Exit Planning Advisory

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Most business owners are fully occupied running their businesses. While they intuitively recognize that "exit planning" is an important activity that will affect their future, many owners find it easier to habitually attend to routine demands for their time and attention, rather than to address the less routine and sometimes unfamiliar activities involved in exit planning.

Consequently, exit planning slips onto the "Later/Someday" list of things to do, until an unexpected life event or the looming prospect of retirement leads the business owner to decide that "exiting" is a high priority. Many of these owners will then be surprised to learn that exit-related activities can require anywhere from one to five years to accomplish. Alternatively, they may have to consider a sub-optimal exit.

Why would failure to prepare for exit result in a sub-optimal transition? Here are some examples:

  • The company management team is too dependent upon the owner to manage the business as a stand-alone team, making the company less attractive to buyers and therefore, less valuable.
  • The company’s financial and other business information systems cannot demonstrate the sources of the company’s profitability (by business unit, product line, product category, geographic location, etc.), precluding prospective buyers from independently verifying and validating the business's true performance, resulting in a less attractive, less valuable business.
  • Key strategic issues have not been resolved (e.g., customer or supplier concentration, underdeveloped growth opportunities, insufficiently differentiated products/services offered, lack of sustainable competitive advantages, etc. ). Consequently, buyers will view these business situations as "fixer-uppers", and discount their offer prices accordingly.

Pace Capital Advisors offers business owners a means of moving "exit planning" from their Later/Someday list to Today's To-Do list, without allowing it to become a major disruptor to their day-to-day activities.

You can learn more about Pace's Exit Planning Advisory Service by selecting each of the four tabs below.

"He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; he who does not ask a question remains a fool forever."

-- Chinese proverb

What's the process image

What is exit planning?

Exit planning comprises a set of activities through which the owners of privately-held businesses prepare for and optimize the results achievable from the sale or transfer of their ownership interests to new owners.

When considering ownership transition options, most business owners will seek to answer the following KEY questions:

  • When is the "right" or "best" time to initiate ownership transition?
  • To whom do they wish to sell/transfer ownership?
  • How do they execute the ownership transition (i.e., what is their exit strategy)?
  • What value will they receive for their ownership interests and in what form?
  • How do they address objectives or obligations of a personal, familial, collegial, communal, or philanthropical nature within the ownership transition process?

Answers to these questions vary widely, reflecting the diverse life and business circumstances of privately-held business owners. Furthermore, there are usually dozens of subsidiary questions that one must answer before one can answer these KEY questions. Finally, answering these questions usually requires the involvement of one of more external professional advisors including attorneys, accountants, wealth management advisors, M&A advisors, tax experts, insurance advisors, and other specialized professional service providers.

"Excellence is the gradual result of always striving to do better."

-- Pat Riley

Why does it matter?

When properly conducted, exit planning integrates and optimizes a business owner's personal and business objectives in preparation for an ownership transition. The key categories of objectives typically addressed are:




When do I want to sell/transfer ownership?
When will the business be ready for ownership transition?
What will I do next (after sale/transfer of my business)?
Is my company competitively well-positioned?
Do my personal assets and expected proceeds from business sale/transfer provide me with funds to live as desired?
Will the market value of my business meet my personal financial needs and my expectations?
Wealth and risk management
Wealth generation, preservation (risk reduction), and distribution to heirs
Wealth generation, preservation (risk reduction), and tax minimization.
Who do I want to succeed me as owner - family member, colleague, employees, or third party?
Who will succeed me as the company leader/CEO (management succession plan)?
Residual personal reputation (family, philanthropic)
Residual corporate reputation (corporate stakeholders - employees, customers, suppliers, community)

Once a business owner begins to "peel the onion" to articulate these objectives, they usually discover that doing so can be quite challenging without a comprehensive, coherent process. Furthermore, the process inevitably reveals numerous ways in which the owner as a person and/or the business as an entity are unprepared for exit.

"I never left the field saying I could have done more to get ready and that gives me piece of mind."

-- Peyton Manning

peyton manning QB image

What's the Process

Pre-Exit Planning Graphic
Step One
Step Two
Step Three
Step Four
Step Five

"The only source of knowledge is experience."

-- Albert Einstein

Denis Brown

Denis, a Certified Exit Planning Specialist, brings a unique blend of experience to the marketplace. He has been involved in more than 100 transactions as a buyer, seller, investor, lender, or M&A advisor throughout his career.

Jim McClintock

Jim McClintock is a seasoned business leader with 30 years of executive-level financial, strategic, and operational management experience.

Don Witzel

Don is an independent organization development consultant with over 45 years’ experience. He has held key leadership positions in the public and private sectors on a nationwide basis with responsibilities for the development and performance improvement of people and organizations.
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