Exit Planning & Strategy
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How you exit your business is going to be one of the most important decisions of your business life. You spend years carefully planning for the growth of your business. How much time and consideration have you given to what happens after you leave? The number one reason business exits fail is due to a lack of planning on the part of the owner. Little thought is given to what owners will do in retirement, and if their nest egg is large enough to continue the activities they enjoy.
Your exit plan is “just as important” as other parts of your business plan. Having one may ensure a smoother transition when you decide to leave your business. No one plan fits everyone’s needs. However, having a well-developed process helps ensure each part of the exit plan is identified, discussed and included in the plan. Every business owner should have a succession and exit plan to ensure the survival and continued growth of the business. At the very least, it may act as a contingency plan, as a significant amount of exits are not planned. Developing an exit plan is the most important thing you can do to protect the value of your business.
According to a recent Exit Planning Institute survey of business owners, 76% plan to transition their business within the next 10 years, 83% either do not have a transition plan, know whether they will sell to an internal buyer or to an external third party, and 40% do not have a plan that covers a forced exit (illness, death, etc.). Think about it, many business owners spend more time planning their family vacations then they do planning how and when to exit their business. Rather than being proactive, most business owners are reactive and “forced” to sell because of burnout, health issues, marital problems, or business conditions without having the time to prepare their “EXIT” under the best circumstances. As a result, most business owners exit their companies at the worst time possible.
Is It The Right Time to Exit My Business?
Exit planning is a great contingency tool—while no one likes to think about unfortunate life occurrences, a good exit plan includes contingencies for illness, burnout, divorce and even death. Without a well-thought-out survival plan, there could be very serious consequences to the owner’s family, employees and customers. A contingency plan shows the owner’s heirs and advisors what the owner would like them to do with the business should something unfortunate occur. Without continuity in leadership, the business most likely will fail. Having a plan in place will bring a sense of security to your family, employees and colleagues.
Preparing your exit plan is similar to building a sailboat. There are basic principles and steps you need for a sailboat to work properly. They are sails, a mast & boom, a tiller/wheel and in case there’s no wind; a fine-tuned and running engine. The same holds true for preparing an exit plan, as each piece and step in the process needs to be in-place to achieve the intended results. Our time-tested process typically requires 1-3 months to initiate the Exit Plan. Contact Trade Winds Group Advisors today for a no-cost and confidential consultation. We will be pleased to answer all of your questions.
Business Valuation Services
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Trade Winds Group specializes in the valuation of small privately-held businesses. We employ the highest standards of professional business valuation practices and procedures that when engaged, present NACVA, IBA and USPAP compliant valuations and appraisals for many purposes including, but not limited to the following; ownership transitions, shareholder disputes, divorce settlement, employee stock option plans, and gift and tax matters.
Our goal is to provide our clients with certified reports which take into consideration all relevant facts, supported by accurate data collection, comprehensive research, thorough analysis and timely delivery and presentation of the certified report. Our valuation analysts and appraisers have over 50 years combined experience and have appraised well-over 1000 businesses. Senior staff members are recognized as leading experts in the field and often present business valuation related curriculum at national certification associations and at local colleges and universities.
Each of our reports is custom written for the specific intended use of the valuation purpose. Problems can occur when a client tries to use a report for a purpose for which the report was not intended. The following is an overview of our valuation reports:
The Opinion of Value report is often used for non-litigation situations. This level of engagement and report can be used to determine the most probable selling price for small privately held businesses. Other reasons for this level of report include managements desire to understand the value of the business for strategic planning reasons, owner’s personal financial planning with their professional advisors.
This level of engagement and report presents a comprehensive conclusion of value that is suitable and used in litigation proceedings, financial lending review and is compliant with standards such as the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) and the National Association of Certified Valuators and Analysts (NACVA).
As a client of TWG you will receive a well-defined valuation engagement process that will consist of in depth analysis of the income, market and asset approaches and methodologies and the determination of the best suited approach for the valuation engagement intent and purpose. The valuation will be independent, objective and supported value opinions which comply with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) and National Association of Certified Valuation Analysts (NACVA) standards.
Preliminary Steps – We discuss the details of the engagement with you to ensure a complete understanding of the objectives and purpose of the business valuation engagement. We fully understand that various valuation purposes dictate alternative approaches.
Request a Proposal - Upon gaining a complete understanding of your objectives, we will provide a written Engagement Agreement. The agreement will define the scope of our service offering, expected timeline and fee for services.
Data Gathering - We compile information about your company through detailed questionnaires; shareholder interviews; and financial document review. Our ability to fully understand all financial and operational aspects of a client’s company enables us to better achieve the valuation objective and support our business valuation conclusions. This requires a full understanding of the financial statements and any required recasting adjustments to account for owner benefits; perquisites; one-time and non-recurring expenses; intangible assets; and the operational and industry risk factors that can substantiate higher or lower valuation conclusions. When applicable we work together with our client to generate projections of the anticipated future financial performance.
