Research indicates that most business owners have 60-80% of their wealth tied up in their businesses. Yet in our experience few owners have a clear idea about the value of their business and few have done much thinking or strategizing about how to build, transfer, or protect years of hard-earned wealth. Let’s examine these options.
Build means to invest for growth.
This involves time and money. As you near retirement, it may be less prudent to invest in the business and time to think about diversifying assets to lessen your overall risk. Personal considerations are often in play so they must also be assessed. This transition period requires a shift in mindset. Owners often have a hard time distinguishing between accumulation (growth) and distribution (preservation) years. Failure to recognize this transition can leave you exposed to untimely risks that have real consequences for your lifestyle and how long your money may last.
Transfer options depend on several factors — some within your control, some not.
A few considerations include the marketability of the business; the current market for privately held businesses; is there a key employee(s) or family member(s) with the skills, motivation, and capital to be successors? A third party buyer, if an option, may allow for a larger payout with more cash down in the deal structure, or perhaps a full payout. Each of these options involve different risk, return, and timing. Getting your tax and legal advisers involved early is always advised so more proceeds remain in your pocket.
Protect means preserving what you have built so that it can fund your lifestyle or next venture.
The question is will it be enough? De-risking may involve altering the business model or operations. Examining the various contingent risks that could destroy years of wealth accumulation is something every owner needs to be aware of. The potential for high liability, low probability events needs to be examined.
These strategies aren’t mutually exclusive. They require deliberate thought and a process to ensure that you strike the right balance so you can meet your goals without undue risk. We can help you quantify the tradeoffs and design an effective long-term strategy consistent with your goals.
To confidentially discuss your business valuation needs or exit strategy, please contact one of Exit Strategies’ senior advisors.