I have always loved a good adventure! A challenge involving a little risk and an element of danger thrills my soul. A couple of summers ago, I planned a trip with my family to visit awe-inspiring Yosemite National Park. We were fortunate enough to “win” the lottery for permits to make the revered hike to summit Half Dome, which only fueled my excitement. Adding to the adventure, we rented a 35-foot RV which we drove down the windy, steep, and narrow roads of the park to our campground in the amazing Yosemite Valley.
At 4:30 am on the third morning of our trip, my wife, five children (ranging in ages from 12 – 20 at the time), and I embarked on our hike to Half Dome under the moonlit sky. On our ascent to the base of the granite face, we enjoyed the beauty of the Merced River, were refreshed by the mist of Vernal Falls, and were inspired as we passed through an expansive grove of towering Sequoia trees. We truly enjoyed the 9-mile trek to the base! Our legs still felt good, and we were excited about the next 400 feet that stood before us, known as the “cables section,” because hikers literally pull themselves hand-over-hand up the rock face using permanently installed steel cables.
We put on our gloves and started the climb. The only thing preventing us from tumbling down the rock face was our grip on the metal cables. It was simultaneously invigorating and terrifying, and fortunately, we all made it to the top, but not without some scary moments. The views standing on top of the famed Half Dome face were amazing and we took it all in with a great sense of accomplishment. All too soon, we embarked on our journey down the same trail we came up; as you might imagine, it was not nearly as enjoyable as the first half of the day. We were tired, hot, and by mile 15, our tender feet were starting to blister. It was work! By the time we got back to our camper, all we wanted was a good meal and some rest for our weary bodies.
Many of the business owners and entrepreneurs I have worked with over the years report a similar sense of adventure from their experience with company ownership. As with my family’s hike to Half Dome, there are times when they feel energized by the success achieved on their ownership journey as well as exhausted by the challenges they all too often face. The entrepreneurial skill and focus required by these owners to navigate the ever-evolving landscape in which their businesses operate are impressive. With grit and tenacity, these enterprising owners labor to build and grow businesses that will make a lasting impact on their families and communities for generations to come.
Stewarding this valuable asset and passing on the intended legacy is not easy for these family businesses owners. For active owners, the management of the day-to-day operating concerns often consumes much of their time and attention, distracting them from focusing on the longer-term succession planning needs. For active and passive owners alike, efforts to address the ownership transition plan are often delayed, as the work is filled with complexity and involves a range of difficult decision points:
Will ownership be kept in the family or will the business eventually be sold?
Who will lead the business after the existing management team retires?
What are the retirement needs of the owners, and how will these be funded?
How will income and estate taxes figure into the transition of the business to new owners or managers?
The list could go on and on. To succeed, the stewards of the business must carefully balance the family/owner needs with the needs of the company as they make both short-term and long-term decisions with respect to ownership. For those who want to be successful, it is important to build a multi-disciplinary team of advisors that have the requisite skills and experience to navigate the optimal path forward.
At Bragg Financial Advisors, we find great enjoyment and satisfaction in working closely with our business owner clients to help them navigate the various financial and non-financial issues they encounter on their adventure of business ownership. We humbly recognize that we do not have all the answers and understand the importance of collaborating with a business owner’s full advisory team (attorney, CPA, business appraiser, M&A advisors, etc.) to address the unique and sometimes complex concerns that arise. For business owners looking for helpful guidance and advice on their ownership journey, our team of advisors would welcome the opportunity to meet with you to develop a plan to get started on the path towards achieving your goals.
Be on the lookout for future insights from Bragg Financial on topics that we are confident will be helpful to our business owner clients as they continue their ownership adventure!
This information is believed to be accurate but should not be used as specific investment or tax advice. You should always consult your tax professional or other advisors before acting on the ideas presented here.