The festive season is always busy from a personal perspective, and many businesses also experience a festive rush. Even when businesses are not seasonally influenced, the end of a calendar year is often seen as a ‘deadline’ for many businesses; as they try to get deals done and tie off loose ends in order to start afresh in the New Year.
Here we look at some of the main things businesses and their owners may wish to consider putting in place over the coming weeks.
With turbulent economic times looking to be the story for the months ahead, businesses may be keen to reduce their exposure to risk. Corporate refinancing might be an option, which could help to reduce monthly interest payments, find more favourable loan terms or allow access to more cash.
Gearing for an Exit
Depending on your long-term plan, the time may be approaching for disposing of your business. Some business owners that had planned to sell may look to delay until the economy settles. However, planning and preparing for a sale can take months and even years – especially if you want to minimise tax liabilities.
Business owners that own commercial property may also want to look at their options for the property. If it is to be retained, the use of a SIPP/SSAS to ring-fence commercial property might be a preferable way forward, but this will take time and forward planning.
Most business owners will have some idea of when they would like to retire and what this might look like for the business. However, to be able to achieve the retirement of dreams, you will need to take the right steps – and at the right times. It’s never too early to plan for retirement!
Whilst we’re used to insuring the physical things in our lives – such as homes and cars – we’re not always as diligent at looking at protection arrangements around ourselves and our businesses. Business owners especially need to be mindful of what would happen to their shares in the business should they pass away. Where spouses have no involvement in the business, co-directors would be sensible to consider putting an agreement in place and backing this up with appropriate life insurance. There are numerous options possible, which are all fairly easy to cater for with professional advice.
The New Year might be the time for you to bring new talent into your team. It’s no secret that businesses in some sectors are struggling to find and recruit the right calibre of employee. It is worth taking the time to consider what you can offer as a full package of benefits – beyond just the headline salary.
For a business to grow sustainably, it’s important to have a recruitment plan for the future. You may still need to react to changes that crop up along the way, but having an overall plan allows you to be more considered rather than always being ‘reactive’.
Look for opportunities
In a recession, there are always opportunities to be found – whether that be distressed businesses which are viable or reduced assets/properties for speedy sales. Businesses that have the finance available to act quickly may find themselves in an advantageous position – although it is important to watch out for the traps of Undervalue and Preference under the provisions of the Insolvency Act.
Lasting powers of Attorney, Estate Planning and Wills
On a personal level, business owners have potentially a greater need than most individuals to ensure Lasting Power of Attorney’s (LPA’s), Estate Planning and Wills have been put in place. Business LPAs are also an option; these allow a nominated individual/individuals to manage a business’ finances should the business owner / Director be unable to do so themselves. Business LPA’s are suitable for all business owners, be they sole traders, partners or company Directors.
For assistance or further advice on any of the above matters, please contact James O’Donnell, Director and Head of Corporate/Commercial Law at O’Donnell Solicitors.