Posts tagged with: exit team

Titles and Teamwork

Titles are important to understand the specialties, experience, and expertise advisors bring to your exit team. For exit planning, the attorneys, accountants, valuation experts, growth experts, wealth advisors on your team must be specialists in helping you cash out to achieve your goals, your dreams.

You can hire coaches to ask good questions and keep you accountable for the work to be done to plan and execute on your exit strategy.

You can hire consultants who can do many things for you: market research, competitive research, improve your sales results or reduce expenses to increase your profit margins.

It is essential to surround yourself with a team of experts who can collaborate (not compete with each other) to fulfill your goals and objectives on your terms, on your timeline.

That’s where I come in as a strategist. Sure, I bring coaching and consulting to the table, but my function extends much farther into your exit team, your organization and your reinvention.

I’m a specialist in engineering how you get the wealth out of your business. I’m an expert on preparing you, your company and your team for your exit to achieve your dreams. I’ve been hired by corporate leaders, fast-track entrepreneurs, royalty, family businesses, and multi-millionaires, among others.

You need your CFO, M&A attorney, tax attorney, insurance broker, wealth advisor, business broker/M&A/Investment Banker. You need all of them to get the deal that best serves all your goals for the team, your company and your future reinvention.  They are transaction driven and work for closure. That’s their primary focus.

In contrast, my role as an exit strategist is to prepare you the owner, your business and your team for the transaction and transition in the years leading up to that milestone event, and developing your reinvention plan so it unfolds just as smoothly after the transaction event itself.

Titles aren’t everything. The licensed experts on your exit team don’t get paid to help you maximize the value of your business before the transaction. They don’t get into the business fundamentals, the growth strategies, cleaning up the financials, contingency planning, protecting IP, employee contracts to tie the team to the company beyond your departure, succession planning, protecting and preserving your wealth goals, minimizing both your tax concerns and the company’s tax impact.

They are your trusted advisors. They will advise you to do all of the above. And for a fee, they’ll work with you on these things outside their experience and expertise. But it’s not their bailiwick. The data proves that this approach is failing you, the CEO. Only a dismal 10% of all sellers (business owner/CEOs like you) EVER close the deal, and complete the transaction in this model.

It takes 2-5 years to prepare you, your team and your business to transition to what’s next, profitably. That’s why This Way Out Group exists. This is the support, integration, and facilitation that an exit strategist from This Way Out Group provides.

If you have any questions relating to exiting your business, please email me. I’d be happy to assist in whatever way I can.

Do You Need a Full Team of Experts on Your Exit Team?

We’ve gone through a long list of experts.

I hear you saying:

But Kerri, I’ve never needed all these people before, why do I need them now, when I’m getting ready to get out of business?”

It’s a normal knee-jerk reaction to resist bringing so many people to the table. You need this full team of experts now to:

  1. Build a strong deep foundation
  2. Accelerate growth
  3. Protect all intellectual property
  4. Get all governance up to date and compliant
  5. Get the books meticulously clean ready for an audit and due diligence
  6. Maximize valuation
  7. Get all your financial advisors: your accountants, tax advisor, estate attorney and wealth advisor, on the same page – early
  8. Expand exit options
  9. Ensure the business is buyer ready
  10. Transition your role from operational to strategic demonstrating that the value is in the business, not you
  11. Prepare you, your team, your family for your exit
  12. Prepare you and your family for your reinvention
  13. Document and codify every system, strategy, process and procedure in the business.

It does cost money to exit well, but it does not cost more money.The return on your investment in your team is much greater too, when you bring a full team to the table.

The cost to you, your legacy and your family will be compounded and the possible returns reduced, if you abdicate and don’t act now.

When you surround yourself with experts to support the process, your business will be stronger, demonstrate appealing growth projections, will have a higher valuation than otherwise possible, and become buyer attractive.

As a result, you can and will be able to exit your business by intention on your terms instead of closing the doors with no monetary gain by default.

Who’s On Your Exit Team? The Rest of The Team

In addition to the legal team you need around you as you prepare and execute your exit, you also need a wide range of other experts, including a financial team, transaction team, and other advisors, consultants, and experts to complete the sale and your transition to reinvention. Here’s the rest of the scope of expertise you want to assist you through this process.

Financial Experts

Business CPA – You need your business accountants putting the books in order for valuation and in a form that is buyer attractive, showing off the business in the best light.

Personal CPA – You need your personal accountant to focus on your own accounts, or accounts to be set up prior to the exit transaction.

Chief Financial Officer – Even if you’ve never had anyone in this role, you need a chief financial officer looking at the strategic financial impact of every marketing, financing, or growth decision leading up to your optimal exit option. Your CFO can bring valuable advice, expertise and insight to the process leading up to your exit. In addition, just by having a seasoned professional in the role adds value to the business that is appealing to prospective buyers.

Tax Advisor – You need your personal tax advisor to be an integral player in the discussions of your exit options to voice the tax impact on you of each choice and protect your long-term best interests.

Wealth Advisor – Your wealth advisor can help you fulfill your ultimate goals, live the lifestyle of your dreams, and leave a legacy and a dynasty. They can offer the best advice and opportunities if you include them in the discussions early – before you’ve made your exit choices. They can set up accounts in advance ready for you to utilize to maximum advantage at exit.

