Mediators reach out
Ability to look beyond surface issues can lead to better
resolution of thorny problems By Grant Cameron
uccessfully transferring a business
to a buyer or family member is the
ultimate achievement for many
entrepreneurs, ensuring that their
legacy is intact and, perhaps more
importantly, that they’ll have a solid income in their golden years.
Unfortunately, when it comes to actually carrying out those succession plans,
the process doesn’t always go as smoothly
Business owners are often so engaged
in the affairs of their company that they
neglect to properly plan for the successful
transfer of ownership.
Conflicts inevitably arise about delicate
matters such as business finances, goals,
When it comes to family members, the
transactions can get even more complicated as individuals may have different abilities, ambitions, motivations, values and
levels of interest.
For example, one family member may want
to be an active participant in the business and
make changes, while another may be passive
and content to leave things the way they are.
In the end, the transaction could go off
the rails and, as a result, the services of a
mediator might be needed.
So when is it time to bring in a mediator?
According to Trevor Hood, vice-president
of corporate finance at accounting firm
SB Partners LLP in Burlington Ont., the
simple answer is when a vendor and buy-
er— whether it be an arms length transac-
tion or to a family member — are unable to
amicably agree on a solution to a problem.