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Business Transitioning Tips From Those Who’ve Done it Right

Conference includes 47 guest speakers to give entrepreneurs the tools to chart a successful business sale or exit

Conference includes 47 guest speakers to give entrepreneurs the tools to chart a successful business sale or exit

A business transition doesn’t just happen: It is a process that requires a deft touch if the owner wants to acquire the most value when it comes time to sell.

 On deck at the Business Transitions Forum in Vancouver Nov. 15 will be industry experts and owners who’ve successfully completed transitions and will offer invaluable tips for those who’d like to do the same—and on their own terms.

 This third annual Business Transitions Forum builds on proven strategies that can assist in demystifying the process of exiting a business and shed light on specific areas of transitioning, such as taxation, risk and liquidity options.

 David Tyldesley, co-founder of Business Transitions Forum, says the conference is not about “putting companies on the auction block. It’s about the things you could be doing now that will have a huge impact on your business plan, the value of your company and your ultimate exit or transition down the road. If you haven’t thought of these details, it will come as a shock later.”

 Tyldesley adds that the intent of the forum is to have delegates leave with the tools necessary to create their own transition roadmap while understanding ways to increase and even multiply the value of a business. The forum is also regarded as an opportunity for owners and entrepreneurs to examine where their businesses will be five to 10 years from now.

 Forty-seven speakers representing companies such as Pricewaterhouse Coopers and BDC have been tapped for the event, and real-life experiences will be shared by a host of entrepreneurs, including Gordon Smith, whose family launched Smithrite Disposal Ltd. in 1942.

 Smith has acquired and sold several waste-management businesses, one of which was Smithrite, which started with just one truck and became a waste-management giant serving most of B.C. as well as Calgary and Edmonton. Smith sold the business to a conglomerate only to reacquire it in 1998.

 Although this is the first time he will participate in a public question-and-answer session, Smith is eager to share what he has learned about several transitions.

 “I’m involved in a transition right now, after acquiring Carney’s Waste Systems in Squamish. I’m trying to transition it from a family-run firm into an entity with a solid business plan and a renegotiated union contract,” he says.

 As for transitions to exit a company, Smith says: “Speaking from personal experience, you can’t be swayed by money. I’ve had no end of offers to sell Smithrite, but at the end of the day you should only sell when you’re ready to sell. Also, you have to have a keen understanding of your market, its fluctuations, and where it’s going.

 “These are the essential elements that will help you decide if you should exit your company. The actual process is another thing entirely, and I’m expecting the discussions we’ll have about it at the forum will be lively and a lot of fun. I’m very much looking forward to it.”

Tickets are on sale now for the Business Transitions Forum.



Gordon Smith’s family launched Smithrite Disposal Ltd. in 1942 and he has acquired and sold several waste-management businesses. He will be a guest speaker at the Business Transitions Forum in Vancouver Nov. 15

Created by BCBusiness for Business Transitions Forum