Would Selling Your Company To Its Employees Be A Good Exit Strategy?

If you’ve built up a successful business, deciding whether or not to sell it is a difficult choice to make. Yet, every business owner must have their exit strategy firmly in place.

You’re sure to already know the classic exit strategy options – finding strategic buyers, an equity sale, or possibly going public for a larger small business. Some owners decide that they’ll just wind down their business entirely. There is, however, a different option – the ESOP or Employee Stock Ownership Plan. This could be the perfect exit strategy if you want your business to stay rooted in its locality and its staff meaningfully employed.

What Is An ESOP?

In simple terms, an ESOP is a tool that can be used by a retiring business owner to sell their company to its employees. They are becoming more popular worldwide thanks to the many benefits that they provide. The Corporate Business Solutions team will explain some of those advantages here.

A Flexible Timeline For Exit

Everyone knows that most Baby Boomers aren’t retiring when they get to 65 anymore. They enjoy working and are happy to carry on as long as they remain in good health. This trend looks set to continue for many more years to come since more people today are seeing their work as an extension to their personal life.

ESOPs allow business owners to carry on playing an important role in their business, but with added flexibility to begin reducing their value within it by transferring value to its employees. With a long transition period, the owner can educate and mentor key people to take over their new roles.

Not only does an ESOP enable a more flexible departure, but it also enables owners to start accessing their retirement capital via the liquidity of transferred shares to employees.

Getting Money Out

Every exit plan hinges on being able to turn the business as an illiquid asset into cash. For your employees to purchase shares in the company, it has to be valued professionally at FMV (Fair Market Value).

As long as the company is currently profitable and looks set to continue in that vein, your employees are unlikely to mind paying fair prices for share. Although some owners believe their employees won’t be able to afford to purchase their company, they find many different financing tools are available that facilitate the process.

Lasting Legacy

Studies have shown that a lot of owners of small businesses end up regretting the sale of their company a short while after the deal is closed. Some even regret the decision when they got the price they wanted for the sale.

A major reason for regretting the decision is that their exit plan has failed to address issues such as legacy and succession. For a lot of business owners, it’s very important to be reassured that the values and culture they put in place will carry on once they have left.

An ESOP helps to ensure the business moves forward with those people who have already shared the owner’s values and vision. More importantly, research has shown that ownership by employees also results in better business outcomes such as improved engagement, retention, and productivity.

Would An ESOP Suit Me?

Not every business owner will find employee stock ownership the right solution since it requires a willingness for financial information to be shared and a more participative management style. However, for those business owners who are keen to have a more flexible timeline for their exit, to obtain a fair price for their sale and a way of leaving their legacy intact, the idea of an ESOP is certainly worth exploring.

Will A Facilitator For Strategic Planning Help Your Business?

Planning strategy planning sessions for your business can be a real challenge, and that’s why a strategic planning facilitator could prove to be indispensable. When you need some specialist support and advice, a facilitator can come to the rescue, helping you to get the most out of each session.

How can a facilitator be helpful? Corporate Business Solutions consultants outline just a few of the reasons why.

A Facilitator Will Enable Your Contribution And Participation

Rather than leading a planning session, a facilitator will enable you to participate. You cannot participate fully in any session if you’re leading it, so this is a major benefit. A facilitator is also an expert in their field. They have developed a process that maximizing the effort and time you put in and know which questions to ask to produce optimal results. While it’s technically possible to lead your strategy meetings, it’s best not to take any risks with the future of your organization.

Getting To The Heart Of The Matter

As a facilitator is neutral they can ask tough questions on your behalf without any misconceptions or expectations. Even if you think the questions they ask are irrelevant or pointless, these questions often get right to the heart of what is most important. As a facilitator is coming in from outside, they can ask the perfect questions at the perfect time and in the perfect way to ensure the success of your business.

Having someone to lead your organization through the strategic planning process who is neutral is vital to getting your business to the place it needs to be. Your choices won’t impact the facilitator and that means they’re able to approach sessions without any bias.

Setting The Tone

A facilitator will set the tone for a planning meeting and can show you’re committed and serious about strategy development. It shows you’ve made not only a financial commitment but also an emotional commitment to ensuring the session gives your company the best possible level of value.

