Ask an Advisor: When a business owner is considering a sales transaction, who should be included in the deal team, and what is the role of the wealth advisor/strategic lead advisor in this process?
By Doug Greenberg, CIMA®
Selling a business is a monumental decision for any business owner, often representing the culmination of years, if not decades, of hard work, dedication, and passion. It's not merely a financial transaction but a life-changing event that requires careful planning, coordination, and execution. Central to this process is the assembly of a robust deal team, led by a Wealth Manager or Strategic Lead Advisor, whose role is to ensure that the sale aligns with the owner's financial and personal goals. Let's delve into who should be on this deal team and the pivotal role of the Wealth Manager in this intricate process.
The Deal Team: Key Players in Your Business's Next Chapter
1. Wealth Manager (Strategic Lead Advisor): Your Wealth Manager is the linchpin of the deal team, playing multiple critical roles. Firstly, they initiate the process by creating an intensive financial plan, ensuring that the sale aligns with your long-term financial objectives and personal aspirations. Are you looking to retire? Do you want to invest in another venture? Your Wealth Manager will consider these questions deeply. Additionally, as the Strategic Lead Advisor, they are responsible for assembling the deal team, bringing together professionals whose expertise will be invaluable in navigating the complex landscape of selling your business.
2. M&A Advisor (Value Maximizer): The M&A Advisor brings to the table a deep understanding of the market and invaluable insights into buyer behavior. They're your front-line negotiator, responsible for positioning your business attractively in the market, handling buyer interactions, and ensuring that you receive the best possible value for your life's work.
3. Attorney (Deal Protector): The legal intricacies of selling a business are myriad and complex. Your Attorney is there to navigate this labyrinth, ensuring that every legal aspect of the sale is in your best interest, from drafting agreements to protecting you from potential liabilities.
4. Accountant (Financial Storyteller): The role of your Accountant goes beyond just managing books. They are responsible for ensuring that your financial records accurately reflect the health and potential of your business, providing clear, comprehensive, and compliant financial information to prospective buyers.
5. CEO, COO, CIO, and CMO (Internal Champions): Your internal leadership team plays a critical role in maintaining the performance, operational integrity, and strategic direction of your business during the sale process. Their insight, expertise, and day-to-day management are crucial in demonstrating to potential buyers the value and potential of your business.
6. Board of Directors (Strategic Overseers): If applicable, your board provides high-level oversight and strategic input, ensuring that the sale aligns with the broader vision and mission of the company.
The Central Role of the Wealth Manager
The Wealth Manager, as the Strategic Lead Advisor, is the architect of this process. They are not just financial advisors; they are your partners in ensuring that the sale of your business aligns with every facet of your life's goals. Here's how they orchestrate the process:
1. Financial Planning and Goal Alignment: Before any discussion about the sale commences, your Wealth Manager works with you to understand your personal and financial goals. This involves a comprehensive analysis of your financial situation, understanding your retirement plans, your lifestyle aspirations, and how the sale of the business fits into this picture – in short a comprehensive financial plan looking at a variety of outcomes.
2. Team Assembly and Coordination: The Wealth Manager is responsible for assembling the deal team along with the business owner and, handpicking professionals whose expertise aligns with your business's unique needs and your personal goals. But their role doesn't stop at assembly; they also ensure that every team member is working cohesively towards a common goal, maintaining open lines of communication, and resolving any conflicts or issues that may arise.
3. Strategic Guidance and Decision Making: Throughout the sale process, your Wealth Manager provides strategic guidance, helping you make informed decisions. From evaluating offers to understanding the implications of each decision, they ensure that every step you take moves you closer to your personal and financial objectives.
4. Post-Sale Financial Management: After the sale, your Wealth Manager continues to be a valuable resource, helping you manage your newfound wealth, advising on investment strategies, and ensuring that your financial well-being is secured for the future.
Selling your business is more than a transaction; it's a transition — a pivotal step into your future. Your Wealth Manager, as your Strategic Lead Advisor, ensures that this transition is not just financially rewarding but also aligns seamlessly with your life's goals and aspirations. In assembling and leading your deal team, they ensure that every aspect of the sale process is handled with the utmost care, professionalism, and dedication, reflecting the very values that have made your business a success.