Research and Analysis - This involves analysis of company documents, financial statements and/or tax returns, operational information, intangible asset definition, risk factors and other data. We research the economic factors, industry trends and influences, potential risk factors and completed public and private comparable industry transactions. Financial statements including Balance and Income Statements are prepared for tax purposes and must be properly interpreted and recast in order to utilize for business valuation purposes.
Valuation Preparation - Our reports include a comprehensive presentation of the specific business risk factors; a detailed description of the company and its market positioning; and a review and assessment of the prevailing economic conditions and trends in the specific industry. Detailed recast financial statements are included in the report. We consider, perform and review an array of valuation methodologies to determine which best apply. All assumptions and results are tested for validity.
Valuation Presentation - The valuation report is thoroughly explained to our clients to ensure a thorough understanding of its conclusions.
Mergers & Acquisitions - Main Street Business Sales
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When it comes to selling or buying a business no matter which side of the transaction you are on, potential challenges can be complex and even overwhelming. TWG intermediaries and advisors will steer you clear of potentially leaving money on the negotiating table, or possibly paying too much for the business of your dreams. Can you afford making a potential million-dollar mistake!
A wide array of options is available when structuring a business sale. TWG works with you to understand your transaction requirements and goals. This includes: Exit options that will satisfy your strategic goals/financial needs; valuation expectations; transaction roadblocks; timing of sale; anticipated tax consequences, desire for future involvement with the company or equity retention.
A primary objective in selling your business is to maximize the value of your company. Our extensive network of strategic and financial buyers and private equity firms enables us to target qualified premium acquirers that will recognize strategic value in your company. We develop a Confidential Informational Memorandum that describes the unique story of your company and presents it in the most compelling way. Our goal is to identify multiple interested parties to provide options, avoid dependency on any one party, and provide increased negotiating leverage.
Confidentiality is the operative word at TWG. Each and every potential buyer is required to execute a confidentiality agreement and is also required to offer financial preparedness to consummate a transaction of the nature contemplated. Only after these steps are completed is the buyer presented with any information regarding the client company. Protecting confidentiality is crucial when selling a business. TWG proactively protects confidentiality throughout the transaction.
Our philosophy is that fair market value is the minimum value that should be targeted in a sale. By identifying multiple strategic buyers that can realize synergistic benefits, we often achieve a transaction that exceeds this value. TWG analyzes a firm’s strengths, tangible and intangible assets, financial performance, and expansion opportunities and utilizes proprietary databases to analyze purchase price comparisons of similar companies. Our market exposure provides us with a clear understanding of transaction values and deal structures in the marketplace. This enables us to provide our clients with an understanding of the likely value expectation in advance of beginning the selling process.
Proper interpretation and presentation of financial information is a crucial step in maximizing value during the selling process. Financial statements are typically prepared for tax purposes, not business sale purposes, and generally do not reflect a company’s true profitability and potential earnings capacity. Acquirers must be able to “read between the lines” of the financial statements and tax returns to appreciate the cash flow being generated for the owner(s). It is crucial to properly present true “re-cast earnings” to maximize the value of a company. During this process, we frequently identify value enhancing opportunities and initiatives that will enhance marketability and increase the value received from a transaction.
Presentation of the Company
A professionally packaged and presented business increases a buyer’s confidence and appreciation for the business. A business owner spends years establishing name recognition, market niche, vendor relationships, operation & production systems, management, personnel, distribution channels, customer loyalty and numerous other intangibles. We will tell the unique story of your business to help maximize its perceived value.
TWG takes pride in our ability to create a Confidential Informational Memorandum (CIM) to present an in-depth review of a company’s competitive advantages and expansion opportunities to validate and defend the future earnings potential of the business, thus maximizing its attractiveness and perceived value. All materials are redacted to protect confidentiality.
You can trust TWG to guide you through the entire transaction process. TWG is results-driven as our compensation is based on “total consideration" of the transaction. We are not just about closing deals. We are about creating long-term sustainable value for our clients. We tell it like it is and are never afraid to pull the plug on a deal if it just isn’t right.
Just some of the ways that we support you (as a buyer or seller) include:
- Exit Planning & Strategy development. This is where the transaction success starts and ends! Be prepared to answer the hard questions of what growth really looks like and how the transaction will assist you with achieving your goals and objectives.
- Target sourcing, screening and vetting. TWG has a vast network of buyers and sellers that is second-to-none, we dig deep to find the highest quality targets that align with your defined goals.
- Valuation. Don’t let your purchase or sale get derailed by unrealistic firm valuation expectations. Use the experts who bring data and experience to put the right price on the deal.
- Transaction negotiation support and Letter of Intent preparation. We think of ourselves as the voice of reason when things get sticky. Our experience and perspective lends credibility and creativity when you need it most.
- Due diligence (Cultural/Strategic/Financial). When the deal moves from “if” to “how”, our team examines project liabilities, cultural alignment, and more to ensure that integration planning is focused on what matters most.
- Post-transaction integration. Well in advance of the closing, we are working with both sides of the transaction to assure each section of the Purchase Agreement has been clearly defined and satisfied and that the closing really is the start of great things to come.