The results of a survey done by Community Futures of the Cariboo Chilcotin show that business owners in Williams Lake and 100 Mile House don’t have exit plans, even though 55 per cent of business owners who responded are over 55 years old.
The surveys also showed that of those who responded, 77 per cent plan to retire or change what they are doing within five to 10 years and 86 per cent of respondents have no idea how they were going to exit or transition out of their business.
General manager for CFCC Karen Eden shared the survey results at the Williams Lake & District Chamber of Commerce Thursday.
She told the Tribune the optional survey had around 20 questions and was included with business renewal licences for Williams Lake and 100 Mile House and 30 per cent of business owners responded.
“The response was fairly good for a survey of that nature,” Eden said. “It begs the question of, did those that didn’t take the time to fill out the survey in better shape than those that did? It’s hard to tell.”
Based on the survey results, some succession planning workshops are scheduled for the upcoming year.
“We are partnering with Small Business BC and offering a lot of their workshops. One is two hours and reasonably priced, some are interactive so you can come into our office and use the video equipment and see the speaker on the screen and interact in real time,” Eden explained.
There’s also a new platform offering webinars, which Eden said is good for people who are busy with their businesses because they often cannot get away in the middle of the day to attend a workshop. It’s not as good as in person, but it’s a viable option, she added.
Paul Maarschalk, a certified business evaluator of Kelowna, will be in Williams Lake Nov. 3 to offer a valuation and planning workshop for small and medium sized businesses.
“It will be a need-to-know session. Things to think about and where to get started. Shining up your company to get ready to sell. We do have a number of individuals coming in asking if we know of any businesses looking to sell,” Eden explained.
He will point out the common pitfalls and things that people need to take care of.
Maarschalk will also be available for one-on-one meetings with business owners, although those spots are limited.
“We also have a transition plan here that people can use. They fill out the boxes, much like a business plan, but it’s a plan to exit, rather than to start,” Eden said.
In fact, when helping new small businesses start out, Community Futures will introduce the idea of succession planning.
“That’s kind of new and not something we used to concentrate on, but it’s a reality now. Besides, there’s an increasing number of people that are taking early retirement and looking for something to do — often a small business to putter with. Sometimes it’s much easier to buy something that’s up and going.”