Business Owner exodus

In its recent Succession Tsunami report, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) said  that 76% of business owners plan to exit their businesses within 10 years.

Reasons for moving on:

–       Retirement: 75%
–       Stress & burnout: 22%

For many owners, the proceeds from the sale of their business needs to fund their retirement (!).


–       only 9% have a formal succession plan in place. 
–       54% has trouble finding a suitable buyer or successor.
–       43% are struggling to measure the value of their business
–       39% says the business is too reliant on them for day-to-day operations.

No surprises for me here.

Many of the businesses I work with rely significantly on the owner being there each and every day: they work IN the business, not ON the business.

Businesses like these are hard to sell: potential buyers realize they won’t be able to run the company. And many of the ones that do sell fail within 6 months.

So what are some of the things we do about this?

–       Create a vision for a future state of the company (and for the owner personally)
–       Develop a clear organizational structure that supports the vision
–       Develop a strong management team, with clearly defined Accountabilities
–       Implement well-defined Systems & Processes

The desired outcome is to have a Management Team and Workforce that has the Authority and Knowledge to run the business by itself.

I often joke to the owner: “my job is to get you out of the business and on to the golf course”.

Does this work? Absolutely! Like my client Enrique: he went on a great trip some time ago, came back, checked in with his team, no problems reported, went on doing his thing. Would he have been able to do this 2 years ago? Not a chance (his own words).

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