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What Got You Here, Won’t Get You There: Why a Proactive Approach to Business Exit Planning is Critical

Business Exit Planning

Entrepreneurs, by nature, are undaunted by risk. They put everything on the line to build a company—perhaps several—that they care deeply about, hoping that one day they will enjoy wealth with a sense of achievement seldom attained by most people. I know because I’m an entrepreneur, too, and because I help my entrepreneur clients create comprehensive business exit planning strategies, based on their answer to this question: What does getting out gracefully mean to you?

Some entrepreneurs envision themselves at the helms of their companies all their lives. They’ll die at their desks and let others sort things out. Other entrepreneurs want to make as much money as possible as quickly as possible so they can and retire the moment their finances permit. Such visions seem plausible when viewed in a vacuum. Of course, life isn’t lived in a vacuum, but moment to moment. One never knows what the next moment will bring.

The truth however, is to fully realize a successful business exit planning strategy – true proactivity is required. The longer the runway – the more thoughtful planning can be done to minimize the impact of taxation on the transaction; improve the viability and accessibility of various business exit planning strategies; and most importantly, to maximize the net after-tax proceeds you receive.

Getting Out Gracefully requires business owners to change their knee-jerk, shoot-from-the-hip tendencies, and requires deliberate process-based planning. Whether you are years from a potential transaction – or on the doorstep of a huge liquidity event – it is never too late or too early to finally start.

As an old proverb goes, “The best time to have planted a tree was yesterday. The second best time is right now.”

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