Knocking Down Common Exit Planning Roadblocks

Fri, 11/18/2022 - 08:00

Written by: mernzen

As the leading innovators in the Exit Planning space, the BEI team talks daily to hundreds of advisors across the globe about their experiences with Exit Planning. More specifically, we talk to professionals in a variety of disciplines who are on the fence: sharing their aversions and hesitations about adding Exit Planning to their existing offerings. 

In digging deeper and monitoring these uncertainties about Exit Planning work, there are common responses that are typically along the lines of one of the following: 

  1. “I can’t seem to get clients engaged or interested.” 
  2. “I don’t have the bandwidth to do this myself or the staff available to assist with it.” 
  3. “I don’t have much Exit Planning knowledge and don’t know what my training options are.” 

While each advisor has their reasons for concern, we feel it's our duty to challenge them and knock down the roadblocks of reluctance with proof that Exit Planning can actually elevate an advisor’s existing offerings and broaden their reach.  

 

Addressing the Roadblocks 

  1. Lack of Clients and Client Interest 

Half the battle of Exit Planning work is convincing your owner clients of the importance of planning for their future. Just as you might be hesitant to add Exit Planning to your core services, they are hesitant to admit they should start thinking long-term. The fact is that 100% of business owners will exit their business, whether they planned for it or not. 

Another fact that will be supported with statistics in the 2022 BEI Business Owner Survey (coming soon!) is that business owners are considering Exit Planning earlier in their ownership cycle than ever before. Not only does this mean that the demographic audience available to you is expanding, but the ways in which you can reach them are changing too. 

The key is to not throw in the towel too early in the process of seeking clients. Putting in the work to market your service as an effective solution to the problem that owners may or may not know they have might take some time. Some effective ways that BEI Members have found success have been utilizing their BEI license to enact automated e-newsletters, using assessment tools for discovery, installing a referral strategy and leaning into social media for outreach. 

  1. Lack of Time & Bandwidth 

The truth about time is that everyone wishes they had more of it. Just as you may be worried about the lack of time you have to add this service to your offerings, your clients stand by the idea that they don’t have enough time to plan. 

As their advisor, it is your job to acknowledge and articulate to them the dangers of not planning. By waiting, your client may not build enough business value to sell for their desired amount, they might neglect training next-level management, or some unforeseen death or injury might occur. 

Both you and the business owner will appreciate putting the time in beforehand versus wishing you had made more of a plan once the transition event happens. After all, the role of an Exit Planning Advisor is to optimize the business owner’s time based on their goals, which in turn, will help to prioritize your own time. 

From our perspective, there are two solutions that ease time and bandwidth challenges: adopting a repeatable process and connecting with a network of professionals. BEI Advisors adhere to the Seven Step Exit Planning Process and have found value in being able to repeat proven steps with their clients from identifying exit goals to business continuity planning and more. In addition, gaining access to the BEI Network allows for collaboration between advisors across different disciplines to share expertise and strategies. 

  1. Lack of Exit Planning Knowledge & Training 

Lack of knowledge and training typically falls back on having a shortage of time. However, it’s worth repeating that putting the time in will lead to more clients and more profitability in the long run. It’s easy to use inexperience as an excuse to tack on one more thing to your list. But, having a solid understanding of what options are available when it comes to Exit Planning training can determine how to fit it into your schedule. 

As far as BEI training goes, there are two paths to obtaining the Certified Exit Planner (CExP) designation, the industry’s highest certification to perform Exit Planning services: either beginning with one of three BEI Licenses and then doing the series of courses, or beginning with the series of three courses. To learn more about each path’s pricing, download the info sheet below. 

 

Which Path Should You Choose

The Bottom Line

As with any new personal or professional venture, there is always risk. At BEI, our mission is to provide indispensable tools for advisors like you - that’s why we’ve designed tools to save time, create consistency, and deliver high-quality solutions to current and prospective business owner clients. 

