By Chris Budd…..
When I sold the majority of my business, Ovation Finance Limited, to an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT) back in 2018, I was so inspired by finally finding the perfect exit, I wrote a book about it.
The sub title of The Eternal Business is ‘How to transition a business for the Employee Ownership Revolution’.
Little did I know just how true that would turn out to be.
At the time of writing the book, according to the Employee Ownership Association (EOA), there were some 300 or so EOT owned businesses in the UK.
139 new EOTs were established in 2020. Sales to EOTs took place in Q1 of 2021 alone.
As of June 2021, there are now, a total of 576 EOT owned businesses.
We are helping many of these businesses through our Eternal Business Programme.
We have some 110 companies on our database who are currently considering selling their businesses to an EOT.
What is particularly interesting about that statistic, however, is that some of those owners have been on our database for three years now. They still receive our weekly newsletter/video, and some of them get in touch every once in a while. Very few unsubscribe, yet they have not actually started the process of the transition to employee ownership.
This is the nature of exit planning. It tends to be something the owners fail to address because they are too busy running their businesses.
When they do begin the process, we have found that they will often expect it to take several years before they are ready to let go. There comes a point, after, maybe six months, when they suddenly see the light at the end of the tunnel, and things thereafter often move very rapidly.
We help business owners prepare their businesses for the sale to an EOT.
Employee Ownership Day is June 25th. It is a day where employees of employee owned companies celebrate the fact that they have a voice in the running of the business, as well as participation in profit.
The energy in a room full of employees who work for EOT owned businesses is fantastic. This does not, however, develop in a vacuum – it takes time to transition a business to employee ownership, and to engender the employee voice and therefore, employee engagement.
Indeed, many of the sales to EOTs that have taken place over the last year have been by owners who just want to take advantage of the tax breaks. They have not always taken time to prepare the culture of the business for life in employee ownership.
We therefore help employees of EOT owned businesses to create the right employee ownership culture for them.
Vive La Revolution!
Get these things right, however, and employee ownership is something that excites owners and employees alike.
We look forward to helping many more businesses to find and prepare their ideal exit.