It isn’t easy to manage a planning session and its facilitation if you’re trying to involve yourself in the conversation too. A facilitator will put pauses into the discussion at strategic moments while controlling the agenda to ensure the best possible outcome for the team.

People Management

Facilitators are used to managing people with all kinds of personalities. It’s their special skill and they use it to ensure there is balanced conversation throughout the session. They ensure everyone can offer their contribution and that it’s as easy as possible to move on with your strategy.

A facilitator can also act as a catalyst to keep things moving forward and getting change initiatives underway. They help to move the organization forward more quickly, rather than living with legacy conversations and decisions that never seem to get dealt with.

Alignment And Clarity – The Key To A High-Performing Team

All businesses, regardless of their size or industry require a high-performing team to ensure their long-term success. Many company leaders have recognized that one of the best ways to ensure that their workforce achieves their best daily is to maintain alignment and clarity in all ventures. How does this work in practice? The answer lies in regular strategic planning meetings that bring business leaders together with their key team members in a positive atmosphere of cooperation and discussion.

The expert team here at CBS-CBS.com believes that strategic planning meetings are vital in this respect. Not only are such meetings important for drawing up an effective strategy in the first place, but they’re also essential for re-evaluating, honing, and reinforcing that plan to ensure it remains relevant and successful in its aims.

Holding regular meetings to create, re-evaluate and reinforce the strategic plan for your organization helps you to generate both alignment and clarity amongst team members – the two key elements that have been identified as vital to allowing the workforce to achieve its best. So, what does drawing up your business’ strategic plan involve?

How Does Strategic Planning For Alignment And Clarity Work?

The starting point to achieve greater alignment and clarity amongst your workforce through your strategic plan is to assess where your company is right now. The next step is to look at where the business is heading, all the time engaging your team throughout the process. This allows greater alignment and clarity to be achieved simply by taking on board their ideas and suggestions and involving them in the creation of the plan. As a result, your workforce will enjoy greater alignment and clarity for better goal achievement and higher performance overall.

Why Does A Strategic Plan Improve Alignment And Clarity?

When you follow this process, your team will be able to evaluate both opportunities and risks and to discuss them in full and frank detail in a meeting setting. This brings everything out in the open, allowing team members to raise their concerns and issues in a positive environment so everyone can have a greater focus on the things that matter. Ultimately, it allows your team to follow through a process of discussing priority items while also deciding consciously what they shouldn’t do under the current circumstances.

The Benefits Of Professional Advice

Business leaders often feel as if they’re ground down by daily with the day-to-day operation of their company. There is a lot to bear in mind with the daily running of an organization, and strategic planning can so easily fall by the wayside and be overlooked. This is where a team of talented consultants like those at Corporate Business Solutions can prove to be extremely helpful. With the right management consultancy advice, you will be well-placed to identify your company’s most important priorities and to align your team with the best ways to reach your business goals. As a result, you can all achieve more and increase your organization’s profitability in the long-run.

 

 

Build Your Company’s Wealth With Effective Strategic Tax Planning

A key element of building up and preserving your company’s wealth is strategic tax planning. For many, tax is their biggest expense. It, therefore, couldn’t be more important to focus on saving money when it comes to paying taxes. Why waste money on tax that you legally aren’t obliged to pay? This is where strategic tax planning comes into its own. So, how can you retain more wealth? Let’s take a closer look.

Why Lower Your Taxes?

The two ways you can put more money in your company’s pocket are to make more or to spend less. While you can put a lot of effort and time into promoting your company with no guarantees of success, you can, instead, focus on your strategic tax planning to guarantee better tax efficiency. A lot of people try to find ways of making more money, but a financial defense in the form of spending less is actually a better course of action.

How Does Strategic Tax Planning Help?

When you adopt strategic tax planning measures, you can keep more of the money your business makes. So, it makes sense to seize every available opportunity to save on the amount of tax you payout. There are many ways you can harness the power of legal Acts to write off expenses and to deduct payments that will reduce your tax burden considerably. Skilled tax planning consultants, such as the team at Corporate Business Solutions can advise you where these savings can be made.

