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Exit Planning Offers Assurance

May 01, 2024

Running a business is one of the most fulfilling things you’ll likely ever do. Despite the time and money it costs you, you dedicate everything you have to position it to be successful. With all the effort you pour into your business, it’s prudent to dedicate time and money to protect it against risks and prepare, both yourself and your business, for your eventual exit. 

Here are a few ways that Exit Planning offers assurance that you have strategies to reduce risks and strengthen the business you’ve worked so hard to build. 

Building Your Retirement Vehicle 

Your business is likely to be the most important piece of your financial security puzzle. This means that your business will eventually need to be worth enough to allow you to leave it with enough money to never have to work again (unless you choose to). 

To position yourself and your business for this eventuality, you’ll need a few pieces of information.  

  • How much money you need to achieve financial security 
  • How much money you currently have, personally and in business value 
  • How much money you need to close the gap between the two (the Asset Gap) 

Fortunately, it’s possible to build an Advisor Team that can gather this information for you, especially if this team is led by a Exit Planning Advisor. 

This information can then help you and your Advisor Team create a road map that offers guideposts for what you need to do to strengthen your financial position and build business value, along with how long it will take to do so. 

Entering the Exit Planning Race 

Once you determine what you have, what you need, and how long it will take to close the Asset Gap, you can implement strategies that put you on track for a successful exit. 

It’s probable that you’ll discover that you need to increase the value of your business to close the Asset Gap. This is not a sign of a weak business! In many cases, it’s a sign that your business relies so heavily on you that if you were to ever leave it (by choice, death, or otherwise), its value would decrease. 

To address this challenge, your Advisor Team might recommend some of the following Value Drivers. 

  • Finding and installing next-level management 
  • Creating operating systems that increase sustainable cash flow 
  • Diversifying your customer base 
  • Developing a realistic growth plan 

With Exit Planning, you don’t do these things instead of running your business. In fact, your Advisor Team will help you develop and implement these plans in ways that allow you to focus on strengthening your business while you run it. 

As you implement these strategies, which position you to increase business value, you may find that the implemented strategies give you more time to focus on the things you love most in your business and less on things you don’t. This is a major benefit of installing a next-level management team with help from your Advisor Team. 

Preparing for Pit Stops 

Exit Planning helps build your retirement vehicle and get on track. It also helps you anticipate pit stops along the way. 

For example, you may have created a plan to transfer your business to one of your children, only to find that the child no longer wants to run it. 

With Exit Planning, you can more nimbly pivot to an alternative plan because of the Value Drivers you’ve begun to install. Even though the precise transfer you wanted in this case won’t come to fruition, you can still move forward in ways that allow you to achieve financial security and other goals without having to scrap your plan and start all the way over, potentially saving you time and money. 

An Extra Set of Keys 

A key element of Exit Planning is the creation of a Business Continuity Plan. This plan provides instructions to family members, key employees, advisors, and others about what to do with the business, your personal finances, and more if you were to suddenly die or become permanently incapacitated. 

Sudden death or incapacitation can leave your business (and everyone who relies on it) in an exceedingly challenging position. With a Business Continuity Plan, you can offer strategies that could make your sudden transition out of the business easier to navigate. These strategies may include the following guidance. 

  • Who should run the business in your absence 
  • Who to contact to set the Business Continuity Plan in motion 
  • What should happen to the business over time (e.g., sale to a third party for a set amount of money) 
  • Where to find critical information (e.g., bank accounts and passwords, lockboxes) 

This risk mitigation strategy can help you provide your family, your employees, and yourself more assurance that you have a plan for the unexpected. And creating this plan while things are relatively calm—rather than in the middle of a crisis—could help you reduce the time and cost of implementing plans to keep your business afloat without you at the helm. 

We strive to help business owners identify and prioritize their objectives with respect to their businesses, their employees, and their families. If you have questions on this topic, we can help with more information or a referral to another experienced professional. 

The American dream is alive and well – and you are proof. As a self-made business owner, you have accomplished what only a small percentage of individuals ever will. You’ve dreamed, you’ve worked hard, and you’ve established a company that not only supports you – but the lives of every person you employ.

As a key component to your overall wealth, your business is a closely held asset you can’t afford not to protect. While most people focus on traditional stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and investments to secure their financial future – you are not like most people. Your company is your nest egg – and whether it represents 50 or 80 percent of your net worth, it is an integral part of your overall financial picture. Designing a strategy today that outlines what the business will look like in the future is essential to the business itself and your long-term financial well-being.

The complex nature of your wealth demands a plan that will protect it. A strategy that anticipates the nuances you face as a business owner. You deserve to collaborate with a firm committed to your holistic financial wellness that has insight into your position as a business owner and the steps necessary to preserve and manage your wealth.

We use the BEI Seven Step Exit Planning ProcessTM, which is comprehensive enough to address all of the elements required to create a successful Exit Plan and flexible enough to work with your planning style. A staged approach will prioritize the elements of your Exit Plan and allow for the completion of each component thoughtfully and sequentially rather than all at once. We start with identifying the components of the exit plan that you determine can most quickly be leveraged for positive outcomes. We then create a schedule for addressing each component in the appropriate order so that your exit and succession go as smoothly as possible.

The information contained in this article is general in nature and is not legal, tax or financial advice. For information regarding your particular situation, contact an attorney or a tax or financial advisor. The information in this newsletter is provided with the understanding that it does not render legal, accounting, tax or financial advice. In specific cases, clients should consult their legal, accounting, tax or financial advisor. This article is not intended to give advice or to represent our firm as being qualified to give advice in all areas of professional services. Exit Planning is a discipline that typically requires the collaboration of multiple professional advisors. To the extent that our firm does not have the expertise required on a particular matter, we will always work closely with you to help you gain access to the resources and professional advice that you need.

This is an opt-in newsletter published by Business Enterprise Institute, Inc., and presented to you by our firm.  We appreciate your interest.

Any examples provided are hypothetical and for illustrative purposes only. Examples include fictitious names and do not represent any particular person or entity.