Transaction Experts

Depending on the size of your business, the type of business and the type of sale you are pursuing, you will want to use different transaction experts. They bring experience, connections, process and negotiating skills to the exit transaction that are irreplaceable for a successful exit.

Business Broker – A business broker assists buyers and sellers of privately held small businesses in the buying and selling process. They will value the business, advertise it for sale, interface with initial buyer inquiries and interviews, discussions, and negotiations. They facilitate due diligence and generally assist with the sale of the business.

M&A Advisors – Mergers and acquisitions is a specialized field of corporate strategy, finance and management dealing with the buying, selling, dividing and combining of different companies to help an entity grow rapidly in some way. M&A advisors, as a sub-niche of investment bankers, do not provide financing.

Investment Bankers – If your business is large enough and the exit transaction is large enough or complex, you may need to work with an investment banker. Investment banks assist in raising capital or acting as your agent to issue securities.

Others

Business Partners – Your partners, whether they are currently active or silent in the business, must be part of the exit planning discussions. Your final plan must consider their concerns and or they can destroy your whole exit.

Life Partners/Spouse/Family – Your business exit and your reinvention plans affect them too. Your exit must take these people into consideration too.

Exit Strategist – You need someone focused on the strategic side of planning, systematizing, growing the business , someone who will help prepare you to move into a more strategic role tell sell well and someone who will help you explore and prepare for your exit and reinvention. You need an exit strategist who works with you on all levels through the whole process, who can coordinate and facilitate your entire exit experts team.

Marketing Consultants – You may want to bring in other experts to maximize the value of the business to the buyer

Staffing Consultant – You may want to hire in key players/successors to make the business more attractive to the buyer

HR Consultant – An Human Resources consultant can help you formalize your corporate culture and tie your team to the company, beyond your exit to secure their future with the company under the new owner.

Who’s On Your Exit Team? Yes Attorneys

Whether you currently surround yourself with a strong team of advisors or not, when you start planning your exit, they are essential to every goal you want to achieve in this exit transaction.

Meet The Team Members You Need to Achieve Your Exit to Reinvention

Most business owners are not prepared to exit their own business. More than likely, that includes you.  It’s not your fault. No one taught you. No one showed you how to prepare for your exit. In fact, no one is really talking about any other parameter of your business except income.

Are you in business to produce income to pay yourself, or enough to cover payroll? Or are you in business to make a profit? If you intend your business to make a profit, that means you expect to monetize the business at some point to produce the wealth you need for your reinvention.

When you decide you are ready and committed to an exit strategy, only then can your exit transaction team go to work on your behalf.

You’re familiar with the phrase “It takes a village to raise a child”. The analogy fits your exit planning well. It takes a team to exit your business successfully.

Here’s a brief list of the legal experts you must consider for your exit team and their possible contributions. We’ll continue the list of expert advisors tomorrow.

Attorneys

Until now, most likely, one attorney was enough. For your exit, you want to raise the bar and engage very precise experts.

IP Attorney – You want an intellectual property attorney to help you identify, document and protect the unique ideas, processes, products and services you provide. Your IP attorney is a powerful expert resource to help you recognize and protect the real value in your business in the form of copyrights, trademarks, patents and other forms.

Business Attorney – Your business attorney is an expert on business and commercial transactions. This person or team understands corporate contracts, hiring practices, and negotiations as well U.S. and state specific commercial law.

Governance Attorney – Your corporate governance is a system of structuring, operating and controlling the company with a view to achieve long-term strategic goals that satisfy all stakeholders, and comply with all legal and regulatory requirements. To be buyer ready, you need a legal team to review, update or correct and document your corporate governance practices, processes, customs, policies, laws and institutions including the relationships among stakeholders such as shareholders, board of directors, employees, customers, creditors, suppliers and the community. According to Gabrielle O’Donovan, in A Board Culture of Corporate Governance, says: “the perceived quality of a company’s corporate governance can influence its share price as well as the cost of raising capital.” Your corporate governance is a system of structuring, operating and controlling the company with a view to achieve long-term strategic goals that satisfy all stakeholders, and comply with all legal and regulatory requirements.

Personal Attorney – You must bring your own personal attorney into the exit transaction to protect your own interests.  You are this attorney’s client. YOU hire this attorney to watch out for your best interests through the exit process. The business hired the business attorney to protect the business’ interests, not yours. He/she cannot adequately serve in both roles.

Estate Attorney – You need your estate attorney to be an integral player in the discussions of your exit options to voice the legal impact on your estate of each choice and protect your long-term best interests.

You Can’t Go To School to Learn This Stuff

Schools just don’t teach this stuff, especially for private businesses. They focus on starting and running a strong profitable business, not how you’ll get out or how you’ll get your money out.

Most business owners only go through the exit experience once in a lifetime. They have no experience or hindsight to draw from to do this right.

There is only limited primary reference material available to teach CEOs how to plan and manage the business exit. The anecdotal lessons from CEOs’ personal exits reinforce the difficulties of exiting on your terms and on your timeline.

Comprehensive early exit strategy support is in short supply. Effectively executing your exit strategy requires collaborative teamwork from and with your expert advisors. You need to own the exit process as your top priority. An exit strategist can become your most trusted strategic advisor to achieve that end.

An entrepreneur who tries to continue running the company operationally and prepare the company for their profitable exit will do neither well. When you build an expert team, you can plan your exit to achieve your ultimate goal.

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