So, you have finally reached the point where you are emotionally and financially ready to exit your business and/or find an investor to help you grow it. Once you have arrived there, you move forward but will most likely do so with a limited knowledge base on how to proceed and often follow the non-professional “process” outlined below, according to Axial:
Unfortunately, the sad reality is that if you follow this outline you will most likely leave chips on the table and sell your business at a significant discount.
Because it lacks the preparation necessary in several key areas, since many business owners fail to realize the sale of a company, either wholly or partially, is a PROCESS not an EVENT.
First, preparation needs to start long before the NEED for a transition event occurs. Far too many business owners wait until one of the Big D’s raise their ugly head on the horizon before deciding an exit is needed (Death, Disability, Divorce, Disagreement among partners, Disinterest/Burnout, Decision to Grow/Need for Capital).
It’s likely that if you wait until you are facing one (or more) of these, you will simply take the first offer you get and spend very little time in phases 2-4 above. In doing so, you will move far too quickly to identify and move forward with the right buyer, instead taking an offer and deal structure that most likely benefits them, not you.
It is far better to use a planned, coordinated professional process when exiting your business, one that includes a number of steps that are not outlined above. Here is what Axial suggests:
As you can see, the professional succession planning process starts long before you need capital or an exit, and it begins by speaking with professional advisors who are experts in fields you will need input from. This will help create your skilled exit planning team, which could include:
Creating this team in advance of entering the market (No. 6 = vet potential partners above) will allow you to do several things:
As you can see from this list, these are all vital to ensure an optimal deal is closed in your favor. If you skip these steps, or even try to shorten them dramatically because you are in a fire sale, you will only hurt your financial future and legacy.
If you are interested in learning more, you need to attend a Generational Equity executive exit planning conference. These are complimentary, no-obligation meetings that are designed to help you understand the professional exit planning process. By attending you will gain knowledge that will help you preserve and protect your equity. If you would like more information, please give me a call at 972-232-1125 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some additional links you might find helpful:
P.S. – If you attend our conference, you will see that we use a 17-step process to close deals for our clients. We are even more thorough than the industry. That is probably why we were recognized as Investment Banking Firm of the Year in 2016.
By Carl Doerksen, Director of Corporate Development at Generational Equity.
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