Thursday, September 23, 2010

Are You Ready to Help Your Owners Exit ?

"Education is not teaching people what they do not know. It is getting them to behave as they do not behave."
- John Ruskin

The quote above accurately reflects a very true statement for the emerging field of exit planning. We as professional advisors do not merely need to learn more information about exit planning to address this growing marketplace need. Rather, we need to incorporate these learnings into our practices in a manner that drives value into our business owner relationships. The question today is, 'are you ready to help your owners in this way?'

What Does It Mean to Deliver Exit Planning Solutions?
As this emerging industry grows, it is interesting to see the various interpretations and variations on the term 'exit planning'. For example, someone who sells businesses sees 'exit planning' as working with an owner to make their business more profitable prior to a sale. Whereas someone who sells life insurance sees 'exit planning' as protecting the risks that a business owner faces for which they are currently exposed. And, the wealth manager see 'exit planning' as being able to financially afford a retirement after an owner has left their business.

I believe that 'exit planning' is a combination of all of these items. Therefore, an exit planner - or our Certified Business Exit Consultants - are charged with quarterbacking all of these clients needs, using a system and process that produces consistent results for owners, regardless of each individual owner's specific situation.

Education is Key - Application is Essential
Education is the root from which the fruit of achievement blossoms. This fact is not only due to the content which is presented to the student, but also because of the way in which education helps you to you focus your mind on the topic at hand. The mind that is prepared with exit planning information, systems and procedures is one that is ready to receive new business and to deliver this service in a manner that delivers results to owners.

Without a solid foundation of training and understanding, I find it very difficult to see how a professional advisor can have an in-depth conversation with a business owner on the myriad of topics that are included in a comprehensive exit plan.

The next question, naturally would be 'how long does this take?'

The Onboarding Time
Based upon the hundreds of advisors who have been through our training and workshops, Pinnacle has measured that the time that it takes for an advisor to successfully incorporate exit planning into their practice is, on average, six (6) to nine (9) months.

This means that the average advisor who attends our workshops and/or enrolls in our Membership program begins generating results within six to 9 months. This means that a commitment to a course of study is still accompanied by a concurrent marketing and sales period that is necessary to begin to generate business exit planning opportunities.

What happens during this 'on-boarding' phase.

Phase #1: A Commitment to a Program for Exit Planning Training
The natural first step for a professional advisor is to enroll in a training class or the Membership program (which includes monthly and ongoing training lessons). The most successful advisors make this commitment as they decide that incorporating exit planning into their businesses is the way in which they want to approach business owners. Once the study begins, these advisors grow their levels of confidence in having these conversations on a regular basis with both business owners and other professional advisors. The commitment to the ongoing study program allows an advisor to learn a system, get their questions answered, and then apply their learning to their business owner prospects and clients, as well as to have the conversations with other professional advisors and referral sources.

Phase #2: Assimilation of the Exit Planning Concepts into Your Practice
The 2nd stage of this 'on-boarding' process is the assimilation of the exit planning concepts and messages into your practice. After a number of conversations with owners and other professionals, the average advisor or consultant begins to make this conversation a part of everything that they do. All of a sudden, the conversation becomes a topic of discussion in almost all conversations with business owners.

Our most successful advisors also find a way to present these concepts to audiences of all sizes, giving live presentations of these concepts. Those who make live presentations benefit because the audience sees this person as an expert in the field. Thereafter, because exit planning is still a niche business, the business opportunities begin to flow to that presenter. At this point in time, exit planning is nearly fully assimilated into an advisors practice.

Phase #3: Successful sales of Exit Planning Engagements
The next phase of incorporation into one's practice includes the sales of exit planning engagements. One of the benchmarks that I look to for any service provider who is offering to perform a service is whether or not any clients have ever paid this person to do the work that they are offering to do. This may sound like an obvious statement however I know of many, many advisors who are making claims to offer exit planning services who have never been through a course of study, nor have they ever been paid by a business owner to perform this specific task. Education and proper and professional delivery are the keys to putting exit planning into your practice.

Timing, Timing, Timing
Now to the point . . . are you ready to offer this service to exiting owners? Consider that millions of Baby Boomer business owners are nearing retirement. Further consider that this recession has delayed the timing of their exits, creating a pent up demand for exits. So, given that the next few years of economic recovery will lead to a number of more years of very predictable exit planning needs, the question remains - Are you ready to serve this massive number of owners who need help exiting their businesses?

Begin Today
Begin preparing for this exciting business opportunity today. If you want to expand your service offering to exiting owners while also increasing your effectiveness with owners by generating consistent results for your business, enroll in a course of study today.

Pinnacle has been offering workshops and courses of study for years and have had hundreds of advisors attend with rave reviews.

Take a look at our upcoming events below and consider the investment of time that you make as a small price to pay for a large marketplace opportunity which will drive results in your direction.

October 21st & 22nd, 2-day Workshop in Boston, MA

October 25th - 29th, Certification Course (application

Once you decide to make exit planning a part of your practice, you need to be in tune with the effort that it takes to get consistent results. You want to study and be prepared for this oncoming wave of exiting owners so that you too can participate in this exciting marketplace opportunity.

Specializing in Business Exit Strategies, John M. Leonetti, Esq., M.S. Finance, CM&AA founded Pinnacle Equity Solutions to provide advisors with the tools they need to incorporate Business Exit Planning into their advisory practices. To learn more about John's Exit Strategy Services and to receive a FREE copy of his special report, "How To Incorporate Exit Strategies Into Your Advisory Practice", visit Pinnacle Equity Solutions


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