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Strategic Exit Planning – a 5 year project

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Strategic Exit Planning – a 5 year project

By , August 23, 2010

There has been much recent talk of the ageing population and with it naturally comes the ageing of business owners. This has led to a dramatic increase in those seeking to exit their businesses both now and over the next 12 years. What is important to realise for business owners is that business succession planning is not about leaving it until the last possible moment and then determining the most suitable exit. I had a great discussion at a seminar last week about the fact that professional investors (private equity firms, angel investors and venture capital firms) all require detailed information about the exit strategy before they enter the investment. As amateur investors ( small business owners) we are often so concerned about the entry – funding, IT, personnel, premises, set up, marketing etc. etc. that we don’t have time to properly plan to the exit. What is vitally important therefore is that as we start to prepare for an exit we allow sufficient planning time to design the most suitable strategy and more importantly to allow us time to implement the succession plan properly.
We are seeing a number of business owners where the amount they require for retirement is dramatically more than the real value of their business either because they’ve never had the business value determined or because their own expectations of value are quite different – the solution is simple – time.

We are currently working with a number of clients where we have a 5 to 7 year exit horizon – this allows us to strategically design the most appropriate exit strategy and more importantly introduce a succession planning coach who will manage the implementation of that strategy over an extended period to ensure the owner can exit the business extracting the value they actually need and deserve. Business owners who wait until they are 64 years and 9 months old and simply list the business for sale through a business broker or in the Sydney Morning Herald will never extract the value they potentially should or could if the exit had been strategically planned properly.

To ensure you maximise your exit value as part of any business succession or exit plan – ensure you start the process at least five years before you expect to exit.

Craig West

Craig West

Managing Director | Succession Plus

Craig West is a strategic accountant who has over 20 years’ experience advising business owners. His background as a CPA in public practice, provided invaluable experience in the key issues of concern to business owners. Following 6 years of study to gain two masters degrees, Craig focused on Capital Gains Tax (CGT) for business sales advising on strategic management of tax issues. This experience formed a very strong view that business owners (and often their advisers) were unprepared and unaware of the steps required to prepare a business for exit.

Craig now acts as a strategic mentor for mid-market business owners and has written four critically acclaimed books on employee incentives, succession planning, asset protection and exit strategies. Craig has conducted numerous seminars and keynote presentations throughout Australia & internationally, including adviser education programs for the Institute of Chartered Accountants and CPA Australia.