Business advice for Boomers

There has been a lot of talk in the past several years about what to do regarding Baby Boomers.
Will Social Security be sound, in order to help provide for their retirement? Will health care delivery systems be able to meet the growing demand for services for the elderly? Can we adequately house them?

One area which has received little attention is how to deal with Baby Boomers who want to retire and exit from businesses they own, yet do it so it makes financial and psychological sense.

Two local consultants have just released a book on the matter.

The book, "Find What's NEXT For You: Business Owners Share Their Transition Stories," is a collection of personal experiences, tips, best practices and lessons learned for owners thinking about selling or passing on businesses to the next generation.

Steve Coleman, a Minnetonka resident, and Jim Gambone, who resides in Orono, are the book's co-authors.

Coleman is a partner in the Platinum Group, a company dealing in business turnarounds. Gambone is an associate with the Platinum Group. They also own BizBridge, a software development company that assists business owners, CPAs and wealth management consultants on issues related to business transitions.

Coleman has advised family-owned and privately-held businesses for 30 years and has facilitated councils to help families communicate about exit strategies. Gambone has 23 years of experience helping businesses and organizations understand how to operate in a multi-generational work environment or sell business to younger generations.

"People who own their own business generally like to be in control," Coleman said. "However, they often don't understand the process for transitioning a business. There are critical steps that need to take place in the process or else it will fail."

Gambone said approximately 85 percent of business transitions fail due to a lack of communication and lack of a good plan.

The two emphasized one key to successfully turning over a business to a younger age group is an understanding of that generation, and the way it thinks and operates.

The book discusses several topics, including uncovering a personal ownership story, finding a successor and understanding the next generation. It also highlights how to get a business ready for transition, design a personal and business transition plan, make personal lifestyle choices, define a genuine legacy and learn from others through best practices.

"Last year in Minnesota alone, there were roughly 19,000 businesses that changed ownership," Gambone said.

The book was released at the end of August and took roughly one year to write. However, Coleman and Gambone have been gathering the information in the book much longer.

"It was really 10 years in the making," Coleman said.

In addition to the personal stories, the book includes seven lessons for finding a successor, six for creating a comprehensive transition map and the five basic elements of a good transition plan.

"What's NEXT For You: Business Owners Share Their Transition Stories" is available at www.Biz-Bridge.com and www.Amazon.com for $19.95.

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