Exit Planning for Business Owners

Some owners dream of selling their business someday for a lucrative payout.  Others want to leave the business to their children and keep it in the family.  There are also those who don’t know what they want to do.

No matter what each business owner says they want to do … most of them haven’t done enough to set that plan into motion.

Truth is, many business owners spend more time planning family vacations than thinking about their business exit strategy.  Equity in a business is often the owner’s biggest and most valuable investment, so this approach can lead to problems for the owner and his family.

Here are 5 common reasons misconceptions that can create a false sense of security for business owners.

#1: “There’s plenty of time to get it done!”

FALSE.

If you want to get the most money for your business, you must prepare to meet the expectations of prospective buyers.  Are your processes fully documented and streamlined?  Do you have contingencies in place for when valuable employees leave?  How easy will it be for the new owner to remain profitable in the business?

It takes a lot of time and effort to properly prepare your business for sale or transition.  The best time to get started is when you open your business.  The next best time is today.  Don’t wait until you’re ready to sell to start planning your exit!

#2: “I don’t need to do anything. The right buyer will come and find me!”

FALSE.

While you may get an offer on your business, waiting around for a buyer is not ideal.  First off, it hands the controls over to the buyer, leaving you at the mercy of someone else’s timing and cashflow. Having just a single buyer can also drive down the sale price.  When several buyers compete, you get a better deal. 

#3: “Selling a business is easy.  When the time is right, it will come together quickly.”

This one is also false. Selling a business is a long and arduous process.  Even the smoothest transitions have obstacles and challenges.  If a deal comes together too quickly, then you can bet you didn’t get the maximum value from your business exit.

#4:  “If I start to plan my exit, employees/suppliers/customers will take that as a negative sign and go elsewhere.”

Thankfully, this one isn’t true. Your employees, suppliers, and customers already realize that you won’t live forever.  They understand that you will have to step away at some point.  There are ways to address this concern so that everyone involved feels comfortable with the exit strategy. And the sooner you begin planning, the more secure everyone around you will feel.

#5:  “I don’t ever want to exit.  Not now, not 10 years from now.”

Some business owners don’t ever want to step away from their business.  They love what they do and can’t imagine life without their business.  And that is great, except for one fact. Every business owner eventually leaves the business. It’s better for business owners and their families when the exit is strategically planned and executed.

So, if your business exit strategy is still up in the air, it’s time to get serious about it. Think about what you want for your business. We’re here to help. Take the first step and give us a call!

Retirement planning is complicated

Retirement planning is complicated. I’m sure you already knew that.  Your security in retirement depends on a lot of moving parts. And you have to make predictions on how those moving parts will behave in the future. For example:

  • How much you’ll spend
  • How much income you’ll receive
  • How much your portfolio will grow
  • Your health status
  • Your longevity

…There’s no way to know with 100% certainty what those answers will be five, 10, or 20 years down the road.  That’s part of what makes planning for retirement so complex.

Also, there’s dozens of retirement tools to choose from.  Learning how you can maximize these tools can be overwhelming.  Tools such as:

  • 401K
  • 403 (b) 
  • IRA
  • Roths
  • Social Security
  • Pensions
  • Medicare 
  • And on and on and on…

With proper planning, you can make reasonable predictions to prepare for possible outcomes. And you can increase the chances that your plans will produce the ideal retirement.  But you have to know the best practices for building a solid plan.

The best way to get started is to maximize each tool in your retirement arsenal.

Here’s a few questions to see if you’re getting the most out of your retirement planning: 

Are you…

  • maximizing your social security benefits?
  • optimizing your investments for your situation?
  • using annuities to their full potential?
  • insured with adequate coverage? 
  • using a realistic plan for taking income from your portfolio?
  • minimizing taxes?

These are just a few considerations that need to be addressed.  There’s more, but you get the idea.

Often it’s best to tackle one area at a time (while keeping the big picture in mind). 

I know it’s easy to get overwhelmed.  There’s so much to consider… many people just throw up their hands and hope for the best.  That’s not a strategy that I recommend. It doesn’t usually turn out well.