For company owners facing the prospect of selling their businesses as they near retirement, I have fantastic news. Enterprise Minnesota’s Steve Haarstad has earned the Certified Exit Planning Advisor (CEPA) designation from the Exit Planning Institute, which will help him guide clients through the exit process.
For business owners, the challenges of retirement planning are much more complex than the typical save-invest-retire routine that works for most. And the sale of a company–what should be the satisfying culmination of a life spent building a business–can often lead to outright anxiety.
That’s where Steve comes in. He joined Enterprise Minnesota six years ago and has been helping manufacturers develop and execute strategic business plans to grow profitably. Exit planning is a perfect extension of this work. “It’s really a three-legged stool, with personal planning, financial planning and business planning,” he says. Using a specific process in each of these three areas transforms the task from overwhelming to manageable, and hopefully even pleasant.
Personal planning includes a deep look at the owner’s readiness to leave the business and plans for life after the sale. “They really need to ask themselves what they want their lives to look like after retirement,” Steve says. “Having someone guide them through that evaluation is very helpful.”
Financial planning involves assessing how much income is needed for the owner in retirement and creating the proper financial, tax and legal plan to provide it. “The tax ramifications of a business sale can be enormous,” Steve explains. “A good strategy helps owners manage and maintain the wealth generated by the sale.”
Business planning looks at strategies to ensure the business is efficient and profitable now to make it more attractive to buyers down the road. “There are so many steps owners can take to boost the sale price of their company. From diversifying their customer base, to documenting company processes for future owners, to embracing automation, we can work with them to increase their company’s value now and in the future,” Steve says.
No single individual has the expertise to manage all aspects of a successful exit, Steve says. “I’m more like a quarterback, helping lead a team that might include a financial planner, estate or tax attorney, CPA, business broker or investment banker, and a value advisor.”
It’s so timely that Enterprise Minnesota now offers this level of exit planning expertise. With a quarterback like Steve, company owners can move through the preparation and sale process and retire with confidence.
Email us at [email protected] to register for Steve’s next Manufacturing Workshop on succession planning scheduled in Plymouth on March 15.
Read more about Steve and his exit planning successes in the most recent issue of Enterprise Minnesota® magazine
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