Planning not among Canadian small business owners' strong suits
November 26, 2012
Many small business owners aren't aware of the planning that goes into the process of opening the doors of a startup. Not only must they be aware of their target audience and the products they want to sell, but they've got to consider marketing campaigns, which accounting software to use and legal compliance, among many other factors.
Another element to running a new business is who will take over operations when ownership changes hands. This might be after the leader has passed on or when he or she decides the entrepreneurial life is no longer for them. Multiple practical and legal considerations must be outlined.
However, a recent report found that this is an aspect of running an enterprise that many Canadian small business owners have not taken into account. And because the average age of entrepreneurs is ever rising, this is a growing problem in the northern nation.
No succession plans in place
According to a recent Investors Group survey, though 39 percent of leaders said they're not going to retire until they're at least 70 and 14 percent said they never want to give up leadership, 53 percent of owners have no idea what is going to happen once they're no longer in charge, Equities reported. Moreover, of those who indicated they have a plan, only 14 percent have a written copy of these ideas.
"Unfortunately, leaving succession planning until retirement leaves little time to deal with what can be a complicated process," Investors vice president of high net worth planning told the source. "While there can be great variation in their circumstances, they are all likely to need advice on tax strategies, investments and family wealth planning to maximize the fruits of their labor."
If an accident should occur, the entire company could be left in flux if the owner hasn't prepared ahead of time.
Aging Canadian workforce
This is a pressing concern because the amount of companies owned by older leaders is even increasing. According to The Globe and Mail, around 250,000 Canadian entrepreneurs, or 20 percent, are over the age of 55, a CIBC World Markets report revealed. This represents a 4 percent year-over-year climb in the past 10 years. The study predicted that by 2020, that number should climb to 350,000 leaders.
The report also called for plans to ensure continuity should leadership need to change hands. If concrete strategies aren't in place at the time of the shift, the Globe and Mail explained, the entire Canadian economy could be adversely affected due to job losses, a dip in productivity and increased bankruptcy filings, among other elements.