How to Grow Your Practice Using Advanced Trust Planning

Register for an upcoming BEI webinar with Strategic Alliance, Business & Legal Advisors, hosted by esteemed guest and founder, Stuart H. Sorkin. Sorkin's unique background and 40+ years of experience in the industry has allowed him to assist owners and advisors with overcoming the complexities of pairing their personal and financial goals with the appropriate growth or exit strategy. 

Exit Planning like a Pro: Process, Priorities & Timelines

Join us for a brand-new webinar with the CEO of BEI, Jared Johnson, and special guest, Fletcher Brown, for an interview-style presentation that dives deep into a proven Exit Planning Process, from beginning to end. Fletcher will talk through his experience working alongside advisors, for advisors, and directly with business owners that ultimately led to a proven process for the discovery and engagement, plan design, and implementation phases.  

Exit Planning Process: Overcoming Fee Apprehension

Fri, 03/24/2023 - 08:00

Written by: JDewing2


Check this month's promotions!

You nailed the Discovery Meeting and breezed through the Engagement Meeting with your client. 

Now it’s time to discuss fees. 

As a financial or business advisor, you must be prepared for the inevitable question, "How much will this cost me?" Simply quoting a price will not suffice. You need to set the stage for the conversation by explaining the value and benefits of Exit Planning. 

Before we dive in, be sure to check out the first two blogs in this series: The Discovery Meeting  and The Engagement Meeting are essential to the Exit Planning Process!

Benefits of an Exit Plan

An Exit Plan is not just about selling the business for the highest price possible. It’s about creating a roadmap for the future of the business, its employees, and its owner. An Exit Plan helps business owners: 

  • Identify their goals, objectives, and concerns, and then develop a strategy to achieve those goals while minimizing risks.
  • Create a sustainable business that can continue to operate even without them. 
  • Create a succession plan, which ensures that the business continues to thrive even after the owner retires or leaves.
  • Maximize the value of their business. By identifying the business's strengths and weaknesses, an Exit Plan helps the owner create a strategy to maximize the business's value, making it more attractive to potential buyers or investors.
  • Protect their assets and reduce risks. By creating a comprehensive estate plan, business owners can ensure that their assets are protected and passed down to their heirs without any issues. 
  • Identify potential risks and develop strategies to mitigate them, ensuring the long-term success of the business.

Overcoming Advisor Apprehension

One of the major concerns that advisors have when it comes to Exit Planning is naming the price. Charging $2,500 for a financial plan, estate plan, or a tax return is one thing, but asking for $10,000 to $50,000 for an Exit Plan can be quite intimidating for both the advisor and the business owner.

It’s understandable why advisors might be apprehensive about quoting value-based fees when they’ve never done it before. Moreover, newly minted advisors might expect business owners to be shocked at the price, making them even more apprehensive.

However, it is essential to remember that creating an Exit Plan is a complex and time-consuming process that requires a lot of expertise, knowledge, and experience. It is not just about filling out forms or providing generic advice. Instead, it involves a deep understanding of the business, its owner's goals, and the current market conditions.

Therefore, charging a premium for such a service is justifiable. Properly explain to the business owner that the benefits of planning far outweigh the costs. Advisors must help their clients understand that the financial and emotional rewards that they will receive from an Exit Plan far exceed the fees for creating one.

Pricing Strategies

There are a number of different pricing strategies that you can use when quoting the price of an Exit Plan. Determining a fee structure will depend on the owner's unique situation and needs. Let's take a closer look at some of these pricing strategies.

Exit Planning Advisors use different strategies to offer their services to business owners: 

  • The All-In Strategy quotes a single price for expertise, advice, and counsel for plans costing $3,000 or less. 
  • The 50/50 Strategy requires 50% of the fee upfront for plans costing between $7,500 to $12,500. 
  • The Monthly-Retainer Strategy involves small monthly payments for a specified period, usually one year.
  • The Phased Exit Plan Strategy breaks down the planning process into manageable stages. 
  • The Hourly Pricing Strategy is not recommended for Exit Planning since pricing based on the overall value of the plan helps owners understand its true cost and benefits.


For a more in depth overview of various pricing strategies, check out our blog post: Exit Planning Fees: Strategies and Tips for Advisors!

