Perhaps the most powerful force in our society is the impact of demographics.

This is true in business. Baby boomers-of whom there are many- are now approaching retirement. Those who own businesses face the challenge of succession. According to Canadian government statistics, the highest percentage of SME owners in Canada is in the “50–64” years of age group.1

As one of the senior managers in a business you may become aware that the current owner has a desire to sell his or her interest in the company and retire. You may be aware that the owner has tried and failed to negotiate a sale with a competitor, a strategic buyer or a financial buyer, making a move by you to engage the owner in discussions about your purchase of the company, a timely one. You may know a lot about the business, its sales function, how it operates, and what can be done to improve its operations. But as worried as you are about what the sale of the business to another party might mean for you, you may have very little experience relevant to putting a deal together to own and operate the company. You may be anxious and feel there is ‘no way’ you could ever put a deal together.

You need to talk to a lawyer who can help you understand how to go about figuring out if you can be the answer to the current owner’s business succession challenge. We can help with that.

There are many things for you to consider.

For starters-Are you willing to use some of the equity in your home? Will it be possible to borrow enough money against the assets of the company to get the current owner enough money to close the deal and take back a note or some other security for additional purchase monies to be paid after closing? Will you have to bring in partners? How do you find people with whom you would want to work who have money and are willing to risk it in a business you will run? At the operational level, how will you improve operations? Who among the employees will you need to have on board? Who might leave and what would that mean for the business under your ownership? Will you be able to continue to do your job and earn your salary while the negotiations carry on?

Call us for an introductory discussion if you find yourself in this situation. We’d be glad to help.

Additional Reading:

Management buyouts: Points to consider and ways to finance them. Business Development Bank of Canada Available at https://www.bdc.ca/en/articles-tools/start-buy-business/buy-business/pages/introduction-management-buyouts.aspx

1Key Small Business Statistics – June 2016, p. 25. Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, Small Business Branch. Available at www.ic.gc.ca/sbstatistics