Selling your business can be stressful and overwhelming, and many factors must be considered in this high-stakes transaction: timing, deal structure, and legacy goals are just a few. However, armed with knowledge and guided by experienced professionals, business owners can expect a profitable and efficient transaction. Be aware of the following preventable mistakes so you can anticipate and prepare for specific issues that may come up during the deal process.
Family-owned businesses, a key pillar in the American economy, make up a significant number of the privately held companies across our country. Although these companies cut across all industries and range in size from small to large, they all share common challenges. The most daunting of these challenges is how to manage the transition of the business from generation to generation. Keeping the core family values balanced with an ever-changing market place and often diverging goals amongst the family members is a challenge that many family businesses don’t survive. One intriguing solution to this challenge for many family-owned businesses is to bring the employees into the shareholder group through the sale of stock to an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP).
Regardless of when or how you plan to exit, data indicates that having an exit strategy increases the odds your business will sell for optimum value. It is in your best interest to understand thoroughly—and well in advance of your exit—how each strategy affects you, your company, and your employees; only then will you be able to craft an effective exit strategy.
Among the fastest ways for a company to grow entity value is through accretive acquisitions. With a well-executed acquisition strategy, companies can realize significant value in the first year, which often accelerates in the years that follow.
Change is hard to initiate even when we know the results will be better for us. This is true when there are signs that our ESOP valuation firm is no longer providing the necessary professional assistance. Our reluctance fades however, if warning signs begin pointing to increased risks for our company.
Congress has chosen to bestow a variety of significant tax benefits on business owners and companies that participate in a special ownership structure. Because it is very difficult for a fully taxable ownership structure to compete with a tax-advantaged structure, many business owners should evaluate the possibilities under this special structure, known commonly as an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). The ESOP structure provides shareholder and corporate tax benefits which require proper consideration and transaction structuring to ensure maximum benefit.
Business owners thinking about transitioning out of their companies must consider factors that help identify and target buyers of choice. Certainly, active acquirers that consistently demonstrate an ability to pay handsome prices, close deals rapidly and continuously create shareholder value via acquisitions is a winning combination.
Transportation companies are thriving today. But the industry’s most coveted asset, its drivers, are being heavily courted in a competitive employment environment. For a majority of transportation companies, driver satisfaction goes hand in hand with company reputation, customer satisfaction and success. The American Trucking Associations (“ATA”) reports that the transportation industry has struggled with driver shortages over the past 15 years. The shortage further exacerbates profit margin as the recent tight labor market has given rise to increased wages for drivers.
Are you a business owner considering a partial or total ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan)? If so, you are likely to find that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 will produce greater benefits for you and your company’s stakeholders than before the law was passed.