For a business owner, exiting right and retiring well takes smart planning. All owners will eventually leave their businesses. Why not leave it smartly and tuned for a successful conclusion. Exit planning, or succession planning as it is sometimes called, is about preparing well ahead of the exit of your company. It’s about controlling how and when you exit while maximizing value, reducing risk, and preserving the wealth it has created.
Exit Planning Benefits include:
- Identifies value and marketability gaps early on, address how to proceed
- Clarifies your best exit option(s) and timing, you choose when and not others
- Increases owner’s value and other stakeholders
- Positions the company to attract more and better buyers
- Ensures business continuity for key employees and perhaps other family members
- Makes ownership transfer more seamless
- Increases cash proceeds to the stakeholders. Address the weaknesses early on.
- Minimizes financial risk; less left to chance
- Mitigates and minimizes taxes with creative planning. Waiting until after the close is too late.
- Prevents mistakes that can’t be reversed. Planning is everything for a successful exit.
Whether you intend to transfer your company to family, management, or a third party, planning can produce a more successful exit. It focuses your attention and brings structure to the process. Those who plan and engage professionals have successful closes with expectations met.
Few business owners have the experience and training to maximize the value of a sale of their business. Here’s the process:
First, we conduct an independent Assessment of your company’s value, marketability and readiness for a transition to new owners. This typically includes:
- Review of company operations, history, markets, customers, suppliers, competition, management, systems, documentation, tangible and intangible assets
- Grading the company on value drivers, determining the value proposition
- Financial analysis of your financial information
- Financial statement normalization and comparison to the industry
- Applying multiple business valuation methods. Sanity check on value range.
- Considering appropriate premiums and discounts and applying tests for reasonableness
- Identification of likely buyers, deal structures, financing terms
- Analysis of marketability and potential road blocks
- Insight into opportunities to enhance value and marketability
OPTIONS AND MAXIMIZING THE OUTCOME
Second, knowing how your company will be viewed and valued by prospective buyers makes decisions about your capital spending, new employees, new markets, leases easier to make and provides guidance that will help you on exit. We can advise on whether to purchase new equipment, hire that additional personnel, etc. with an eye towards how that may impact your exit and the financial reward of selling.
This stage begins with identifying your best exit options – what type of sale and to whom. We identify gaps and areas needing improvement early on so you can make adjustments. When value, marketability, or transfer-ability gaps exist, we work with you to formulate strategies to close the gaps within your time-frame. When your objective is a third party sale, the plan prepares you and the business for the sale process. We help you set clear objectives with specific action steps and measurable outcomes.
We have an eye towards tax-centric planning as we understand it’s the net, after-tax, that matters. We work collaboratively with your other advisors to maximize the take-home value and incorporate appropriate estate planning.
PLAN PROGRESS AND MONITORING
Third, we can coach you on plan implementation, review your progress and update your plan on regular basis. We keep you on track, making adjustments and addressing issues that arise that impact your business exit and maximization at the sale. Think of us as a temporary member of your management team. When appropriate, we can introduce you to specialists to work on specific plan components, getting you ready for sale. We can update the assessment annually or as business and market conditions change. If an opportunity comes earlier than planned, you’ll be ready. You choose the level of our involvement. We’ll guide you along the way.
OUR FEES – WE’RE NOT AN EXPENSE, BUT RATHER AN INVESTMENT
Our services, plans and ongoing coaching are appropriately priced. We will tailor fit a fee arrangement to suit your needs. If you later engage us to assist in the sale of your business, we’ll even credit some or all of these fees against our standard M&A brokerage fee. This is an arrangement not often found. An investment in exit planning should be one of the easier decisions you’ll make. And the earlier we get involved, the greater the return on your investment. We want to exceed your expectations and most often do. Our fees will pay for themselves many times over.