By Mark Tepper, an EO Cleveland member and president of Strategic Wealth Partners
Ideally, exit planning starts the moment a business gets under way, with the owner basing most company decisions and long-term goals with his or her eventual exit in mind. A thorough, comprehensive exit plan can take years to fully develop.
In reality, many business owners find themselves scrambling to put together an exit plan at the last minute, less than a year from their desired exit or even after they’ve started receiving inquiries.
Do you find yourself in the latter situation? First, consider taking a few hours to read my book, Walk Away Wealthy. You’ll get an actionable primer on the do’s and don’ts of exit planning from an experienced professional in the time it takes to cook a good baked ham.
Done? Next, read through my top five tips for exit-planning procrastinators:
- Find a CFP professional or CPA with exit experience
Selling your business will impact the rest of your life. Be sure to have an experienced CFP professional by your side from the very beginning. They’ll be able to let you know what needs to get done ASAP.
- Get an open market valuation
Although you won’t be able to drastically affect your company’s valuation at this point, you need to know what your business is worth. Don’t go into the marketplace blind. You can get a quick, fairly accurate valuation on our website.
- Hire a COO
As we’ve explained on our blog before, “Increase Your Company’s Value By Taking a Vacation” you’ll need to prove to your potential buyer that you’re not overly involved in the company’s daily operations. If you’re almost out of time, the best way to do this is to hire a stellar COO, train him or her on your company’s operations, and get out of the office.
- Perform a presale financial audit
Getting a financial audit once you decide to sell or receive an offer is one of the best first steps you can take. Not only will it lower your company’s risk, it will also take away.
- Know what you want post-sale
If you don’t already have one, get a clear idea of your goals for your retirement. Do you want to start a new business? Do charitable work? Live off of your profits? Visualizing your life after the sale will give you a good idea of what you need from the sale. This vision can guide you as you go through the exit-planning process and help you avoid deals that don’t allow you to accomplish your goals.