The Bottom Line

Creating an Exit Plan is a vital process for any business owner looking to retire or transition out of their business. While the cost of an Exit Plan might seem hefty, the benefits that business owners will receive far outweigh the costs.

Advisors must understand that charging a premium for such a service is justifiable, given the complex and time-consuming nature of the process. Moreover, advisors must help their clients understand the benefits of an Exit Plan, which include creating a sustainable business, maximizing the business's value, protecting assets, and reducing risks.

Advisors new to Exit Planning are likely to be more concerned with the cost of the planning than their owner-clients. Therefore, it is essential to properly educate both the advisors and the business owners on the benefits of an Exit Plan, ensuring a smooth transition and a successful future for the business.

Download the 2022 Business Owner Survey


Exit Planning Process: Overcoming Fee Apprehension

"What If" Exit Planning for Your Business Clients

Fri, 05/06/2022 - 17:20

Written by: oogonyo

Exit Planning oftentimes helps owners prepare for the unexpected. 

“If you take control of those things you can, you are better able to negotiate the unexpected.” – Judy Sheindlin

The modern business landscape, and the Exit Planning industry, has plenty of variables. Unprecedented occurrences can happen at any given time. With the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw how many businesses were unprepared for sudden changes in the market. Businesses that had plans already in place for disruptions to supply chains and contingency plans for the economic impact on their business fared better in the long run. They controlled the things they could and shifted their organization to fit the situation that couldn’t be controlled.

No business owner wants their business to suffer because of their own failure to plan for all possible scenarios, especially when their own involvement in the business is concerned. That's where continuity planning comes into play. As an Exit Planning Advisor, you know firsthand what it takes to coordinate planning efforts that include a variety of considerations, risks, stakeholders, and timelines.

A continuity plan is defined as "a plan that creates a system of prevention and recovery from potential threats to a company.” In the business landscape, there are a variety of unexpected events or circumstances that could have a drastic impact on owners’ exits from their businesses.

5 Reasons to Provide Exit Planning Now

External Unexpected Events 

There are several unexpected events that could occur that are completely outside the control of a business: a war, a new pandemic, or a natural disaster, to name a few. As mentioned above, COVID-19, for example, disrupted global supply chains. The travel restrictions literally brought the travel and hospitality industries to a standstill.

Natural disasters and wars can have the same type of impact. If a business sources its raw materials from an area in the midst of a natural disaster or political dispute, the entire supply chain is in trouble. Ultimately, these disruptions can negatively impact not only your client’s business, but also their Exit Plans. They may want to delay their exits until the situation resolves and business operations are stabilized, or they may decide they can’t invest the time that is needed to recover and exit sooner.

As ‌an Exit Planning Advisor, it is crucial to ensure that you do sufficient contingency planning so that your business owner clients know how to handle these external circumstances, how to best pivot their plans during those times, and how to protect their business, their families, and their employees. Look for areas in the business where there might be an overdependence on a particular customer, supplier, or business partner. Any disruption in their business can take a toll on your client’s entire business as well, which has a direct impact on the transferable value of the business.

Internal Unexpected Events 

Internal unexpected events include deaths, divorces, co-owner disputes, and more. Such events can come unannounced and disrupt business in no time. Unfortunately, most businesses are unprepared for the unexpected. Owners have some degree of control over these events, but oftentimes it’s the timing of them that can be unexpected.

For example, the sudden death of a CEO or any top-level executive can have massive consequences to the leadership of the business. Similarly, the divorce of a major stakeholder can cause the splitting of stakes and could create an additional undesired shareholder. In addition, any legal disputes could quickly become a PR nightmare that hurts the company's reputation, which in turn impacts business value.

While an owner may have a buy-sell agreement in place that they believe will handle such scenarios, they often fail to prepare for more complex issues and the agreements aren’t reviewed often enough to be effective. But what happens when a co-owner leaves during their lifetime, and not by their death? This leaves some gaping holes in most buy-sell agreements and opens the door to opportunities for you to help your clients.

Continuity Planning & Exit Planning

As a business advisor, you must help your clients see how Exit Planning can help to cover all the bases. At the core of Exit Planning is being able to keep a business running through unexpected events and without the owner at the helm. Exit Planning ensures that your client can exit the company once it has reached its potential. However, it also puts proper “Plan B” initiatives in place to mitigate risks and put processes in place to help with emergencies.