To explore more Exit Planning content that will help you overcome your hesitations, start with diving into some of our free content: 

 

Register for our upcoming webinar, The BEI Path to Exit Planning Success, where we’ll discuss in detail the time commitments and requirements involved in BEI educational courses. We’ll cover how both BEI education and BEI licenses will ultimately help you resolve challenges brought on by lack of time, bandwidth, knowledge and client engagement. 

 

Register for the Upcoming Webinar

Knocking Down Common Exit Planning Roadblocks

Is Exit Planning Only for Aging Owners?

Fri, 10/14/2022 - 08:00

Written by: mernzen

When an advisor is approached with the concept of Exit Planning, it is common to be met with aversion or disinterest in adding those services to their practice. Perhaps they feel the planning work they do is the same thing as Exit Planning, or maybe they feel their business owner clientele are not in need of those services due to their age or place in the ownership cycle.  

However, as data has been collected on the state of the economy and the interests of the modern-day business owner, insights suggest that the market for Exit Planning is larger and more vast than ever before. 

Every few years, BEI produces a Business Owner Survey. While the 2022 report is in its final stages of preparation, there is one insight we couldn’t wait to share: 

Business owners are thinking about Exit Planning at an earlier age than ever before. 

While this might not come as a huge shock, this insight suggests that Exit Planning Advisors will not only be working with business owners who are younger in age, but that they may face new obstacles and a different outlook than in years past.  

Business Owner’s Outlook  

While the above insight might suggest that younger business owners are in a rush to retire, that may not be the case. In a 2021 study by Wilmington Trust, it was reported that confidence in the future of the US economy has declined, as well as confidence in the ability to gain new prospects for their products and services. 

With an emphasis on adopting digital tools and a rapidly changing business landscape, insecurities over technology have accelerated the owner’s interest in Exit Planning and they feel that getting out of their business may be a better solution in the long-term. Business owners are weighing the pros and cons of these factors to determine when the right time is for them to exit, leading them to consider their Exit Plans earlier than ever before. 

How Exit Planning Advisors Can Help 

Ease Anxiety 

The above outlook and insecurities of a business owner are only heightened by the headlines. While you may not be able to fully settle anxieties or quiet the whispers of a possible recession, inflation hikes, wars, labor shortages, the list goes on; the reality is that the economy has both tailwinds and headwinds. 

A 2022 mid-year market review by Edelman Financial suggested that these negative headlines don’t often tell the full economic story. For example, it was reported that in the first half of 2022:

“Beneath the GDP contraction, consumer spending remained strong and nonfarm payroll gains averaged more than 480,000 per month, remaining the tightest job market in decades, driving massive wage gains.” 

Headlines don’t always focus on the good news. As an Exit Planning Advisor, having a firm grasp on data, both current and historical, can help put the state of the economy into perspective for your clients. Encourage them to follow the data, not their emotions.

Help Diversify 

Exit Planning Advisors can help their clients earn greater value from all of their collective assets. It would be ill-advised to let younger business owners assume that even by contributing the maximum amount to a 401(k) plan each year, for example, would give them enough to be financially independent at age 50. 

Encourage owners to diversify their assets and find additional passive income streams to more rapidly generate wealth that will sustain long-term. An advantage of working with an Exit Planning Advisor for a business owner is that they will build a team of advisors who can recommend different diversification approaches. These could include tax strategies, different kinds of insurance plans, or even establishing an estate plan, all to protect their wealth and their family in the future, even when the market rises and falls. 

Determine Lifestyle Plans

As is true with any business owner in any stage of their ownership cycle, if a younger owner desires to sell their business and retire, it is still crucial to determine what they want their post-exit life to look like.  The New York Times recently reported that millennials specifically dream of stopping work, or doing only fulfilling work, 15 years before their parents did. 

However, these aspirations are colliding with the reality that they will likely not be able to accumulate enough savings to do so. Despite the struggle and the means to save more, the 2022 Retirement Insights Survey from TIAA revealed that millennial workers, ages 25 - 39 have nearly 40% confidence in their ability to plan for retirement. This indicates that business owners in this age group will need to be approached about Exit Planning at an earlier stage. 

