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Exit strategy: What’s your plan?

CFO Services | September 11, 2019

Most business owners think about how to build and expand their business, but we’ve found many people put what comes next on the back burner. How can you get the most value for your company if you don’t consider what to do when it’s time to exit?

To jumpstart the conversation on this important topic, we’re devoting a whole series to the exit strategy. We kicked it off with a blog on why an exit strategy is important and tips for creating a plan.

To make this series as beneficial as possible, we wanted to get an idea of where business owners stand when it comes to exit planning. Our team distributed a survey to find out the answers to a few hard-pressing questions.

This survey was taken by business owners in the construction, professional services, hospitality, technology, food and beverage, financial services, manufacturing and retail industries. See our full results below.

What percentage of business owners have an exit strategy

We found nearly half of our respondents already have set an exit plan, while the other half doesn’t but is considering it. Only a small percentage of respondents haven’t thought about this concept. This is a great sign and tells us people have exit planning on the mind.

When business owners think is the right time to plan an exit strategy

A majority of our respondents are planners – Over 50 percent of them believe they should begin planning 5 to 10 years before they want to leave. At CFO Strategic Partners, we’ve found the more time you allocate to exit planning, the more likely you’ll be satisfied with the end results.

What type of exit strategy business owners plan to use

When asked which type of exit strategy they’re planning to use, our respondents had many different answers. Every option we provided was selected at least once, and we even received more write-in answers. The truth of the matter is, there’s no “correct” strategy, just the right one for you.  Not having a strategy can leave a lot to chance.

Why business owners would leave their business

After pouring your time, resources and energy into a business, it’s hard to imagine leaving. But it’s not a matter of if you leave, it’s a matter of when. You may want to retire, take on a new position or begin a new company, or as one respondent answered, pursue new endeavors while maintaining a senior advisory role in your current company. All these choices and more are available if you plan accordingly.

So, what have we learned?

Through this survey, we’ve discovered business owners are at least thinking about exit planning. The majority leans toward planning earlier rather than later, typically around 5 to 10 years before their exit. The type of exit strategies business owners utilize varies widely – which is expected given many different circumstances, needs and wants. While taking on a new position is a reason to leave for some owners, many chose to leave their business for retirement.

No matter which exit planning stage you are in, CFO Strategic Partners can help. From exploring all of your options to helping you find the best-fitting strategy, our team can make your big transition a smooth one.

Call us at 407-426-8288 or email, and let’s start the conversation—and keep an eye out for the next blog in our exit planning series.

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