According to a recent study by KfW Research, around 560,000 companies will be facing management and ownership succession by the end of 2026. However, a third of these companies are planning to leave the market without a successor. And this high figure is not surprising. Succession has become a major challenge in many medium-sized companies.
Public funding supports small and medium-sized enterprises in their development. But which funding programmes are suitable for your own company? And how can the right funding be identified, or several funding programmes be combined? Entrepreneurs who deal with this topic quickly realise that getting an overview and making the right choice for their own company is a task that cannot be accomplished in passing. Finding one’s way through the funding jungle is not always easy.
Handing over one’s own business is a challenging topic. Many entrepreneurs find succession difficult. Even if, like one of our clients, they deal with it at an early stage: Frank S., a medium-sized entrepreneur in his early sixties, had started to deal with the issue of succession in his mid-50s. So, he was well on time. It was clear early on that his only son would not take over the company. So how to proceed? Sell the company? In order to get this complex decision right, Frank S. called in an expert.
The planning of a company succession, the sale of the company or the departure of a shareholder: The company valuation can become relevant for very different reasons. Basically, the company value is an important criterion when a company is up for succession. The company value provides important guidance at all stages of the succession process: If an entrepreneur knows the company value at an early stage and if it turns out to be lower than desired, he may have sufficient time until the time of the planned sale to take suitable measures to increase the value. If the entrepreneur is weighing up various succession options, the company valuation is an important factor in the decision-making process. For example, in order to clarify whether the sum would be sufficient as retirement provision. Or to ensure fair distribution within the family succession. Or to discuss what tax effects an internal family succession would have. When it comes to a concrete sale, the company valuation is a critical decision-making basis for the negotiation talks.
In many medium-sized family businesses, a succession is due in the foreseeable future. In most cases, the company is to remain in family ownership. But not all daughters and sons are talented entrepreneurs. Or simply no one wants to do it. Then an external manager can be appointed.
When an external manager takes over the management of a family business, there are many challenges – for both sides. At the same time, the cooperation also holds many opportunities: External managers can professionalize the company with their experience and bring fresh momentum into the business. For the collaboration to succeed, a systematic approach is advisable – starting with the onboarding phase. Read more
One comes, one goes – and if one doesn’t go, one is too many. This statement already says a lot about why succession in family businesses is demanding. It takes a successor who is willing to take on responsibility and it takes an entrepreneur who is willing to put responsibility in the hands of his successor. The path to succession is crucial because it involves answering many questions. Systematically addressing the issue of succession in the company at an early stage ensures success – even if the result will most likely be different than expected.
Succession is everything. Sooner or later, every company will have to face it. And for many SMEs in this country, in the not too distant future. According to estimates by the Bonn Institute for SME Research, around 190,000 company successions are due to take place between 2022 and 2026 because the management is leaving. The figures vary greatly from state to state – Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia and Baden-Württemberg are most affected. Due to demographic factors, the number of handovers per year tends to increase. Since most companies are family businesses, the internal family handover is the number one succession solution. But what happens if there are no competent descendants willing to lead the company? Then there are two options: Management buy-in (MBI) and management buy-out (MBO). What sounds complicated is actually quite simple: In an MBI, the company is sold to an external management, i.e. to a third party. And in the case of an MBO, the company is sold to management from within the company, for example to the management or employees. Whether the succession can be arranged within the family, within the company or outside the company, and which succession solution is best in each case, depends on the individual factors of the company.
We don’t like to paint the devil on the wall. Rather, we think that part of risk management is to ensure the ability of an owner or a partner to act even if the person is unable to act himself at the moment. Illness and accidents are just two examples. The roles that an entrepreneur has as owner, managing director or partner must also be fulfilled in this situation – but by whom and on what basis? This is where the entrepreneurial power of attorney helps.
It is not about horror stories, of which we know many. It is solely about how you prepare your business for future developments and for the unpredictability of life. Succession is not only the planned end of your entrepreneurial activity, but also the abrupt, hopefully temporary loss of an entrepreneur. From the responsibility towards the ecosystem of your business follows the preparation for the worst-case scenario – even if it will hopefully never occur.