- Real Estate
- Food & Drink
June 12, 2019
This paid piece is sponsored by Eide Bailly LLP.
By Derek Dockendorf, Eide Bailly LLP
After a lifetime of hard work and building a successful business, there is much to think through as you consider the first steps in moving beyond your business. Where should you start? What do you want to accomplish now and in the future? Are you forgetting about critical elements? Below are seven key steps to help get you started on creating a successful exit plan.
Making the decision to leave your business is often a difficult one. You’ve spent your life building your business, and letting it go can be a challenge. However, if you identify clear goals and objectives, the transition can be much easier.
Determining how long you want to work in the business before retiring or moving on gives you and your business an expected timeline for departure. Importantly, it gives you something to work toward.
Talking through your transition goals and objectives — do you want to sell the business to a family member, employees or an outside party? How much money do you want to make on the sale? What do you plan to do after the sale is complete? This helps you create a road map for success. In addition, taking time to consider value-based objectives such as family harmony, legacy, maintaining culture, providing for employees, your community and how to best minimize taxes fits nicely into the goals and objectives category.
As you plan for your exit, make sure you have a complete understanding of your business value and personal financial resources, as well as what you need after you transition out of the business. What is your business worth? What is the expected cash flow?
Identifying your personal financial resources — nonbusiness assets — such as retirement funds, income-producing real estate, stocks and bonds will help set a clear picture of your financial situation after you exit the business.
It’s important and beneficial to do a business valuation as you prepare for an exit. In fact, many buyers require one to show them the business’ worth. A business valuation also will determine if the business is worth enough to support your needs and will establish the fair market value.
It is important to remember that business value is relative and not fixed. The value can vary based on the reason for transferring ownership and on the conditions under which a transfer is made.
There are several value drivers that are taken into consideration. These are the management team, current operating systems in place, an established and diversified customer base, the facility appearance, a realistic growth strategy, effective financial controls and a stable and increasing cash flow. Knowing the numbers makes you more aware and prepared for the transition.
One exit route for business owners is to transfer ownership to a third party. During this process, the seller generally works to maximize the sale price and accelerate the payment of proceeds. Some different external transfer options include an orderly liquidation, recapitalization, a third party or an IPO.
The other exit route for business owners is to transfer ownership to one or more insiders. These could be co-owners, key employees, a group of employees through an ESOP or children who are sold or gifted the business.
There are many things to consider when transferring your business to either a third party or to insiders. Analyzing the benefits and drawbacks will help you make an informed decision based on your goals and objectives.
Another key step is to make sure your business continues even after you have left. Consider the impact an ownership structure change could have.
Are you a sole owner transitioning to a multi-owner structure? Consider whether a transition will cause a loss of financial resources for the company or whether new positions need to be created because of the loss of your talent in the business. This can prevent a loss of employees and customers after the transition and help ensure success once it is complete.
Your personal wealth and estate planning should absolutely be included in your business planning and exit strategy. The transition of ownership or the sale of a business will generate cash for owners, their families and the IRS. Your personal wealth and estate plan can preserve wealth and minimizes taxes by using both lifetime and death planning tools, as well as put you on the path to attaining your final objectives.
After a lifetime of hard work and building a successful business, there is much to think through as you consider the first steps in moving beyond your business