If you’re going to work with business owners and you want to bring value to them, you need to understand the concept of exit planning and what it means. Every business owner will eventually leave his or her business. A clear understanding of the exit planning process is required to serve this market segment.
My belief is that those in the wealth management business should participate in the exit planning process. One of the first steps in an exit plan is putting together a financial plan. This plan should not only include the details of retirement income, but also analyze the readiness for the owner to leave their business.
To complicate matters further, a major part of the economics in the financial plan is valuing the business. Business valuation is complicated and often includes having other professionals involved.
I believe that working with business owners requires training in the exit planning process. There are three organizations that offer training for advisors that work with private business owners. They each have their own personality and lens they look at exit planning through.
The organizations are:
Pinnacle Equity Solutions was founded by John Leonetti who has a background in law, mergers and acquisitions and wealth management. He can provide you with information about the specifics of both his two day training program as well as their certification designation.
Business Enterprise Institute was started by John Brown and was the original organization for training advisors to work with business owners on exit planning issues. John’s background is a mergers and acquisition attorney. BEI has a strong staff. For more information contact their head of marketing, Tom Letorneau.
The Exit Planning Institute is lead by Denis Gano as their executive director. Pete Christman started this organization while he was an investment banker working with middle market privately held businesses. Denis now handles inquiries about The Exit Planning Institute. As with Pinnacle, this organization has a certification program with a designation awarded after successfully completing their program.
All three organizations provide quality training. My suggestion is contact all three and see which one fits you the best. Exit planning is as much art as it is science. As with all art, there is a certain amount of training that can help make you more effective.
My belief is that generalists such as financial planners can help business owners think about large issues. To get an owner to move through the process, you need to understand the process yourself. Exit planning training will help.