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January 19, 2015 10 Things I Know About ...

Baby boomers and business succession

Bob O’Hara is a business consultant and founder of O'Hara & Co. PC of Chelmsford. Contact him at

10. You don't need to let it all go. Business succession and exit planning are also for owners who plan to be involved in their businesses, in some capacity, into their golden years, while they pursue other endeavors.

9. Know the potential market. The market for your company is not the same as when you began there.

8. Know Gen X. Competition for the Xers' – or millennials' – talent is intense because there are relatively few of them. It's imperative to make enough time to recruit employees.

7. Look to build business value. Establish a plan to build business value by focusing on what drives it. The most successful business owners build strong, stable and independent businesses.

6. Walk in the buyer's shoes. Look at your business the same way a potential buyer would by looking at all risks and opportunities.

5. Give yourself time. The more time you have to plan and prepare, the better off you'll be. It can take six to eight years to become independent from your business.

4. Keep an eye on the banks. The banking industry used to help next-generation owners buy out the current generation, but current lending restrictions make it much harder.

3. Need an advisor? With 5 million owners leaving within the next decade, start working with the right advisor and begin planning.

2. Be a mentor. Effective mentoring and training from you, as the owner, is critical to creating the next generation of successful managers and owners of your business.

1. Communicate effectively. As the business owner, it's up to you to express realistic expectations, challenges and the importance of adaptability to those you're mentoring. Be candid about what's involved.

(Note: The ideas expressed here were originally published on the O'Hara & Co. website, at This edited version is presented here with the author's permission.)

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