Johnson Lyman Wealth Advisors
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What is Exit Planning?

Although you may find it hard to imagine life without your business, you probably do realize that you will transition out of your business at some point in the future. One of the planning areas we specialize in within our Wealth Management process is helping successful business owners leave their companies on their terms and on their schedules. The process that we use with owners to achieve this result is called Exit Planning.

An Exit Plan will help you successfully navigate the single, most critically important financial event of your life – the successful transition out of your business. Whether that transition involves a sale to an outside third-party, or an internal transfer to key employees or family members, our exit planning process will help you to create an orderly, financially sound, and tax efficient plan that allows you to:

  • Get Maximum Value – for your business at transition time.
  • Reduce Risk – inherent in any internal transfer or third-party sale.
  • Stay in Control – of the entire process until you are ready to move.

A complete Exit Plan is an important part of your entire wealth management plan and consists of creating specific answers to the following key questions:

  • What are your exact retirement goals and what will it take — in cash — to reach them?
  • How much is your business worth today, in cash?
  • What is the best way to maximize the income stream generated by your ownership interest?
  • How can you sell your business to a third party and pay the least possible taxes?
  • How can you transfer your business to family members, co-owners, or employees while paying the least possible taxes and enjoying maximum financial security?
  • How can you provide for the successful continuance of your business if the unexpected happens to you?
  • How can you provide financial security for your family if the unexpected happens to you?

Our Wealth Management process enables you to create an actionable plan based on the answers to these answers that is tailored to your own personal and business situation.

How does the Exit Planning process work?

Most business owners don't know that there is a proven Exit Planning process. They are unaware of all that can be done to assist them as they begin to plan for their business exits. And of course, without a plan, exiting your business can appear daunting. As a result, most owners wait until it is too late to create an optimal plan.

Our Exit Planning process is an experience-based, step-by-step process that leads business owners to ultimate success — the profitable sale or transfer of their businesses. Thousands of business owners have tailored this process to meet their particular exit objectives and have left their businesses with more cash than they’d ever imagined – and with no regrets.

Exit Planning is a multi-step process, but always accomplishes the following:

  • Establishing owner objectives
  • Establishing business value
  • Building business value and cash flow
  • Selling to a third party for top dollar, or transferring to management or family members
  • Developing a business contingency plan
  • Family wealth preservation planning

When should Exit Planning start?

Ten years before your planned transition from your business is not too soon to plan. Some tax and wealth building strategies take time and starting earlier creates more options and produces better outcomes. Therefore, the sooner you plan for your transition, the higher probability you have to create lasting wealth for you and your family.

There is much more to an Exit Planning strategy than just selling (or giving away) your business. There are hundreds of issues to deal with, both hard (like wealth creation and taxes) and soft (like relationships with family, employees, customers and other stakeholders).

Who should consider creating an Exit Plan?

Consider creating an Exit Plan if your situation is similar to the following:

  • You are between 45 and 55 years old.
  • You control all or nearly all of the ownership interest in your company.
  • Your personal net worth is tied closely to the value of your company.
  • Your business has $3-5 million in minimum annual sales.
  • Your business has a management team in place, which means that there is at least one other person, other than a spouse, who is critical to the operation of your business.
  • Your business has been operating for more than 10 years.
  • Your business has more than 15 employees.
  • You have received inquiries from buyers.
  • You know the business is marketable but don’t know the process of selling a business.

What can you do to get started?

First, become educated about the Exit Planning process. Check out the Exit Planning resources on our website, including our library of White Papers. As a BEI Network Member, we can provide you with a plethora of information on Exit Planning. Begin your education by perusing the BEI Exit Planning website at: As a Network Member, we also have access to a nationally acclaimed network of professional advisors that can provide expertise in every area of Exit Planning.

Second, supplement your Exit Planning research by subscribing to our free Exit Planning Review email newsletter. There is no risk to you — if you don't find it valuable, you may unsubscribe at any time. We will e-mail this informative newsletter to you twice each month.

You also can get a detailed description of the scenarios involved in Exit Planning by reading the number one book on Exit Planning, "The Completely Revised How To Run Your Business So You Can Leave It In Style" by John H. Brown.

Third, take action — informed action — by working with our experienced team of CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM practitioners to initiate and implement your unique business Exit Plan – all in the context of your overall wealth management plan. Contact us for a complimentary conversation about your Exit Plan.