Using Exit Planning Technology to Help Business Owners Exit

Submitted by Elizabeth J Mower on Fri, 08/24/2018 - 6:00am
A brown, boomerang-shaped desk with a laptop, Blackberry, iPhone, tablet, gaming mouse, and cup of coffee on it in a bright room.

In this series of posts, we will look at three important aspects of Exit Planning for both Exit Planning Advisors and business owners.

  1. How Exit Planning Advisors refill their pipelines after their clients exit, and why it benefits business owners.
  2. How the convergence of digital technology and Exit Planning affects Exit Planning Advisors and business owners.
  3. What wealthy business owners worry about most as they exit (it’s usually not money).

These three aspects guide whether business owners successfully exit, and whether advisors succeed or fail in growing their practices.

Today, we’ll look at how the convergence of digital technology and Exit Planning affects Exit Planning Advisors and business owners.

Technology Can Be the Obstacle or the Path Forward in Exit Planning

Most advisors to business owners have one overarching goal: help their business-owning clients reap the benefits of their lives’ work. BEI shares that mission with advisors because helping business owners exit successfully benefits owners, advisors, and the overall economy. There are many ways for advisors to plan successful exits for their business-owning clients. But every day, it’s becoming clearer that how owners and advisors use technology can determine whether their plans are successful.

According to Dan Richards, an award-winning faculty member of the University of Toronto’s MBA program, the accelerated change in technological development has had a noticeable impact on advisor success. As technology develops, Richards argues that “complacency is the most dangerous management sin.” In short, technology has made it so that standing pat with what you know can serve as an obstacle to success.

As we’ve discussed, it has never been easier for business owners to find niche advisors using technology. Relationships that used to be built on cocktails and handshakes are steadily giving way to Google rating systems and Yelp customer reviews. With seemingly limitless options for owners to use to get exactly what they want from advisory practices, advisors find themselves at a crossroads: Do they stick with what they know and risk being left behind, or do they adjust to the rapidly evolving expectations of their business-owning clients?

To clarify, this does not mean that personal, face-to-face relationships are no longer important. The ability to build meaningful, authentic relationships with clients is a prerequisite to success for any advisor, and especially Exit Planning Advisors. But as communication technology continues to develop at nearly inconceivable rates, owners and advisors must develop new ways to leverage it. This is where Exit Planning can play a huge role for business owners and advisors in three ways.

Easier, More Convenient Communication

The proliferation of the Internet has made it easier than ever before for people to contact one another. As such, business owners expect their advisors to have quick, easily digestible information on any topic they choose available for them when they want it.

In the past, business owners who wanted to exit their businesses on their terms would have found themselves responsible for gathering the advisors they needed and keeping in constant contact with them throughout their business-exit planning. They would have had to do this while they ran their businesses. This often left owners stretched too thin to reap all of the benefits of the businesses they built. Through Exit Planning, that’s no longer the case.

Exit Planning is a team effort that requires the services of several advisors working toward a common goal: allowing business owners to reap the benefits of their lives’ work. Exit Planning Advisors serve as the leaders of the Exit Planning Process. They take the responsibilities of gathering advisors, facilitating communication, and reaching appropriate Exit Planning checkpoints into their own hands. This allows business owners to continue building their businesses to the point at which they can comfortably exit them, with minimal need to involve themselves in the complex technical aspects of Exit Planning.

BEI helps advisors leverage communication technology through its Exit Planning software, EPIC. EPIC makes communicating with Advisor Team members and tracking important Exit Planning milestones quicker and easier. This makes it easier for Exit Planning Advisors to quickly and conveniently communicate with business owners about how their Exit Plans are progressing. In the end, this quicker and more efficient communication allows business owners to reap the benefits of owning their businesses more effectively. By leveraging communication technology through BEI, Exit Planning Advisors can perform above the expectations their business-owning clients set.

Diverse Collaboration With Non-Competing Advisors

In general, studies show that groups with more diversity tend to perform better than groups with more homogeny. Exit Planning Advisor Teams are built on this very idea. Exit Planning Advisors build a diverse team that includes professionals across a wide range of specialties and experiences. This gives business owners a rich pool of ideas and suggestions to draw upon as they consider the best Exit Path for themselves. This professional diversity improves business owners’ chances of implementing a successful Exit Plan.

One of the most common misunderstandings that advisors have about Exit Planning is that they think committing to Exit Planning will require them to send business to their professional competitors. They worry that they’ll need to include competitors to fill out their Advisor Teams. That’s simply not the case.

BEI leverages communication technology with its Network of Exit Planning Professionals to give Exit Planning Advisors access to countless non-competing advisors with diverse sets of expertise and experience. In fact, Exit Planning often differentiates advisors from their competitors, rather than forcing advisors to work with them. BEI also uses technology to offer Exit Planning Advisors access to exclusive practice groups, advisor forums, and planning strategies. All of this serves to help business owners achieve their business-exit goals through their advisors.

Specialization

Perhaps the most noticeable effect of rapid technological development is how it’s encouraged the explosion of specialized services. For every need a person could have, there’s someone out there who can provide it, and the Internet makes it simpler for those people to connect. For business owners, the unfulfilled need is for an advisor who can make their post-exit dreams a reality. Exit Planning is the answer for them.

Yet even today, as the Exit Planning industry continues to grow, most business owners haven’t talked to an Exit Planning Advisor about their exits. They often talk to their CPAs, financial advisors, or lawyers about aspects of their exits, but rarely do they talk to someone who specializes in Exit Planning. In fact, only 18% of surveyed owners said that they had talked to an Exit Planning Advisor about their exits, even though 75% of surveyed owners said they would exit their businesses today if they had the money. This means that business owners want Exit Planning Advisors and would work with them, if only they knew who they were.

BEI trains advisors to become Exit Planning Advisors. BEI also provides tools to help Exit Planning Advisors leverage Internet technologies to get their names out there. Most importantly, BEI gives advisors the exposure and expertise they need to carve out a niche and allow business owners to pursue their Exit Planning goals successfully. Advisors who specialize in Exit Planning provide business owners with the clearest opportunity to achieve their post-exit dreams, whatever those dreams may be.

In our final post of this series, we’ll examine what wealthy business owners worry about the most, and how Exit Planning can help address those issues.



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