How Does Wealth Management Work Alongside Strategic Tax Planning?

Wealth management and strategic tax planning work together for your business to yield maximum results. When you lower your company’s tax burden, you can achieve higher profits. As a result, you enjoy greater wealth. Experienced tax planning consultants can help you to use tax codes so that they work for you rather than against you.  With the greater profits that you reap, you can then plow that money back into your business, helping you to grow and expand, and, ultimately, to become even more profitable in the long-term.

Seeking Professional Advice

Many business owners, especially those running small businesses, view taxes as a necessary evil. They have a lot to do and a lot to think about when it comes to running an organization. Often, tax payments sit on the back burner and just get paid year after year. However, we all know that taxes are a major expense for any organization. This is why it makes sense to switch your focus and to put more effort and energy into strategic tax planning so that you can save money where it can most easily be saved. With the right tax planning advice, you can immediately reduce your tax burden and, so, instantly increase your company’s profitability. The Corporate Business Solutions team is here to offer you an expert strategic tax planning service that will lower the amount of tax you pay and boost your company’s profits in one fell swoop.

 

What is Your Business Leadership Style?

he leadership of any organization is about creating direction, not only for the company itself but for its people. However, there isn’t a single style of successful business leadership. Which one works best for each company will depend on the people working for it, and which style helps them to be most productive.

One of the questions that Corporate Business Solutions consultants are often asked is what is the benefit of different styles of leadership, so here, we take a closer look at some of the most commonly seen styles and why they can prove to be successful.

Autocratic Leaders

Autocratic leaders rely on their own judgment and intuition rather than taking advice from other people. They can prove to be extremely effective when quick decision-making and immediate action are necessary. However, the autocratic leadership style is now seen as outdated, with many younger workers preferring autonomy in the workplace. Companies that wish to attract the most self-motivated and skilled workers should avoid this form of leadership and lean more towards a managerial style that allows workers to give their own input into the organization’s direction.

Laissez-Faire Leaders

This type of leader removes themselves intentionally from the process of making decisions, preferring to put their trust in their workers. While the laissez-faire leader stays in overall control, they allow their team to choosing the best way of getting the work done. This style of leadership works very well in creative organizations, but it requires a motivated and independent workforce. In a sector with little room for creativity and tight deadlines, a different leadership style may be more effective.

Transformational Leaders

This is a popular leadership style today, with these leaders having a strong organizational culture and leading their workers through their own example. They inspire and motivate their employees to work for the company’s overall success and encourage innovation that transforms the business’s future. While this is an effective form of leadership, it’s important to watch out for employee burnout if they’re always under pressure to perform.

Motivational Leaders

This leadership style is common in both business and sports, with leaders being able to motivate workers to go above and beyond. By using a range of methods including humor, positive reinforcement and getting to know their workers personally, these leaders are hands-on. Some workers, however, prefer more freedom and space as they are already very motivated.

Transactional Leaders

These leaders use the carrot and stick method of leadership in their company, with a long list of regulations and rules and a strong focus on results. Rather than motivating workers, these leaders focus on the structures and systems in place to reward employees. This style of leadership is very successful in major international corporations needing heavy oversight and in the military. It doesn’t work well in creative industries where experimentation is key to success.

Bureaucratic Leaders

This is an old leadership style relying on strict regulations and rules for the governorship of the organization. Bureaucratic leaders have power due to their position and not their personality and have less focus on individuals than on the organization’s structure. As a result, their company is run predictably and efficiently but without employee input, although their skills are well-used so they can make a strong impact and enjoy excellent job satisfaction.

Charismatic Leaders

A charismatic leader displays complete confidence in themselves while exhibiting a glowing personality capable of attracting followers with ease. They can easily connect with others and are dedicated to finding effective business solutions with an optimistic attitude that inspires employees. Although this leadership style is effective, the organization can suffer significantly if the leader takes time off or leaves the company completely.

Leading Effectively For Organizational Success

As you can see, there are many different leadership styles, each one with its advantages and disadvantages. The key to success is to determine the needs of both your organization and your workforce, then tailoring your managerial style to meet those needs.

