When many of our clients begin the process of buying or selling a business, we find that they are both excited and apprehensive about the impact the transaction will have on their financial life.
The fear of the unknown coupled with the new components within their estate makes the decision even more complex. This feeling of uncertainty is precisely why it’s so important for business owners to have an advisor who provides coordinated and comprehensive counsel on all aspects of their financial life before, during and after the establishment or sale of a business.
At Waldron, we take a holistic approach to wealth management, and integrate every facet of a client’s wealth to support their unique needs and vision for the future – whether it’s valuation coordination, buy/sell agreement consulting, tax planning or succession planning. In addition to managing these processes, we also recognize the value in connecting our clients with attorneys, business growth advisors and other trusted partners to ensure that every aspect of the transaction is managed efficiently.
With that, our experiences have proven that with a little help, owning and/or selling a business can yield significant benefits to the business owner – including the potential to realize significant financial gains. Let’s break these down to take a look at the advantages of each.
Purchasing an existing business or building a new one from the ground up can be rewarding in many ways. In our experience, clients seek an entrepreneurial business venture for a variety of reasons. Some, for instance, are simply not meant to work for others and the idea of being their own manager satisfies an internal drive to set their own course in the world. Others might be looking to leave a legacy for their family – and find the prospect of owning and operating a family business that will live on long after they are gone very appealing.
But for the majority of clients, the desire to own their own business is derived from the potential to acquire great wealth. Having the ability to capitalize on their talents and take full control over their own destiny can be quite compelling as well. Another benefit from owning and operating a business can be working together with family members and providing income that can benefit the family now, while building a legacy to benefit future generations as well.
For those who are considering acquiring or building a new business, it’s important to design the appropriate corporate structure, whether that be an S-Corp, LLC or C-Corp, for example. This determination should be made in consideration of appropriate liability protection and with an eye to maximize the tax benefits afforded to the business owner. These benefits can potentially include tax deductions on any property, plant or other capital expenditures transacted to improve the business. Additionally, many other business expenses may receive favorable tax treatment due to their role in supporting the business, while also providing a secondary benefit of enhancing the business owner’s personal life. Owning your own business means taking on costs that you wouldn’t necessarily incur if you worked for someone else (such as insurance, overhead fees, travel and business expenses). Many lines of tax code have been written to soften the blow of covering these extra costs, and you should claim every tax deduction you can.
Over the years, we’ve worked with clients in a variety of capacities to assist in the sale of a business. In most instances, prospective clients will approach us when they are ready to retire from owning their business or if they wish to create a succession plan to smoothly transition ownership to their family or to team members within the business. In essence, we help clients manage pre- and post-sale transaction planning to maximize the sale of a business and minimize taxes.
One of the core benefits of selling a business is the additional liquidity it generates. Typically, much of a business owner’s liquidity is tied up in the company, until he or she decides to transition that wealth elsewhere. Additionally, if the owner is not ready to step away from the business entirely, the deal can be structured in a way that allows them to remain involved with day-to-day operations.
Other times, favorable economic trends specific to the business’ industry may create a high demand and attract potential buyers. At that point, selling the business could present a more profitable outlook.
Finally, it is important to remember that while great wealth can be created by concentration, wealth is preserved by diversification. If the client’s most valuable asset is their equity stake in a business, turning some or all of those assets into diversified investments is a great way to grow any acquired liquidity.
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