Christine Trumbull is a Certified Exit Planning Advisor and the founder of Pinnacle Exit Group. 28 years of experience in financial and business management have led her to her current role: ensuring seamless transitions for founders and their families.
A trusted resource for family-owned and closely held businesses looking to take their company to higher places.
One of the most important elements of a successful business transition is transferable value. No matter what an owner sees for the future of the business, transferable value can be the common denominator that makes all goals more achievable.
Transferable value, for a closely-held business, is most simply what a business is worth to someone else without its original owner. Transferable value should not be confused with profit. Just because your company brings in millions of dollars of profit each year, does not necessarily mean it has transferable value. True transferable value in a business is determined not by how well you run the business, but by how well the business runs without you. Protecting that value is even more important and you can read more on that here.
Business owners aren’t always aware that transferable value is more than a formula involving multiples of earnings or some calculation of discounted future cash flows. To get a more accurate representation of the current state of your company’s transferable value, you can start by asking yourself a few questions:
One way to start to build transferable value is to evaluate your value drivers. Installing and enhancing value drivers can help create a company that can be transferred to someone else (whether that’s the next generation of family members or an outside third-party buyer)—without the owner—with minimal disruption to its cash flow. Some examples of value drivers that you may need to focus on are:
One might measure the effectiveness of value drivers in two ways:
A company with strong value drivers might demand (and receive) a higher multiple on the same amount of EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization) than a company with weak or non-existent value drivers.
Building a management team that you can confidently leave your company with can be challenging. You may want to create a loyal “next-level” management team that will not only maintain the value of your business but is just as motivated as you are to grow the business to new heights. Understanding where your company may have weaknesses is an important step in knowing the type of person you will need to attract to help fill the gaps. It’s worth it to ask yourself whether you are focusing on attracting people with the skills sets the company needs to accomplish growth independently from the efforts and resources of the current owners. Establishing this highly qualified team long before you are thinking you’ll transfer the can give them the time and space to prove their ability to perform.
Attracting the right team is the first step, retaining the team long after your departure is the real task. To hold onto these vital team members, they may require more money or some percent of ownership as a condition of employment. Creating an effective incentive plan that fits the needs of your team is the best way to ensure your management team stays in place and continues to increase business value after your departure.
If you’re interested in learning more, we should talk.
The information contained in this article is general in nature and is not legal, tax or financial advice. For information regarding your particular situation, contact an attorney or a tax or financial professional. The information in this newsletter is provided with the understanding that it does not render legal, accounting, tax or financial advice. In specific cases, clients should consult their legal, accounting, tax or financial professional. This article is not intended to give advice or to represent our firm as being qualified to give advice in all areas of professional services. Exit Planning is a discipline that typically requires the collaboration of multiple professional advisors. To the extent that our firm does not have the expertise required on a particular matter, we will always work closely with you to help you gain access to the resources and professional advice that you need.
Any examples provided are hypothetical and for illustrative purposes only. Examples include fictitious names and do not represent any particular person or entity.
Harley rider and mountain scaler
with 28 years of experience in financial and business management. Christine
is here to help founders master their exit strategy.
“12 questions every business need to ask to prepare for exit”
Learn from the experts and master step-by-step strategies for taking your business to the next level.
“Above All Else, Keep It Simple.”