Qualifying Questions for Your Exit Strategist / by

How do you select an attorney? How do you select a CPA? How do you select an M&A Advisor or a banker?

For each member of your exit team you’re looking for experience, credibility, project management, confidentiality, communication, cooperation, a systematic process. That’s equally true for your exit strategist who will help you stay focused on your exit goals, explore your exit options and help you get out so you can move on to your reinvention (fka retirement).

For anyone who says they can do the exit planning piece for you, here are five core questions to make it clear to you what they will do for you.

  1. What is your specialty? What is your core business?
    Your current advisors probably do an excellent job of helping you build and grow the business, the objective when you hired them. Is their core business helping you exit or is it to fulfill some other core objectives for the company?
  2. How will you charge me for exit planning services pre and post transaction?
    If you engage your licensed expert (attorney, accountant, tax advisor, insurance broker, wealth advisor, business broker) to guide you through the exit process starting years before the transaction, how would they charge you for that new service? Would it be at the same rate as you currently pay them for their licensed expertise, or some other formula?
  3. How engaged will you be in my operational implementation and transition up to the transaction?
    You need to know if they will be telling you what to do or helping you complete those tasks to prepare the business for sale.
  4. Will you help me assess exit options and timing/tax/liquidity impact of each?
    The greater the lead-time, the more exit options you have. Will your advisor work with you 2-5 years in advance of your targeted exit to explore those options?
  5. What will you do to assist me in determining my reinvention plan and my goals and lifestyle beyond the business exit?
    You increase your likelihood of a successful and prosperous exit transaction when you have a clear reinvention plan spelled out of what’s next. Will your exit strategist assist you to explore opportunities and identify criteria, needs and goals that the business exit will allow you to achieve?

You need an exit strategist who is focused on you, your goals, your exit, your transition.

You want an exit strategist who has years of experience focused on exit planning and the strategic transition (not just the transaction).

Do your due diligence on every member of your exit team, starting with the quarterback – your exit strategist.

P.S.To avoid possible pitfalls that could potentially derail your exit transaction plans, get your team on board early. Please contact our office if you would like to discuss your objectives and timeline in confidence.

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