Who's going to own your company in five years?
1. Nothing is changing, I’m still going to own it (or I’ll own it with my existing partners).
2. I’m hoping my kids will become owners.
3. One or more of my key employees will become owners.
4. I plan to sell it to the outside world (either private equity or a strategic buyer).
Depending on the answer, we knew multiple ways we could help the business owner.
1. If you're going to own the company, you need a business continuity plan – a set of instructions for who does what if you’re not around. What if you died last weekend? Who’s going to own your business? Who’s going to run it?
2. If you're going to pass it on to your family, you need to coordinate a handful of important issues. You need to make sure you have enough money to be financially secure. You will want a plan for your estate to minimize taxes, and you need to think about how to treat your kids fairly - especially if not all of them are to become owners of the business.
3. Are the key employees going to take over the company? They never have any money, so how are you going to arrange and structure that?
4. If you're going to sell to the outside world, you likely have a lot of work to do if you want to maximize your options and proceeds. It will involve a lot of cleanup, documentation and preparation before you enter that arena. (For a whole book on just this, read Noah’s book EXIT: Healthy, Wealthy and Wise – which you can buy on Amazon.)
When Chris saw Noah’s listing, his eyes lit up and he said, “Do you realize you’ve just created the most valuable piece of intellectual capital that we've ever created? You've done it. It's taken us two years, but we've simplified it down to one multiple choice question. Everything that we're doing can be boiled down to this one simple question with simple multiple-choice answers. Let’s write a book and call it 20/20 Vision: Who’s going to own your company in 2020? All we’ve got to do is tell our clients' stories.”
What you're about to read is the story of our clients with whom we've worked during the past 20 years. Each case study contains answers to this one simple question. It turns out that whether you're going to own the company or transfer it to your family, the key employees or sell it to the outside world, there’s a series of questions that you need to ask yourself.
Our clients are going to read this book and say, “Hey, you wrote that story about me!” They're going to be right because these are true stories with the names changed and the facts manipulated enough so that no one could know the subjects. Our hope is that everybody who reads this book is going to say “Man, you may as well have written that story about me.”