If you want your wealth management firm to have real value to an outside buyer, remember that buyers are interested in a increasing and ongoing revenue stream. They are not especially interested in buying a business that depends on your skills at working with clients or that requires highly specialized knowledge. It’s not that these things aren’t valuable; it’s just not very valuable to a buyer of your firm.
A potential buyer of your firm will love an ensemble practice that really is an ensemble. If you’re running a solo firm or a group solo practice buyers are not going to love your firm or pay you big money for it. If you can find some way to change your firm to an ensemble practice, the enterprise value of the firm will dramatically improve.
What a buyer is interested in is having great Clients who are committed to doing business with your firm and not any individual within the firm. To create this type of firm, it’s important to have more than one person work with the Client. I personally like the model where three people work on a Client relationship. This way, the Client has several people at the firm they can contact and it’s the firm who’s taking care of their issues not an individual.
The second thing that buyers love is when a Client base has a long-term relationship with the firm. Having regular feedback from your Clients about what they like and what they would like to see improved is very useful. There are several companies that will help you put together excellent surveys. If you don’t want to use an outside firm, I suggest putting together your own questionnaire and find out why your Clients do business with your firm.
A final area that is important is to find a way that will help your buyer realize the value of your firm. I’ve talked about metrics in the past, but they really are the Holy Grail in helping a buyer figure out why they should pay a large amount for your firm. Showing historical figures and having institutionalized a key performance program will not only help you make more money today, but will help you get a higher price when it comes time to sell your business.