Our work with family businesses covers many areas. While clients may approach us to help them keep their business finances in order, we work to make sure that we are addressing their full financial and business requirements. When Miller’s Way approached us, we helped them to identify their priorities and begin planning to make them a reality. Our guidance has allowed them to plan for the future and weather unexpected hurdles along the way.
When we first met, one of the first things we discussed was their plan for the future. While they knew their immediate goals, their long-term plans were much cloudier. Their son had worked in the business for the last 5 years, but the conversation of future succession had never taken place.
We talked about their dreams for their son and their business, and found that while never before communicated, they hoped their son would take over when they retired. This opened up discussions about when they wanted to retire, and what they would need to do that.
After reviewing how much they wanted to be able to spend in retirement, Social Security benefits, and existing savings, as well as their health and life expectancy, we brought their son into the meeting. We discussed their ideas on future ownership and what benefits or assurances he needed for this plan to make sense for him.
After careful consideration, they decided on an initial sale of a 10% ownership stake. Annually, they would sell him an additional 2% of the business over the next decade. This would be followed by the opportunity to buy them out of the remaining 70% when they wanted to retire. This plan gave their son immediate ownership and profit-sharing, while they would still hold majority ownership until they were ready to let go. The 10% sale was sold for fair market value, which required the son to take out a loan, helping him to build experience managing debt.
Unfortunately, hard times hit businesses, and our client was no exception. After seeing two consecutive months of down revenue compared to the prior year, we called them to check in and learned they’d lost a major customer. Revenue was down but it was about to get a lot worse, as that customer had accounted for 15% of their gross revenue the year before.
Thankfully, our call came early enough that we were able to devise a strategy. The business immediately reduced cash expenditures, including officer’s salary and distributions, until they could sign up additional customers and restore their revenue. It was a hard remainder of the year, and further conversations about cost cutting followed. Fortunately, by the next year they had restored most of their revenue. Most importantly to the owner, they didn’t have to lay anyone off. This allowed them to take care of their employees and to immediately take on the new work when it became available.
Without those timely financial insights and advice, the company may not have survived.
After years of service, the company truck eventually broke down beyond repair. This meant our client was in the market for a new vehicle, and thankfully gave us a call ahead of time to discuss their options.
While the dealership would’ve loved to have them sign and drive that day, we had a lot to discuss. We carefully walked through the details of the many ways that a company vehicle could impact their business financials. We made sure they knew how to take many factors into consideration, including:
With all of that in mind, the client happily landed on a truck that qualified for special depreciation, set up a mileage app, and created a company policy to both inform and limit personal use of the company vehicle.
These kinds of results are what we are all about, and we will be here to help Miller’s Way with whatever their next challenge is. We specialize in helping small businesses and family businesses make smart choices by providing expert guidance and insight into their financial options. Contact us today to see how we can help you!