Curt Feldman on Exit This Way™ / by Kerri
A Right Brain Perspective From A Left Brain Accountant
Curt Feldman is a CPA and Partner in charge of the Framingham office of Shephert & Goldstein, a CPA and business consulting firm. Curt applies his passion and commitment to helping his clients achieve their business and personal financial goals. He has also obtained his investment advisory and insurance licenses.
Curt balances his professional dedication with a strong community focus. He is currently the Treasurer for the Metrowest English as a Second Language organization (MWESL). He is also an active participant with Interise, an organization dedicated to assisting small business owners developing their companies.
Curt speaks regularly on tax, accounting and business issues facing small business owners, business development and customer service strategies. He has also authored numerous articles on business development, tax and accounting issues.
Curt is a graduate of Boston University School of Management, Summa Cum Laude with a BS degree in Accounting, He is a member of the American Institute and Massachusetts Society of CPA’s.
Underlying facts about private business owners
Curt started with some underlying facts about private business owners. As much as owners recognize the importance of protecting their business, they spend the majority of their time working in their business and not on their business:
- 90% of their wealth is tied up in the value of the business, which is a very illiquid asset.
- 80% of private business owners are not actively trying to increase the value of their business.
- The average entrepreneur spends about 80,000 hours working in their business but they only spend about 6 hours planning for any transition.
Curt offered one explanation of why this is, planning for the exit from your business, is not natural for a business owner, something they may only do one time in their life. It’s a scary thought, so it’s easier to just work in the business day-to-day and ‘hope’ for the best.
Common thoughts business owners have before they decide to sell
Curt sees common threads among owners before they decide to sell their business. Typically, they start talking about working less. And when you ask when they’d like to sell – they always say 5 more years – no matter when you ask.
- They don’t know the value of their business
- They don’t know what they need to plan for the sale
- They don’t know how much savings they need to accumulate to pay for the next phase of their lives
- They don’t know how to increase the value of their business
- They don’t know the process of how they’ll ‘get out’
- They should be concerned that (if) the business is too dependent on them – which decreases the value of a business
- They don’t know where to start, they are frozen in fear, and wind up not doing anything.
When do you know it’s the right time to sell?
Ideally, you want to sell at the peak of your business value. But who really knows when that is. As Curt says, that’s a fleeting moment in time and only in hindsight do you really know the answer.
Look at your personal situation and your business’ lifecycle. Curt used the example of the driverless car – how could that impact your business? He recommends looking ahead to the impact of such systemic changes on your product or services. Roadside services for truckers will be impacted when the trucks will be driverless. Taxis are being impacted by Uber and Lyft. So timing is important to get out of a particular business based on what you see is the future of that business, and the economics of that industry.
Curt explained how essential it is for owners to look at the macro economic factors surrounding your business, in addition to being attentive to the internal micro economic factors you face every day.
Additional topics Curt discussed in this invaluable interview:
- The need for strategic planning for the business owner who will be selling their business.
- Some of the emotional obstacles business owners face before deciding to sell their business?
- Some consequences of not planning for a sale.
- Some benefits of proper advance planning
- Recommended transition planning steps
- Key personal things a business owner should consider before selling
- How do you determine the value of the business
- What are important factors in increasing the risks in the business and lowering the value
- Tax considerations of selling your business – stock or asset sale
- Transition strategy objectives and timeline
Listen to Curt’s full interview here.