Business Continuity is at the core of Exit Planning. It answers the “What if...” questions that owners are often unprepared to handle successfully.  You are in the driver’s seat for your client, guiding them through the roadmap you have created for them to reach their desired exit goals. It is up to you to ensure that you have the necessary strategies in place so you and your client know what to do if and when you hit any speed bumps.

To learn more about preparing your clients for the unexpected, schedule a meeting with us today.

Follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to stay up to date on all current Exit Planning news and trends.  

"What If" Exit Planning for Your Business Clients

Exit Planning To-Do #1: Write it Down!

Fri, 04/29/2022 - 10:26

Written by: oogonyo

Benefits of Written Plans in Exit Planning

Exit Planning Advisors know from experience how much their business owner clients have on their plate. From building business value to developing capable successors, to figuring out what they want to do once they leave their business, Exit Planning is often seen as a daunting task to business owners - one that is often overlooked or simply put off until “a later date. While it is a lot of work, Exit Planning isn’t something that business owners can push off or tackle on their own if they want to exit on their terms.   

It’s critical that as their most trusted advisor, you simplify the owner’s Exit Planning to-do list by having them start the process by writing their plans down. The act of writing down the Exit Plan can provide three potential benefits when done properly.  

Benefit #1: Increase Clarity, Accountability, & Opportunity for Success  

Conversations with business owners are crucial in learning your client’s goals and ambitions. However, encouraging them to take part in writing out their goals, resources, and desires will allow business owners to think critically and minimize misinterpretations. Eliminating misconceptions will lead to more clarity and consistency, which will likely cut down the length of the implementation period.  

Written plans also encourage accountability. The plan details the responsibilities of each participating member of the Advisor Team. The written plan tracks deadlines and holds everyone accountable for the tasks they need to complete to stay on track.  

Lastly, simply asking your clients to write down their goals increases the likelihood they’ll achieve them. There is proven power in handwritten goals. Dr. Gail Matthews, psychology professor at Dominican University in California, found in a 267-participant study on goal setting, that individuals are 42% more likely to achieve their goals just by writing them down as opposed to leaving them in their head.  

Benefit #2: Maintaining Control  

A written plan allows the business owner to keep control of the business until they are ready to give it up. It also simultaneously controls when and how they transition out of ownership. Owners who lean into writing clear and specific plans can easily pass on their plans to their Exit Planning Advisor to lead and execute with the Advisor Team.  

The more work the owner can put into the written plan upfront, the less work will be needed on their end when it comes to executing the process and the Exit Plan won’t necessarily need to be their primary focus. This increases planning efficiency and gives business owners the time they need to increase the company’s value. In addition, having written plans in place will control the perception that potential buyers might have because it will demonstrate a commitment to business vision and goals.  

The Top 9 Ways to Increase Business Value

Benefit #3: Minimizing Cost & Time  

In general, creating an Exit Plan takes several months, while the execution spans several years. Both creation and execution of an Exit Plan requires input from owners, their families, their management team, and all participating advisors. With so many moving parts, owners can oftentimes fall into a trap of spending more time and money than necessary to exit.  

Written Exit Plans help mitigate costs in terms of time and money.  

These written documents track everyone’s progress and pinpoint where bottlenecks might be occurring. . As the Exit Planning Advisor, you will wear many hats to relieve responsibility from the owner. Most importantly though, you will keep the plan current and be sure it is always reflective of the resources, goals, and assets relevant to the owner’s desired business exit. When all participating advisors are on the same page, the time and money spent on the process itself is often reduced.  

What to Include in a Written Exit Plan  

While the benefits of beginning the Exit Planning Process with a written plan are clear, your business owner clients may wonder what they should cover in their written plan.  

As their Exit Planning Advisor, and with the help of BEI tools and resources, you can provide them with assessments, templates and more that will specify what all is needed in a written plan. However, to get them thinking, you could suggest that they begin their plan with the following considerations:  

  1. Incorporate Flexibility 

Owners may be hesitant to write down their plans because they might perceive that as meaning they are set in stone. Assure them that this is not the case because written Exit Plans can, and often do, change.  As business goals evolve, a written Exit Plan gives the planning strategies a chance to evolve in lockstep.  

  1. Set Measurable Goals  

A key benefit to the owner of a written Exit Plan is the ability to pass on their responsibility to participating advisors. Assigning goals that are trackable ensures that each member of the Advisor Team has clear deliverables and a deadline to get it done. Being able to measure the results of goals is especially important when one goal is to protect and grow business value.  