No matter the confidence level, the key for an Exit Planning Advisor is to really nail down what their plans for retirement actually are. Whether it’s the time to travel and spend with their family, the ability to volunteer more, or something else, knowing the dreams and lifestyle needs of a business owner aspiring to exit makes the difference in mapping out strategies to get them there. 

Start Now 

Having the knowledge that more and more business owners may want to exit sooner, or at the very least have it on their minds earlier, broadens the number of prospects you have for Exit Planning. Targeting business owners closer to the start of their business will only reap more positive benefits by lengthening the time you’ll spend with them doing Exit Planning work. 

While every Exit Planning engagement is different and has timelines driven by each owner’s exit goals, time binds all decisions. It is advisable to start planning for an exit at least five years in advance, but 10+ years is even better. Knowing that, as well as the fact that younger business owners want to retire, may broaden your opportunities as an advisor and help you shift focus. 

 

Conclusion: 

As mentioned, the Exit Planning Market has expanded (beyond Boomers) and the 2022 BEI Business Owner Survey, which will be released soon, will report on what else that means for advisors. Knowing that younger generations have increased interest in Exit Planning supplies ample opportunities for those involved in or looking to get started in the Exit Planning space. 

Once released, the BEI Business Owner Survey will dive deeper into these opportunities, what other trends have shifted, perceived obstacles, and more! 

To explore more Exit Planning content, start with diving deeper into:  

 

Is Exit Planning Only for Aging Owners?

Structured Installment Sales: A Solution to Capital Gains Tax Challenges

Special guest, Dan Finn founder, president, and CEO of Finn Financial Group will be presenting a deep-dive webinar on structured installment sales. Positioned as a valuable deal strategy and solution to capital gains tax challenges, Dan will cover:  

  • A review of relevant sections of the Internal Revenue Code and revenue rulings which permit their use, 

  • The evolution of Structured Installment Sales (how they came into being), 

Q&A: Cash Flow in an Exit Plan

In this webinar, BEI CEO Jared Johnson will host a Q&A session on the importance of cash flow in an Exit Plan. Joining him will be Carl Lutz, CExP and proud user of Cash Flow Mapping, as well as Jennifer Sauter, CFP® and Director of Customer Success at Cash Flow Mapping. Cash Fow Mapping (CFM) is BEI’s latest partner whose software provides the missing piece of the business succession plan: cash flow.  

Post-Exit Plans: Finding a Personal Vision

Fri, 09/30/2022 - 08:00

Written by: mernzen

Each of us has likely had that client who is hesitant to talk about their Exit Plan. Whether it be a fear of uncertainty, distrust of others to run their business, or just that their identity is tied up in their work, it can be a challenge to get business owners with this mindset to realize the importance of planning. 

Regardless of how business owners decide to spend their time, a successful post-exit lifestyle requires ample planning before the transition event. On a workable level, this means that business owners must understand the extent to which the wealth attained through the sale can fund their desired post-exit lifestyle. Additionally, business owners must consider what kind of activities and endeavors will keep them fulfilled post-exit, and how they must divide their time and money between them.    

What’s Next? 

Many times, making those decisions is enough to overwhelm business owners to the point where they’ll continue to feed you with “I don’t know.” Regardless of the exit path an owner takes - willingly or unwillingly - it is crucial that they are able to connect with other aspects of their life outside of the vision. The last thing you want for your business owner clients post-exit is to wonder: what’s next? 

As an Exit Planning Advisor, ask them: “If money wasn’t an issue, what would you be doing?” Try to get them to open up about their goals and desires that exist outside of their company. 

This question spurs self-reflection and is crucial to getting owners to envision a “personal vision.” While they may not feel this personal vision is attainable, there are strategies you can implement to get owners thinking about the actions they can take to get closer to their personal vision. You can also show them how they can use the success of their business to fund their personal vision. 

