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Here’s Why Transition Planning Is the Right Thing to Do

You shouldn’t put it off any longer.




TRANSITIONING A BUSINESS that you have owned and operated for decades isn’t easy. Decisions about retirement, succession, a sale, or even liquidation are enough to keep any business owner up at night. Yet, it is the most important process you must commit to in order to maximize your financial future and solidify your estate plan.

Why don’t owners plan? Most simply find it hard to think about the inevitable. It’s the same reason wills and estate plans don’t get done when they should. No one likes to think about death or disability, or about making strategic decisions about children or heirs, or about becoming marginalized or expendable when human nature tells us how important we are to the business. Letting go of a powerful, prestigious, and fulfilling position for a seemingly uncertain future isn’t particularly inviting. That is, unless you have something to look forward to, such as travel, hobbies, relief from the daily grind and a flexible schedule that should be the envy of almost any retirement-age person.

But many retail jewelers find it easier to ignore the strategic planning they should do in favor of living with the unknown. In the process, they make everyone around them nervous because the person who should be paving the way to the future refuses to act. Owners believe that by dodging the issue, they can avoid making the tough decisions that are necessary for a proper business transition. They’re kidding themselves, but they certainly aren’t kidding family members and employees who need to know what the future will hold.

Unfortunately, avoiding transition planning doesn’t mean a transition will never happen. It only means that it will happen under someone else’s watch, and if you own a retail jewelry store, this should scare you more than tackling a plan yourself.

With the right planning, a smooth transition becomes the logical outcome. It happens naturally because the elements that need to be in place by the outgoing generation are handled thoughtfully, professionally and unemotionally. These owners consider the various options that may be available to them and search deep within to determine what, specifically, will make them happy. Every owner needs to ponder some key questions:

  • Can you afford to retire without sacrificing your current standard of living?
  • Do you want to see your retail store continue to serve your local community?
  • Do you have a successor to the business in your family or through a long-time loyal employee, and have you prepared that person to take over?
  • Can you stomach the idea of having a Going Out of Business Sale?
  • Do you view effective transition as the ultimate mark of your leadership and your legacy?

As difficult as transition planning can be, it is crucial to your stewardship of the business.




This Third-Generation Jeweler Was Ready for Retirement. He Called Wilkerson

Retirement is never easy, especially when it means the end to a business that was founded in 1884. But for Laura and Sam Sipe, it was time to put their own needs first. They decided to close J.C. Sipe Jewelers, one of Indianapolis’ most trusted names in fine jewelry, and call Wilkerson. “Laura and I decided the conditions were right,” says Sam. Wilkerson handled every detail in their going-out-of-business sale, from marketing to manning the sales floor. “The main goal was to sell our existing inventory that’s all paid for and turn that into cash for our retirement,” says Sam. “It’s been very, very productive.” Would they recommend Wilkerson to other jewelers who want to enjoy their golden years? Absolutely! “Call Wilkerson,” says Laura. “They can help you achieve your goals so you’ll be able to move into retirement comfortably.”

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