When business transfer rhymes with…

Generational shock

Transferring a business from one generation to another can be a long and laborious process. Opposing visions can sometimes be a source of conflict. This is why several experts recommend being well supported during the process.

It’s no secret: many business owners will be retiring in the next few years. Many will therefore have to find a replacement to fill the position(s) left vacant.

This same successor, from another generation, sometimes arrives with a head full of ideas that clash with the transferor’s vision.

This sometimes leads to a conflict, making the transfer long and painful and can even threaten its chances of success.

Accompaniment: a necessity?

Support during the transfer of a business remains free for everyone, but several points must be considered.

“Some sellers are already very well surrounded and feel that they don’t need support. However, some realize that there are problems along the way, conflicts between sellers and buyers who have different visions. We see that often, ”says Marie-Josée Drapeau, professor of entrepreneurship and SMEs at the University of Quebec in Chicoutimi (UQAC).

It recommends doing business with professionals or firms specializing in business transfers. There are a few in Quebec: the Center de transfert d’entreprise du Québec (CTEQ) is a good example.

“Often, the buyers will have had informal training and will feel helpless once in office. They haven’t necessarily taken courses to learn how to become entrepreneurs. »

She adds, “Many owners have built their own business, often from scratch. They learned on their own. It was in a context where jobs were scarce, completely the opposite of today. They were – and still are – very attached to their business,” she says.


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There is no standard duration for a business transfer. However, in general, a transfer to a family transferee takes much longer than an internal and external transferee.

“The transfer can take 10 years. The children are identified well in advance. The internal is shorter, but also needs support, because it is not because you know the company well that you know how to manage it. Finally, an external transfer is the shortest, but the buyer tends to keep the transferor by his side for as long as possible,” concludes Marie-Josée Drapeau.

Transferring a business to a buyer can sometimes lead to a conflict because of the two opposing visions.

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