by Julie Keyes, Founder/President of KeyeStrategies, LLC
If you are a business owner between the ages of 55-75, and you have yet to begin planning for a future transition, you are among the vast majority, but don’t be fooled thinking there’s strength in those numbers. If the millions of businesses needing to transition in the next 10 years all decide to sell around the same time, what will that do to the value of your enterprise? Like all the owners I’m working with today, you may be asking “how do I differentiate my business to appeal to the right buyer?” If you know you’re going to sell outside to a third party, it’s essential for you to build a stronger company and work on increasing its value right now.
Have an Exit Plan Strategy
Nearly every owner I have ever worked with said they wanted to get top dollar for their business, yet most of them don’t have the proper strategies in place that would warrant a top dollar offer. When owners take the time to implement strategies to grow and improve, they nearly always increase the value of the company. The net result: more control over the exit outcome. For owners experiencing unforeseen triggering events (like an illness, death or disagreement among owners) with no business continuity plan run a huge risk of eliminating any option of having a successful exit. In other words, they won’t exit on their own terms. Without strategies in place for their exit and lack of a plan for steady growth and improvement, they’ll be forced to make decisions that will negatively affect their families, employees, and communities. These owners are at the mercy of whatever a buyer might be willing to risk on the business they’ve sacrificed years of their life for. No one would willingly choose that path, yet by their inaction, many owners do.
How to Make an Impact Now
So, what can you do while you still have time to make an impact on your company’s value? First, understand what drives value. Things like cash in the bank, accurate financials, consistent brand message, consistent sales supported by marketing strategy, effective leadership, documented processes and systems, a well-developed culture that supports a loyal, hardworking team of employees. Sound like paradise? It’s quite attainable. It all starts with intention and massive, immediate action. If you’re planning to sell your business in the next 5 years, now is the time. You have everything to gain and so much to lose; why would you wait any longer? Having a Certified Exit Planner work with you to achieve your best outcome will bring you great returns and peace of mind, so let’s get started!