Business Succession Advisors

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One of my favorite proverbs is: If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. I believe this to be true in many aspects of life but especially in business transitions. First, every transition involves at least two people: the owner who is leaving and the one who is taking his or her place. And every transition involves several professional business succession advisors because there are legal/contractual elements, tax (and possibly estate planning) considerations, and financial planning assessments. There’s almost always a need for a business valuation and, in the case of sales to third parties, an investment banker or business broker.

We know that great business succession advisors put the odds of a successful transition in your favor and work with owners every day to assemble, what we call, their Cabinet of Advisors.

Beware the business succession advisor who claims to “do it all.”

It’s simply impossible for one advisor to be an expert in a journey as complex as a business transition. Our role as transition strategists is to help you both design the journey to the transition you desire and, as needed, identify the advisors who can best help you reach your transition destination.

Great Cabinet Members

Over the years, we’ve helped hundreds of owners establish their Cabinets, and while each Cabinet is unique, successful ones share at least five characteristics.

  1. They understand what you want to accomplish.
  2. They care about both your goals and the principles that guide you.
  3. They are effective communicators who will keep you and other members of your Cabinet informed.
  4. They are available when you need them.
  5. They understand that successful transitions are wins for owners, successors, and their companies.

You choose your Cabinet members and sit at the head of the table.

When the professional advisors you already work with and trust have expertise in business transitions and make suggestions and carry out your decisions on your timetable, they are great additions to your Cabinet. They can also be great sources of referrals to other experts such as business valuation experts and investment bankers.

Vetting Cabinet members

In Chapter 26 of my book, It’s A Journey, there’s a list of questions you can ask prospective Cabinet members and another of the qualities that make good advisors great. If you’d like to talk about either of those lists, please give me a call. I’m happy to share my ideas and help you work with advisors who can provide creative and thoughtful advice and smooth the road through your business transition and on to the next phase of your life.

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