5 Steps to Prepare for Passing on Your Dealership

As dealership owners are preparing to retire, it can feel like an uneasy process to pass down what’s often time their life’s hard work and dedication. To ensure the dealership remains successful through the process and long after, it’s important to make a succession plan.

According to a Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index, 70% of business owners in the U.S. don’t actually have a formal, written plan to outline what they’re going to do with their business once they retire or are unable to work. This is extremely detrimental to the future of the business.

Entrepreneur recently posted a six step process for creating a succession plan, which we’ve expanded on below.

  • Identify Your Goals: Keep in mind your personal and long-term business goals. This includes your financial goals and how the management team and employees will operate the business. Think about what role you want to have in the business post-retirement and think about whether you’d want to sell the business or transition your ownership to a successor.
  • Analyze the Business: Be sure to do some economic research to anticipate market conditions that could impact your company’s worth. This will be a huge asset in better managing a smooth transition.
  • Conduct a Business Valuation: In relation to Step #2, going into the process with a preliminary estimate of the business’s worth is crucial. No matter whether you go the route of a successor or selling the company, it’s a critical element to have.
  • Include Transition Options: Think about what kind of transition you want to make. Do you want to transfer the business to a family member, retain some level of involvement through a partial transition, or sell it to a third party? Looking at all your options will help guide you to the best decision.
  • Consider Financing Options: Look at how financing will play a part in your transition. Will you need sources of funding to decide your exit planning options?
  • Implementation and Timeline: In order to better execute the transition, it’s important to have a team of people helping you in the process. Consider connecting with the following roles to make up your transition team:
    1. CPA
    2. Attorney
    3. Investment Banker
    4. Business Appraiser
    5. Business Broker

Starting to plan your transition now, even if you’re not thinking about retirement in the near future, will help prepare for a smoother transition and ultimately, continue the success of the business.


Kelsey Fritz
Kelsey is the Marketing Coordinator at Commercial Web Services where she monitors the latest marketing advancements to better educate dealers on marketing trends that can further their business goals.

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