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Selling a business you have built over a lifetime or divesting a business unit that is no longer core to the parent companies strategy is a momentous decision.  We've been advising sellers for over 30 years and have developed a seven-step program to help maximize the value and more importantly minimize disruptions to the business and the people who work there.

  1. Defining an Exit:  Exiting is a process, not an event.  There are different ways of doing the deal depending on who the buyer can be.  Initially, you'll want a business valuation reference point.  Alternative strategies need to be identified and a written-plan prepared and finally, you may want to select an advisor.  No single advisor is an expert in all aspects.

  2. Setting Goals:  Are you looking to maximize the after-tax wealth extracted from the business immediately upon the sale?  Are you looking to preserve a legacy?  Do you have family and friends in the business whom you would like to protect?  Do you want to stay involved in an operating or advisory role?  We can help you establish clear goals for an Exit.

  3. Selecting a Team:  An M&A Advisor can be a specialty firm with expertise in your industry, a major-bracket investment banking firm with global coverage, a business-broker, or a trusted legal or professional Accounting firm.  The team should include the necessary knowledge, skills, and experience in Mergers & Acquisitions, Corporate Law, Taxation, and Financial Planning/Wealth Management.

  4. Writing the Plan:  You can't always time your exit, there is no "right time" or "best time."  Your advisor should collaborate with you to prepare a written Exit Plan incorporating a valuation, statement of goals and objectives, and a review of strategies (options) for realizing the goal and achieving your objective.

  5. Reconciling Goals and Options:  Maximizing value may require you to stay with the business or guarantee contracts for a period of time.  But "money isn't everything," you may want to sell to management or a friendly competitor to avoid a "close and move" which could make you a pariah in your community.  

  6. Positioning Strategies:  What can you do today to better position the business for sale?  Would a "Business Value Enhancement" strategy implemented over a year or two result in a higher return?  Because of the multiplier effect built into earnings-based valuations, a $1m earnings improvement may increase the valuation by, say, $5m.

  7. Exit Strategies:  Your advisor should prepare a comprehensive analysis of options for the corporation including sale, recapitalization, merger, transfer, or gift.  For the sale of the business, partners, competitors, strategic buyers, financial buyers, international buyers, or ESOP options all need to be documented.


A compass is an instrument used for navigation and orientation that shows direction relative to the geographic cardinal directions. Smooth sailing requires a steady hand on the wheel and good navigation. Our experienced team of advisors can help plot a course for you and your business.

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