Over 50% of Sudbury business owners do not have a succession plan

In October 2015, the chamber struck a Succession Planning Task Force with the goal of raising awareness about the importance of succession planning to the business community.

The chamber commissioned OraclePoll to conduct a survey on succession planning. Both current business owners and former businesses owners were surveyed.

The following is a snapshot of the results found:

• 51% of business owners in Greater Sudbury who responded to the survey the chamber conducted have no form of succession plan in place (formal or informal).
• Only 26% of current business owners surveyed have an informal succession plan and only 23% have a formal plan.
• 48% of current business owners who responded to the survey plan to retire or exit their business in the next 10 years.
• 42% of current business owners surveyed do not know what’s involved in succession planning or who they should contact for assistance.
• 79% of former business owners surveyed that did not have a succession plan in place ended up shutting their doors completely as a form of transitioning.

“These results show clearly that the large majority of Sudbury businesses have no type of formal succession plan in place or have even started to think about succession planning,” said André Dumais, Chair, Succession Planning Task Force. “This is especially concerning since a significant number of business owners are looking to exit their business in less than 10 years.”

“What is also evident is that the large majority of former business owners that did not have a succession plan in place that we surveyed ended up closing their doors completely,” added Dumais.

Current businesses with a succession plan were asked what type of barriers they encountered during the planning process. Among the barriers mentioned were training and knowledge transfers, timing, dealing with future income flows, uncertainty and finding buyers.

Both current and former business owners were asked what types of supports they would like to see to help them with their succession planning. Responses included the creation of a network of potential buyers and sellers, more general information, seminars, and a network to connect with professionals.

The results received from this succession planning survey are consistent with nationwide statistics. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has noted that less than half of small business owners have succession plans and only 9% have a formal or written plan. On top of that, a staggering 75% of Canadian small business owners will retire over the next decade and $1 trillion in business assets will change hands.

Greater Sudbury is experiencing aging demographics and will be faced with increased retirements in the coming years. The chamber is raising awareness about the importance of early succession planning in an effort to ensure investments and jobs remain in Sudbury.

The chamber believes that there will be a significant opportunity for new entrepreneurs in Greater Sudbury to take over or purchase these assets from retiring business owners.

The chamber is encouraging businesses owners to speak to their financial planners, lawyers and accountants to seek advice and support on succession planning.

The chamber held an event this morning at Reg Wilkinson Men’s, Ladies, & Footwear to release the results of its succession planning survey results and to showcase a succession planning video featuring Greater Sudbury business leaders. The event included remarks from André Dumais and Todd Wilkinson, owner Reg Wilkinson about the importance of succession planning.
——–Watch our succession planning videos featuring Peter Dal Bianco, Todd Wilkinson and
André Dumais here.
——–Please refer to our infographics here for further information on our survey results.
More information can be found at sudburychamber.ca/successionplanning.

For more information, please contact:
Joyce Mankarios
Policy and Public Relations Manager
Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce
705-673-7133 ext. 224
705-677-5735 (cell)