In part 1 of this 4 part series, we covered the importance of planning ahead (Step 1) and the value of selecting an experienced “quarterback” advisor (step 2) to leverage against and the impact these initial steps will have on the successful outcome of any transition. Then in Part 2 we talked about Knowing Your Numbers and the importance this has on the success of any transition. Knowing what your business is worth is only half the equation. Knowing what you need from a personal financial planning perspective is equally important to having the confidence and peace of mind to execute a transition plan aimed at the owner’s retirement.
So let’s assume we have a strategic transition plan, with a lead advisor to assist with the coordination and execution of the transition. We know the value of the business and it will meet or exceed the outcome required for you to reach your financial freedom. Now what? The answer is simple, we assemble to A team to bring all the different practice expertise to the table in a coordinated effort to execute the plan. There are many roles that need to be brought together. We started with a valuation expert to know with confidence what the business is worth. We added in the financial planner / advisor to define what was needed to achieve the personal financial objectives of the owner. And let’s assume one or more of these was provided via Optimized Business Transitions as the coordinator / Quarterback. Who else do we need to have our bases covered?
From the smallest main street business to larger complex merger and acquisition efforts, having an experienced Business Contract attorney on the team is nothing less than a requirement. Often a business owner has his trusted legal advisor and many may be properly equipped to assist in the transition documentation generation and review. If not, they may know someone who is or we can work with those familiar with Optimized Business Transitions who have a proven track record of success. We leave that choice to the owner and circumstance but often encourage at least a review with the transition specialist attorneys we partner with. It allows us specific confidence the contractual agreements will be well written, will protect our client’s specific goals and interests, and will be provided in a timely and cost effective manner.
In conjunction with the Business Contract attorney we will need a CPA who specializes in transaction work and preferably one who has worked with the attorney above to collaborate on the “deal structure”. Often times the deal structure is key to optimizing the outcome for the owner based simply on finding the right measure of classifying sale proceeds in a favorable yet entirely legal manner to minimize the tax obligation generated through the windfall of a business sale. I would suggest there is a tremendous differentiation between a tax accountant who prepares tax returns and a tax strategist CPA who can model the various outcome scenarios and lend value to the conversation on how the deal can be structured to keep more of the proceeds of any transition in the hands of the owner and out of the hands of Uncle Sam. Optimized Transitions works with several accountants that specialize in transaction or transition work and would gladly introduce them to the team if this seat is not taken.
Next comes the Estate Planning attorney. Again, if a relationship is in place, we welcome their familiarity with the client and potentially the business. From an asset preservation and liability mitigating standpoint, having the owner’s estate work properly crafted and funded will lend itself to the success of any transition. Plus it puts the 3 “C’s” in play…Control while living, Control in the event of Disability, and Control in the event of the owner’s passing. A well-crafted estate plan guarantees the goals of the owner are properly defined and will be managed and implemented in all foreseeable scenarios.
I would suggest there are other very valuable members of a transition team such as business value growth strategists, succession planning experts, leadership development specialists, and industrial and/or personal psychologists to contribute to the human element involved with the changes being faced by the owner and the employees of any company going through such dramatic change. These specialists are well known to the OBT team and are readily available to be added on a case by case basis.
Who on your current advisory team would fit into the roles necessary to develop and execute your transition plan? If you would like to talk about how Optimized Business Transitions can assist in bringing together your “A” team and coordinating their efforts to efficiently execute a personalized transition plan for you, please visit our website www.optimizedtransitions.com and click on the Contact Us tab. We would enjoy discussing your plans and discovering if our fully vetted team of professional advisors would bring you tremendous value in the process of planning the optimized transitions plan for your and your business.