  1. Evaluate Business Value  

Does your client know what their business is worth today? Have they identified the best ways to increase the value and cash flow of their company? Having an answer to these questions provides insight into which strategies you can recommend as the Exit Planning Advisor.  

  1. Protect Family & Business  

Be sure your clients include continuity plans to account for unforeseen circumstances and/or their temporary or permanent absence. It’s also crucial to consider what it would take to ensure the financial security of the owner, their family, and their business in these circumstances.  

  1. Preferred Exit Path  

Does your client plan to transfer to insiders (family, co-owners, employees) or sell it to a third party? Regardless, mapping out the preferred exit path will help you advise your clients on what is feasible and what steps need to be taken to get there.  

As an Exit Planning Advisor, you will have the knowledge to articulate these benefits to your clients and get the ball rolling with getting your client’s thoughts on paper. While business owners are busy addressing today’s latest economic challenges, beginning the process with a written plan will ultimately allow them to exit on their desired terms. BEI has tools and resources that can prepare you to help your clients with a written plan to guide their business and their family through their business exit. Schedule a meeting with us today to learn more.  

Follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to stay up to date on all current Exit Planning news and trends.  


Good Questions Drive Better Exit Planning Conversations

Sun, 04/24/2022 - 21:17

Written by: oogonyo

Good Questions Drive Better Exit Planning Conversations 

Much of the work of a business advisor, and especially an Exit Planning Advisor, is driven by one’s ability to have effective conversations with current and prospective owner clients. It is a common misconception that these conversations must result in providing business owners all the “right” answers.

As an Exit Planning Advisor, you have the knowledge to provide your clients with strategic solutions to help them reach their goals. With this knowledge, it is natural to want to jump right into problem-solving. However, from the perspective of a business owner, their challenges are dynamic and might go beyond what meets the eye.

No matter what industry, advisors are in the business of relationship building. This means that within these conversations, especially the initial conversations about Exit Planning, you must listen with the intent to understand, not just to respond.

The Downfalls of Wrong Questions

In many cases, how you word questions has a direct impact on the success of those initial conversations. The reasons that generic planning questions are not productive may include:

  • Owners may be guarded in the information they want to share
  • Owners may just be looking for free advice
  • Owners are hesitant to overshare in fear they are being “sold” something
  • Owners are only asked questions about a certain expertise
  • Owners derail the conversation with minor issues

To an Exit Planning advisor, a failed conversation is a missed opportunity for you. Not only that, but it can lead to an owner being unprepared to exit with devastating consequences to the business and their family. Being intentional about what questions you ask and how they are used in planning conversations can be beneficial to the long-term relationships you form with clients.

Good Questions: Where to Start

When you sit down to have a conversation with a client, the value you bring begins with good questions and a willingness to listen and understand your clients on a deeper level. When the right questions are asked, you are better able to get owners to open up and their responses often lead into other important Exit Planning topics. Some advisors choose to stick to a standard set of questions, while others like to come up with them on the fly based on where the client takes the conversation. Regardless of your preference, valuable conversations about Exit Planning should cover the following topics:

  1. Owner’s Involvement

Discussions about your client’s current involvement and plans to continue at any level often prompts further discussion about key talent, potential recruitment, incentive plans and the future transition of management.

  1. Owner’s Desired Post-Exit Future

Do you know what your client envisions for the next chapter following their business exit? Learning this might lead to insights on their preferred timeline and personal financial needs.

  1. Owner’s Obstacles & Challenges

At any given time, your client is battling with problems that are keeping them up at night. Knowing what those are will give leeway to analyzing where there are planning gaps and what stands in the way of achieving their desired goals. This will also help you prioritize what areas of the business to focus on first.

  1. Owner’s Financial Needs

When your client exits their business, how important is the business in supporting their financial freedom? This topic can lead to further discussion on business value, cash flow projection, formal agreements that may be necessary, and more.  

  1. Owner’s Current Transition Plan

You will run into a broad spectrum of scenarios as you begin working with clients on their Exit Plans. Some may have an exit path decided on as their most important goal. Others may think they know what exit path to take only to have another more important goal show that a different path is the best choice. You may also find that some haven’t even started thinking about it at the time of your initial Exit Planning conversation.

