How to choose the best exit strategy for your business?

Every entrepreneur has one target in mind when starting their business, to grow and to be profitable in the long run. Many entrepreneurs start a business to multiply its and other stakeholders’ investment. It has been more common lately to see a company go thru an IPO or acquisition as an exit strategy. This blog will discuss how to choose the best exit strategy for your business.

As discussed in our blog, starting a successful business in an inflated economy, you have the opportunity to create innovative products or services to solve a problem that arises during hardship times. As an entrepreneur, you have the power to influence and change the current ecosystem by building a great startup. So why think about an exit?

How to choose the best exit strategy

Reasons why an exit strategy is needed

Many factors can contribute to an exit:

  • The business has been running at a loss for a while now
  • Legal reasons such as massive lawsuits
  • The demise of the owner (usually sole proprietorship)
  • Merger & Acquisition looks appealing
  • IPO to multiply investors’ money

What makes an exit a bad strategy?

A lousy exit usually involves poor strategy adaption. When a business owner decides to halt the business, choosing the right exit strategy is vital. Poor strategy management may cause financial losses and even steer the business brand away from its values. Business owners can choose the suitable method based on the business needs; every element of the strategy implementation is essential for a smooth exit process and optimizing business outcomes.

Most common exit strategies

There are a few exit strategies that we will discuss here. The most common ones are:

  1. Transferring the business to another family member or a neutral person
  2. Merger and Acquisition
  3. Business liquidation
  4. Bankruptcy filing
  5. Selling the company to a partner or an interested investor
  6. IPO (Initial Public Offering)

Exit Strategy 1: Transfer the business to a family member

Why choose this exit strategy?

As a business owner if you decide to retire, one of the most common ways to exit the business is by transferring to a family member. Business owners like this exit strategy as they are able to keep the business with family and pass it on from generation to generations to come.

Factors to consider when exiting this way.

It is prevalent to inherit a business from a family member. Usually, this type of business is more mature and established in the economy. The transferee should evaluate some factors before beginning the transfer. First of all, the soundness of the acquiring party. It is crucial to ensure the new owner has the mental and financial ability to take over the business and sustain its values and profitability. It can often become a challenge for both parties to have the same business practices mindset. Both parties should try to reach a common ground where the transfer can be done smoothly while ensuring the legal aspect of the transfer has been taken care of.

Exit strategy 2: Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A)

Why choose this exit strategy?

This M&A strategy is most common among startups and business owners. It can be a preferred strategy as the owner can set their terms, continue to hold control, and influence the price of the acquisition. 

Factors to consider when exiting this way.

There are two outcomes from this type of transaction: either businesses merge and maintain equal interest and holdings, or the acquiring party becomes the major stakeholder of the merged entities. When the latter happens, the appointed CEO will be from the acquiring side, and significant changes can be made to the structure and processes of the other company. This strategy requires internal and external expertise to complete each transaction area and weigh the outcome of such activity. Some of the crucial part that will decide whether to continue with the strategy is the projected profitability, the size of the debt, and any ongoing legal issues that might fail the purpose of the M&A transaction. More on this topic soon!

Exit strategy 3: Business Liquidation

Why choose this exit strategy?

Business owners are ready to liquidate their business and move to the next venture. This may sound very appealing to a business owner if the passion for the business is lost. If the entrepreneur does not have any family members or partners to sell the business to, then liquidating the business is the preferred stategy to exit.

Factors to consider with this exit strategy.

It may sound simple and easy, but it is critical to inspect and ensure you create a proper checklist for each business area. Liquidating a business translates to permanently shutting down the business, so it is essential to ensure the business values and brands stay positive in the market and that such a decision will be profitable. Business owners often seek external services to help analyze and compile the necessary data to adapt the exit strategy successfully.

Exit Strategy 4: Bankruptcy Filing

Why choose this exit strategy?

Almost all business owner tries to avoid this type of exit. Filing for bankruptcy often relates to the inability to sustain the business profitably while the level of unpaid debt is snowballing. To avoid being sued or the possibility of losing not only business but personal assets, many owners’ resorts to this avenue. It takes a thorough process to qualify for the filing.

Factors to consider with this exit strategy.

Business owners should weigh the outcome and the consequences so that it will appear beneficial for choosing this exit strategy. We recommend seeking professional services to advise and assist in consolidating the business for filing purposes. 

Exit Strategy 5: Selling the business to a partner or investor.

Why choose this exit strategy?

The exit strategy above is pervasive, especially among startups and small businesses. For example, many small entrepreneurs create business pages on social media such as Facebook to market their products and services. In time, the pages might have gathered a large number of followers, which might pique others’ interest in buying over the page with the acquired followers. It is easy for an interested investor to market their business with an established page with more significant followers by just changing the page’s name and other details while maintaining visitors’ traffic. 

Factors to consider with this exit strategy.

Suppose business owners wish to sell their business, especially the ones with established brands. In that case, they should carefully review the circumstances and potential loss of future profit by analyzing the company’s value at the time of the sale.

Sometimes, it will include a royalty income in the sale agreement. There are many angles to be looked into before effecting any deal to achieve the best outcome. 

Exit Strategy 6: Initial Public Offering (IPO)

Why choose this exit strategy?

An Initial Public Offering (IPO) is also a desirable exit strategy for entrepreneurs and investors. This exit strategy can substantially multiply the investment of private investors and business owners, making it very desirable.

Factors to consider with this exit strategy

Many factors can affect an IPO, such as market conditions can influence how profitable this exit strategy can be. Other reasons companies go for IPO include brand strength, liquidity, company success, and improved market valuation. We will write more on this strategy next week.

How can Startup Tandem help you?

As a business owner, you should partner up with a team that can help you choose the best exit strategy for your business and support you in the process that comes with it. All of these exit strategies need finance advisory and legal support.

The advisory team at Startup Tandem is available to help you prepare your company to achieve the desired exit. Startup Tandem advisory can help you value your company by using the discounted cash flow or LBO model and provide advice on any transaction to achieve the best exit possible for you and your investors.

Startup Tandem has developed a network of businesses and individuals that come together to help startups and small businesses. Reach out if you need referrals or if you need to discuss any of these exit strategies more in depth.

Sign up to our newsletter

Join the Startup Tandem Community to receive news, help and stories.
Name(Required)