Reframing Post-Exit Expectations 

Before talking with business owners about the details of their personal vision, it is wise to check in on post-exit expectations. An element to post-exit life that tends to overwhelm owners and delay planning is the high expectations they have about what this life will bring them. According to a Coatts study on these expectations, the vast majority of owners expect a lifestyle which is at least as fulfilling as the one they had running their own business. 

With the proper planning in place, post-exit life can deliver on that expectation. However, owners often underestimate how hard it can be to get to that point. It’s usually much harder for business owners to walk away entirely from the business, they’ll likely be more apprehensive to risk, and it might take longer to create a satisfying lifestyle than they believe. 

Your role in promoting this aspect of the Exit Plan is to encourage business owners to envision a portfolio of activities that have the possibility of bringing satisfaction. Regardless of exit path, the owner having an aversion to exiting at all, or an uncertainty of a personal vision, having in-depth conversations with owners about what could bring them enjoyment outside of their business is an element of planning that is often overlooked.

In order to neutralize expectations, remind business owners to:

  • Focus and clarify their understanding of their skills 
  • Consider their network as a source of new opportunity 
  • Value their time just as they would their wealth and business success 
  • Prioritize their values as it relates to their life after exit, such as family time or travel 

Defining the Personal Vision

When it comes to formulating the personal vision, remind business owners that there are a variety of ways to channel their skills and desires into outlets that will bring them joy. Just like they’ve built their business, there is a process to re-building their identity after the sale or transition of their business.
 

Their personal vision could include: 

  1. Mentoring & Advising 

Business owners who have been in business for a long time or have worked with specific groups have the option of sharing their expertise and experience to help others reach their goals. Whether this wisdom is passed on as a consultant or through the act of sitting on an advisory board, there are lots of mentorship opportunities available. 

  1. Serial Entrepreneurship  

Some business owners aren’t quite ready to give up working after exiting a business. Perhaps after a sale, a business owner may want another challenge and is ready for another risk. They may even reinvest the profits of the sale towards a new endeavor. This type of serial entrepreneurship is becoming more popular as owners seek to diversify their income streams and test the waters of new markets. 

  1. Investing 

Maybe an owner isn’t interested in investing the sale proceeds into another business, however, there are many opportunities for owners to apply their insights to discover and back new ventures and opportunities. This could be seeding start ups, taking equity stakes in growing companies, or simply building out their personal investment portfolio. 

  1. Giving Back 

Just like a monetary investment, if owners want to put their time, talent or money into a non-profit or social cause, it pays to think through how their philanthropic contributions could do the most good. 
 

  1. Enjoying Family & Hobbies 

Remind owners that there is also the option for a simpler, quieter, less busy life after exit. Perhaps a business owner has missed out on watching their children achieve milestones, traveling with their spouse, or taking on new home projects or hobbies. There could be great satisfaction that comes with newfound free time. 

Using the Personal Vision to Reinvent Identity 

As mentioned and repeated in this article, the transition into new levels of wealth and freedom is the stage of Exit Planning that arguably receives the least attention. 

The ensure that your business owner clients make the most out of their post-exit lives and fulfill their personal vision, share with them the following tips

  1. Be open to new opportunities. Whether it’s starting a new business venture or the opportunity to babysit the grandkids a few times a week, having an open mindset might lead to fulfilling activities that could have been ignored while running a business.  
  2. Learn new skills. Getting outside their comfort zone and trying something that they’ve always wanted, but couldn’t do because of their role, might lead to the discovery of new passions. This could be an opportunity to really re-define success as it relates to their  personal vision. 
  3. Focus on mental and physical health. For those who have had managerial stress or potential burnout, a post-exit lifestyle dedicated to healthier decisions is a great option for those who had spent years prioritizing their business over themselves and their family. 
  4. Be present. Post-exit life paves the way for owners to enjoy the new pace and spend time reflecting and resetting. There is no need to put pressure to immediately decide what the new future will look like. Being present could just be the ability to go golfing on a weekday with an old friend, traveling to a new destination, or no longer missing out on things they didn’t have time for previously. 

