Guest Column | July 24, 2015

What To Consider When Planning Your Business Exit Strategy, Part I

By Arlin Sorensen, O and Founder of the Heartland Companies which includes HTG Peer Groups

Arlin Sorensen, CEO and Founder of the Heartland Companies, which includes HTG Peer Groups

One of the areas I spend considerable time on is helping business owners prepare for and then complete an exit from the business they often founded and have worked in for decades. Let’s get one thing straight:  It is a big deal for an entrepreneurial owner to exit his or her business. In fact, it is a very big deal. The saddest call I receive comes from a small business owner that has worked in their company for decades. It was their creation, and they have poured sweat and blood into building it to where it is today. The call usually goes something like this:

Owner: I’ve been trying to sell my company for a while now. I talk to brokers and they tell me it isn’t worth much. That can’t be true. It’s my retirement. I’ve poured my life into it working from sunrise ‘til sunset for decades. It has to be worth something!

My response: I’m not in the transaction business but will be glad to take a look at your financials and provide some consulting advice around what I see there. Please send the last three years’ P&Ls and your balance sheet.

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