BMO Financial Group

BMO Financial Group
BMO Bank of Montreal

BMO Bank of Montreal

February 20, 2012 09:00 ET

REPEAT-Family Day: Taking Care of Family Business With Succession Plans Are Critical for Small Business Success

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 20, 2012) - As many Canadians prepare to celebrate Family Day in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario, a study from BMO Harris Private Banking reveals small business owners are not prepared to face the inevitable, with 85 per cent not having a succession plan in place.

The top reason cited for small business owners not developing a succession plan is that they felt it was too early to begin thinking about it (47 per cent), while 20 per cent indicated that uncertainty about future business conditions was a barrier.

"It's never too early to begin succession planning," said James Wong, Vice President of Succession Planning, BMO Harris Private Banking. "Especially when you consider that anywhere from one half to two-thirds of small business owners are planning to retire and exit their businesses within the next 10 years. Succession planning should be a priority for every business owner as it can help them realize the maximum potential value of their business while mitigating risks associated with economic uncertainty or a sudden shift in management."

BMO's James Wong offers small business owners the following advice to get them started down the path of succession planning success:

Start early - Many business owners think the demand for their business will automatically be there once they are ready to leave. However, this is often not the case. Succession planning must begin at least 10 years in advance in order to realize the full potential value of the business and to ensure a smooth transition to new ownership.

Consider all your options - Whether a small business owner chooses to sell, transition to a family member or business partner, or dissolve the business, there are many complex issues that need to be evaluated before a decision is made.

Speak with a financial advisor - Each business is unique; a succession plan should reflect this and be tailored to the particular aspects of a business. A financial advisor can help small business owners develop tailored solutions and the ideal succession strategy that will meet their needs. When consulting with an advisor, consider the following: who should succeed you in your role; when would be the ideal time to begin the transition; and how should the transition be structured?

For more information on succession planning, please visit

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