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Exiting Your Business Gracefully

It is always an emotional time selling a company you founded and supported over the years. Suppliers and customers will question how you are going to transition and whether big changes are coming to the way business has been done. Your reputation will be at stake.

Many questions come up about the sale structure, tax consequences and also whether the new management would continue building the business so that the brand can live on.


First and foremost, you have to protect your family. Talking to a wealth manager as early as possible is important and will help you to structure your estate the best way possible.


Hiring business advisors is also important as they would be a bridge between you and the buyers. You still need to run the business even though a transition is coming. An advisor will help you build marketing materials and properly structure a selling process that benefits you the most.


Lastly, you need to select who you will be transitioning the business to. Most likely an advisor will suggest the most financially favorable outcome. Although the highest bidder is an easier and faster answer, you as the founder and operator know that it is not that simple… Remember, your reputation is at stake.


First and foremost, you have to protect your family. Talking to a wealth manager as early as possible is important and will help you structure your estate the best way possible.

This is the time to think about quality attributes of the buyer. There are FOUR main factors to consider:


1. INDUSTRY & OPERATIONS EXPERIENCE – Working with a buyer who invested in and worked in the industry is a safety check making sure the right decisions will be made


2. STRATEGY & TACTICS – Ask the buyer what their 5 to 7-year plans are and how would they go about it.


3. PERSONALITY AND CHARACTER – I’ve added these above <track record> as you would want the buyer to be a partner to the remaining management and employees, treat them with respect and provide growth opportunities. Much of running a business is how we interact with each other, how we handle tough situations, and keeping the campfire going.


4. TRACK RECORD – A relevant industry track record speaks for itself. Ask a buyer to provide examples of how tough situations were handled and what resolutions followed.


Selling the business isn’t easy, and much consideration needs to be given to all of the above and more! Always keep in mind who the buyers are, industry experience, growth and operations strategy and relevant track record.

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