• Jayne McQuillan

It's Never Too Late.....Until it is!

Updated: Jan 9, 2019

It’s that time of year again when we are crazy with the holiday season of family get togethers, company Christmas parties, shopping, decorating, cooking, and cleaning, to only be exhausted when we’re all done. 

When’s the last time that you truly enjoyed the holidays? When you stopped planning every last detail, and just enjoyed the company of family and friends. Usually when I’m talking with friends and family, everyone is stressed about all they have to get done for the holidays, and very rarely do I hear anyone say, “I can’t wait for the holidays and the enjoyment of being together.”  And...I’m just as guilty. 

It makes me think about not just the holidays, but about the rest of the year, and how we are so busy doing, we forget about being. It’s this time of year when I think about how fortunate I am to have a healthy family and a career I love. 

It’s also the time of year when many of my clients are looking at how this past year went, and we begin setting goals for the next year. It’s a time of reflection, a time of transition, and a time of renewal. For those things that didn’t go as planned this past year, it gives us a clean slate to start anew for the next year. 

It also is a time for business owners to evaluate their future plans for succession and transition. It’s never too early to begin planning your exit. There are way too many business owners that don’t do any planning for succession until they are ready to be done. This can create many issues for the owner, including:

  • The business is not worth what the owner is expecting and/or needing to support them in retirement.

  • The timing is not right for a sale. Either the business performance has been flat or declining.

  • There is not an obvious successor/successors in the business. Either management is not capable of buying, running, or both.

  • Worst case scenario is that something sudden happens to the business owner and there is no plan. 

All of these result in the business owner being in a poor position to maximize their value on exit, and in many cases, not achieve their personal financial goals. 

None of us like to think about what the future holds. Many times that reality hits home pretty hard. One business I know recently lost an employee and the President’s father to sudden heart attacks, all in one weekend. I guarantee they didn’t leave for the weekend thinking that anything would be any different on Monday, but it was…..substantially different. This is only one of many stories that we all have about the suddenness of what once was, is no more. Things change in an instant, and most of the time we are in reactive mode, not proactive. 

What’s the most important thing that you can do for your family, for your business and your employees? Plan for your transition and your business succession. If you don’t own a business, what are you doing to plan for your retirement, for your financial well being and that of your family should something suddenly happen. If you’re a business owner, what are you doing to plan today for what may happen tomorrow. Time continues to fly by at a rapid rate, and that won’t change.

Planning for your future, the future of your business, and your families’ future is no different than planning for the holidays. When you have adequately planned, the stress is removed, the ability to “be” versus just moving through the activities is much more likely. Because at the end of the day, what do you really want? 

“They say you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. Truth is, you knew what you had, you just thought you’d never lose it.”

– Thatonerule #268

Jayne McQuillan, CPA, MBA, CEPA is a strategic management consultant, and the owner of Journey Consulting, LLC, in Green Bay

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