Exit Planning – The Succession Plan
Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago. — Warren Buffett
For a business owner, exiting right and retiring well takes extra planning. Exit planning (a.k.a. succession planning) is about controlling how and when you exit your company, while maximizing value, reducing risk and preserving wealth.
Ten Exit Planning Benefits
- Identifies value and marketability gaps early on
- Clarifies your best exit option(s) and timing
- Increases shareholder value
- Positions the company to attract more and better buyers
- Ensures business continuity
- Makes ownership transfer more seamless
- Increases cash proceeds
- Minimizes financial risk
- Minimizes taxes
- Prevents costly mistakes
Whether you intend to transfer your company to family, management or a third party, planning produces a more successful exit. On a personal level, exit planning settles your mind, re-energizes you and gives your work greater purpose. It focuses your attention and reduces your stress.
Let’s face it, owners rarely have the expertise to tackle this on their own. This is where Exit Strategies comes in. Our process has 3 phases:
Phase 1: ASSESS
First we conduct an independent Assessment of your company’s value, marketability and “transfer-ability”. This typically includes:
- Review of company operations, history, markets, customers, suppliers, competition, management, systems, documentation, tangible and intangible assets
- Grading the company on 25+ value drivers
- Financial analysis
- Financial statement normalization and comparison to the industry
- Applying multiple business valuation methods
- Considering appropriate premiums and discounts and applying tests for reasonableness
- Identification of likely buyers, deal structures, financing terms
- Analysis of marketability factors and identify any obstacles
- Insight into opportunities to enhance value and marketability
Phase 2: PLAN
Knowing how your company will be viewed and valued by prospective buyers makes decisions about capital spending, employees, new markets, leases and so on, clearer and easier.
This phase starts with choosing your best exit option(s). When value, marketability or transfer-ability gaps exist, we work with you (and your management team when appropriate) 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 M&A sale process. We help you set clear objectives with specific action steps and measurable outcomes.
An exit plan also ties in your personal financial and estate planning goals. We will coordinate with your legal, tax and financial professionals if requested.
Phase 3: IMPLEMENT
At your option, we can coach you on plan implementation, review your progress and update your plan on a quarterly or semi-annual basis. Think of us as a temporary member of your executive team. When appropriate, we can introduce you to specialists to work on specific plan initiatives. We can update the Assessment annually or as business and market conditions change. You choose the level of coaching or involvement you need from us.
Exit Strategies’ initial Assessments, exit plans and ongoing coaching are attractively priced. Later on, if you engage us to sell the company, we’ll even credit some or all of these fees against our standard M&A brokerage fee; so in the end you can put a lot more money in your pocket and pay little or no extra fees to us. An investment in exit planning should be one of the easier decisions you’ll make. And the earlier we get involved, the greater the ROI.