The decision of whether or not to sell your fishing & hunting lodge, camp or resort could be one of the hardest you ever make. Owner’s of these types of businesses put their heart and soul into creating a great experience for each and every one of their guests.
The decision to sell comes with a lot of mixed emotions but one thing is for sure, you want your business to continue with the same legacy you established while at the helm and you want your loyal guests to properly cared for.
You’re likely aware of the traditional business sale method of hiring a business broker or realtor and then waiting around while they hopefully do their job.
But you do have another option – To sell your business to your employees. You can do this by setting up a Management Buyout or an Employee Stock Ownership Plan. Each option has its pros and cons, it really depends on the size of your lodge, camp or resort and the number of employees who are willing to step on board with this agreement.
This may just be the exit strategy you need to keep your business’ family atmosphere and your staff members meaningfully employed.
- Owner & employees agree on a sale price. This is best assisted by a professional fishing & hunting lodge, camp or resort appraiser.
- Managers assess the portion of the shares they could purchase immediately, and then draft the shareholder agreement.
- Financial institutions are approached.
- A transition plan is developed that incorporates tax and succession planning.
- Managers buy out the sellers’ interest with financial support.
- Decision-making and ownership powers are transferred to the successors; this can take place gradually over a period of a few months or even a few years.
- Managers pay back the financial institution.
We’ve surveyed former fishing & hunting lodge, camp & resort business operators, and most reported that they experienced some level of regret shortly after closing the deal even when they obtained the selling price they wanted.
The primary reason for this regret was that they felt the issue of the business’ legacy was not properly addressed in their sale planning. They wished they had taken more measures to ensure that the culture and values they instilled in their business would continue after they left.
Setting up a management buyout or employee stock ownership plan can help ensure the business will move forward with people who share your vision and values.
Selling your business to the employees will require a shift to more participative management and the willingness to share financial information. However, it can give you a more flexible exit timeline, a fair selling price and the ability to leave the business’ legacy intact.