Business Exit Planning as a Woman — What is different?

Erin Hadary MBA, CFP®, CAP® | Partner

Making the call to exit your business is a big decision and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. When you’ve built a company from the ground up, it can sometimes feel impossible to step away. In this post, I will provide insight into how women CEOs can plan a strategic and successful exit.

Reflect on Your Goals

Women exit their businesses for all kinds of reasons. Are you ready for a new professional challenge, or do you want to retire? Perhaps you’re looking for something in between — here is a 4-step checklist to help you get started.

Maybe you don’t want to continue as a C-suite professional, but you’re not ready to sit around on the rocking chair relaxing just yet. Mentoring, working as a consultant, or serving in an advisory capacity may feel like the right role for you at this point in time, but you want to get paid for the business you built.

Additionally, if you’re ready to exit your business, selling it to the highest bidder isn’t necessarily your only option. You could choose to do the following:

  • Turn the business over to a family member
  • Stay involved in the business, but hand over CEO responsibilities to someone else
  • Close the business entirely

Take ample time to think about what you want in this stage of life — both for your company’s future and your own.

Step 1: Get an Accurate Financial Picture

If you’re an entrepreneur who’s thinking about selling your business, you first need to know how much it’s worth. Look at comparable sales, and understand what factors can affect a valuation, such as your geographic location or your market share. It’s important to seek honest and reliable valuations of your business, and don’t just use one source. Asking multiple experts for an assessment will give you a much more accurate picture.

Furthermore, think about exactly what you want to get out of a buyout. This will help you assess offers from potential buyers with clarity.

Step 2: Start Developing an Exit Strategy

When you’ve decided to exit your business, give yourself time to make a plan. Some industry experts recommend two to five years. It takes a lot of time and preparation to sell a business, and the more preparation you do in advance, the smoother the process will be. Meet with your financial advisor to talk through both the personal and business sides of your exit. Some things to consider include:

  • Do you want to continue working or start your retirement?
  • How much of your wealth is tied up in your business?
  • What do you want your financial position to be after you exit?
  • After leaving, do you want to retain a financial stake in your business?

You should also consider getting a professional analysis of your business as it stands today. A SWOT-style analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) will help you understand if there are any factors that would negatively affect your company’s value and give you time to address them before you put it up for sale.

Women entrepreneurs can feel extra pressure to continue overachieving in each area of their business. But don’t make the mistake of getting caught up in the details and losing sight of the bigger picture. Think about why you started this business in the first place — what problem were you looking to solve? What opportunities did you see?

When you’ve spent years growing a business and building wealth as a woman, it can feel really tough to disentangle yourself from the day-to-day operations. Giving yourself a few years to plan your transition can help you hand over responsibilities to your staff with greater ease.

Step 3: Handling Family Relationships

For female entrepreneurs who work with family members, making the decision to exit can raise unique challenges. Working with your family can be complicated, so if your goal is to hand your business over to one of your children, make sure you’re on the same page. Do you and your child have the same vision for the company? If they take the business in a different direction, will you be okay with that?

If you have multiple family members working for you, it may be tough to decide who is best suited to take the reins after you retire. Hiring a family office can be helpful in situations where you and other family members have shared wealth. Your advisors can help you through the mix of family and finances that can sometimes lead to conflict.

Step 4: Putting a Professional Team around you

Having the right team of specialists around you can make the process of selling your business guide you through this massive life change.  As a Certified Financial Transitionist (CeFT®), Erin is a unique wealth advisor that can help you strategically plan your exit and your financial future.

If you’re a female entrepreneur who is thinking about exiting your business, Erin Hadary is here to help. Delegating to a wealth advisor can help you strategically plan your exit and your financial future.

To learn more about Moneta’s wealth management and family office services for women entrepreneurs, contact Erin today to start a conversation.

 © 2022 Moneta Group Investment Advisors, LLC. All rights reserved. These materials were prepared for informational purposes only based on materials deemed reliable, but the accuracy of which has not been verified. Examples contained herein are for illustrative purposes only based on generic assumptions.  This is not an offer to sell or buy securities, nor does it represent any specific recommendation.  You should consult with an appropriately credentialed professional before making any financial, investment, tax or legal decision. Past performance is not indicative of future returns. These materials do not take into consideration your personal circumstances, financial or otherwise.


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