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Frequently Asked Questions
Strategic planning is all about optimizing your business and ensuring that every decision is made with genuine intent. We typically begin by defining your vision and purpose for the current and future state of your organization and continue through exit planning – making sure your business can run without you.
Establishing a strategic plan (as well as reviewing and updating it!) empowers you to make decisions on your terms and allows for flexibility, less stress, and most importantly the comfort of knowing your team’s decisions align with what’s in your heart.
Your exit plan allows your business to run smoothly even when you’re not there. Exit planning is a common practice but can cause some confusion as many business owners aren’t planning to “exit” anytime soon. Instead, ask yourself what would happen if you took a month-long vacation – would your team struggle or excel?
You’ll want to involve all key decision-makers in the business in the strategic planning process – this is often your executives, management team, any key personnel, and don’t forget your spouse! You should also include any next-level/future management – a child or younger employee with leadership potential. It is also helpful to include your financial advisor, accountant, and sometimes attorney.
If you’re unsure who to include, ask yourself, “If I were to make a major change to the business tomorrow, who would I want input from?” Invite those people. But be cautious of including too many voices as it can become complicated to coordinate schedules and ideas.
The process of developing your strategic plan, assuming you have your team’s buy-in, will take 1 to 3 months. Implementing the plan, which involves defining the specific tasks and actions that need to occur to reach your goals, will take around 6 months. At that point, regular monitoring and check-ins will become regular practice.
A business sale typically takes around six months to one year to complete, but timing can vary.
Unless you have experience, it’s advisable to use a business broker for the transaction – ideally one with experience in your industry.
Professional business brokers typically charge a percentage of the sale price on a graduated scale (often called a “success fee”) which could range anywhere from 5 to 10%.
There are varying ways to convert your business cash flow to an income stream, depending on your goals. Is your goal to stay in an active role and draw income from your business? Do you intend to transition ownership and exit completely? Once you get clear on your strategic plan, you can begin to break down the specific steps needed to accomplish this. Your financial advisor and accountant should both be involved in this planning process to ensure any tax liability is minimized and your dollars are optimized. They can work with you to develop an investment strategy to fund your lifestyle.
There are multiple ways to offer your employees equity in your business, including a partial buyout where your management team purchases ownership in the company or an ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan) where you give shares to selected employees as an employee benefit. If you intend to sell shares to your employees, keep in mind that this strategy often involves some degree of financing.
The good thing with running your own business is that you have a great deal of flexibility. This is why planning is so vital – it allows you to roll with the punches.