In the coming weeks, we'd like to take you through some important tips & points of interest about transferring your family business.
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The family business and its succession and transfer, familial or otherwise,...
Many contributions have appeared in the (trade) press recently covering various aspects of this process. (Family) business transfer and cooperation is therefore a hot topic, and with good reason if you know that more than 40% of family businesses in Belgium are headed by a manager who is 55 years or older.
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These figures necessarily mean that more than 40% of family businesses must have succession arrangements in place within a maximum of 10 years. Therefore, also at Titeca we feel the need to create more awareness among our client-entrepreneur and to break certain taboos and misunderstandings that circulate on this subject. After all, if you know that going through such a process can easily take months, it is not an unnecessary luxury to seek advice and guidance in time.
In recent weeks and months, several publications have also appeared from our organization regarding (family) business transfers. For example, in our podcast "What If"Our contributions in Business Vlaanderen and VOKA Magazine, as well as previously published articles, have already addressed various aspects that may be an obstacle in a (family) business transfer process. These contributions mainly address issues that play a role in the context of an ongoing process or once the idea of going through a process has already matured with the transferor.
... tailored to any company
With this article we take a step back in time and want to reflect on the phase preceding this. After all, in practice we find that many entrepreneurs have a certain threshold to get started with this and to start a process.
Not only is there the - otherwise unjustified - fear of entering into a confrontation with the next generation, there is also the perception among many entrepreneurs that going through a transfer process is very expensive and is only for large companies (large assets) or complex structures.
Moreover, in SMEs with a simpler structure where the children are closely involved in the company anyway, there is often the misconception that mission, vision, working method, future strategy and so on are clear to everyone and that all noses are pointed in the same direction. So there is no need to spend a lot of time and money on in-depth discussions and anchoring certain agreements, because "the children know the company", "it's all running well now too" and "surely it's logical for them to take over the company, they are already working in it".
Nothing could be further from the truth, however. Starting the conversation with the next generation and expressing certain issues explicitly is as much a necessity for SMEs, regardless of their size, as it is for large companies and complex structures. The only difference between the two is essentially the manner and form in which the outcome of the conversations held is recorded. This can range from the elaboration of a far-reaching control structure (such as, e.g., a STAK), where the future operation and all guidelines are detailed, to a simple family charter in which the vision, mission and most essential agreements are recorded. The process itself, on the other hand, in both cases - and all possible businesses in between - is equally essential to achieving a successful business transfer.
Dare to take the step
The message we want to convey with this article is that any company of any size can benefit from a guided acquisition process. Don't be put off by what you sometimes read in the press, don't think that this is only for large companies or extremely wealthy families and don't be blinded by the fact that the cases written about in the press are sometimes those where complex and sophisticated structures are involved. Instead, be aware that there is a whole range of possibilities to follow a guided route tailored to your family and your company.
So dare to ask for advice and guidance, it will add tremendous value anyway.
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