Whether it is the hope to transfer ownership to a family member or a key employee, or sell to an outside party, many considerations will be brought to light once you know where the owner stands on who will lead and own in the future. Considerations could range from the need to create a management development plan to outlining business continuity instructions.

  1. Contingency Plans

Do your clients have contingency plans in place so that the business could continue in their temporary or permanent absence? How would the business fare if key employees or key customers left? Having an idea of what the owner’s “what if” strategies are can indicate larger patterns in their plans for their inevitable business exit.

  1. Current Exit Plan Progress

Is Exit Planning even on the radar at this point? For most business owners, probably not. It is your job as an Exit Planning Advisor to articulate the importance of starting early and showing them that you have the tools and resources to help them create, manage, and execute a plan that will allow them to exit on their terms.

While this list is not exhaustive, nor does it list specific questions to ask, framing your questions in a way that will cover these topics will leave you in a good place following the initial Exit Planning conversation. These questions will also signal the key areas in which you can help your client increase business value over the duration of the Exit Plan.  

The Top 9 Ways to Increase Business Value for Exit Planning

Good Questions: Continued Conversations

The importance of the questions lies in the ability of the responses to drive the conversation in ways that provide more clarity on the owner’s goals and direction in how you might be able to reach them. Since Exit Planning is more than a one-time transaction, your conversations will continue throughout the duration of the Exit Planning Process.

In efforts to maintain a mutually beneficial relationship during this time, the Exit Planner serves as the relationship master, guiding one-on-one conversations with the client, as well as facilitating meetings with the Advisor Team. There are a few best practices to keep in mind to ensure these conversations go as smoothly as possible.

  1. Ask open-ended questions. Even if the owner responds with short, one-word answers, ask them to elaborate. You may be surprised where the owner takes the conversation.
  2. After asking a question of any kind, repeat back the response to confirm that you understood the need correctly.
  3. Take notes and provide every member of the Advisor Team with a list of action items and deadlines to hold each member accountable.
  4. Take advantage of networking with other Exit Planning Advisors. For example, BEI Members are a part of the larger BEI Network of Advisors, giving them access to advisors all over the country who are having similar conversations with their clients as you are with yours. Lean into each other’s experiences.

Exit Planning Advisors are tasked with running the show – owning the roadmap and making sure everyone stays on track. Building strong and stable relationships with business owner clients is key in facilitating the Exit Plan, start to finish. These relationships are only as strong as the conversations you are able to drive forward, and asking good questions is key in building credibility.

BEI has tools and resources to equip you with the knowledge you need to exude confidence and poise in every Exit Planning conversation. Schedule a meeting with us today to learn more about becoming your client’s most trusted advisor.

Follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to stay up to date on all current Exit Planning news and trends.  

Good Questions Drive Better Exit Planning Conversations

Building Engagement & Advisor Teams One Step at a Time

Fri, 04/08/2022 - 10:12

Written by: oogonyo

Building Engagement & Advisor Teams One Step at a Time  

Eddie Drescher, CExP, Financial Advisor with Haycox Financial Group, has over 20 years of experience as a Financial Advisor, helping business owners and their families navigate the unique challenges and opportunities presented while seeking financial security. In addition to his role as a Financial Advisor, Eddie is also a certified business advisor with the Crankset Group, an international business advisory organization, and is a Certified Exit Planner (CExP) for business owners. Eddie is passionate about Exit Planning - getting “into the trenches” with his business owner clients, their families, their key employees, and their professional advisor teams.  

BEI: How did you start working with business owners? 


I started my career in commercial banking back in 1989. Most of the business owners that I work with in my geographical area are smaller, privately-held family businesses, mostly under $10 million in annual revenues. I've worked with my fair share of larger companies, but my wheelhouse primarily consists of helping small business owners. 

After seven years in commercial banking, I started a practice from scratch with the Northwestern Mutual Financial Network in 1997. Nine years in, I had an opportunity to facilitate business owner peer advisory boards, which I already had exposure to through “study groups” with my peers. I then had the opportunity to affiliate with and become a certified business advisor through the Crankset Group. 

In the nine years I was with the Northwestern Mutual, I focused a lot on families and individuals. But my plan was to gravitate towards business owners, which I did over time. After I completed my CExP certification studies in 2019 with BEI, Exit Planning made up 90% of my business.  

