Preserving the Legacy of Your Business

Ronald Blue Trust’s Business Consulting Division leverages biblical wisdom and practical expertise to advise business owners as they seek to faithfully steward the companies with which they have been entrusted. We serve business owners by helping them:

  1. Determine Purpose – Help them ask the “right” questions

  2. Enhance Value – Help them increase the organization’s influence

  3. Preserve Legacy – Help them sustain the company’s impact

We believe the following characteristics make us unique: our uncommon perspective, our holistic approach, and our stewardship focus. Let’s look at these characteristics as they relate to preserving a business’s legacy.

The demographic trends impacting our society also affect Christian business owners. Many of the thousands of Baby Boomers that retire every day, own their own business. For business owners in particular, retirement is not a simple process. They cannot simply pick a date to retire and move on to the next chapter in their life; they must figure out what to do with the company they lead. For Christian business owners, this transition process carries added significance.

In Psalm 24:1, David tells us that “the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.” This verse reminds us that God owns everything, including a business owner’s business. Additionally, Scripture tells us that God thinks generationally. When He created the nation of Israel, He had more in mind than Moses. Likewise, when He created the Church, He had more in mind than Peter. Therefore, when God created each business, He had more in mind than its current owner.

So as Christian business owners prepare to transition their business, they should also think generationally. At Ronald Blue Trust, we help our clients align their hearts with God’s plan by asking questions like: Why did God create this business? Why did God give this business to your family? What are God’s plans for this business after you transition the business?

If the owner truly believes that God owns the business, then God’s plans for the company should determine the business’s transition plan rather than personal needs or desires. However, identifying the business’s transition plan is only the beginning for a business owner seeking to be a faithful steward.

Designing and implementing a business’s preferred transition plan takes intentional planning. It involves much more than applying the most efficient tax minimization strategies or preparing legal documents that minimize risk. If you ask Christian business owners how God has used their businesses to maximize Kingdom impact, would they show you their tax returns, shareholder agreement, or buy/sell agreement? From our experience, we believe they would talk instead about their people, their leaders, their culture, their client relationships, their vendor relationships, and their community influence. Thus, a transition plan needs to prioritize preserving the company’s legacy by sustaining these important relationships.

While the process involved in successfully sustaining relationships will vary from company to company, the one constant that applies is that it takes a lot of time. We encourage business owners to start preparing for transition five to ten years in advance of their desired retirement date. This time is critical to successfully complete several different initiatives, including:

  • Preparing and equipping the company’s next generation of owners and leaders

  • Building a corporate governance structure to support the next generation of owners

  • Strengthening the company’s financial position

  • Aligning the interests of the company’s stakeholders (e.g., family members, banks, franchisors, vendors, etc.)

Although business owners can execute their transition plans on their own, a good business advisor can help the business owners determine their transition plan, design a strategy to execute it, and then provide ongoing accountability and encouragement during implementation. If you would like to determine if your business is on the right path to preserving its legacy, we encourage you to complete Ronald Blue Trust’s Business Health Assessment. Please reach out to Clint Park @ clint.park@ronblue.com or Chris Allen @ chris.allen@ronblue.com to request a copy of our Business Health Assessment. After you complete and return the questionnaire, we will prepare a scorecard for your business and share our observations about how you can strengthen the business to maximize its impact.


 
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