The Top 10 Tips Of A Winning Business Exit Strategy

A good friend and client once opined to me that: “If it weren’t for his employees and customers – he would really enjoy his Family business!”  Yes – employees and customers; products and services; research and marketing; compliance and quality control; financing and cash flow are but some of many issues constantly facing the Family Business. But the discipline to establish from the outset steps to accommodate the ultimate objective: the building of value will literally pay huge future dividends. Here are 10 for your consideration:


#1) Run your business with a firm eye on the exit. A sudden shift in marketplace conditions; loss of key people; customers: death; critical illness or disability; an offer to purchase; all or any may come suddenly and control the timing of your exit and diminish the return on your investment


#2) Make and document a plan


#3) Assemble a good advisory team


#4) Know “when” and the answer to “why” you want to exit


#5) Know how your business fits into your overall financial plan


#6) Determine and manage a realistic value of what you have to sell as price is the largest impediment to the sale of a business


#7) Determine your succession plan: and the case for and against a partner, employee, competitor, customer, supplier, investor, family member?


#8) Enhance the value of your business’s profitability, cash flow, sustainability, durability, predictable measurability, growth opportunity, finance- ability, goodwill.


#9) Anticipate: correct tax planning; understand how EBITID impacts value; ensure proper financing and the right relationships throughout every facet of the business,


#10) Prepare yourself: avoid founder’s syndrome; recognize the correct circumstances for exit; prepare your successor(s).


Excerpted with acknowledgement and appreciation from Phil Thompson, Business Lawyer & Corporate Counsel.


Brian Etherington is the Chairman at Etherington Generations; a risk management firm that specializes in family life insurance and estate planning. He was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada in 2004 and a recipient of The Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002 for community service, as well as The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012. He is a Founding Chair of the Special Olympics Canada Foundation  and a chair on the advisory council for the 2019 International Youth Games presented by Special Olympics Ontario.