BEI: What would you say is your favorite part about working with business owners? 


My favorite part of working with business owners is learning their different stories. I love hearing how they got started, why they started, and what it took to achieve what they have accomplished. I also really enjoy getting to know the owners’ business models. I like to hear what “moves the needle” or really makes a difference in growing their sales and profits. What also intrigues me is the people and systems owners have in place that can scale a business. Some owners do a really good job of scaling early on, and other business owners need a lot more assistance in getting started.  

BEI: Tell us about an unexpected challenge you have encountered working with business owners. How did it impact you or your practice and how did you overcome the problem?  


Personally, in my own career development, I'd say the number one challenge I had to learn how to overcome was to not be all things to all people. I am learning how to articulate what I do, and what I do not do, with more clarity and earlier in the planning process. I've learned this lesson the hard way. This is not a problem of time management because we all get 24 hours in a day. Rather, it has been a lesson in prioritization and focus.  

BEI: What have you learned from your business owner clients? 


I've had the privilege of working with some amazing people. I would say the number one thing I've learned from clients is that many business owners don't grasp the reality as to where their business is in relation to where they think it is. 

I'll give you an example. I recently had an initial conversation with a business owner, and she said that her plan was to “build my business up, merge with a friend’s company, and in two years, sell it." 

I'm not saying that she won't pull it off because it was apparent that she is an incredibly talented and motivated individual. I have no doubt that she is going to accomplish her dreams. However, when I hear an aggressive plan like this, I often wonder if owners realize what it really takes to build a company that has bona fide transferable value. This is why it is critically important that owners work with an advisor team to create a plan and strategy on how they're going to convert their business to a lifetime income stream. 

The Top 9 Ways to Increase Business Value

BEI: How has your involvement with BEI impacted your practice? 


The Exit Planning Boot Camp and CExP course helped me tremendously - and that is an understatement. When I attended the Boot Camp in Dallas, Texas, John Brown was fantastic. I already had considerable experience working with business owners’ continuation and succession plans but the BEI Exit Planning Process and formal training is exactly what I was looking for.  

After the Boot Camp, I immediately started studying and got my CExP designation in the six months that followed. This training gave me the confidence to provide even better solutions to my clients, giving me a proven process and method that will help owners on their planning journey.  

I feel as though I always have a resource at BEI that I can call for assistance. I have even talked to John Brown, Founder of BEI, and Jared Johnson, CEO of BEI, a time or two to get advice on actual Exit Plans that I was working on. It means a lot when the CEO and Founder took their time to answer my questions. BEI is a great partnership.  

BEI: What advice would you give a new advisor coming into the Exit Planning industry?


Do not wait until you think you know everything to go after your first engagement. I still get nervous in many interactions when I am working on an Exit Planning engagement. For someone who is brand new to the industry and has not had as much experience, I recommend they just focus on getting the first engagement. 

Second, find an experienced Exit Planner that can work with you jointly and support you while you build your skills and confidence.  

Lastly, remember that we are the ones that keep the entire process moving. The real value that Exit Planning Advisors provide is the creation of a roadmap with clear steps, target dates, and accountability to keep the project moving forward. You do not have to know everything to keep an engagement moving in the right direction. 

BEI: How do you develop your Exit Planning Advisor Team? When do you bring in those experts? 


Building your team of advisors can be very delicate. I start with the client’s current advisors, and then recommend professionals from my network to fill in any gaps. In my experience, the client’s current advisors are usually equipped to handle an endeavor like Exit Planning. 

My job as the Exit Planning Advisor is to try to eliminate any impediments to them moving forward.  Their advisor teams are not usually complete before beginning the Exit Planning Process. It takes time to determine advisor team member gaps, and they usually evolve as the process plays out. I like to take it one step at a time and add/subtract advisor team members as the engagement progresses. 

Learn more: 

CRN202503-2032920. C. Edward Drescher and William C. Haycox, Jr. are registered representatives of and offers securities, investment advisory and financial planning services through MML Investors Services, LLC. Member SIPC. Supervisory office: 222 Central Park Avenue, Suite 1100, Virginia Beach, VA 23462, (757) 490-9041. Haycox Financial Group is not a subsidiary or affiliate of MML Investors Services, LLC, or its affiliated companies.

Follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to stay up to date on all current Exit Planning news and trends.  