 

 

Seven Expert Tips to Prevent Business Fraud

Fraud prevention in the business world is more important than ever before. There are now even more opportunities to defraud businesses, so having a strong fortification for your organization against all the conditions that may facilitate fraud in your workplace is essential. With this in mind, here are seven expert tips that will stand you in good stead to protect your reputation, your profits and your business success.

Implementing A Top To Bottom Anti-Fraud Program

The first step to success when it comes to taking anti-fraud measures in your organization is to ensure that the program you choose is implemented from the top to the bottom. This is the best way to create a culture of fairness and honesty at every level of your company. A robust program begins with an ethical code, signed by every employee. It also encompasses anti-fraud policies, internal controls, training, and employee surveys carried out periodically to determine how much employees believe that their managers act with integrity and honesty.

Taking Anti-Fraud Training

Employees should receive hands-on, practical training to educate them about how fraud can be detected. They should be made aware of what they should be looking for, how the internal controls function and how any incidences of fraud should be reported.

Implementing Clear Methods Of Reporting

Over half of all fraud cases in the workplace are reported by workers. Therefore, implementing a clear and simple way to report fraud couldn’t be more important. Whether you put in place a web form, a dedicated email or a fraud hotline, you need to ensure every employee knows how to report suspected fraud.

Proactive Detection Methods

Anti-fraud efforts should be at the forefront of any organization. You should regularly send out messages to your team, conduct surprise audits, perform regular account reconciliations, and implement monitoring software that will detect any anomalies. In our Corporate Business Solutions reviews, we find that those companies that take on board the advice of our Certified Fraud Examiners to put in place proactive solutions find it quicker and easier to weed out fraudulent behavior than those businesses that rely solely on passive methods.

Internal Controls And Strong Auditing

Putting in place both strong internal controls and a robust auditing team can make an enormous difference. The auditing team must have sufficient authority and adequate resources to allow them to function effectively without any undue managerial influence. These internal controls should include:

  • External auditing of financial statements
  • Putting in place an internal auditing department
  • Managerial certification of all financial statements
  • External auditing of financial reporting internal controls
  • Reporting hotlines
  • Management reviews
  • Having an anti-fraud policy and an ethical code
  • Job rotations

Safe Hiring Practices

You should always be carrying out background checks when hiring new staff. Pay close attention to their criminal background, their references, and their credit reports to ensure fraud is prevented.

Put Employee Support Programs In Place

There are many reasons why employee support programs have proven to be valuable, however, when it comes to fraud in the workplace, they are effective in addressing many of the issues that result in “red flag behaviors”. When employees can speak freely about their addictions, their money worries or their financial problems, they can alleviate those issues before they lead to a destructive pattern of fraudulent behavior.

Limiting Your Fraud Losses

Limiting your fraud losses is vital if your company is to remain profitable. Here at Corporate Business Solutions, our team of Certified Fraud Examiners can help you to address fraudulent behavior within your organization so you can maximize your profits and limit your losses.

Harness the Power Of A Business Valuation

Sometimes, it becomes necessary for both shareholders and business owners to know the exact value of the organization. Whether you’re planning to sell your company, or sell or buy shares, getting an independent business valuation is often the best place to begin making well-informed decisions.

However, when it comes to finding out the value of the business, it’s surprisingly common for shareholders and business owners to be disappointed. Corporate Business Solutions consultant’s report that all-too-often, shareholders, and owners have an unrealistic idea of how much their company is worth. While sometimes, the valuation they receive will be higher than they anticipated, in far more cases, the figure is much lower than they expected. Why is this the case?

Inflated Valuations

Typically, shareholders and business owners have a highly inflated opinion of their company’s value. This is usually because they’ve read or heard about vast sums being paid out for successful businesses overseas and so apply the same multipliers. Yet, realistically speaking, these valuation parameters simply don’t apply automatically in their situation. Those parameters will be driven by several different company-specific factors that are also based on the industry and economy in which the company is operating.

The True Value of An Independent Business Valuation

Although receiving a business valuation that is lower than anticipated is always disappointing for those who expected a much higher figure, it can be a very valuable experience. It helps the business owner and shareholders alike to understand their true position and to gain fresh perspectives about the organization so they can implement changes that will bring about improvements.

