The Factors that Shape Your Succession and Exit Transition Plan

Preparing your exit transition plan from your business takes a great deal of forethought, analysis, and often outside expert counsel. Business owners often underestimate the time involved in the succession planning process, and because of that, the intention to ‘retire in a few years’ gets passed by. What’s needed is a clear business exit strategy, with defined goals at specific junctures. 

Preparing your business exit transition plan is essentially creating the plan for finalizing your official status with the business, and wrapping up your full involvement in the company.

Once you fully commit to this strategy, you will see yourself starting to make different decisions around the company’s operation. 

You may start to delegate more of the nuts and bolts of operational aspects to others in the company. You may step back from hand-holding certain clients. You may inspire others to create new products to carry the company forward after you leave the firm. You may start to consider the aspects of selling your business at a high valuation

It is 2021. Over 50% of baby boomer business owners are 64 or older, and three-quarters or more of their wealth is tied to their businesses. According to the Exit Planning Institute, about half of these business owners are looking to exit from their businesses in the next five years.  

If you are over 65 and thinking of your transition into retirement in five years, the time is now to start planning a transition exit plan. It will take this amount of time to analyze all the different aspects of a successful transition. 

The Key Factors in a Succession and Exit Transition Plan

Some of the key factors involved in a successful business exit transition plan involve knowing the answers to a set of personal and business questions. 

First, there are personal questions that should be thought through and answered:

  • Where are you in your life plan? What’s Next? In 5 yrs? and 10 yrs? 
  • Do you have the right people in place to continue the legacy of your business? 

  • What retirement wealth plans need to be fulfilled in a transition?

There are business transition questions, like:

  • What are my options for transitioning the business? Who is the right next leader?

  • What is the business worth today? How does this fulfill your retirement plans?

  • How does one prepare a business for an exit transition plan? 

Your age may be another consideration. You’ve heard baby boomers say “Age is just a way of keeping score” and similar phrases. And it’s true. Your energy, ideas, vitality, and enthusiasm for your business count for a lot more than the number on your driver’s license. It’s crucial to determine the answers to these questions when determining your next steps. 

The Timing Advantage

The stock market is strong. Your business revenues are up. You ask yourself, “Can it last forever?” To those of us who aren’t Jeff Bezos, the answer is no, it can’t. That’s why keep abreast of market conditions for a potential transition or sale should be top of mind for business owners.

A 2018 UBS Bank report on business ownership found that more than 40% of business owners expected to leave their business in the following five years. The pandemic of 2020 may have hastened the plans for some of them. But as these business owners are getting close to retirement age, they are feeling the pulse for a new chapter in their life.  

But selling the business in the right market with strong financial headwinds is important to them too. The report found that among the business owners who were considering an exit, more than half of them planned to sell their businesses, and another 20% hoped to leave the business to family members. Less than 20% planned to close the business and another 10% were unsure of their plans. 

If you have been building growing value and revenues in your business, and you’re looking ahead to that next phase in your life, then it’s time to look at succession planning. Succession planning is a good business strategy for always being ready for what’s next! 

Financial Targets

You may have certain stock option plans that kick in at a certain age. Your revenue targets may be on track for a successful windfall. These are the factors that can shape your exit strategy and determine your next steps in moving away from the business and handing it off to your management team. 

Freedom for the Future

Many business owners, when in their later ages, on the back nine, start to feel the tug of a more restful lifestyle, warmer climates, or perhaps a full change of life into retirement. To those, this is a certain type of freedom.  Age plays a large part in these feelings. Your body may be slowing down, and you find you are a little less tolerant of the stresses or the daily fires of a business.  

Planning for Success 

A successful transition means preparing the person and the business for a transition in leadership and/or ownership. If a sale is part of the transition plan, a well-organized business transition strategy becomes an asset, often adding higher value to the selling price and greatly reducing risk for the buyer. This increase in value adds greater wealth to retirement accounts reduces the time to transition a business to the right buyer, and creates more sustainable businesses to carry on the legacies of the founders.   

If you are a CEO or founder of a successful business and are beginning to think about your personal and business exit transition plan, then call us at Value Growth Partners.  We would be happy to share best practices to assist you in developing your unique personal and business transition strategy. Call us at (312) 525-8382 or learn more on our website.

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