Why Should Advisors Consider Exit Planning?

Fri, 04/01/2022 - 09:24

Written by: JMongaras

Whenever advisors are introduced to the concept of Exit Planning, they often wonder, “What is the work of an Exit Planner, and how can it benefit my practice?”

An Exit Planning Advisor leads the entire Exit Planning Process for business owners, from data collection to plan implementation. Even though some advisors might consider Exit Planning a time-consuming additional service, you might be surprised at how easy it is to implement with the work you are already doing. No matter your area of expertise – whether you’re a CPA, financial advisor, banker, or general business consultant– with the right strategies and tools, you can implement Exit Planning into your existing core services in a way that benefits your practice and your clients.

Small Adjustments for Big Gains

There are many benefits of incorporating Exit Planning into an advisory practice. However, most advisors assume it will take a long time to add a new service to their existing practice and reap the rewards. The reality is, Exit Planning isn't necessarily a separate space from current advisory services, and it doesn't need to replace core practices.

Instead, these services can complement the work that advisors are already providing to their business owner clients.  An owner’s exit is an inevitability that much be accounted for within their business plan. Consider some of the critical aspects of Exit Planning and the areas of expertise required. In each of these examples, advisors can provide the service for an additional fee along with the Exit Plan, or as an introduction to longer-term comprehensive planning.

  • Minimizing Taxes: One goal of Exit Planning is to reduce the amount of taxes a business owner must pay after transferring or selling their business. The necessary tax planning takes place years prior to the intended exit. CPAs involved in this process can provide analysis and advice on the tax consequences of different exit paths. 
  • Closing the Asset Gap: Exit Planning includes determining what financial resources an owner needs to reach their goals, putting a value on their current resources, and developing a plan to bridge the gap between the two. Because owners tend to overestimate their business value and underestimate the amount they need to maintain their lifestyle, a Financial Advisor can play a huge role in setting realistic expectations and offering advice on personal investment strategies that are aligned with goals.
  • Obtaining Excellent Management: Business owners will need capable management to run the business after their exit, whether external or internal. Business consultants can help owners keep value in the business during transition by obtaining and developing next-level management. Once the team is in place, advisors can develop Stay Bonus Plans to incentivize them to remain with the business and grow value.
  • Preparing for the Unexpected: Incapacitation, death, fall out between co-workers, and divorce are just some of the many unexpected events that can negatively impact a business without warning. Insurance advisors can review and adjust Buy-Sell Agreements to protect business owners from these risks.

The benefits mentioned above are just a few ways Exit Planning integrates with an advisor’s core practice. When advisors successfully incorporate these offerings into their practice and move beyond transactional planning, they set themselves up to be the indispensable advisor that owners turn to for all their business planning questions and needs.

Exit Planning Can Benefit an Advisor’s Practice

Exit Planning Advisors use strategies, tools, and services from their core practices to fully implement Exit Plans. Because of this, their practice can benefit in several ways:

Increased Revenue

The time and commitment to incorporate Exit Planning is nothing compared to the returns advisors will experience practicing in the industry. As a result, advisors will likely see additional planning projects that will naturally arise as a part of their core services. When advisors can prove their value to their clients by successfully completing one project, many owners realize the need for this advisor to assist in other areas of business planning, including planning for the exit of their business one day. 

Differentiate Practice from the Competitors

There are many advisors in the market offering services that don’t allow them to stand out from the crowd. Most advisors aren’t asking the questions necessary for long-term transition planning, and many don’t get involved in the process until it’s too late. Exit Planning Advisors are able to call attention to their practice because of their unique value proposition.

Create Awareness through Referrals

Though every owner’s exit is inevitable, unfortunately, many owners don’t see the immediate need to plan for their exit. Exit Planning involves advisors from different backgrounds and areas of expertise. Because of this, Exit Planning Advisors end up accessing more work in their core practice and in Exit Planning through referrals.

Build Better Client Relationships

Exit Planning provides an immediate benefit for both advisors and owners. Ultimately, it is the job of the Exit Planner to build personal relationships with clients to ensure their clients are reaping the highest rewards for their lives’ work. Continuous conversation throughout the process of an Exit Plan allows for stronger relationship and success becomes more rewarding.


What are you waiting for? If you’re ready to dive into Exit Planning, contact us today to schedule a meeting and together, we’ll get you on the road to being your client’s most trusted advisor.