In business valuation, the calculations that have been carried out will be fully explained. Not only that, but elaborations will be made on all the assumptions that underlie the applied parameters. For business owners, this will clarify the reasons for certain discount rates or multipliers being applied to reach the given conclusion of value.

Armed with this valuable information, it becomes more obvious what business owners need to do to boost their company’s value and, often with just a few simple adjustments, they can begin implementing those changes within weeks.

How Can A Business Valuation Impact on A Business Owner’s Decision-Making?

When receiving a business valuation that is lower than anticipated, many business owners decide that they should postpone the sale of their shares or company. Instead, they frequently choose to implement an action plan, starting to work deliberately on improving elements of their organization so that their company can soon be valued at a higher price.

Receiving a strong business valuation report always offers a business owner added value. If they are happy with the valuation they are given, they are armed with everything they need to succeed in negotiations with a prospective buyer. However, when they are dissatisfied with the conclusion of value they’ve received, they can use the report to derive action points that will go on to strengthen their business and improve its value with time.

Own A Business? You May Need A Wake-Up Call

Many business owners are highly focused on the day-to-day running of their enterprise. That isn’t too surprising – running any company is a challenge that throws up constant issues to be addressed. However, it’s important to remember not to spend all of your time focusing on the here-and-now. Yes, it’s important to forge new networking links, to improve customer service and to grow your bottom line. Yet, it’s also very important to plan an exit strategy for the future.

The Exit Strategy – Important Yet Overlooked

Running a business is, all-too-often, a life-consuming task. If you’ve just launched a start-up, or if you’re a few years down the line into establishing your thriving company, probably the furthest thing from your mind is how you’re eventually going to leave the organization that you’re working so hard to build up. However, this is quite worrisome, considering that, on average, around 80-90% of your net worth could be tied up in your company.  If you’re going to work for decades to create a valuable organization, you need to plan for how that value can be harvested when you’re ready to move on to pastures new.

The Key Statistics

For the average business owner, around 90% of their net worth will be tied up within their business, yet around half have absolutely no plans in place for exiting the company that they’ve built up. This leaves a difficult situation when the times come to move on. Whether you’re keen to retire and enjoy the fruits of your labor or whether you’re ready to embrace a new and exciting challenge, the reality could be that it could be harder to get out of your existing company than you ever imagined.

Over half of all business owners have sold their business in mind as their exit strategy of choice, with over 40% of them considering doing this within the next 5 years. Yet, it’s likely that they could find numerous obstacles in their way when they get around to putting their company on the market, and they’re also very likely to be unhappy when they finally make the sale. Even those who want to keep their business in the family face a host of issues when it comes to sharing out ownership amongst several potential heirs.

In short, it seems that exiting any business can be fraught with difficulties, so there’s never been a better reason to start planning well in advance.

Beginning Exit Planning at An Early Stage

The team at Corporate Business Solutions recommends starting to deliberately consider Exit Planning as early as possible. It may even be best to beginning writing your exit plan before you even set up your company! Bear in mind that, to have the best chance of success, your process of exit planning should take somewhere between 4 and 10 years, so you need to leave enough time.

Why does it take so long? A good exit plan won’t just analyze your business and determine ways of strengthening it with your exit in mind, but it also bears in mind the owner’s financial and personal situation as well as their life plan once they’ve left the business. It takes calibration and time to align these factors.

So, don’t leave it too late to arrange the exit you want. When you’ve spent a lifetime building up a successful company you don’t want to throw it all away at the last hurdle. Seek professional help and start drawing up your plan today.

 

Investing in Onboarding to Benefit Your Business

Running a company involves making a lot of decisions, and one of the most important is where you’ll be making investments to further your business goals. Although it may be challenging to determine where and how money should be spent, it’s certainly worth considering investing it in onboarding your new employees. Evidence shows that employees who enjoy an excellent onboarding experience will be almost 70% more likely to remain with that employer for a minimum of 3 years, so it’s well worth making this investment.

Corporate Training and Its Role

Corporate training could have a vital role in your company’s strategic plan if you want to improve your new employee onboarding experience. Culture development and increased retention are two key areas that organization is usually focus on when drawing up a strategic plan, and implementing corporate training can tackle both of those priorities effectively.

