Building a successful business and minimizing risk may seem like opposite strategies, but typically, they go hand in hand. Once a business matures past the early, sometimes chaotic stages of development, business owners often turn toward actions that can protect them from the unexpected.
One of the most important goals of Exit Planning is to position business owners for post-exit financial security. To do that, business owners and their advisors must have several pieces of information: how much the business is currently worth, how much money the owner will need to live the post-exit lifestyle they choose, and which non-business assets the owner has.
Imagine building your business over several decades, beginning to plan your business exit, then dying unexpectedly before you can implement your plans. Business owners rarely think about how an unexpected death or permanent incapacitation can derail even the most carefully created plans. And it makes sense: If you were always worried about what could go wrong, chances are you’d have never started your business in the first place.
If you’re considering transferring your business ownership to family, you might be tempted to put your family’s wants over your own goals. While this altruism may be admirable, it can also cause more problems than it solves. Consider the case of Darnell Orie.
After building a successful business, many business owners decide that they want to transfer their ownership to their children. Too often, those owners assume that a transfer to children will go smoothly and simply, requiring little more than informing their kids of the date they’ll be taking the reins.
For many business owners, a sale to a third party is their assumed Exit Path. Some business owners even start their businesses with the goal of finding a larger, more deeply pocketed buyer; selling the business; and retiring early. The potential to sell the business for cash draws business owners to third-party sales. If you are considering a third-party sale, do you know the full scale of the planning you’ll need to do to get ready? Those who make plans improve their chances for a successful sale.
Business owners seldom seek to exit their businesses without attaining financial security. They understand that one requirement of financial security is to grow business value, but many struggle to achieve this goal. Fortunately for these owners, Exit Planning can directly address their need to build business value and serve as an unexpected solution for owners who want to increase their businesses’ value, but don’t know how.
When business owners begin to think about their business exits, they tend to focus on one specific goal that they want to achieve. Some owners focus on when they want to exit, some focus on how much money they want when they exit, and others focus on the person or group that will take over once they exit. But what’s the process that takes owners from thinking about what they want, to acting on what they want?
Generally, business owners feel comfortable being owners. They enjoy what they do, but rationally, they know they need to change their roles in their businesses eventually. But most owners don’t resist planning their exits on a rational basis. Instead, they resist Exit Planning at an emotional level.
According to surveys, up to 79% of business owners plan to exit their businesses within the next 10 years, with more than half saying they want to exit within the next five years. However, many business owners fall into the trap of the “rolling five-year Exit Plan,” in which owners constantly reset their exit dates for five years later. This often prevents them from taking tangible steps to accomplish their exit goals.