The Facts

 

For most business owners, selling a company is a once-in-a-lifetime event. 

The number of business owners who are unable to sell their company or are disappointed at the outcome illustrates how complex the process can be. One of the main contributors, based on our experience, is that small business owners tend to build their business around lifestyle. Instead of growing profits, they seek to lower their annual tax bill. That idea helps in the short-term, but when it comes time to sell the business, it will often hurts the final purchase price. 

75% of Owners are Disappointed with Their Business Sale

Source: Family Business Institute, 2011

With 75% of owners disappointed with the outcome of their business sale, we . We want our clients to be satisfied with the final outcome: purchase price, fit of the buyer, potential of the business going forward. 

A satisfactory sale can be achieved if the owner and their advisors are aligned with market-based expectations up front.  

 

 

 

30%

of family businesses successfully transfer to the second generation

12%

successfully transfer to the third generation 

3%

successfully transfer to the fourth generation

 
 
How do you increase the likelihood of a successful internal or external ownership transfer? The answer: planning. This includes estate planning, wealth management, tax planning, and business valuation. 
 

 

% of Businesses with an Exit Plan

Source: Family Business Institute, 2011

Value Gaps

One of the stickiest points in negotiation in a business sale is price. Buyers and sellers often have varying perceptions of value. As a result, there is a value gap created that can lead to a failed transaction. 

Valuation - in its simplest form, a business is worth what the market is willing to pay. However, that value is usually determined by applying a multiple to earnings. For example, if a company has adjusted earnings of $200,000 and a buyer is willing to pay a 3.5x multiple, the offer would be $700,000. Better performing companies tend to sell for higher multiples. 

One of the best ways to reduce the risk of a value gap is by preparing earlier. Naturally, gaps are a reality because a business owner believes his business is worth a certain figure or needs a specific amount to pay off debt, comfortably retire, or some other personal goal. The earlier you know your personal goals and a potential gap if you sell your business at fair market value, the more prepared you will be to make changes that could increase value. 

 

Diversification

One other consideration is diversification. Risk is a common subject in the investing world. However, when it comes to owning a business it is often overlooked. As we grow older we should look to reduce our financial risk since we have less time to build wealth. For many business owners, their life and assets looks like the chart displayed on the left, which is heavily concentrated one large asset -- their business. 

If we didn't own a business, very few of us would ask to have an asset structure like this. When you sell your business, you can invest your proceeds into a variety of asset classes or "buckets". Even if you keep your business, it is important to work with a financial advisor to reduce your risk. 

 

The Firm

The Fortis Group or it's parent firm (Compass Advisors) has a proven track record of helping business owners capture value from their business sale and reach their personal goals.

75% Success Rate

We have completed 150 Transactions for our clients.

75% of our clients successfully reach a sale vs. 20% for all businesses that attempt to sell.


Summary

The exit process plays a pivotal role in the life of the business owner and his/her family. We believe that a client's largest asset deserves a winning strategy, and you only have one chance to do it right. With the right team and planning, business owners can achieve success.