ALL Businesses Need an EXIT Strategy

To suddenly realize you are at the point of wanting to exit your business, without really taking the time to prepare for the sale can be a huge and costly mistake. ALL businesses regardless of their size or type must have a competent EXIT STRATEGY! Some successful entrepreneurs choose their business carefully and plan an exit strategy from day one so when it is time to sell their business, they can make a profit.

Here are 14 various options to operate a business until the end:

1. Pass the business on to a family member

Did you know that more than 65% of family owned businesses do not survive to the second generation? This is why planning ahead is very instrumental. Family members are good starting point when you are looking for potential successors. To consider family in an exit strategy, make sure all intra-familial jealousies and rivalries are resolved since these will undermine any smooth transition and ensure the eventual demise of the company. Don’t just look into your immediate family, choose the best candidate regardless.

2. Sell the business to a partner

A partner typically knows the business the best and will most likely continue to grow and operate the business. When choosing this option, you may have to be flexible with your terms and in some cases even carry seller financing. This should not scare you since you believe in your business and your partner’s ability to continue operating the business successfully.

3. Merge with another company

Rather than selling your business entirely, there is always a possibility of merging with another company in the same business (Horizontal approach) or with your supplier or competitor (Vertical approach).

4. Sell the business to your employee

A current employee knows the business and more likely to preserve the business. To prepare for this, you may start selling shares in your company to your employees. One advantage of this is that regardless of number of shares you sell, you can still run the company as long as you desire even if you are no longer a majority shareholder. There are also tax benefits with this option, since you can defer capital gain taxes if you sell at least 30%.

5. Sell the business to a competitor

This might sound terrifying but when it’s time to sell, selling to a rival might be the best option since they are in the same industry and are aware of the growth potential of your business.

6. Take the business public

Offering company stock to the public is certainly a great wait to raise capital. Your business may need some reorganization before going public.

7. Sell to a qualified buyer

Having a qualified, able, ready and willing buyer who has prior employment or managerial experience is essential to a successful sale. A knowledgeable Business Broker can be invaluable in this process.

8. Sell to your trusted friend

A trusted friend similar to a family member has known you for years and appreciates the time and effort you have put into growing this business and would like to see its continued success and growth.

9. Sell your business to your accountant or lawyer

Both your accountant and lawyer are aware of true facts and figures and assets about the company and can put together a fair deal.

10. Sell your company assets

Rather than selling your business entirely, you may want to restructure and sell portions of your business and its assets.

11. Give your business to a charity and take a tax write-off

This will give you a great degree of personal satisfaction. Please consult with a financial advisor prior to choosing this option to ensure no negative fall-outs.

12. Run the business until the end

If you choose this option you are allowing fate to decide when you should quit.

13. Take a loss on your investment

In some cases, taking a loss on your business and letting it go bankrupt might be the best option.

14. Take on an advisory role

Consider a merger or acquisition that will allow you as the owner of the business to take an advisory role to ensure a smooth transition to a new buyer. Advisory roles offer a company owner a way to exit gracefully when it’s time to retire or due to a sudden illness.

Regardless of which option you choose, never simply just close the doors and walk away. Just remember that even if your company is losing money, YOU CAN STILL SELL YOUR BUSINESS AND MAKE A PROFIT!!!

For additional information, please contact Azi Manoussi, Business Broker at Prudens Business Advisors 310.622.8777 or [email protected]