Post-Exit Plans: Finding a Personal Vision

Eliminating Exit Planning Deal Killers

Fri, 09/16/2022 - 08:00

Written by: mernzen

Last week’s blog covered common business owner “villains,” described as those misperceptions that owners have about the importance of Exit Planning. These villains take shape in many ways, internal and external, ultimately hindering an advisor’s ability to move forward with an Exit Planning engagement.

Similarly, there are misconceptions that carry weight after the initial conversation when an owner has decided on a third-party sale and is looking to begin the sale process. BEI Founder John Brown coined the term, “Deal Killers,” to describe those conditions and beliefs that, if undetected and unresolved before the sale to a third party begins, will kill a deal.

Unless you’ve jumped into the Exit Planning Process with a business owner, it makes little sense to jump into the business sale process.  The opportunity for the greatest influence on maximizing sale proceeds occurs before taking a business to market. 

After all, the most significant factor that impacts a business owner’s ability to leave their company is creating a company with transferable business value. While working to increase business value, it is wise for the business owner to work towards eliminating or limiting the Deal Killers before the sale process begins.  

Describing the Deal Killers  

Many owners are plagued with Deal Killers because they have not started the Exit Planning Process. As review, the Exit Planning Process through the lens of what would hinder a deal, includes:

  • An accurate understanding of goals and aspirations post-exit
  • Objectively determining the value of the business and other associated assets
  • Determining the size of the gap between existing resources and those needed to achieve financial independence

There are several Deal Killers that, once the business sale process begins, live up to their name. The following can and will destroy a business owner’s ability to sell their company:

1. The belief that the business owner can sell their business today for enough money to satisfy their financial independence needs and wants.

2. The failure to reconcile their need for value with the market’s perspective of value before going to market.

3. An exclusive focus on top-line sale price.

It is likely that unless there has been significant work to increase transferable business value, the owner will not get what they need or want to maintain the post-exit lifestyle they desire. As is true for the above three Deal Killers, the Exit Planning Advisor is equipped with the necessary resources to assist with finding qualified transaction intermediaries who can provide price estimates and advisors who can calculate the amount of taxes and investment capital necessary to produce the desired post-exit income for the owner. 

You also likely have experience or know other advisors with experience in the M&A market who have their finger on the pulse of market trends based on industry. Knowing the likely sale price and all the costs that accompany the sale helps eliminate these owner misconceptions, as well as being able to understand how buyers might perceive the value of the business.

4. The failure to preserve a company’s most valuable asset.

Retaining key employees and customers is crucial during a transition period. Exit Planning Advisors must work with owners to ensure a smooth transfer is promoted with the appropriate plans (Non-Qualified Deferred Compensation Plans, Stay Bonus Plans, etc.) in place so as to not lose the elements that made the company valuable in the first place.

5. The belief that the business owner can negotiate alone.

Buyers are the ones who are ultimately in control of the sale process. The use of highly trained deal professionals helps to level the playing field. As Exit Planning Advisors, it is important to help owners be wary of buyer pressures and enter the sale process with people who know the numbers and can help negotiate.

6. An unwillingness to recruit the best possible players for the deal team.

Business buyers have top-of-the-line accounting, legal, deal, and tax advisors. Using only a business owner’s existing advisors can sometimes put them at a disadvantage. Experience plays a role in the design, negotiation, and implementation of a deal. It is wise to build the Deal Team long before going to market to allow for enough time to determine an accurate asset gap, understand the fees that will arise, spot the areas of concern for potential buyers, and correct the deficiencies beforehand.

7. The belief that owner-initiated pre-sale due diligence isn’t worth the time, effort, or cost.

There is a difference between pre-sale planning and buyer’s due diligence that they will conduct as part of the sale process. While many owners wait until a letter of intent is signed, likely for time and cost reasons, it is advised to do so before even going to market. If an owner has engaged in Exit Planning and the estimated price and deal terms are satisfactory, the time and effort of pre-sale due diligence will only enhance the probability of closing.

