The short answer is that often no one is talking about it. 10+ million baby boomer small business owners are approaching this crossroad, reaching an older age. Scant few of these boomers relish admitting “I am older” … I speak from experience — I am one.
That there are family members in the business often makes this discussion more of a challenge – relatively few SMB owners are having the conversations they should be having.
If you, the next generation think that the accountant or lawyer will raise this question with the boss — with whom they’ve likely had a long and fruitful relationship that he signed the check – that’s not likely to happen it’s simply too risky. You will very likely need a capable succession, exit planning expert without that long history for any successful transition discussion to even begin. And there are some very compelling tax reasons why you should be acting before 12/31/2012 when those tax benefits are due to expire.
The hardest part is often the first step – getting the conversation started.
And many of you 10+ million boomer owners are non-family owned businesses – have you considered your exit plan, considered all of your options?
Eventually everyone exits their business – if you haven’t planned – your Uncle Sam has.