Top 10 tips for developing a business exit strategy: Business Succession and Estate Planning

Given all the hard work that building up a business takes, it can be hard to say goodbye – so it’s important to do it right. 


Developing an exit strategy well in advance allows you to have control over your small business’s future while ensuring that you are compensated for all the time and effort you invested. Here are ten essential tips to help you create a robust business exit strategy:


  1. Start Planning Early
    The sooner you start planning your exit strategy, the better. Ideally, you should begin thinking about your exit strategy as you establish your business. This foresight allows you to make strategic decisions that align with your long-term goals. Planning early also gives you ample time to prepare for unforeseen challenges.

  2. Determine Your Objectives
    Clearly define your goals for exiting the business. Do you want to maximise the financial return, ensure the business continues under a competent successor, or maintain your legacy? Understanding your objectives will guide the development of your exit strategy and help you make informed decisions.

  3. Evaluate the Market Value of Your Business
    Knowing the value of your business is crucial for setting realistic expectations. Engage a professional appraiser to conduct a thorough valuation. This valuation will help you understand what your business is worth and identify areas where you can increase its value before selling or transferring ownership.

  4. Consider Different Exit Options
    There are various ways to exit a business, including selling to a third party, passing it on to a family member, initiating a management buyout, or merging with another company. Evaluate the pros and cons of each option to determine which aligns best with your objectives and circumstances.

  5. Develop a Succession Plan
    A succession plan ensures that your business can continue to operate smoothly after your departure. Identify potential successors and provide them with the necessary training and development opportunities. This plan should include a timeline for the transition and clear communication of roles and responsibilities.

  6. Prepare Your Business for Transition
    To make your business attractive to potential buyers or successors, ensure that it is well-organized and profitable. Streamline operations, strengthen financial records, and address any legal or compliance issues. A well-prepared business is more likely to attract favourable offers and facilitate a smooth transition.

  7. Seek Professional Advice
    Consulting with professionals such as accountants, lawyers, and financial advisors is essential. These experts can provide valuable insights and help you navigate complex legal, financial, and tax issues associated with exiting a business. Their guidance can ensure that you make well-informed decisions and avoid costly mistakes.

  8. Communicate with Stakeholders
    Keep your employees, customers, and other stakeholders informed about your plans. Transparent communication helps maintain trust and minimises disruption during the transition. Address any concerns and ensure that key stakeholders understand the reasons behind your decision and how it will impact them.

  9. Plan for Your Personal Future
    Consider your personal financial and lifestyle goals post-exit. Develop a financial plan that ensures you have sufficient resources to support your desired lifestyle. Think about how you will spend your time and what new opportunities you might pursue after leaving the business.

  10. Stay Flexible and Open to Adjustments
    The business environment is dynamic, and circumstances can change. Stay flexible and be prepared to adjust your exit strategy as needed. Regularly review and update your plan to reflect any changes in your business, industry, or personal goals.



Exiting a business is a significant milestone that requires careful planning and consideration. By starting early, defining your objectives, evaluating your options, and seeking professional advice, you can develop a comprehensive exit strategy that meets your needs and ensures the continued success of your business. 

Remember, the goal is to leave on your terms, with your legacy and financial security intact.



If this article has inspired you to think about your own unique situation and, more importantly, what you and your family are going through right now, please contact your advice professional.

This information does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any person. Before making a decision, you should consider whether it is appropriate in light of your particular objectives, financial situation or needs.

(Feedsy Exclusive)


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