Good Exit Planning: First and Foremost, A Valuation of the Company

With the baby boomer generation retirement rush beginning to take hold, many business owners lack sufficient information about the value of their business for retirement planning purposes and don’t foresee the deal killers that await them.  A Deal Killer is a condition that, if undetected and unresolved before the sale of a business, will kill the transaction. The purpose of pre-sale planning is to maximize sale proceeds (as well as to achieve other non-financial goals), and it includes efforts to neutralize these Deal Killers.
The most common and avoidable Deal Killers are:
  1. Owners’ long-held belief that they can automatically one day sell their businesses for enough money to satisfy their financial independence needs and wants.
  2. Owners’ failure to reconcile their need for value with the market’s perspective of value before going to market.
  3. Owners’ exclusive focus on top-line sale price.
Owners are usually optimistic about the value of their businesses. Many of them dwell on the efforts and sacrifices they made from the onset of the venture. As a former entrepreneur, I know this well; however, optimism can result in owners consistently and often dramatically overvaluing their businesses.
In addition to company valuation, owners must factor into the likely sales price such factors as deductions for IRS taxes on the sale, debts that the company owns, transaction fees (escrow) and advisor fees (legal, CPA, Broker, and etc.). Business owners who jump into the sale process blinded by sale price optimism, or without consideration of the reductions to sale price, spend considerable time, money and energy only to find their glass half empty, if not shattered altogether.
At Exit Strategies, our job is to incorporate an understanding of marketplace reality into an owner’s pre-sale planning. We know that successful exits can require years of value-building efforts, but owners who insist that their businesses are worth far more than buyers do, either don’t realize this or are unwilling to face reality.
It is critical to the ultimate success of your exit that you get help to understand likely sale price and after tax proceeds and address deal killers well before your planned departure date. For further information contact Bob Altieri.