Exit Planning is the creation and execution of a strategy allowing owners to exit their businesses on their terms and conditions. It is an established process that creates a written roadmap or Exit Plan, involving efforts of several professions facilitated and led by an Exit Planning advisor who ensures not only the plan creation, but its timely execution.
Planning for Business Exit and StepsOwners begin thinking about the Exit Planning process when two streams of thought begin to converge. The first stream is a feeling that you want to do something besides go to work everyday – either you would like to be someplace else – doing something else – or you simply no longer get the same kick out of doing what you are doing.The second stream is the general awareness that you are either approaching financial independence, or making significant strides toward reaching that goal, or can achieve financial independence by selling your business. When these two streams converge, thoughts flow inevitably towards exiting the business. Hopefully, when that happens, your Exit Plan is in place and you are actually able to leave the business when you want to. That, in a nutshell, is the purpose of Exit Planning – to leave your business on your terms and on your schedule.
What kind of “Exit Plan” allows a business owner to leave his business in style? And, just how is one created? Of course, plans vary but, properly crafted, each Exit Plan has several common elements or is the result of a proven step-by-step process. Owners often best grasp these elements, or steps, when framed as questions.
Step 1: Exit Objectives. Have you determined your primary planning objectives in leaving the business, such as:• Your desired departure date?• The income you need to achieve financial security?• The person to whom you want to leave the business?Step 2: Valuation and Cash Flow. Do you know how much your business is worth? Do you know what the business’s future cash flow is likely to be after you leave it?Step 3: Making the Business More Valuable. Do you know how to increase the value of your ownership interest?Step 4: Sale to Third Party. Do you know how to sell your business to a third party in a way that will maximize your cash and minimize your tax liability?Step 5: Transfer to co-owners or family. Do you know how to transfer your business to family members, co-owners or employees while paying the least possible taxes and enjoying maximum financial security?Step 6: Business continuity upon death or disability. Have you implemented all necessary steps to ensure that the business continues if you don’t?Step 7: Wealth Preservation Plan. Have you provided for your family’s security and continuity should you die or become incapacitated?