Your Exit Strategy Team
The next step is creating your plan to retire from the business. Start by pulling together a strong team of advisors.
Your business may not need the full range of experts out there, but it is worth involving at least one experienced small business advisor. For example, RBC Financial Group has advisors who can assess your situation.
The accountant: Accountants may be able to help you make your business more financially sound and attractive to buyers. Another reason to consider hiring a chartered accountant is to start getting audited financial statements-a valuable feature in the eyes of many buyers. Experts suggest your accountant should also work closely with your legal advisor to ensure there is no duplication of effort.
The lawyer: Look for a legal advisor or law firm that specializes in business and estate law and has actual experience in selling businesses, setting up business trusts, planning taxes and drafting shareholder agreements. Ask for client references, if you feel the need.
The tax advisor: Tax experts can be found in your accounting firm or law firm. Your tax advisor must have a clear understanding of your business, your personal goals and your family needs - encompassing both personal and corporate tax issues.
The appraiser or valuator: There may be a qualified business valuator in your chartered accounting firm or you can find one through the Canadian Institute of Chartered Business Valuators. After studying financial records and learning the strengths and weaknesses of your business, the valuator can offer a reasonably accurate estimate of market value.
The banker or lender: A lender experienced with small or medium-sized businesses can offer valuable advice at each step of retirement planning. Your lender may also be of assistance financing the sale or transfer of your business.
The broker: Brokers have a large pool of potential buyers, can sift out poor prospects, and offer selling tips you can't get from your other advisors. Brokers usually get a commission tied to the final selling price that can range as high as 10-15%. Review the sales agreement with your lawyer.