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  • cec113

Back in the Saddle Again—Now What?

Updated: Aug 25, 2020

The long-awaited reopening of the economy is upon us, and you must set your course for moving forward. This will be especially critical for members of the Baby Boom Generation, born from 1946 to 1965. Now between 54 and 74 years old, they will have less time to develop and execute their business plans than their younger counterparts. Boomer owners must get it right the first time.

Their options resemble a real-life version of Let’s Make a Deal:

Door #1 – Return to “business as usual.” But what does “business as usual” mean for you? Will it be the same as it was when the economy went dark? Were you happy with the status quo, and has the pandemic changed the way you want to work and live?

Door #2 – Develop a business plan designed to grow beyond pre-pandemic levels. This may involve identifying new strategic goals, based on the changed market environment, and aligning them with the company’s values and mission. While more proactive than aiming for the old status quo, business planning may not take your personal goals into consideration.

Door #3 – Begin Exit Planning. Exiting the business is inevitable and likely to be the largest, most important financial event of your life. Incorporate your business and personal planning into a process that will enable you to leave the business on the date of your choice, with the money you need to be financially secure, and in the hands of the successor owner(s) you choose.

Exit Planning, in reality, addresses both Doors #2 and #3, because increasing value and cash flow are fundamental to both options.

Getting Started

I use a number of tools in my Exit Planning practice, and one is the ExitMap®, which assists me in opening a conversation that can be especially difficult for Boomer owners. While they identify with their businesses more than any other generation, it’s likely that they’ll be selling to GenXers (born 1965 to 1980) or Millennials (born 1980 to 2000), who have very different values.

ExitMap enables me to help you get to the heart of the matter faster by establishing the central goals of “when, to whom, and for how much” early in the planning process.

It doesn’t require a big investment of time—just a 15-minute online questionnaire—so you can remain focused on running your business. Based on your answers, you and I receive, at no cost, a 12-page customized assessment that focuses on organizational and operational competencies, leaving the legal, tax risk and wealth management tactics needed for a profitable exit to professionals in those fields.

The assessment ranks overall preparedness for transition in the following categories:

  • Finance: understanding of business value and tax issues.

  • Planning: progress in preparing successors, emergency plans and a post-ownership vision.

  • Revenue/Profit: how business trends will appear to potential buyers and lenders.

  • Operations: readiness of employees, systems and processes for new leadership.

In addition to ranking overall readiness to exit, the assessment provides a preparedness score for each category and evaluates the difficulty of making necessary changes.

The information contained in the assessment informs my advising you on a variety of issues, including (i) establishing business and personal goals, (ii) prioritizing why, when and how to address the issues reflected by your responses to the questions in the online assessment, and (iii) selecting other professional advisors, such as tax and wealth management professionals, since an exit plan is multi-dimensional and no single advisor has all of the necessary expertise.

The Next Step

After digesting the assessment, for a modest fee, you can opt to have approximately an hour-long debriefing discussion with me, accompanied by a 40-page analysis which, among other things, expands upon the information set forth in the assessment. In the debriefing, I focus on areas which we agree should receive immediate attention, typically based on the level of difficulty and/or the estimated time to implement a recommended change.

Completing the ExitMap questionnaire and receiving the 12-page assessment will, at no cost to you, provide food for thought about the single largest financial event of your life. Opting for the debriefing and accompanying analysis will, at a low cost, enhance your understanding of where you are, where you want to be and what you need to do in order to get there. Contact me to learn more about ExitMap or complete the online questionnaire here. (Please list me as your advisor when prompted by the software to “Enter Access Code or use ExitMap .)

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