Protecting small businesses, especially in rural areas, from disappearing when the owners are ready to join the Great Resignation isn’t a new problem. It’s a problem the RedTire program from the University of Kansas has been addressing for 10 years through a multi-step process that identifies successors and walks both parties through the transition. It’s much more than a business brokerage, and much less costly. The number of business served and jobs saved isn’t huge, but each one is critical to the quality of life in the communities where they have customers.
This is one of those great ideas that touches a lot of people. The retiring owners get help with an exit strategy. The business school students get some experience helping these companies. New graduates (think dentists, or maybe vets, or maybe HVAC technicians) get some help setting themselves up as entrepreneurs.
I confess I don’t know much about the ins and outs of the program. I do know it has popped in in Lenawee Now in Adrian Michigan. I do know the concept addresses a real problem. I suspect, like lots of good ideas, it may struggle with funding.
I think a lot of communities, maybe through their community colleges and universities, might want to take a look at their concept. Here is the link to the program site: https://redtire.ku.edu/. For some more detail, take a look at this presentation from a 2019 conference.