This post is about the second-to-last chapter in my book, Disruptive Successor: A Guide for Driving Growth in Your Family Business. In it, I cover:
- How to build your business to sell it or transfer it successfully to the next generation.
- The eight drivers of value and how to value your business.
- Planning your exit options.
So, let's begin with the end in mind right now. I'll start by asking you a simple question:
What do you hope to get out of reading this post? Do you want to …
a.) Learn something?
b.) Learn and apply something?
c.) Decide whether to order my book?
d.) Decide whether to schedule an “Are We a Fit“ call?
e.) Have nothing better to do right now?
We've all got different reasons for doing what we do. The key is to know why you're doing something, and do it intentionally.
For example, here's why I wrote my book and developed the Disruptive Successor website:
My business coach suggested I write a book so that I could differentiate myself in the market from all the other coaches implementing EOS Traction or Scaling Up methodologies. My “end in mind” was to attract more of my ideal clients—in other words, next-generation leaders running family businesses who would benefit from a playbook on how to scale up their business and exit or transfer it.
As a result of doing that exercise with my coach, the magic started happening, and I began to attract more next-gen leaders of family businesses. My book launched on October 27, 2020, and in January 2021, I signed up a $60,000/year client whose interest in EOS' Traction and Scaling Up led him to my blog post on this subject. His was a family business, and he liked my Disruptive Successor positioning.
So, what is your end in mind?
To begin with the end in mind, you need to have a clear vision of the destination. Once you can bring that into focus, you'll better understand where you're at right now, and the steps you take will always be in the right direction. But this is not a new concept. Every great explorer maps their journey before setting off. Every new building starts with a blueprint. And no matter what your endgame is, whether it's to sell or pass the company to the next generation, you need to map out a plan to get there before you set off.
But ultimately, what it's all about is the exit plan. So let's start there. The objective is to build your business, sell it, and exit gracefully so you can move on to whatever comes next.
What's Your Exit Plan?
Every business owner eventually leaves their business. Interestingly, though, many have no immediate plans to retire, though they would if they could be assured of financial security. If you, as the disruptive successor, develop your exit plan from the start, everything will be ready for you to do so when the time comes to move on.
But before you take the reins of the company from your parents, it's essential to have a business advisory team in place. We call this building the BOAT – the business owner's advisory team. Your BOAT consists of an accountant, attorney, financial advisor, business coach, insurance agent, wealth manager, and exit planning advisor. Together, they will help you plan, create value, and guide you through the transfer process at the outset, and they'll also set you up for success when it's time for you to transition off the canvas.
You might also consider adding trusted peers, mentors, or industry colleagues who have walked this road before. Once you have your BOAT together, meet with them quarterly, semiannually, annually, and one-on-one, as needed. As time goes by, their input will be invaluable in driving value in the business as you continue to grow.
Value Comes First: The Eight Drivers of Value in Growth Planning
There are eight distinct drivers of value that directly impact a company's salability and transferability. When you remain focused on these drivers, it will help you and your BOAT focus on what matters most.
Here's a very brief summary—although you can view the extended version, along with many valuable personal insights, in Chapter 14 of my book, Disruptive Successor.
- Financial Performance. Potential buyers value your business based on your projected revenues and profits expected in the foreseeable future. They will discount your valuation for every year they have to wait to recoup their investment.
- Growth Potential. If there is strong potential to grow your customer base or increase sales, this adds to your business value.
- Monopoly Control. Do you have something unique, identifiable, and meaningful to your customers? The harder it is for your competitors to compete, the greater your value.
- Supplier, Employee, and Customer Independence. Your business can't be overly reliant on a single customer, supplier, or employee.
- Recurring Revenue. A recurring revenue stream, like contracts or subscriptions, gives you a window into the future and is one of the best ways to add value to your business.
- Customer Satisfaction. Any potential buyer for your company cares a great deal about how happy your customers are.
- Cash Flow Positive. It's a simple equation: the more operating cash a buyer has to inject into your business, the less they'll pay. The less they have to put in, the more they'll pay.
- Owner Dependency. If your company is wholly dependent on its owner to operate, there is little value to the acquirer. You need a second-in-command.
The Exit Planning Process
With any exit planning process, the goal is to maximize value by working with both tangible and intangible value sources. In the case of family businesses, succession planning is a big part of exit planning. It involves the selection, training, and retention of the next CEO.
Ultimately, it's a process that's well worth the effort as it helps you achieve the goals you set for yourself at the outset. To gain deeper insights into exit planning and strategies you can leverage to derive the best possible value from your company, I encourage you to pick up a copy of my book, Disruptive Successor. Alternately, schedule a call with me today to find out if we're a good fit.