Business owners who will need to sell or transfer their businesses in the next 10 years are estimated at 30,000, a figure that some say is conservative. Put this number mostly on the fact that the “baby boomers” are beginning to retire.
In this context, the expertise transfer is an exercise that needs to be taken seriously, with the knowledge and skills of employees being an essential part of the value of a company. And although it is intangible and unaccounted for, it is very real.
The company that neglects this transfer of knowledge puts itself at risk on several levels. First, it exposes itself to direct financial impacts, as well as a loss of markets, especially if it is unable to adjust to changes in demand or to innovate in its field. As lessons learned from past experiences have been forgotten, it may also suffer from a lack of strategic insight. And since a strong identity is built over time, with the contribution of all employees, it exposes itself to the erosion of its culture, its values, and its mission. Finally, the consequences can reach the human capital of the organization by weakening the teamwork, increasing staff turnover and decreasing its ability to attract the best candidates.
Knowledge transfer requires capabilities, infrastructure, and relationships that go beyond the traditional approach of most organizations. Moreover, because we have not all inherited the “teaching gene,” mentoring also requires coaching. The various online training solutions available today are offering multiple ways of capturing, organizing and transmitting this seemingly intangible knowledge.
It makes you think…
- By 2020, nearly 150 000 jobs will be affected by the business transfers in Quebec.
- “It takes 30 years to build a business, but unfortunately it is often sold in” 30 minutes “…” (René Vézina, Gravel le matin)
- Quebec business owners have very little to do with a formal succession plan. Yet nearly 40 % of them will have to sell/transfer their business in the next 5 years.
- In Quebec, 99.8% of businesses are SMEs, and 90% of these SMEs are family-owned. Only 30% of them survive past the first generation, and 10% past the second. (CCMM)
- It is generally recommended that entrepreneurs begin planning for the transfer of their business 5 to 10 years before their intended retirement date. (Le Devoir, Magazine MCI)