Business owners are often so busy addressing everyday challenges that they delay the important task of planning their business exit.

Investing time to plan and seeking professional advice is vital in order to achieve the best possible outcome for you and your business. Below are some of the key steps to consider and questions to ask yourself when planning your business exit.

Set Objectives: What are your retirement goals and what will your finances need to look like in order for you to achieve them?

Determine the Value of Your Business: Do you know how much your business is worth?

Increasing the Value of Your Business: Have you identified the best ways to increase your company’s value and cash flow?

Liquidation: Will you exit the business by closing and selling all of the assets?

Liquidation Over Time: Will you look to extract most or all of the profits out of the business, tax efficiently, over time (before eventually selling or closing the business), rather than reinvesting them in the company for expansion.

Keeping the Business in the Family: Do you want to keep your business in the family? If so, how do you transfer the business and/or extract profits from the business?

Sell your Business to managers and/or Employees: Do you know how to transfer your business to insiders for cash?

Selling the Business in the Open Market: Do you know how to sell your business to a third party for maximum cash and minimum taxation?

Business Continuity Planning: Do you have a continuity plan to protect your business should you die or become disabled prior to your exit?

Wealth and Estate Planning: Do you have a plan to assure your family’s financial security should you die or become disabled?

Whichever exit strategy you choose, you need to start working on it. Planning in advance gives you the time to do it right and maximize your returns.