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When the family business is for sale

| Nov 16, 2018 | Buying & Selling Businesses |

Small business owners in North Carolina are often deeply attached to their businesses, especially if they have been passed down through the family or built from the ground up by the founder. However, as time goes on, many owners may think about selling their businesses. The decision can be difficult emotionally and practically, despite the potential financial benefits. In particular, family companies with close ties to their communities have specific concerns when it comes to selling.

Family business owners may want to ensure that their communities will be treated appropriately, including their employees. They often value their reputation in the community and do not want to tarnish that legacy. The family’s name may remain on the product or business, so even when family members no longer have control, they could face backlash after negative actions. Instead, families want to be proud when they see signs of their former business in the public eye.

In some cases, family entrepreneurs may want to look for another family-owned company when they are interested in selling a business. The question of selling itself can be fraught, because people may not want to be thought of as “losing” the business for the family. However, the financial benefits that could accrue from a well-designed sale could be irreplaceable. What people can do, however, is focus on the non-financial goals that they want to achieve in negotiations.

A business law attorney can work with a family business owner to develop a sales contract that reflects key interests and values. For example, a lawyer can help entrepreneurs negotiate over issues like the name of the business, outstanding contracts with suppliers and the fate of current employees. A lawyer can also provide guidance in establishing a foundation or other entity to reflect family interests after the sale of the company.

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