You've spent years building and nurturing your business. There were days when you wore too many hats and ran out of time before the to-do list was done. You have seen firsthand how hard work and long hours paid off. It was worth it.
Transferring your business should not be left up to trial and error. You have one chance to get it right. You need a plan and a process. The work you put in to execute your plans while following a proven process will make it easier to transfer your business when you are ready.
We will take you through our six step process to develop a plan, analyze gaps in your personal, business
and mental readiness, educate you on your options and then work with your team through the sale of your business.
Establishing your objectives is the first key. What would you like to achieve with your exit and when? For many owners, it isn't simply one thing. Often, it is financial security or greater diversification. It could be a desire to involve children or to reward key employees. Perhaps it's the freedom to begin the next chapter of your life. Whatever it is for you, it's important that it is understood so that a customized plan can be created for you.
Do you know how much it would take to be financially independent of your company? A thorough analysis will determine the financial resources necessary to sustain your lifestyle after your exit. The results define the Value Gap between your invested assets and what's needed from the transfer of your business to meet your goals. Additionally, you must assess your mental readiness for your exit. What will you do after your exit? How do you feel about being identified as someone other than the owner of your company? The mental game is often more challenging than the financial aspects.
Business owners typically fall into four categories based on their financial and mental readiness. Your exit options become clearer once you recognize your owner type, and the corresponding transfer methods. Who do you resemble?
If you are like most owners, you know very little about ESOPs, Private Equity Recaps, Management Buyouts, Gifting Strategies or the myriad ways to structure a Third Party Sale. Each of these options have a Range of Values and they may differ from what you think your business is worth. Education in this area is worth its weight in gold. Part of this educational process is realizing that it's not about the size of the check you receive that matters the most, but what you keep after taxes and transaction fees.
Our process will help you eliminate the options that don't apply to you. It will help you determine what your business is really worth now and if you can truly exit. Your goals and financial needs will help you discover what you should be doing now and the most likely exit path(s) to follow.
You'll want to know this well before you sign any document to transfer your business.
You have discovered your transfer options, you know any gaps you need to fill and you know your time frame. Now it is time to begin executing your plan by assembling your team, incentivizing your management team, planning for contingencies, and taking action. But this could take a number of years to achieve.
Here are four additional areas we will help you focus on that can increase your company value when the time is right to transfer your company.
Your level of involvement in your company is a major area that needs to be measured and reviewed. Our Owner Dependency IndexTM process will help you do that. The primary issue should be obvious - if your company cannot run effectively without you, any buyer of your business cannot simply take over the company without your active involvement. Secondly, when owner dependency is high, the risk associated with the business is higher and the overall value (including how and when an owner would get paid for the business transfer) tends to be lower.
Who supports you in running the company? A Transferable BusinessTM is one that has people in positions that another owner would be excited to pay to keep in that position. It is also one that has the right people in the right places and incentive plans in place to keep them there.
Also, if you are doing an internal transfer to management and/or family, where do they rank and can they perform in the process of moving from Management to Leadership to Ownership?
Most owners want to know how other businesses in their industry change hands. Some consider this the most important aspect of a future transition, i.e. knowing who is available as a future owner as well as what pricing and terms are typically used in transactions for like companies. Our Industry Activity AssessmentTM answers these questions for you by providing comparable transactions, including pricing and terms. The Industry Activity AssessmentTM further helps you determine what future owners want to see in a company that they buy, empowering you to create a Transferable BusinessTM.
Most owners want to know how their business compares to others. What are the Value Drivers that impact the value of their company? Knowing who might own your business in the future will assist you in focusing on the items that will help make your business transferrable. For example, to have a Transferable BusinessTM should you:
Creating a Transferable BusinessTM is not done over night, but years before the transfer occurs.
Everything is in place. You have grown the business, made it more valuable, have the proper team organized, have legal and tax documentation, processes are in place and the owner is identified. Now you are ready to transfer.