Fifth Third Bank Offers Small Business Transition Tips: Planning for Retirement or Adjusting for a Change in Plans

CINCINNATI—Small Business Week 2023 is April 30 to May 6 and Fifth Third Bank, National Association, is proud that it can offer local small businesses guidance, products, and services at every stage of the business lifecycle. Once a small business owner is nearing retirement, they often face the challenge: keep it in the family or sell to an external party? However, the most successful transitions are those where the owner starts planning sooner rather than later and treats transition planning as a business strategy rather than an ending event.

Regardless of where clients are in the process, Fifth Third’s Business Transition Advisory Team offers five key considerations to help you navigate your personal wealth plan.

The appropriate team of experts can identify and map out the complexities of transition plans and bring objectivity to what can be personally and emotionally challenging decisions. Such a team usually consists of an investment banker, wealth advisor, business banker, CPA, attorney (business and estate planning), valuation expert and insurance advisor.

These are external experts who can address key areas, provide realistic timelines, identify opportunities to increase eventual value of a business while minimizing tax impacts, and define and map financial goals after the sale.

But … sometimes plans change

Cedar Animal Hospital in Northern Kent County Michigan is AAHA-credited (only 15 percent of U.S. hospitals are) and has been making a difference in the lives of animals and families in Western Michigan and surrounding areas for more than 30 years. In 2017, co-owners Dr. Lawrence Nauta, DVM, and Dr. Judy Nauta, DVM, began non-traditional hours with 24/7 staffing to address the growing need for emergency pet care.

Five years ago, Dr. Nauta thought about retiring, but that didn’t last long. He wasn’t fulfilled because animals are everything for him and his wife.

"I tried retirement and even semi-retirement for a little while," he said. "It wasn’t me. I think this is my retirement. I want to help people and their animals as long as I’m capable."

And help they have. Dr. Nauta has been consistently busy pre-, during and post-pandemic. Last year, Cedar’s had 17,500 patient visits, many of which were referred from overwhelmed emergency clinics from all around the state of Michigan. Patients came from across the state, Chicago, Michigan’s upper peninsula and Indiana. Because of the pandemic, more people wanted their pets to be seen, but getting immediate care can be difficult.

The couple began working on a plan to address the backlog that many vets are experiencing. They enlisted the help of their trusted advisor, Fifth Third Business Banking Relationship Manager Michael Joseph to seek guidance and funding to expand the emergency side and capabilities of Cedar's client practices. Joseph helped the couple secure an SBA 504 loan to construct a building that would nearly triple their square footage, allow for more dedicated intensive care unit professionals, and add state of the art equipment.

On April 19, Cedar Animal Hospital hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate a 9,000+ square-foot urgent care and emergency addition to its building.

The new emergency center provides:

  • Waiting room and digital patient queue to see a pet’s progress
  • Private exam rooms
  • Advanced in-house diagnostics—including laboratory, digital radiography, ultrasound, PCR testing and a CT scan
  • Dedicated exotic space
  • Self-contained isolation rooms
  • Large dog space
  • An additional 100 parking spaces

Patient admissions and care will be expanding rapidly with several new doctors arriving this spring and summer. The plan is to add 40 new jobs and have the building open to the public by the middle of October.

Buying, selling, and transitioning a business can all lead to an experience of a lifetime when the right team of industry experts are engaged early—from start to finish line.

Dr. Nauta said that this expansion was worth every penny.

"This is what I’ve devoted my life to," he said. "To see this happen feels like an out-of-body experience; it’s so exciting. I’m just so thankful that this dream became a reality."

View this release or download photos on 3BL.

About Fifth Third

Fifth Third is a bank that’s as long on innovation as it is on history. Since 1858, we’ve been helping individuals, families, businesses and communities grow through smart financial services that improve lives. Our list of firsts is extensive, and it’s one that continues to expand as we explore the intersection of tech-driven innovation, dedicated people and focused community impact. Fifth Third is one of the few U.S.-based banks to have been named among Ethisphere’s World’s Most Ethical Companies® for several years. With a commitment to taking care of our customers, employees, communities and shareholders, our goal is not only to be the nation’s highest performing regional bank, but to be the bank people most value and trust.

Fifth Third Bank, National Association is a federally chartered institution. Fifth Third Bancorp is the indirect parent company of Fifth Third Bank, and its common stock is traded on the NASDAQ® Global Select Market under the symbol "FITB." Investor information and press releases can be viewed at Deposit and credit products offered by Fifth Third Bank, National Association. Member FDIC.