“My investment advisor suggested that I sell my company to an ESOP. Is that a good idea?”
“My estate planning attorney recommended that I begin giving my business to my children. What do you think?”
“I’m getting tired of running my business every day. My accountant thinks a sale to a third party is a good idea. What’s your opinion? ”
Sales to key employees, Employee Stock Ownership Plans, transfers to children and sales to third parties can all be excellent exit strategies so questions like these should elicit an “I-have-no-idea” response from your advisors. How can any professional know which particular exit path is best for you?
Unless and until your advisors know more about your company and the exit goals you wish to achieve, they cannot possibly know which exit route is best. If they readily answer your questions, they may lack experience and/or a coordinated approach to helping their business-owner clients.
It is the job of the experienced Exit Planning advisor to ask you the right questions so that you decide where you are going, who is going to help you get there and the route you are going to take. Your answers help your advisors plan and implement the exit strategy that will best meet your goals.
We recommend that you begin your Exit Planning journey with two things: 1) a road map and 2) an experienced guide. If you are a regular reader of this newsletter, or have read How To Run Your Business So You Can Leave It In Style, you are familiar with the contours of the road to a successful exit. Since finding and using experienced advisors may not be as easy as reading a book or visiting a website, please feel free to call us with your Exit Planning questions.
What advisor(s) do you need?
Planning an exit is a multi-disciplinary endeavor. Protecting assets, growing value, transferring a business to children (or co-owners or employees), selling to a third party, and assuring business continuity are tasks that exceed the expertise of any one advisor. That’s why we recommend a Team of Advisors.
Who is on an Advisor Team?
An Advisor Team generally consists of the following professionals:
- Financial/Insurance Professional;
- Business/Estate Planning Attorney(s);
- CPA; and
- Business Consultant (as needed).
If a third party sale is likely, the Team will include a:
- Transaction Intermediary (Business Broker or Investment Banker) and
- Transaction Attorney.
Do they all have to have Exit Planning experience?
While that would be ideal, the answer is no. Not all advisors understand the Exit Planning Process, but all should be able to work with other professionals as a member of a team.
Lawyers and CPAs are expensive. Won’t this Team cost a fortune?
Assembling and consulting with your Advisor Team not only facilitates the exchange of information and ideas, but can reduce your costs by increasing the efficiency of each advisor. Instead of advisors proceeding in a disjointed manner, often repeating the work of others, you and your lead Exit Planning advisor coordinate the efforts of all advisors.
How do you find Team members?
Many business owners are familiar with many of these professionals and have worked with them individually in the past, but have not assembled them as a team charged with a common goal: helping you to leave your business in style. We can help you start to assemble your Team.
How do you get started?
Contact us. We can recommend other advisors, and can ask you the questions necessary to help you define your best exit path.