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Business Advisors Are Changing How They Work With Clients

Tue, 03/29/2022 - 18:13

Written by: oogonyo

Changes in How Business Advisors Are Working With Clients

Business advisors who effectively market their practice & use Exit Planning to expand the scope of client work will give you an effective competitive advantage. 

The work of business advisors has become increasingly complex, and this reality is that it's unlikely to change anytime soon. 

Business owners have a lot of difficult decisions to make and the pressure is on them to make the right ones for their business, their employees, and their families. Owners consult with business advisors to align their goals and create value in their organizations. But how do they choose who to work with? It can be challenging to find the right advisors, especially when there are so many that claim to offer the same services to business owners.

Business advisors face the obstacle of finding new clients and engaging with existing ones in an ever-changing and increasingly competitive business marketplace. This is largely because owners aren’t thinking about their exits as early in the process as they should be, and they don’t consider asking their existing advisors about their plans. Owners don’t know who to turn to for advice, and don’t know what questions to ask to figure that out.

That’s where being an Exit Planning Advisor comes into play. Since all business owners will one day leave their businesses, approaching owners about Exit Planning can give you a competitive advantage over your competition. Additionally, you’ll have the means to improve client acquisition and retention, engage in more fulfilling work, streamline your processes, and increase revenue. By designing a marketing strategy that highlights Exit Planning as an added solution to your existing offerings, you’ll be able to stay ahead in this competitive industry.

Consider some strategies to differentiate and attain new clients while maintaining and expanding work with your existing clients.  

Promote Your Niche

To reach the largest potential market, many business advisors offer their clients a wide range of services. While this method may be effective in attracting a lot of prospective clients, you're in direct competition with every other business advisory firm in the market. 

By adding Exit Planning to your existing offering to clients, you are showing your clients and prospects that not only can you perform the services that other advisors in your market do, but you can also facilitate long-term planning by bringing in the necessary experts to reach the owners exit goals.

Exit Planning will help you:

  • Stand out from the crowd of advisors in your industry,
  • Face less competition as most advisors aren’t working in a niche area, 
  • Increase client loyalty as you expand the work you do into new areas that involve planning over longer periods of time, 
  • Set up your clients to reach their short- and long-term goals, making the most out of their lives’ work

Build Strong Client Relationships 

Another effective way for business advisors to generate new business is through referrals from existing clients. By providing exceptional service to your existing clients, you'll be able to develop a good impression of your offerings and the success you bring to clients. Since Exit Planning is a service that spans several years, you’ll get to know your clients on a personal level that can only strengthen your relationships and increase loyalty.

Your clients will become brand advocates for your organization and make referrals if you go above their expectations. That starts with asking the right questions to determine what those expectations are and then maintaining communication with them throughout the process. Word-of-mouth can go a long way when your clients are able to reference you as the person they call first when they need help.

Develop Your Digital Brand 

Clients might have more faith in you as a business advisor if your digital presence is up-to-date and consistent. Advisors who use traditional methods find that their efforts are time-intensive and ineffective.

There are several easy ways to market your solutions to bring in more clients and drive brand awareness. Advisors using BEI’s marketing tools can reach hundreds of thousands of business owners every month by implementing tactics like newsletters, social media posting and prospecting, and branded one-sheets and guides.

Talk About Other Topics 

As discussed in previous blog posts, there are many hesitations that business owners have when broaching the topic of Exit Planning. Joining your clients in conversations about business topics relevant to them may be an excellent approach to engage with them. Especially because Exit Planning objectives correlate with many other business functions, some they might not even know about. It’s a common phrase to meet your customer where they are at; same goes with your services pitch. Be sure to follow up with them regularly to share additional resources about what's likely to be on their minds. 

The Bottom Line for Business Advisors

Business advisors can encounter a lot of competition, but nothing drives engagement quite like connection. It's crucial to concentrate on your clients’ needs above all, and to be open to changing the way that you work with them in order to execute a successful Exit Plan. Exit Planning provides a perfect opportunity to differentiate, strengthen client relationships, as well as capitalize on established relationships in new ways.

If you'd like to learn more about how Exit Planning can provide you with the competitive advantage you’re looking for, schedule a meeting with us today!

Follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to stay up to date on all current Exit Planning news and trends.  

Changes in How Business Advisors Are Working with Clients