Time: Too Much or Too Little? Exit Planning for Home Care Agency Owners

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Finding Time for Exit Planning

Exit Planning?  Oh, I’ll have plenty of time for that later!

Exit Planning?  I’m too busy to think about that now!

Sound familiar?  The problem is that active, successful business owners like you seldom slow down, and despite your best intentions, you often bite off more than you can chew.  We can’t cram any more hours into your day, but we can help you use your time more wisely.

Rudolfo LeMond owned a growing hospitality services company.  As his business grew, he learned to delegate, but no matter how much Rudolfo delegated, he never had enough time for planning.  And even if he could find time, he didn’t know how to create a plan founded on a clear vision, with clearly-defined and accountable steps along the way.

This was Rudolfo’s situation when he was approached by a buyer.  Though he had not actively pursued a sale, at 49 he was beginning to consider life after work.  So he found an hour to meet with the buyer.  In those 60 minutes, Rudolfo’s blinders were removed and his priorities turned upside down.

A large national company looking to establish a community presence, the buyer was interested in Rudolfo’s company because of its reputation and broad, diversified customer base. The buyer was looking to acquire a business that could grow with little other than financial support.

Naturally it sought a business with a good management structure because, like most buyers, it did not have its own management team to place in the business. Rudolfo, however, had not attracted or retained solid management (nor had he created a plan to do so). His business lacked this most basic Value Driver.  Like many buyers and mergers and acquisitions brokers, they were also looking for two additional Value Drivers: increasing cash flow and sustainable systems throughout the organization (from Human Resources to marketing and sales to work flow). Rudolfo quickly realized that his business was a hodgepodge of separate systems each created to patch a particular problem. Finally, they asked Rudolfo to describe his plans for growing the business. Rudolfo had none. What this buyer and Rudolfo now understood was that this business revolved around Rudolfo. As Rudolfo left the meeting, he expected that, given his company’s deficiencies, he would receive a low offer from the buyer. He waited weeks but no low offer was forthcoming. In fact, the buyer simply disappeared. The message to all of us is clear: Unless a business is ready to be sold, many buyers, especially financial buyers, are not interested. They have neither the time nor the in-house talent to correct deficiencies. The look for (and pay top dollar for) businesses that are poised for ownership transition. It is a fact of life for owners that unless you work on your business, rather than in your business, you will never find time to plan for the future of your business.

Is there a way to find the time for exit planning before your 60 minutes with a prospective buyer?  Of course.  But exit planning requires time– time not only to create the plan but also time to implement it and to achieve measurable results. That timeline may be considerably longer than you anticipate because, in creating an Exit Plan, you need to rely on others who are also busy (minimally an attorney, CPA, and financial planning professional). Additionally, you can not anticipate all of the issues that might arise, and it is unlikely that everyone you work with is as motivated or experienced as you are. Finally, and inevitably, not everything will go as planned.

Exit Planning encompasses all sorts of planning: growth, strategic, succession planning, as well as your personal financial, and estate planning. By wrapping business, estate, and personal planning into one process, Exit Planning is all-encompassing rather than a subset of the planning. In short, there is much to do, and the time to start doing it is now.

It’s important to recognize that planning, properly undertaken, can help enrich your business as well as your personal life. According to Brian Tracy (http://www.briantracy.com/), “A clear vision, backed by definite plans, gives you a tremendous feeling of confidence and personal power.” And, in the case of Exit Planning, it works, too.

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About Risa Baker

Risa is Managing Director of PARTNERS 31. Her natural enthusiasm and years of industry experience will successfully guide your business, whatever its size or specialty, through every aspect of exit planning, from strategy to sale.

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