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If you own a family-owned business, you may feel as though there are more factors to consider when it’s time to sell. In this article, we’ll examine some of the best options that business owners can use. You’ll want to keep in mind that both internal and external strategies are available to you. Let’s take a closer look. 

3 Types of Internal Transactions 

One of the top options for selling a family-owned business is to simply transition the ownership of the business within the family. This is an often-exercised option for many reasons. For example, one of the benefits to this strategy is that selling a family-owned business to a relative will keep the business in the family. Oftentimes this decision best suits the emotional preferences of the owner. A major risk is that the family member will fail to operate the business successfully, and this point underscores the importance of only transferring ownership to a family member that is ready for the task.

A second option is what is known as the Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). ESOPs are often utilized in companies when selling to a third party could prove to be problematic or difficult. Architectural, construction and engineering companies are all good examples of businesses that can be difficult to sell to third parties.

Choosing to hire a CEO who manages the owners exit strategy is a third option for business owners to consider when selling. This is a time-tested strategy that many business owners have appreciated. Using this CEO strategy allows the owner to essentially retire and live off of company dividends while at the same time delaying the sale of the company for years.

External Transactions to Consider

The previous three examples specifically focused on internal transactions. Now, we’ll turn our attention to external transactions, as there are several viable external transactions that work for family-owned businesses looking to sell. 

A management buy-out or MBO, is an option that shouldn’t be overlooked. Selling to key employees with the company has many pros, for example, key employees understand the business as well as its current and future challenges and potential.  An MBO does have negative aspects to consider such as the fact that owners typically don’t receive the highest possible asking price as they have to provide financing.

A second external transaction for a family-owned business is an outright sale to a third party. One pro of a third-party sale is that an all-cash closing is possible and after the transaction is settled, the owner is free of the business. A potential downside of a third-party sale is that the sale process could be lengthy.

A third option for family-owned businesses to consider is an initial public offering (IPO). Companies with revenues of $100+ million are seen as a potential candidate for IPOs. An IPO can receive a high valuation; however, it is important to note that management will need to remain with the company.

Business brokers and M&A advisors are experts in helping family-owned businesses chart the best path forward. No two family-owned businesses are the same. An experienced brokerage professional can evaluate your business and help guide you towards the sale option that makes the most sense for your business and your personal situation.

Copyright: Business Brokerage Press, Inc.

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