How Will You Leave the Firm You Started?

How will you leave the firm you started? Your exit can come about as a result of a planned event, such as you creating and following a succession plan, or unplanned event such sickness (yours, a spouse, or family member can highly affect you and your business) or death. As a business owner and advisor, it’s important to plan for both.

A new study released by the FPA and Janus Henderson reveals that 60% of advisors, who are within five years of retirement, have no plan. It’s the story of the shoemaker whose children need their shoes fixed.

If you are part of the 40% of advisors who have a plan, make sure it has compliance approval. That might mean, if you’re independent that you pay for a once over of your plan. Better now, then have problems later.

Let’s face it. None of us wants to do this work. We’d like to live forever. But reality dictates differently.

For better or worse, for richer or poorer, plan for your future.

Below are some questions to answer to help you get started with a succession plan .

Your Exit – 11 Questions To Consider

  • What are comparable businesses selling for?
  • What’s your firm worth now?
  • How long do you want to work?
  • How many steps would it take you to exit? (see next section)
  • Know how much money you need to retire?
  • Who will be on your succession advisory board?
  • When you exit, how many clients do you have?
  • When you exit, what services or products are you selling?
  • How large would your team be?
  • What options do you have for selling your business? (see next section)
  • What’s your back up plan, should you get sick or die before your planned exit date? (see next section)
  • Your Exit – What Will Yours Look Like

    There are two separate parts to planning for your retirement. One is to plan what you’d like to happen, the other is to look at worst case scenarios.

    What I find most often are clients who create a 2-tier or sometimes creating a 3-tier exit. Often slowing down or speeding up growth for “x” years, then retiring.

    The first few events on the list below are about worst case scenarios. We seem to read more stories about people having no plan, and the consequences on their families, business, and team. As advisors someone, like a spouse or friend, can’t just come in and take over the business. There are regulations that need to be followed.

    Related: How to Manage Change and Turn It Into an Adventure for Your Future

    That’s why putting your plans in writing are so important.

    Plus when you have a plan you’re better able to empathize more with YOUR clients as you talk as you talk about planning for the future. At least I found this to be true for me after I created my first business plan.

    19 Ways To Exit Your Business

  • Drop dead at your desk
  • You become unable to work due to sickness
  • There is a divorce or spouse dies
  • Become disabled
  • Leave the company to languish on it’s own
  • Get tired of the business and start something different
  • Do less advising and more managing of the growth of the business
  • Sell to an outside party
  • Sell the company to employees ESOP
  • Sell the company to one or two key employees
  • Creates a public company IPO it
  • Work fewer hours
  • Change your position in the company (i.e. write a book and speak, start a podcast, etc.)
  • Hire a CEO and become a manager or employee.
  • Retain ownership as you groom your successor
  • Transfer, leave, or sell the company to accredited family members
  • Continue selling, but at a firm who offers you an exit strategy
  • Liquidate it
  • Franchise or license your processes to others

  • Plan for the future of your business, be it the next 12 months, or 20 years. Sure the plan may change. But you’ll be protecting yourself, your business, and your family by putting it all in writing.