If you are thinking of exiting or slowing down over the next 3-5 years, you should. Exit strategy advisors come in two broad categories – technical, and leadership or soft skill advisors. Both are critical in order for you to get the best results possible.
Technical advisors include your lawyer, accountant, financial advisor, business valuation professionals, banker, business broker and insurance agent. While it’s a good idea to get these professionals involved at the early stage for preliminary advice, the bulk of their work will likely take place closer to the time you actually sell the business. For the most part, these folks will help you to save money.
Leadership/soft skills advisors can also help to save money, but their focus is leveraging what you’ve got in order to make you money. They are more focused on what happens between now and the time you sell.
- Sales trainers help your team sell more and increase revenues. Ideally, you want to show sales growth over at least three years prior to selling. Good quality professional sales training will help achieve that and should pay for itself before the training is even finished.
- Leadership trainers and coaches build capacity and strength. Increasing capacity in your leadership team has many advantages:
- It helps managers deal with performance issues and the myriad of challenges that they face today.
- It helps you, as the owner, to achieve better results.
- It focuses leaders on what’s important and frees you to invest time preparing the business for sale.
- HR consultants clarify the roles and responsibilities of your employees, minimizing unnecessary overlap or gaps, updating policies and procedures, providing guidance about hiring and firing.
- Family business advisors help to untangle the emotions, family traditions, and expectations from the business. This enables the owner to make more rational decisions that are in the best interest of both the family and the business.
It is a good strategy to mobilize your team early in the process. Sometimes what you do not know can get you into trouble; and if you are aware early, trouble can be easily avoided. Some changes simply take time. In order to have at least three years of increasing revenue, you need to start three or four years before your target date for sale. Building your leadership team and reducing the company’s dependence on you doesn’t happen overnight. Make a decision today. Get the ball rolling. Pick up the phone today and talk to someone on your advisor list.