business focus of the monthof the month Planning your exit writes Tara Mellett, partner, Haines Watts, Slough

The pandemic has created uncertainty in all aspects of our lives and more and more we are seeing clients wanting to ensure their business and personal affairs are in good order.

The way we work has changed dramatically over the past year, we do not yet know what the new normal will be on a medium to long term basis but we do know that the way we work has to be robust and agile. Our leadership styles have been tested and the sustainability of businesses has never been under more of a spotlight. This has led to many business owners looking to their exit strategy. Some long standing plans may no longer make sense in a post-Covid world. Some owners are reassessing how they feel about their business; for some the passion and fun has been lost and this may be motivating a rethink on their exit strategy and timing.

Succession planning is something that will be unique to each business owner. There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach but early planning is essential. In our experience building enterprise value (EV) ahead of exit is anywhere from a three to five year process.

Below are some of the key areas you should focus on in your planning:

1. Reflection is critical – Look at your business’s key strengths and weaknesses and try to identify any variables which may impact EV and put a plan in place to address these. Whether you are planning a family succession, a management buyout or sale of the business you will need to know this information to work on getting your business to the best possible place before your exit. We’ve found during this pandemic the most resilient businesses are those that can remain agile so always factor an element of flexibility into your planning.

2. Make yourself redundant – To make your business an attractive proposition you need to show that it can run without you. To do this build up your leadership team so that your exit won’t negatively affect the business. Start this by reviewing the skills of your people, many will have experience and backgrounds that can be developed. This will diversify your leadership team’s skillsets and bring additional value to your business.

3. Tax planning – In order to extract your wealth tax efficiently from the business, tax planning should be undertaken well in advance of your exit from the business. Early planning will enable you to cater for your needs while also ensuring the business is in a strong financial position once you exit.

For more information:

01753 530333

See more at: Tara Mellett

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