Situation and Objectives:

  • Bill is 53 years old, the President and sole shareholder of a testing laboratory with $7 million in sales, with a healthy 25% historic EBIT.
  • Although the business is successful by all financial measures, Bill is bored with the company and tired of running it.
  • He has been restless, looking for other opportunities in and out of the business.
  • He thinks the time has come to sell the company and move on to other interests.


  • Bill was transformed back into a happy motivated owner...
  • Bill and his team worked through a collaborative process to develop a clear vision for the company and a process to manage the company strategically. All key people (not just Bill) are now engaged and invested in the future of the company.
  • A new incentive compensation program was created for managers to share the future value, reduce turnover and sharpen their focus on achieving the strategic goals of the company. This includes reducing Bill's day-to-day role.
  • Contingency plans were also put in place to reduce the risk that the value of the business would be diminished upon the death or disability of Bill.
  • Bill is once again enjoying the business, building long-term value and rethinking his retirement.

Why Succession Planning Matters

  • The family business is a valuable asset that can change the lives of your family members for generations.
  • Half of all companies have no succession plan, and the percentage is even higher in small firms or those that have been in business for fewer than twenty years.
  • 72 millions baby boomers are now in the workforce and preparing to retire in the next ten years or less—probably some of your best employees.
  • 84% of owners want to pass on the business to their children, but less than half actually do so.
  • Nearly 12 million family businesses will change hands over the next 10 years and they employ over 60% of working Americans.
  • Only 3 out of 10 family businesses survive the second generation and only 1 in 10 survive the third.
  • Over one-third of family businesses have no procedures for dealing with disputes between family members.
  • Accountants tell you what has happened and what you owe, lawyers protect you from the worst case, but who helps you actually build and protect the value in your business?

The statistics provided above have been derived from a variety of surveys of closely held business owners including: the PricewaterhouseCoopers 2007-2008 survey of nearly 1,500 closely held companies; the 2007 survey of 800 closely held businesses by the University of Connecticut School of Business Administration Survey; and the 2003 Arthur Andersen/Mass Mutual American Family Business Survey.

Strategic Planning 3.0 Whitepaper

Every leader has a sense of purpose — an inner drive to support the success of the mission — whether it is a non-profit, community collaboration, or private firm. A good leader also has a sense of adventure, balanced by sound judgment. To be successful, a leader needs a good “map.” A map is a critical tool to help a business leader find out:

  • Where she is (the business environment)
  • Where she is trying to go (goals and objectives)
  • How best to get there (what action is required)
  • How to avoid dangerous terrain (what market activities might be predicted) 

Without a good map, the firm may be led into a quagmire — or worse...  

Download the full paper