On the way home I put my work head back on and started thinking about the future. I am already semi-retired, working three days each week and leaving the day-to-day running of Magenta to my colleague Gretchen.
We have our succession plan in hand, and I am lucky to have found someone with the same ethos as me to take over the reins. But as I contemplated all this, I also wondered how many other small businesses owners are at the stage of life where they should be off adventuring or spending time with family, but for one reason or another cannot get out of the business.
I know of a few people who have great businesses and who want to retire but can’t find a suitable buyer, or the right price. This is very sad.
Unfortunately, despite the rise in popularity of cashflow modelling, many advisers still haven’t done this for themselves and therefore don’t know how much to sell their business for, or indeed whether they can just close the door and walk away.
Frankly, even if they do know the numbers, many are caught in a trap of wanting to do the best for their clients and not leave them adrift. This means that they really want to find someone to take over, who is just like them.
So how can the situation be improved? I’m sorry that I don’t have any answers for those who want to retire immediately, but for those who have a five to 10-year timeline, the key is in the planning and taking on of younger and/or new talent.
My experience is that “home grown” people will always produce better results – In taking over a business in the future, they will better understand the culture, the ethics and, of course, the clients.
The old saying is that you hire for attitude and train for aptitude – someone who is keen to learn, driven to succeed and trained to be great, can be groomed to take over the running and/or ownership of a business, given a suitable timeframe.
Having a succession plan in place will take pressure off business owners and allow them to explore ways to make the plan work for their personal retirement needs.
Having fulfilled that side of the plan, consideration needs to be given to what the retiree will do with their time.
Julie Lord is chief executive and a founder of Magenta Financial Planning in Bridgend, South Wales