Whether it’s time for you to retire or you’re looking to pursue other life dreams, you may be considering selling your business. Since you’ve spent years building your venture, it should be like a baby to you, which you won’t sell to just anyone. You want someone who is capable of owning it and will pay you a lucrative sum. This may not be easy.
Hiring an exit planning advisor is a great way to navigate this complex transition. Pillar Wealth Management, a high-profile financial company serving investors with $5 million to $500 million in liquid assets, has some highly experienced advisors to place at your disposal. If your wealth exceeds $5 million, you may also like our guide titled 7 Secrets to High Net Worth Investment Management, Estate, Tax, and Financial Planning to learn more about business exit planning and other aspects of estate planning.
Meanwhile, this guide will take a deep dive into business exit plan advisors. Let’s begin with the question, “What is an exit planning advisor?”
What Is an Exit Planning Advisor?
Simply put, an exit planning advisor is a financial advisor, or other professional, who helps business owners with exit planning. Based on their experience, they assist business owners in successfully transitioning their business in the way they want.
Typically, these advisors hold the Certified Exit Planning Advisor (CEPA) certification, so they have a fair idea of how to blend an exit strategy for the business with the financial and personal goals of the concerned business owner. CEPA certification, on a global level, is the most widely recognized and accepted exit planning program.
The certification can be acquired by financial advisors and legal, accounting, insurance, and banking professionals. The program is a four-day course delivered by exit planning experts multiple times a year in several cities around the US. Apart from the four-day course, professionals need to pass a proctored exam.
Exit planning advisors leverage a proprietary framework called the Value Acceleration Methodology that focuses on maximizing business value, life after business planning, and personal financial planning. Using this methodology, exit planning advisors educate their clients on how to preserve and build their wealth and incorporate the best business practices in their everyday operations. To learn more about exit planning advisors, schedule a video consultation with our wealth managers at your convenience.
Now that you possess some basic understanding of who exit planning advisors are, let’s take a deep dive into the question, “What does an exit planner do?”
What Does an Exit Planner Do?
With a wide range of responsibilities, business owners often find the exit planning process overwhelming. An exit planning advisor will lead and coordinate the complete exit planning process, from the data collection of the initial phase to the final implementation in the last stage, for business owners. Their goal is to ensure that business owners have the financial security they need when exiting their business and can accomplish their exit goals. But how do they do it? Here are some of the ways exit planners help clients.
Developing an Exit Strategy
If you take exit planning into your own hands, you’re likely to find yourself in unfamiliar territory, where you lack the required tools and skills that an advisor has. Plus, you’ll spend valuable resources and time, which were being utilized for your business operations, thereby lowering business productivity and, in turn, the valuation and revenue of your business.
Before anything else, an exit planning advisor will determine the financial health of your firm by conducting a financial analysis. Using the insights obtained, they’ll help build a business exit plan based on your objectives. This brings us to the concern, “What is a business exit plan?” Let’s find out.
What is a Business Exit Plan?
A business exit plan is a strategy for the smooth transitioning of business ownership to an investor or another company. It gives business owners a way to liquidate or reduce their stake in a business. Business owners don’t necessarily sell their business because of poor performance.
Many of them choose to sell because they want to venture into something else. If it’s a successful business, the business exit plan helps owners make a substantial profit. In case the venture is not successful, the strategy can be used to minimize the losses. Venture capitalists and other types of investors looking to plan for a cash-out of an investment also use exit strategies.
The role of a planner in structuring the exit deal is particularly important for multi-faceted and complex businesses. If you’re currently in the phase of estate planning involving an exit strategy, and your overall wealth exceeds $5 million, study our guide titled 7 Secrets to High Net Worth Investment Management, Estate, Tax, and Financial Planning.
Advisor Team Approach
Some planning providers adopt the advisor team approach to develop and execute an exit plan because the process demands different types of expertise, and there’s a lot to do. The underlying goal of the team is to make the exit process seamless, with the owner exiting on their terms.
The team typically consists of financial advisors, CPAs, insurance professionals, attorneys, accountants, and so on. In many cases, the advisors come from a diverse range of industries around the US, so business owners benefit from new ideas, benefits, and new exit planning strategies. The team is supervised by one exit planning advisor, who delegates tasks to the other advisors based on their expertise.
