Survey shows the need for succession planning in Prince Rupert’s business community

Community Futures of the Pacific Northwest is looking to match potential new owners to small businesses in Prince Rupert after a survey found 44 per cent of business owners plan to exit their business in the next 10 years - with half of that number planning to leave the market in the next three years.

Community Futures of the Pacific Northwest is looking to match potential new owners to small businesses in Prince Rupert after a survey found 44 per cent of business owners plan to exit their business in the next 10 years – with half of that number planning to leave the market in the next three years.

The number one reason given by owners for wanting to leave their business was retirement, while insufficient demand, lack of support for the product or service, financial uncertainty and relocation were also cited by respondents as reasons.

“One shouldn’t dismiss the fact that 56 per cent of Prince Rupert small business owners polled intend on continuing operations as normal,” noted Amber Sheasgreen, Business Development Coordinator for Community Futures Pacific Northwest.

“But the number of businesses that are exiting the economy and the potential job loss shows there is a critical need for succession planning.”

Owners were also asked to indicate their employment statistics, and that figure shows the loss of the business could equate to 150 full-time and 80 part time positions lost.

To meet the demand and ensure established businesses remain operation, Community Futures is undertaking an effort to match-up potential new business owners with those existing business owners who have identified their desire to leave.

“If you look at 3rd Avenue a lot of the businesses that were viable up until a few years ago left because the owner reached retirement age. They worked their whole life and wanted to enjoy their golden years. Without someone to take over, they decided it was easier to close,” said Community Futures General Manager John Farrell.

“There is another option and I think we can find ways to allow them to retire and leave their business in someone else’s hands…That may entail bringing in someone to mentor under them or it might mean a family member wanting to take over but needing financial help.”

Community Futures sent out surveys to 1,100 business license holders in the City and received a 10 per cent response rate.