Succession Planning –
arranging an orderly exit
Start early – 5 year time horizon
Getting out takes a lot of thought – and a lot of time! Everything will take longer than you think and lots of obstacles will come up. There is one clear message – start early!
First stop is to work out what you want. How do you wish to exit and when? Do you want (or need) any ongoing involvement? There’s lots of emotion to consider as you effectively consider “chopping off your left arm”!
Trade sale, MBO, IPO or family succession?
What will be the likely mode of exit from the business: partial or progressive sale, full sale, keep it in the family and hand over to the kids, sell to a competitor, sell to the public…..so many options to consider.
Reducing reliance on you
A vital part of any planned exit from the business is to reduce reliance on you. Too often businesses are heavily reliant on the personal effort (physical and mental) of the owner or founder. Your business will ultimately only be saleable, if it doesn’t rely on you!
Maximise potential value
The ultimate value in any business is dependent on its profitability, saleability and transferability! The exit plan must focus on providing a good ROI for a purchaser, offering a business that has a strong market position and is scaleable, and which has a robust management and governance structure.
Think like a buyer
An important part of the exit process is to look at your business through the eyes of a buyer. Just as you would detail your car or de-clutter your house prior to sale, you need to “spring clean” and tidy up all aspects of the business. The less dents and blemishes – the better your sale price.
Establish a sale preparation plan
An orderly approach is paramount. Layout an exit plan with an appropriate time line, the major milestones to be achieved in terms of the matters outlined above and the timing of approaches to potential purchasers.
Act with focus and urgency
Once your exit plan has been mapped out – get on with it. Stay focused on the plan and make sure that those from your team who are involved, do the same. Again – it will all take longer than you think so act with urgency in keeping it all going.
Engage expert assistance to help manage the process
Don’t try to do it all on your own. This is most likely “unexplored territory” so you should consider your “team of experts” who can guide and assist with the process, to help ensure its success.
The right outcome will be well worth it!