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Is doing an exit plan worth my time and money?

Josh Patrick
Profile Picture of Josh Patrick For the past 15 years Josh Patrick has owned and operated a wealth management business, Stage 2 Planning Partners, that focuses on the strategic issues faced by the owners of private businesses.

Mr. Patrick contributes to the New York Times You're the Boss blog and writes about creating value. He has also written for Inc.com, Open Forum and various trade publications. His passion in life is helping private business owners create extraordinary value with their businesses and lives.  Full Bio
Q:With the significant number of business owners reaching retirement age, there is lots of talk these days about the need to prepare for an exit. Is doing an exit plan worth the time and money?
A:In a short word 'no.' Having said that, getting involved in the exit planning process is a great thing to do, especially if you're contemplating leaving your business in the next few years. The exit planning process should consist of putting a check list together of what you need to do. This can be established by getting a rough value of what your business is today and looking at where you have gaps that might seriously impact the value of your business.

I would suggest that you do a mock due diligence exam to see where your company has strengths and weaknesses. I would then put together a plan for what to do that will give you the biggest return for the least amount of money.

You will want to do a financial plan to find out if you can afford to leave your business. I often find that even though owners want to set a succession plan in place they haven't saved enough money outside the business to execute on the succession plan. Financial independence planning is an important part of the exit planning process.

You need to know who you want to transfer your business to. If you're transferring your business to managers or children you'll likely use a very different strategy than if you want to sell your business to a third party.

Depending on where you are in the process and the size of your transaction you'll want to put together a list of outside advisors you want to use. Having a conversation with an experienced succession planning professional can help in evaluating your needs.

You don't need a formal plan. You do need a planning process that will provide you with a positive outcome. The act of leaving your company has many moving parts. The more you understand what those parts are the better you're outcome is likely to be.


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