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Exit Strategies For Small Businesses

April 21, 2021
Bill Kimball

exit strategy for small business

Again, you must include your exit strategy at the end of your business plan. That way, you can reference it if your business starts going south. And, potential investors can determine if you have a strong plan in place to protect their money if you leave. Liquidation is a clear-cut exit strategy because you don’t need to negotiate or merge your business. Your business stops and your assets go to the people you owe money to. If an acquisition is your exit strategy, your acquisition should be friendly. You likely will attempt to find an acquiring business that you want to sell to.

Keeping it in the family can preserve the legacy of your business and the family name, but it isn’t without its challenges. You can allow an employee to buy your company outright, or allow them to finance the company by paying you monthly or annual increments over time. If you go for the latter, be prepared to be involved with the business for a longer period of time during the transition. You’ll obviously want to ensure its success with the new owner so that you get your payment. Transferring your business to a new owner, or even closing it outright, can be a lengthy process. This can take even longer if you are passing the business on to an employee or family member who needs to be groomed and trained to run the business before you leave.

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A business which is only marginally profitable, can be extremely difficult to sell – and research indicates that just 20% of all listed businesses up for sale are actually purchased. Therefore, this process can be very long, and may not be successful. This is something which is crucial for anyone who invests in a small business. And even if you just have a sole proprietorship, you too should have an exit strategy in place. So just as with any business investor, when it is time to move on, the questions are identical. For example, your original exit plan may have been to merge with another business. But after 25 years of owning your business, your daughter says she wants to buy it from you.

  • You take the time to value out each of your assets and sell them individually or as a package deal to an interested party.
  • I find this a lot in the HVAC world where a general manager could be making 200k per year, can save 100k each year for a few years, and then wants to leave to and buy a business to grow.
  • These individuals invest all their time in running the business operations.
  • They understand your business, will usually pay top dollar and can quickly take over and run your business after the sale.

Entrepreneurs will typically develop an exit strategy before going into business because the choice of exit plan has a significant influence on business development choices. Exit plans are crucial in ensuring that firms transition smoothly to the new management.

Liquidate Your Business

The company can do extremely well because managers/employees will be taking on an established business which they are acquainted with. Your manager/s or employees could be enthusiastic about acquiring your company. If there are any creditors, they are entitled to be first in line for claiming money from asset sales.

exit strategy for small business

However, the biggest disadvantage is a possible meager return on investment. Second-hand business assets often fail to fetch a decent price in the market. If you take the time to deliberate, you will be in a better position to choose a reasonable — and profitable — exit option. A liquidity event is an event that allows early investors in a company to cash out some or all of their equity. IntelligentHQ leverages innovation and scale of social digital technology, analytics, news and distribution to create an unparalleled, full digital medium and social business network spectrum. IntelligentHQ is a Business network and an expert source for finance, capital markets and intelligence for thousands of global business professionals, startups, and companies. Public companies are obliged to commit to much higher reporting and compliance standards.

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Second-hand business asset values for items such as machinery and equipment can be very low, even in a non-depressed market. Avantax affiliated advisors may only conduct business with residents of the states for which they are properly registered. © MC 2017 | “Business Tips” are published monthly to provide useful business information. The business information contained in this site is of a general nature and should not be acted upon in your specific situation without further details and/or professional assistance.

exit strategy for small business

There can be drawbacks to this method too, so don’t just plan on passing your business on to any family member. You can exit your business fully and hopefully earn a profit on the sale of your share. This process may bring a lot of emotional, financial, and general stress to your family. Whichever exit strategy you choose, you need to start working on it.

If this is your exit strategy, you should spend some time grooming your business for sale, making it as attractive as possible to potential buyers. See 5 Tips for Selling a Business andTop 7 Ways to Maximize Your Exit Strategy for Maximum Profit for more details. A marginally profitable business can be very difficult to sell according to BizBuySell, only 20% of all businesses listed for sale actually sell. The only money from a liquidation sale is from the disposal of assets, such as land, equipment, or inventory — any goodwill value from client lists or other business relationships is lost. An exit strategy is the method by which a venture capitalist or business owner intends to get out of an investment that they are involved in or have made in the past. In order to maximise the return to the owner/s, when evaluating the business for sale, goodwill and assets can be integrated.

Meredith is frequently sought out for her expertise in small business lending and financial management. At the end of the day, as is the case with many parts of running a business, there is no one-size-fits-all business exit strategy. Ultimately, the exit strategy that’s right for you and your business will depend on a number of different factors and may change or develop as you progress through the lifecycle of your business. Compared to some other business exit strategies, this can be one of the simplest and quickest methods. This is probably one of the most difficult exit strategies, requiring certain conditions and significant time, effort, and money.

Even when you start your business, you should consider possibilities with regard to leaving your business, if and when the time comes. If you’re proactive in thinking about this process—what it might look like, how it might be executed, and what the consequences will be—you’re more likely to have success when it’s time to part ways. Many business owners work with consultants or professionals to help them make the best decisions, such as an accountant or business attorney. This being said, once you’ve asked yourself the first two questions, you might work with a professional for help developing an exit strategy as part of your business plan. Different from a traditional acquisition, this exit strategy business plan is one in which a company buys out your business simply for the sake of acquiring its talented or skilled employees.

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To go through with a merger, you still need to be a part of the business. Through a merger, you will be an owner or manager of the new business. But if you want to sever your ties with your business, a merger is not the best exit strategy for you.

exit strategy for small business

A business competitor may be extremely motivated to buy your company for the reasons just stated, thereby giving you maximum profit and a speedy sale. It may prove profitable to position your small business as a desirable acquisition. Profits that remain in the company increase the businesses’ value, and when the business is sold, will be taxed as capital gains. If the profits are drawn out, then the businesses’ ultimate sale value and growth potential will be reduced.

Sole owners of an LLC, as we mentioned above, will need to value up assets and sell them, rather than transferring ownership. The structure of your company can affect how you are able to pass on the business. So this is important to keep in mind as you build your business and plan your exit strategy. An exit strategy can, and should, be different for every business. This will depend on the type of business you run and its financial structure (we’ll talk about how your business structure can affect this process below). startup companies transfer ownership of their business to a third party.

Business Exit Strategy Methods

We encourage you to start as early as possible so that you can find a successful solution for your business. You are going to talk to several investors if you plan to set up an IPO for your company.