The Role of the Exit Planning Advisor

Submitted by John Brown on Mon, 04/20/2015 - 4:38pm
Image of A Business Advisor Explaining A Business Process To A Group Of Business Owners

We've updated this article to reflect our most recent survey, The BEI 2016 Business Owner Survey.

According to our most recent business owner survey, Exit Planning Advisors ask the questions that few other advisors ask business owners.

Since all boomer business owners are over the age of 50 (and most over 55), we weren’t surprised that 79% of all owners (not just boomers) who took part in our 2016 Business Owner Survey told us that they want to leave their business within 10 years.  Based on this, it would be natural to assume that advisors are talking to their owner-clients—especially their boomer clients--about their exit intentions and planning.

To test that assumption, we also asked business owners if they had had even a single conversation with an advisor about their plans to stay or exit their business. We wondered which professional advisor was doing the best job, so we asked them to tell us which professional they had talked to about their plans to exit. As you’ll see below, “the best job” is relative.

What Business Owners Told Us

Our Survey asked: To date, I’ve had at least one conversation about my plans to stay/exit my business with my:

  • Insurance advisor
  • Financial advisor
  • CPA
  • Business attorney

The owners’ responses were as follows, and owners could answer with more than one response:

  1. Insurance advisor - 9%
  2. Financial advisor - 30%
  3. Estate planning Attorney - 15%
  4. Business attorney  - 25%
  5. CPA  - 41%

Given the wording of the question, the percentage of advisors initiating that conversation is even lower than these percentages, since either an advisor or owner may have initiated the conversation.

This conversation rate may seem low, but our Advisors tell us that they are continually surprised by how seldom they talk to a business owner who has ever talked to another advisor about their plans to exit—including the owner’s current advisors.

Are you ignoring your most important clients’ most important concern?

Based on these results we believe that the most affluent group of business owners in the history of the world is being ignored at the exact time that they most need help.

We don’t know why advisors don’t talk to their clients or prospects about their exits. And the reason they don’t isn’t really important.

What is important is that their silence presents an amazing opportunity (for the next 15+ years) to grow your practice through helping the most affluent generation of owners in the history of the world exit their businesses on their terms and conditions. We find that owners are increasingly interested in learning more about Exit Planning. They want to know what to do and who can help them. How do we know?  The number of owners requesting information from BEI to plan for their own exits has greatly increased, and average attendance at our business owner seminars and workshops has grown exponentially.

So here is our mini-survey for you:

  1. Do you wish to learn more about what you can do to help owners benefit from their lives’ work?
  2. Do you wish to learn how helping owners can help your practice?

If so, tune in next week as we describe seven questions to ask business owners to initiate a conversation about their plans to stay or leave their businesses.



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