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Walking away from a family business can be hard, both financially for the business and emotionally for the individuals involved. A recent example is the Sussexes parting from the world’s most famous family business, the Royal Family.

There are ideal scenarios that will aid in a clean break from a family business, but these measures are not always in place. Certain plans that will help the process include:   

Succession plan

A succession plan should be in place in any business, for example who will take over certain roles if a member of the team was to quit, and how, financially, the business will be structured. If a family member exits the business, efficient planning will enable the company and the individual to exit as smoothly as possible.   

Shareholders agreement

By having a shareholders’ agreement in place, as a pre-agreed structure, this will help dictate what happens if a shareholder should quit and cover any financial complications. This agreement will aid in covering worst case scenarios and will govern the way in which the company continues to run.

However, if the exit is not planned, the process can be a lot more complex. If the individual is quitting the business entirely, and withdraws his/her share in the business, then the business may fall into complications to raise the funds to buy back those shares. The business may not be in a financial position to be able to do this as an instant transaction, and therefore will have to find funds to do this; this could in turn impact cashflow and overall business plans for the future.

Leaving a family business, or having to deal with a family member exiting the business, doesn’t have to be a perilous process. Having structures and processes in place within your business to cover all sorts of implications will benefit the company and the individuals within the business considerably.

For more information about exiting a family business find and contact your local Haines Watts office

About the author

Daniel Morgan

Dan joined Haines Watts in 2011. While he works across many sectors, he has a particular expertise and interest in the property, hotel, technology and media sectors and in advising professional service firms. Dan works primarily with owner managed businesses. While he delivers a range of accounting services, he thrives on providing strategic consulting focused on helping owners realise value in and from their businesses. Dan sees one of his core roles as being a sounding board for the business owner; a trusted confidant who can challenge and question but also support the owner.

 

The most enjoyable part of what I do is working with business owners on their long term plan and future goals. It’s so rewarding to be part of creating that strategy and helping them achieve the desired outcome.

If I wasn’t doing this I’d be: a pro golfer.

Favourite Sports Team: Manchester United.

Dream Location: Tuscany, drinking red wine.

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