8. Seller remorse.

Simply put, if the business owner is conflicted between staying and leaving, it is not the right time to go to market. Without considering the desired post-exit life, emotionally detaching from the company, or aren’t prepared to have their business scrutinized, business owners may crumble under the pressure of a third-party sale process. 

It’s important as the Exit Planning Advisor to be sure the owner is really mapping out the life they want and need post-exit and asking the right questions that will excite the owner about their next step.

Enroll in an upcoming bootcamp

Eliminating the Deal Killers

Introducing your business owner clients to the most common Deal Killers and providing insights on how to eliminate them is an important element of the Exit Planning Process, especially since many could take months or years to phase out. In putting in the work to eliminate and address Deal Killers, business owners increase the probability of a third-party sale that works in their favor and aligns with their goals. The positive consequences for business owners of canceling the Deal Killers are:

  1. Expectations are more in line with reality.
  2. They have a preview of how effective the Advisor Team  is before they are working on the logistics of the actual sale.
  3. The amount of time it takes to close the transaction decreases.
  4. The buyer’s risk is minimized, which also reduces the amount of offers.

The root of many of the aforementioned Deal Killers lie in the business owner’s misconceptions and therefore it is up to you to encourage and motivate them to get rid of them. However, with the right knowledge and support, and with their financial and personal interests on the line, it is likely that owners will find benefit in working with you to eliminate these Deal Killers.

Takeaway:

All eight Deal Killers listed in this article share a common cause: a failure to engage in Exit Planning. While other exit paths allow owners to begin transferring ownership before the owner actually exits, a third-party sale does not. The likelihood of a successful sale depends less on the condition of the mergers and acquisitions market or deal process itself as it does on the actions an owner takes today… before entering the market. 

To explore more Exit Planning content that will help you get business owners to act, start with diving deeper into:  

Eliminating Exit Planning Deal Killers

Battling Business Owner Villains

Fri, 09/09/2022 - 08:00

Written by: mernzen

Getting business owners to understand the importance of Exit Planning is unanimously one of the most common challenges faced by Exit Planning Advisors. 

Whether a new advisor or an experienced Exit Planner, you’ve likely heard excuses from business owner clients that run the gamut from being too busy to having uncertainty about what it entails. 

These hurdles often derail conversations, hindering an Exit Planning Advisor’s ability to not only emphasize the importance of starting an Exit Plan, but also to sell themselves as the solution to their comprehensive planning needs. 
 

Exit Planning Engagements & Storytelling 

If we were to tell the story of an Exit Planning engagement with the plot characterized by the above challenge, we’d want to dig deeper into how the challenge has developed. 

There are a variety of “villains” that would play a significant role in the character development of the business owner. 

For some, it could be time and financial constraints, others don’t see planning as an urgent need, and some simply don’t know where to start or assume another one of their advisors will handle their exit when the time comes. 

At the end of the story that is an Exit Planning engagement, the ideal transformation of the business owner is that of relief, accomplishment, and achievement of an unimaginable reality. 

In order to position yourself as the hero, let’s take a look at some of the most common “villains” that inhibit an Exit Planning engagement:  

External Villains: 

  • Noise 

Many business owners argue that adding another advisor to their mix of hired professional advisors just adds one more voice to the conversation. Between an accountant, insurance provider, financial advisor, attorney, and/or business consultant, it may sometimes be hard for an owner to realize the importance of bringing someone in to manage these relationships and roles as it relates to their exit strategy and long-term business goals. 

 

The Role of the Advisor in the Creation of an Exit Plan
  • Pre-Defined Exits

There are times when owners disregard Exit Planning with the pretext that their Exit Plans are already set in stone. Suppose a business has been in the same family for many years. To these owners, they don’t see importance in looking into paths outside of family transfers and assume they’ll just transfer management to a relative when the time comes, with minimal planning necessary.  

  • Expectation to Leave a Legacy

Another concern, particularly of family businesses or location-specific businesses, is the pressure to leave a legacy. Whether the desire is to place emphasis on the family’s impact or to leave a lasting mark on the community, owners often carry the stress of making sure they are doing their part to make meaning of their work.   

