When a business owner has reached the point in their life where they are beginning to think about selling their business, they need to proactively develop an exit plan and strategy. Even if there is no immediate desire to sell the business. By beginning the planning process two to four years ahead of time, significantly better outcomes can be achieved.
Planning and strategy development should be focused in two main areas:
1) What should be done in advance to enhance the business. Enhancements that will allow the business, once the business owner has made the decision and commitment to sell, to be sold in the shortest time frame, at the best price and consistent with the owner’s personal goals and objectives.
2) Exiting a business is one of the most important events in a business owner’s lifetime. It can have a profound psychological and personal impact. To best accommodate that impact, a post sale lifestyle plan should be developed prior to the sale of the business. It is even better when it is done prior to putting the business up for sale. This allows all those involved in the sales process, in particular the buyer and those advising the seller, to understand how the sale and the structuring of the sale will contribute to the seller’s post sale lifestyle plan and its execution.
At Keelson Advisors, we take great pride in helping our clients develop good, realistic plans and strategies in both areas. The success or failure of any effort to sell a business is directly tied to how a business owner understands and handles a host of personal, business, and financial issues associated with the sale. Areas that we give major emphasis to are:
What is the best time to sell the business from both the owners’ personal prospective and from the prospective of the buyers in the market place.
Evaluating the pro’s and con’s of the various exit strategies, deciding which is best.
Establishing the current fair market value of the business and identifying options and strategies for enhancing the value of the business prior to a sale.
Structuring the sale to maximize proceeds to the seller while minimizing the tax consequences.
Ensure that the price and terms the seller receives are adequate to meet the seller’s post sale personal and financial goals and objectives.
Ensure that the exit plan addresses any issues that may arise involving family, employees, estate, charitable giving, etc.
Ensure that the seller and their family have a plan in place to enjoy the proceeds of the sale and life after the sale.