Exit Strategies Insights

Industry insights, knowledge base and announcements for business owners and professional advisors

5 Ways to Make Your Business More Sellable, Right Now

It was time. After 30 years running their small 25-employee company, Frank and Martha were ready to retire to the Oregon Coast. To their surprise, after a 12-month listing with a business broker, there were just a few interested parties and no offers. Instead of enjoying retirement, Frank and Martha are now a year older and no closer to retirement. For them, preparing to sell was an after-thought. Regretfully, this scenario plays out often. Many …

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M&A Advisor Tip: Earnouts Break Valuation Deadlocks

Earnouts are often used to bridge a valuation gap between a buyer and a seller. It’s a compromise, of sorts, to break a purchase-price deadlock when the seller wants more than the buyer is willing (or able) to pay. In an earnout, a portion of the purchase price is paid out later, based on the company’s financial performance over time. Earnouts typically last from 1 to 3 years, subject to negotiation. Some earnouts include acceleration …

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‘No Shop’ Protects Buyer Investment in M&A

A no shop provision is an important part of M&A transactions. Also known as an exclusivity clause, a no shop clause prohibits the seller from sharing information or negotiating with other would-be buyers for a specified time frame. Prior to this, the seller is negotiating with several buyers. The goal is to entertain multiple offers and figure out which buyer will ultimately provide the best deal for the seller. Once the seller has identified their …

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How Key Employees Factor into a Business Sale

One of the negotiations we get involved with as M&A advisors is retention of key employees. Nearly every private business in every industry has a few “indispensable” employees. Before taking a company to market, we work with clients to evaluate key-person dependence and develop strategies for retaining key employees. This article offers help in identifying key employees in your business. On one hand, having key employees is a selling feature of a business. But, when …

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Secrets to Business Valuation – a Lesson from Curly

Remember that scene from the 1991 movie City Slickers where Curly (Jack Palance) shares the secret to life with Mitch (Billy Crystal) shortly before he dies? Curly holds up his index finger and says to Mitch that the secret to life is to figure out his one thing and then stay with it. Channeling Curly today, I will share with you the three things that determine the value of any operating company, with rare exception. …

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Corporate Social Responsibility in Mergers and Acquisitions

Like it or not, and irrespective of our personal political ideologies, corporate social responsibility has gained in popularity in the past decade. In this article, we’ll discuss what Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is and what it means for private business owners from an exit strategy perspective. The Four Pillars of CSR CSR is often thought of as having four pillars: the community, the environment, the marketplace and the workplace. Community. This pillar refers to the …

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Consider Your Options When Selling a Business with Real Estate

We often get asked how owning a facility (versus leasing one) affects the sale of a company, so I dug through our 17 years of business sale transactions involving seller-owned real estate to look for patterns. And the archives didn’t disappoint. I found five common deal scenarios that shed light on this question. But first, here’s the short answer. Owning your real property is likely to increase the demand, transferability and selling price of your …

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Exit Strategies Group Joins Cornerstone International Alliance

Exit Strategies is pleased to announce that we have combined resources with some of the best independent M&A firms to deliver more value to lower middle market business owner clients. Cornerstone International Alliance (CIA) is a global alliance of independent M&A firms. Formed in early 2019, it is the world’s only such alliance focused exclusively on the lower middle market. Member firms are selected for their extremely high integrity, extraordinary ethics and extensive mergers and …

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Why Business Owners Should Prepare to Sell Now

  Reason 1:  Concentration of Wealth A typical business owner has 70-80% of their wealth tied up in their business. That’s a lot of eggs to carry in one basket. On top of that, private businesses are less liquid and more risky than stocks, bonds and real estate investments. Fortunately owners can control the value and sell-ability of their businesses. Now, whether they exercise that control is another matter! Reason 2: Many Sales Are Unplanned …

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Nine Warning Signs Your Buyer Can’t Close the Deal

The proof is in the pudding. It ain’t over ’til it’s over. Don’t count your chickens before they’ve hatched. Pick your cliché. Just because someone makes an offer to buy your business doesn’t mean they will close the deal. As a seller, you need to look at more than dollar signs on a purchase offer. Make sure your advisors are researching and asking questions to figure out which buyers are for real, and which ones …

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