing on a family business. He had worked for years with his father in a different industry before going into lawn care and acquiring his Spring-Green franchise. He appreciated the legacy that Spring-Green provided his family. “I started it, now I have my four sons running the business,” he says. Casselberry still handles the finances for the business, but he is pleased and proud to have the bulk of the company’s operations transition to his sons.
If you do not have a child or family member who would be assuming control of the family business, is there an employee that may be interested? Help with this kind of business transition is one of the many benefits Spring-Green Lawn Care provides franchise owners. We have a proven support system that is with you every step of the way, from start-up training through your exit strategy, to help guide you. The Spring-Green family will support your successor in that same way.
Develop your retirement plan
While you are considering how your green industry business will continue after you retire, you should also be focusing on how you will pay for your life after you step away from your small business. Even though you are in business for yourself, you still need to have a plan for your retirement that includes a retirement savings account, such as an IRA, as well as life and disability insurance, to protect you and your family.
There are many other things to consider during this transition period. If you plan to pass your green industry business to a family member, there are tax implications, such as estate and gift taxes, that must be paid. Will you be doing an outright sale of your business, or do you plan a gradual sale or a lease agreement? All these questions need to be answered and prepared for when passing on or selling your business.
Whether you are passing your business on, selling it or liquidating it, it’s important to work with an accountant, a lawyer and a financial advisor so you are sure to make the best decision you can. Passing your green industry business on to the next generation is a big step, and Spring-Green is here to help you manage the process. Call 1-800-777-8608 or visit us at www.growmygreenindustrybusiness.com to learn how Spring-Green Lawn Care can help.