Helping You Retain Focus
The sale of a private business can take 6 to 12 months to complete. To fetch a decent price and strike a profitable deal, you will need to demonstrate continued impressive financial performance throughout this process. During this period, if the business earns less than expected revenue, chances are the potential buyers will begin reconsidering their offers. Even if the deal doesn’t fall through, buyers might renegotiate the price. To avoid this, you need to stay focused on your business activities.
Running the business and trying to sell it simultaneously will trigger conflicting demands on your time, thereby adversely affecting business performance and the sale. Your business must keep performing well so that it retains or exceeds its average earning level during the sale period. This is best achieved by leaving the job of selling the business to an outside expert, while you focus on your primary duties. With an exit plan advisor to back you, you should be able to keep the eye on the ball, so your cash flow stays positive, and revenues don’t decline. To learn more about how an exit advisor helps you stay focused on improving business performance, schedule a video consultation with our wealth managers.
Synthesizing Information for You
Many exit plan companies consist of a team of advisors and the input they offer is a consolidated solution based on the expertise of team members. The input is accumulated and compiled in an understandable way so you can explore the options you have and grasp the actions you could take. By synthesizing all the information and data for you, advisors can highlight the focused actions that will meet your needs and wants regarding the business exit.
Carrying Out a Business Valuation
Conducting a business valuation is among the most critical stages in a business sale. Not getting this step right can lead to an inaccurate sale price. If it’s too high, finding a good buyer will become a challenge, and if it’s too low, you won’t be earning the price you deserve. After conducting a business valuation, an exit advisor will first help you determine whether it’s even possible to sell your business at this time or whether you should continue growing the business for the time being so that you’re able to fetch a good price later.
When it comes to conducting a business valuation, different businesses use different methods based on their unique situations or needs. Depending on your unique case, your exit plan advisor may suggest EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Tax, Depreciation, and Amortization) or other industry metrics to determine the value of your organization. If the value of your business and the rest of the wealth combined exceed $10 million, this guide will prove insightful to you.
Exit planning requires a great deal of project management skill. Plus, exit plans can span over five to ten years. An experienced exit plan advisor serves as a diligent project manager who keeps an eye on the milestones that need to be met to ensure a financially secure exit for business owners. Their project management approach helps keep their exit planning focus clear.
Using highly effective tech solutions, they’re able to access, organize, and strategize the needs, wants, and progress of business owners in their exit plans. To understand what project management skills exit planners possess, schedule a video consultation with our wealth managers at your convenience.
Finding a Buyer
When looking for business buyers, the first instinct of business owners is to talk to people they know or look in their professional network. According to them, the most likely buyers are their competitors and related companies.
An exit plan advisor with extensive experience has a much wider professional network comprising genuinely interested buyers. Their pool consists of not only businesses already in the industry but also emerging entrepreneurs.
Remember, it’s important to think out of the box to achieve a high-value transaction. This is exactly what you can expect from an experienced exit plan advisor, who will bring you buyers who have the resources and capabilities to realize higher value from your business than you could. They’ll get buyers who have the financing and cash required to close the deal and will be the right cultural fit for your business team so the transition causes minimal operational disruptions.
Exit plan advisors are able to differentiate between good and bad business buyers. They understand that many buyers, such as serial venture builders, are experienced dealmakers and know how to deal with them. Moreover, just because you find it easy and convenient to work with a potential buyer doesn’t mean they’ll offer the best price for your business. If your overall wealth is worth $5 million or more and you’re looking to exit your business as part of your estate plan or to achieve other financial goals, study our guide titled 7 Secrets to High Net Worth Investment Management, Estate, Tax, and Financial Planning.
By now, you should have an in-depth understanding of who business exit plan advisors are, what a business exit plan is, and what exit planning advisors do. We truly hope that this guide helps you sell your business on your terms and that you get a perfect price for your business. If you’re looking for a highly experienced exit planner or any other financial advisor, connect with Pillar Wealth Management, a reputable company offering wealth management services to investors holding $5 million to $500 million in liquid assets. We’ll make the business sale a seamless process. To hire an advisor or learn more about our exit planning and other wealth management services, schedule a video meeting with our team today!
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