Many businesses choose to train new employees themselves through one-to-one sessions with staff members, managers, and other employees. As an approach, this makes sense, since it creates a more organic transition into the company by learning from those who are already working in it. Yet, there are some shortcomings associated with DIY training too. A more effective approach could be to pair in-house training with professional training services so onboarding plans can be designed that facilitate a successful and smooth professional development for new staff from their very first day.

Introduction to Your Company’s Culture

When introducing new hires into your organization, part of the onboarding process should be an introduction to your company’s culture. Every staff member needs to fully embrace the workplace culture if the business is to thrive. Therefore, part of this early phase of your recruits’ employment should help them to immerse themselves in the cultural experience of your business and introduce them to its goal’s missions and values so that they can align themselves with them.

Communication and Continuation

Communication is central to the success of any workplace, so part of your recruits’ onboarding experience must involve helping them to integrate with the team and to forge strong connections with their new colleagues. It’s also vital to remember that the process of onboarding is an ongoing one – it doesn’t come to an end after the first day or even week. Checking in regularly with new hires is essential to ensure that they are coping and increasing confidence as they settle into their new role.

Seeking Business Consultancy Advice

The onboarding process is essential for any small business that wants to grow its bottom line and thrive in today’s competitive marketplace. Corporate Business Solutions reviews show that our clients experience significant benefits when they adopt our advice regarding implementing more effective organizational socialization. New employees enjoy better morale and have a more positive welcoming experience when joining the company, while retention rates increase exponentially.

New employees are an asset to your organization, so ensuring that recently recruited staff members enjoy the best and smoothest transition process into your company is imperative.  By investing in onboarding, you can set your business up for a positive and successful future.

Transitioning a Company To A New Owner – A Basic Checklist

If you’re taking over a business from an existing owner, transitioning its ownership is the selling process’s final phase. You have closed the deal, the sale and purchase agreement is now signed, and the purchase price has been paid to the seller by the buyer. The last step is to complete the final few actions.

What Must Be Transferred To New Owners Once The Business Has Been Sold?

The previous owner must give their successor all key information that they will need to run their business. This includes:

  • Safe combinations
  • Alarm codes
  • Software, online access, and computer passwords and codes
  • Client list
  • The keys for the filing cabinets, vehicles, and buildings
  • Personal contact details
  • Manuals for the equipment
  • Distributor, vendor and supplier lists

Must The Business Entity Be Dissolved Following The Sale?

Any business structured as an LLC or corporation must be dissolved. This can be done by meeting with the partners or board members and passing a resolution to dissolve the business. The IRS must be notified via form 966, and Articles of Dissolution must be filed with the state in which the business was set up.

Taking Professional Advice

It’s important to take professional advice about how to proceed with the closure or transfer of a business. Professional consultants can advise about these steps, but take care to choose a team with extensive skill and experience in the industry. If you read Corporate Business Solutions reviews, you’ll see how important it is to choose the right business analysts who can offer you the vital advice that you need at this key stage of transferring a business.

Which Other Steps Must Be Taken To Close Or Transfer The Business?

An attorney will also be required to cease the operations of the business. Any business which was established as a sole proprietorship will automatically close after the completion of these steps:

  • All contacts for every contract assumed or assigned by the buyer must be notified
  • All creditors must be notified to explain the way in which bills will be settled
  • All business licenses or permits will be canceled along with other registrations and assumed business names
  • Cancellation notice must be given on the lease
  • Any insurance policies which aren’t being taken over by the buyer must be canceled
  • All bills must be paid off and all amounts receivable that aren’t being taken over by the buyer must be collected
  • All remaining assets must be distributed after the closure of the sale
  • The Employer ID number must be closed with the IRS
  • The business’s lines of credit must be closed
  • Final wages must be paid to employees together with payroll fees and taxes
  • All necessary tax forms must be filed

Completing The Post-Closing Process

With help from your broker, attorney and business consultant, you should have plenty of guidance to get you through the post-closing final process. Once all of these steps are complete, the deal is finalized. The employees can now be notified together with suppliers, customers, and the public. You’ll now be ready to move forward with your new venture.