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Approximately $1.9 trillion in business assets (or 310,000 businesses) are poised to change hands over the next 5 years, increasing to $3.7 trillion (or 550,000 businesses) over the coming decade.  This will be the biggest transfer of Canadian business control on record. [1]

Last week, I had the privilege of speaking at the CICBV 2013 Eastern Regional Conference on the issue of business valuation and exit planning in light of the unprecedented transfer of business wealth expected over the coming decade. [1] Our panel, moderated by Bill Vienneau, Partner at WBLI, Chartered Accountants in Halifax, consisted of Doug Bruce, VP Research at the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), Trevor Allibon, Manager Subordinate Financing at the Business Development Ba...

Will the next generation want to carry on the business after you are gone? If so, are they capable? How many family members are dependent on or involved in the family business? Will the business survive a transition to the second generation? How about the third? Is a third party sale to a financial or strategic buyer an option? If these questions have crossed your mind, you may benefit from having a discussion with a family business advisor experienced with best practices that can make a ...

Can your corporate lawyer assist with your exit planning efforts? Perhaps. Does your corporate lawyer have experience collaborating with other professional advisors and working with privately held business owners on the various issues involved in the exit planning process? I wanted to find out why business owners should have a lawyer on their exit planning advisor team, in particular to understand: a) how to select an appropriate lawyer; and b) what the lawyer’s contributions to the exit p...

Will the next generation want to carry on the business after you are gone? If so, are they capable? How many family members are dependent on or involved in the family business? Will the business survive a transition to the second generation? How about the third? Is a third party sale to a financial or strategic buyer an option? If these questions have crossed your mind, you may benefit from having a discussion with a family business advisor experienced with best practices that can make a ...

According to a Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) study, nearly two thirds of companies consider their accountant (and lawyer) the most valuable source of information. [1] In 2009, the CEO of the Canadian Association of Family Enterprise (CAFE), Lawrence Barns, was quoted as saying "When family businesses are asked who their most trusted adviser is, 73% say it is their accountant." [1] Does this include you? Is your accountant your most trusted advisor? Is he/she aware of when ...

A few weeks ago a friend of mine was telling me about a new exercise routine he had been following to help him lose weight and improve his overall health. It was visually apparent to me that he had achieved success with this new program. When he showed me his progression through weekly photos of himself, however, I immediately bought into his exercise routine as well as his commitment and motivation to its success. More recently, my brother sent me a current photo of himself and one from one mo...

All business owners will one day exit their business – voluntarily or involuntarily.  Insurance is a vital tool for ensuring you are prepared for an involuntary exit due to death or disability.

Two of our recent files at VSP involve a shareholder death.  Our valuation expertise was required in connection with a buyout of the surviving spouse’s equity interest.  Thankfull...

Are you on track to meet your business goals for 2013? What are your goals for 2014? How often do you actually write down your goals for the coming year? I find that business owners generally do have predetermined revenue and/or profit targets. While those are important, there is another goal that can have an even bigger payoff: building a sellable business. You may say that you are not ready to sell. That’s not relevant. Here are five reasons why building a sellable business should ...

According to studies on business succession in Canada, more than one third of those surveyed are expecting to sell their business externally to a third party. [1] "We should remember that good fortune often happens when opportunity meets with preparation." ― Thomas A. Edison Business owners looking to sell their business to an external third party should take note. There is tremendous opportunity to sell for a significant premium because many business owners are not proper...