In the BEI Seven Step Exit Planning Process, the crucial first task is to determine an owner’s post-exit objectives. The value-based goals that a business owner seeks at the time of their transition is ultimately what shapes and guides the comprehensive Exit Plan.
During this stage, we often suggest that advisors pose the question: “What’s next?”
Encouraging business owners to look past the day-to-day reality they have been living since the inception of their business is no small feat. However, it is crucial to engage in discussions regarding your clients’ desired lifestyle post-exit in order to determine the necessary steps for achieving their goals.
For some owners, they just want to be able to live a financially sustainable lifestyle and spend more time with their grandkids. For others, they want to leave an impactful legacy within their community or take on a new business venture. As you’ve spent countless conversations asking clients what their next great adventure entails, have you flipped the script and asked yourself the same question?
Can Exit Planning be your next great adventure?
Considering Exit Planning Services
Exit Planning is a learned skill set requiring training and many years of continued education. This means that those who are introduced to Exit Planning have likely spent many years in another profession or speciality. At BEI, we hear from various professional advisors such as CPAs, attorneys, financial advisors, business consultants, and others who seek a change of pace or a way to differentiate their practice.
We’ve also heard from business owners themselves who have their own stories and experiences exiting their businesses who wish they had more Exit Planning knowledge at the the time of their own business exit.
Whether you are looking to broaden your core services, stand out from competitors, or to help owners avoid the mistakes you have made, there are several reasons why Exit Planning could be the perfect fit for you. Exit Planning is about creating and maximizing value in a business to be sold for the highest sale price. It’s separate from retirement or succession planning, and many business owners – 80% according to the 2022 BEI Business Owner Survey – lack a formal, written Exit Plan.
Exit Planning presents a huge opportunity in an expanding market, making it a valuable addition to your career. However, as with any new venture, it’s important to consider the risks and rewards. Below, we’ve outlined four considerations BEI views as rewards to Exit Planning and how you can make this venture worthwhile.
According to Forbes, “Authority positioning is one of the top ways in modern marketing to build recognition for yourself, your company, and your brand.” Using authority positioning tactics allows you to show off your expertise to both current customers and the prospects you are working to convert.
While there are several ways to establish authority and credibility, Exit Planning expertise can be highlighted in a variety of ways. Due to the sheer amount of time invested to become an Exit Planning Advisor, it’s an accomplishment worth highlighting.
One way to get started with authority positioning is to write content that focuses on Exit Planning for business owners. Whether in the form of blogs, social media, e-newsletters, videos, or something else, you will show potential clients that you have the knowledge and expertise to help them with their Exit Planning needs.
To further establish your authority in Exit Planning, consider hosting webinars or giving talks sharing your expertise. Sharing your knowledge, whether by presentation, podcast, or in writing, helps further your status as an expert in Exit Planning.
Be the Quarterback vs. the Coach
For professional advisors who particularly enjoy the “personal” side of business, Exit Planning may be just the addition you need to mix up your work routine. The comprehensive nature of Exit Planning requires that the advisors take more of a quarterback role as opposed to a coach.
While there are certainly many instances that will require you to step in and provide resources and knowledge based on your background, you will also manage the creation and execution of the Exit Plan. Further, it will be up to the Exit Planning Advisor to manage the Advisor Team and take that pressure off of business owners.
For a few professionals, transitioning from a specialist to a more generalized role and assuming the added responsibility of managing tasks and advisors in an Exit Plan can be a significant change of pace.
Increased Revenue & Clients
Don’t let the thought of Exit Planning being time-consuming deter you as an advisor. You may be pleasantly surprised by how it can be integrated into your current work easily. No matter your area of specialization, with the right strategies and tools, Exit Planning can bring significant added value to your services.
Similar to authority positioning, credibility can go a long way when it comes to securing a new client or obtaining a referral. While building a credible reputation may take time, once clients and peers recognize you as an Exit Planning expert, doors begin to open.
Stand Out Among Competitors
In a saturated business market, owners have a lot of options on who to hire to help them with their needs. Exit Planning is oftentimes a need that owners aren’t even aware of yet or don’t know how to get started. Owners may start with a narrow lens, which means they’ll rely on education and recommendations from trusted sources about what Exit Planning is and why it’s important for them and their business.
While adding Exit Planning services to your practice might not be enough to differentiate on its own, finding new and innovative ways to market this service can be an advantageous opportunity for you as an advisor.
The Bottom Line
It’s likely that in your professional life as an advisor, you are used to focusing on your clients and what their “next great adventure” is. However, it’s worth considering how you can enhance your professional life by becoming a Certified Exit Planning Advisor.