Half of small business owners don't have a retirement plan and about one-fourth of owners will close their business when they retire, according to a nationwide survey from TD Bank.

photo by iStock

Jay des Marteau, head of Small Business Banking at TD Bank, said the survey of 667 random small businesses was conducted to determine how small businesses prepare and feel about retirement.

"They don't feel very good," said Des Marteau. He broke down the findings of the survey:

70 percent were in service-based industries, such as finance, insurance, real estate, retail, food service or health care.
57 percent were sole proprietors, in business for themselves, by themselves.
70 percent had a college degree and or some post graduate work.
90 percent had at least some college.
84 percent started their business from scratch and the average age they started business was 39.
72 percent used to work at a company before they went off on their own.
50 percent had management experience.
84 percent managed their finances themselves, more like book keeping.
73 percent don't use a financial adviser or have a dedicated banker.

The survey also asked what business owners felt the best and worst about.

"They feel the best about handling their day to day books and records and managing their customers. What they don't feel good about is expanding and growing their business and how to seek capital to be able to build their business," said Des Marteau.

He said business owners who are spending 60 to 70 hours a week servicing their customers and doing their own books and records don't have time to ever think strategically about how to go out and find new customers.

"Sole proprietors are talking to customers during working hours, trying to sell services and products. You are the customer service expert, the person growing your market place, and then in the off hours you are trying to keep your books and records up to date and accurate," he said.

Des Marteau said the key to growing a business is trying to create a team.

"If you start with a financial adviser, a banker, and then an accountant, they can start doing your books and records, that saves you 20 hours a week," Des Marteau said. He added, "If you could replicate yourself, bring on an employee to do what you're doing, manning the existing customers and customer service, you can start to go out and build another revenue line or expand what you're doing today to a different footprint."

Doing that can generate more capital and create enterprise value, according to Des Marteau, meaning you can sell that business.

"If you build it to be selling $1 million, $2 million, and you start building a customer base and start to build a brand, someone is going to pay for that," he added.