  • Death or Disability 

Death and disability are events that no one wants to think about, let alone plan for. The truth of the matter is that if either circumstance occurred suddenly, the business would be severely disrupted without any planning for the “what ifs.” 

  • Unexpected Events 

The modern business landscape, and the Exit Planning industry, has plenty of variables. Especially in light of the recent pandemic, whispers of an upcoming recession, and the “great resignation,” unexpected situations can arise at any time. Planning for a successful future does not happen without the preparation for such surprising events. Just like death or disability, these unexpected events create disruption that can take a toll on your client’s business, directly impacting the transferable value of the business.  

Internal Villains: 

  • Lack of Clarity 

Many Exit Planning Advisors have been hearing of planning fatigue from their clients. Planning fatigue is when business owners are exhausted by either the act or thought of planning their business exit. This fatigue likely stems from a lack of vision, or an inability to see the positive, full-picture impact of Exit Planning.  

  • Lack of Communication 

The work that goes into Exit Planning appears daunting to business owners. In this case, they likely have not been informed about the process in a way that is accurate or digestible to them. Communication on what goes into planning, the timeline, as well as a business owner’s role is critical to build momentum and move forward an Exit Planning engagement. 

  • Procrastination 

Another common objection that business owners share with their Exit Planning Advisors is, “I don’t have the time to do this right now. Let’s talk about this later when I’m not so busy running the business.” This sentiment usually arises for one of two reasons: 

  1. Business owners feel the current tasks they have on their plate are more pressing than planning. 
  2. Business owners are intimidated by how much work Exit Planning seems to be and want to stick with what they know. 
  • Scared of losing control 

Successful business owners often start businesses because they want to be in control. As entrepreneurs and leaders, business owners are used to having a say. When it comes to a discussion on when and how that control goes away, it’s no surprise that owners are avoidant. 

It is key that with this objection, as well as many of the others listed here, that you show the owners that Exit Planning actually gives owners more control: over their successor, their values-based goals, and their personal and financial futures.  

 

Combatting the Villains: 

Perhaps combatting villains and persuading clients against their common misconceptions was not exactly what you had in mind when you began working with business owners. However, there are a handful of ways to do so that all require telling a good story: one with you, the Exit Planning Advisor, as the hero.  

Takeaways & Tips: 

  1. Exit Planning Advisors strive to help business owners identify and prioritize objectives with respect to their businesses, their employees, and their families. Be clear, concise, and communicative about what the vision looks like at the end, and what the steps are in order to get there. 
  2. Make the most of the initial meeting so that you ensure you get another one. Do this by asking good questions that ultimately drive better planning conversations, as well as personalizing the client-advisor relationship so that owners feel understood. 
  3. Put an emphasis on building transferable business value. No matter their timeline or exit path, building business value will help them in the present, which is what they are likely more focused on if they are hesitant to plan.  
  4. Timing: While it is important to keep a positive outlook, it is also wise to inform business owners of the risks of waiting to plan. Starting sooner has obvious benefits, while procrastinating only puts the owner’s goals in jeopardy. 
  5. Being able to define your client’s goals goes a long way. Using active listening in each conversation to determine whether legacy, personal profit, tax savings or something else is of most importance to them will help to move along the process, one step at a time.   

All in all, telling your story personally and strategically, no matter what villain is lingering around the corner, matters to the business owner. There is strength in your story and it paves the way to becoming your client’s most trusted advisor.

To learn more about how BEI’s tools and resources can help to differentiate your practice and combat misconceptions, schedule a meeting with us today. 

 

 

Battling Business Owner Villains

Discover Exit Planning with Doug Easton

For over 20 years, BEI has helped advisors like you build relationships with their clients. We understand having a passion to help your clients reach their goals. 

To do so, advisors need to stand out from the crowd, a framework to help clients achieve their goals, and a way to expand the Exit Planning conversation. 

Join us for this live webinar on the BEI tools and resources available to help you seamlessly integrate Exit Planning into your practice and go from "service provider" to your client's "most trusted advisor." 

Learning Objectives: