When we introduce the concept of Exit Planning to advisors, they sometimes ask, “What does an Exit Planner do, exactly?” The Exit Planning Advisor is the advisor who leads and coordinates the entire Exit Planning Process for business owners, from initial data collection to final implementation. The Exit Planning Advisor’s primary function is to assure that business owners exit their businesses with financial security and can achieve as many of their exit goals as possible. Because business owners have vast responsibilities in running their businesses for continued success, they find that trying to coordinate business responsibilities and Exit Planning responsibilities can be too much to handle. That’s where Exit Planning Advisors and their Advisor Teams come in.
What an Exit Planning Advisor does is relatively easy to understand. Where advisors and business owners often get confused is in how Exit Planning Advisors do what they do. I often say that no matter which advisory profession advisors come from—whether they’re financial advisors, lawyers like myself, CPAs, bankers, or otherwise—with the right tools and strategies, any ambitious advisor can succeed in the Exit Planning industry. Here’s how.
1. Project Management
At its core, the Exit Planning Process is a long-term project. On average, creating and implementing a successful Exit Plan takes 5–10 years. This doesn’t mean that advisors and business owners must dedicate every waking hour of those 5–10 years strictly to Exit Planning, but it does mean that they need to keep an eye on the long-term milestones they need to meet to assure a financially secure exit for owners. The best way to do that is through diligent project management.
Because project management is the best way for owners and advisors to keep their Exit Planning focus clear, BEI built EPIC, the world’s only comprehensive Exit Planning project management software. Advisors who have access to EPIC can organize, strategize, and easily access business owners' wants, needs, and progress in their Exit Plans. They can also hold the Advisor Team accountable for gathering the information necessary for a successful business exit and completing their duties relevant to the owner’s Exit Plan. EPIC also integrates the knowledge of hundreds of advisors from various professions to make unique recommendations pertinent to business owners’ unique situations.
Exit Planning Advisors use EPIC’s project management functionalities to focus owners and advisors on the owner’s exit goals, which strengthens the Advisor Team’s ability to work as a functional unit.
2. Advisor Team Approach
No single advisor can create and implement an Exit Plan alone. There’s simply too much to do and too many types of expertise needed. Exit Planning Advisors use an Advisor Team approach to assure that their clients can exit their businesses on their terms. By gathering the appropriate types of experts—including but not limited to CPAs, attorneys, insurance professionals, and financial advisors—Exit Planning Advisors can create Advisor Teams that address specific aspects of the owner’s exit. Then, Exit Planning Advisors delegate responsibilities to the appropriate advisors to assure that owners’ wants and needs are fulfilled.
While some Exit Planning Advisors create Advisor Teams with advisors they’ve worked with before, BEI can also help connect them to experts using our Advisor Directory. Because Exit Planning Advisors come from various industries across North America, veterans and newbies can find benefits, new ideas, and even new Exit Planning opportunities by networking and marketing through BEI.
3. Giving Proper Credit
Successful Exit Plans hinge on the Advisor Team working well together. One of the best ways to foster those relationships is to give proper credit where it’s due. As the Exit Planning Advisor Team leader, Exit Planning Advisors give proper credit to their teammates throughout the process. This leads to better relationships between all advisors and owners, and can lead to new referral businesses when owners know which advisors played their proper roles throughout the Exit Planning Process.
4. Synthesizing Information for Business Owners
As the Advisor Team provides input based on each advisor’s expertise, the Exit Planning Advisor accumulates that input, compiles it in terms the business owner can understand, helps the owner understand his or her options, and produces actions that the owner can take. Each of these elements is made easier through EPIC. The goal of information synthesis is to provide owners with focused actions that will fulfill their wants and needs for their business exit.
These four elements of how Exit Planning Advisors serve their business-owning clients are crucial to the creation and implementation of a successful Exit Plan. By creating an Advisor Team, knowing which advisors are responsible for specific elements of the Exit Plan, giving proper credit, and synthesizing information for business owners, Exit Planning Advisors can lead their Advisor Teams and business owners to Exit Planning success, regardless of their profession.