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One of the biggest issues most privately held business owners face is what to do with the business when they exit from the company. Everyone exits…it’s just a matter of when and how you do it.

Often I find business owners put off planning for their exit much too long, which costs them money and causes them to make less than desirable decisions. This can be avoided with some well thought out strategic planning years before the date of exit. When a business owner is proactive and starts the planning process, the angst, stress, anxiety, and sleepless nights go down significantly. Instead, let’s get you in the driver’s seat throughout the entire process and make your life much easier and less stressful.

At Generations Law Group, we work with clients from all over Idaho who want to create a succession plan for their business, and we’re here to help you through each step of the process.

Should I sell my Idaho business or pass it down to my family?

While many issues surround a solid exit strategy, one key is deciding which fork in the road you will pursue…selling the business or leaving it for your family to continue running. It’s not an easy decision, but rather one that should be made after careful thought, deliberation, and discussion. You may be too close to the trees to see the forest. It’s valuable to get some professional assistance with this major decision.

When I work with family business owners, this is one of the first places we start. Most things cascade from this key decision. Sometimes it is relatively quick, and other times it takes a lot of discussion and evaluation (both of the business and the personnel). Regardless of the time, it’s worth investing it up front when there isn’t a huge sense of urgency…clearer thinking will prevail.

So what are some areas you should think about when considering whether you sell the business or leave it to your family? Here are two lists to start you out. There are more areas than these, but these are good starting points.

​Why would you want to SELL your business?

Of course, there are pros and cons to selling, and it all depends on your individual circumstances and how you want your business to continue once you stop running it.

Here are some things to think about in terms of why you might want to sell your Idaho business:

  • ​Allows me to be out of the business…the end
  • ​Immediate income to do something else in life
  • ​Eliminate the day-to-day stresses and worries
  • ​Start a new chapter in life without the business being the center of everything
  • ​Allow your kids to work and learn from someone else
  • ​Liquidity with the money to start another business that might be more suited to your children’s strengths

Why would you want to keep your Idaho Business in the Family?

Now let’s take a look at the flip side. What are the pros for keeping your business in the family?

  • ​Leave a legacy within your family of the business you have grown
  • ​Give your kids (or other family members) a chance to have the same opportunities you had while running the business
  • ​Keep it in the family for future generations beyond your kids
  • ​Teach your kids (or other family members) how to effectively run a business
  • ​Future income stream for you and your family
  • ​Tax advantages to keeping it vs. selling it

​What’s the next step for your Idaho business?

As I mentioned, this is just a “starting point” for you to begin your evaluation of what to do with your family business. I would encourage you to add to this list of items on your mind in both categories. The how and what are the easier parts to handle and we, like others, have definite ways to guide you through these pieces of your decision.

At this stage in your thinking, the only question I might encourage you to deliberate on is “WHY” do you want to do one or the other…pros and cons for each. This will be emotional and analytical…both are necessary at this stage of your thinking. If you spend the time on “WHY” the how and what will be ten times easier to handle.

Often I am brought in too late in the conversation…at the how and what stages. When I come in one of the first questions I ask is, “WHY do you want to do this,”…the room usually goes dead silent.

The majority of times the “WHY” hasn’t been discussed and we have to go back and start this discussion before we can do the how and the what to make it happen. This isn’t a “transaction.” This is your life. It deserves the time and attention to understand why you what to make the changes you want to make.

​Contact our Idaho Business Attorneys at Generations Law Group

If you want to sit down and just talk through it to start you thinking in the right way, schedule a consultation. The key is to get some outside perspective and let people help guide you through what you want to do with your baby. Some careful discussion and planning may be the best thing you have ever done for yourself and your business!

At Generation Law Group, we have over 45 years of experience helping clients choose the next step that’s best for their business. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and we can walk through this process together.

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