Around the Web: A Month in Summary

A recently published article from entitled “Why Every Business Owner Needs an Exit Strategy” outlines the importance of having an exit strategy for business owners, no matter what point they are at in running their business. The author uses an analogy involving building construction: if multiple exit options are required for each floor of a multi-story commercial building in preparation for disaster, why not plan for the same in your business?

As can be expected with most elements of a business, exit strategies will vary depending on the business and will be tailored to each specific business’s circumstances. The basics, however, include the following:

  1. Business Goals
  2. Timeframe
  3. Intentions for the Business
  4. What’s Next for the Business Owner

While some may argue against incorporating an exit strategy into a business’ initial business plan, some benefits for exit planning early on include enhanced business value and the ability to use the strategy as a blueprint for success or a flexible template for sale preparation. Whether or not an owner decides to pursue exit planning now or further down the road, these are all factors to consider.

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A recent article from Divestopedia entitled “Who is the Right Buyer for Your Business?” illustrates the thinking that should go into determining which type of buyer will fit best in the sale of a business. A single business transaction can present several different types of potential buyers, each having their own goals and motivations for buying a business. Understanding these types of buyers can help an owner make the right choice for their own personal goals as well as for the good of the business.

Some buyer types include:

  1. Defensive
  2. Synergistic
  3. International Entity
  4. Financial or Private Equity

While sometimes surprises do happen during the sale process, it is invaluable for a seller to have some knowledge and understanding of the types of buyers they will encounter during the sale process.

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A recent article posted on the Axial Forum entitled “Succession Planning — A Critical Missing Element in Many Family-Owned Businesses” outlines shocking statistics from a recent survey that shows the succession plans of U.S. family-owned businesses: only 52% plan to keep their businesses in the family! This is down a whopping 22% from only two years ago and raises some questions regarding the goals and plans owners have for their businesses after their death or retirement.

These statistics can help to reveal some important findings about the owners of family-owned businesses in this country: they often have little understanding of the fair market value of their businesses. Unfortunately, many small businesses overestimate the true value of their investment, which can come as a shock when it comes time to sell. According to the survey, less than 25% of respondents had a clear, actionable transition plan in place, while almost a third had no plan in place at all. These things alone can debilitate any seller, especially in the necessity of a quick sale.

Understanding what an effective transition plan and process entail is a great start for any business owner, especially one that falls into the category of owners without proper transition plans. These things can be better understood with the help of an M&A advisor or business consultant, who will help iron out some of the wrinkles and prepare a business for its future.

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A recent article posted on The Business Journals entitled “How to Pass a Family Business from an Overbearing Father to the Next Generation” illustrates a hypothetical example of a difficult business transition from a ruthless old-school owner to a seemingly less passionate and less aggressive family member. It explains how transitioning from an overbearing leader is often difficult because not only are potential family successors unmotivated to take over, existing employees are also alienated due to harsh and improper treatment.

The author’s solution for this is forgiveness: when it comes to business, animosity can kill motivation and productivity and revenge is never the right answer. Business survival relies on proper practice and great leadership, among many other factors, so forgoing personal grudges for a seamless transition can prove to be vital to future and ongoing success.

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