The aging population has sparked conversations about the aging of business owners, which has resulted in a significant increase in those seeking to exit their businesses in the next 12 years. It’s crucial for business owners to understand that business succession planning is not something that should be left until the last possible moment.
Last week, I had a fascinating conversation about how professional investors – such as private equity firms, angel investors, and venture capital firms – require detailed information about the exit strategy before investing in a business. Small business owners, who are amateur investors, often focus on entry-related issues such as funding, IT, personnel, premises, and marketing, and fail to allocate sufficient time to plan for their exit.
Therefore, it’s vital that business owners allow enough time to design the most appropriate exit strategy and implement the succession plan correctly when they start preparing for their exit. We have observed several business owners who require retirement funds that are significantly greater than their business’s actual value, either because they have never determined the business’s value or because their expectations of value are different. The solution to this is simple – time.
Is your business exit ready?
If you’re planning to exit your company in the near future, you may find EastWind’s Exit Strategy Playbook helpful in developing your own exit strategy, making your company more sellable.
Currently, we are working with a several clients with a 5-to-7-year exit horizon. This enables us to develop a strategically designed exit plan and, more importantly, introduce a succession planning coach who will oversee the implementation of that plan over an extended period. This ensures that the owner can exit the business, extracting the value they deserve and need. Business owners who wait until they’re 64 years and 9 months old and simply list the business for sale through a business broker will not be able to extract the value they potentially could have if the exit had been planned properly.
To make sure you maximize your exit value as part of any business succession or exit plan, you should begin the process at least five years before your anticipated exit.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tim Fawcett CEPA CAP CMEA
EastWind Business Solutions Inc.
Tim Fawcett, the founder and managing director of EastWind Business Solutions, Inc., a merger and acquisition advisory firm that specializes in strategic sales of SMEs valued at $1M-$100M+, has provided strategies to over 2,000 baby boomer business owners in Canada and the USA, helping them accelerate their value and prepare their businesses for sale, and guiding them through best practices in exit planning.
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