There’s no question – every owner will eventually leave their business. The question is how will you exit your company? Will it be on your terms – with your financial house in order, your family and employees taken care of, and your legacy preserved? Or will it be on the terms of others – with devalued assets, displaced employees, and the IRS getting more than its fair share?

No doubt, leaving your business will be one of the most significant personal and financial events of your life, yet it’s one few owners truly plan for, resulting in undesirable outcomes. Perhaps you want to travel, spend more time with family, or simply retire comfortably. We work with your accountant, attorney and other advisors to define the best path for you to reach your goals – both financial and personal in nature.

Millions of business owners have exited their companies – some achieving everything they wanted, others left depleted and disappointed. To avoid the latter, we follow The Seven Step Exit Planning Process™, developed and refined over the past thirty years, and proven to help business owners get what they want from leaving their companies. With this process, Colorado Business Exchange helps you take control over what happens to your business when you leave it, just as you took control during the years of building it.

The Seven Step Exit Planning Process™

Establish Your Objectives

No two entrepreneurs are alike. The objectives for leaving a business are as varied as they are for starting one. The first step in exit planning is pinpointing your specific goals and motivations. Why and when do you want to leave the business? Do you want to sell the business to an unrelated party or transfer it to employees or children? What are your post-sale plans and how much money will you need to achieve these future goals? There are no right or wrong answers – just your answers – which are key to devising a strategic plan tailored to meet your unique aspirations, circumstances and principles.

Quantify Your Resources

How do you measure years of devotion, dedication and sacrifice? By first recognizing that your opinion is likely biased, and then obtaining an independent assessment of your company. We put pen to paper and calculate the value of your business based on its assets, operating costs, income, free cash flow, tax obligations, debt structure and the realities of the marketplace. This objective business valuation is viewed side by side with your personal assets and financial resources along with the income they generate to obtain a complete picture of your current wealth and earnings.

Upon the completion of Steps One and Two, you should have a clear picture as to what you have, what you need, and what you want as well as the proper foundation for the following steps.

Build and Preserve Company Value

Preserving the value you’ve worked so hard to create, and building upon that value, is paramount to achieving your ultimate reward. We identify the “value drivers” specific to your business and then create a plan to improve upon them to maximize the value of your company. Strategies might include stabilizing your management team, implementing a realistic growth strategy, updating operating systems to improve the sustainability of cash flow, straightening your financials, and employing tactics to minimize income taxes. In addition, we preserve value by identifying any threats to your personal and business assets and limiting your exposure to the risks they present. Building value is often necessary for a successful exit, whether you plan to sell to a third party – Step 4 or transfer to an insider – Step 5.

Sell your company to a third party

Most business owners believe an external sale is the only viable option to net the highest dollar amount, and this is often true. But the business-for-sale marketplace is not for the faint of heart. Buyers are fickle, qualified buyers are rare, and finding the right buyer for any particular business is a full-time challenge. Some prospects might have nefarious intentions to steal trade secrets, customers or employees. Most are shrewd negotiators ready to walk away at the slightest discrepancy. Colorado Business Exchange establishes strategies to prepare your business for sale and improve the likelihood of a successful deal, maximizing price and terms while minimizing tax obligations. Involved every step of the way – from valuation, preparation and marketing to negotiations, contracts and closing – we work tirelessly for a successful transfer of the business, while maintaining the utmost confidentiality throughout the entire process.

Transfer your company to insiders

Although selling your business to a third party may initially seem more lucrative, insider transfers are often more rewarding and can be less risky – when set up properly. It’s not uncommon to have a trusted partner, child, or employee who is primed to take over the business. There are many benefits to an insider transfer, including a smoother transition, reduced taxes, full control over timing, the ability to wean yourself away from the business, and continuity in the practices and culture you’ve spent years developing. Insider transfers, however, require strategic and detailed planning to ensure you retain control of the business until after you receive all the money due. Colorado Business Exchange understands the intricacies of insider transfers, and is adept at crafting plans to enhance tax efficiencies while optimizing the benefit to both the old and new owners.

Plan for Business Continuity

In an ideal world, you establish objectives, prime your company for transfer, sign on the dotted line, and transition into the next phase of your life. Yet the world is often not ideal, throwing us curveballs along our perfectly planned paths. The best way to deal with the unexpected is to expect it! As uncomfortable as it may seem, every business owner must have a plan for what happens upon their unexpected death or disability. What do you want to happen to the business if you are no longer available to run it? Who will take operational control? Who will take ownership? Planning how your business will run without you ensures its continuity, increases its value, and provides peace of mind to family members, employees and potential successors.

Personal Wealth and Estate Planning

If you are like many business owners, your company is by far your largest investment and your sole source of annual income as well. Having so many of your eggs in one basket presents unique challenges related to planning for retirement income, equitable distribution of your estate among children, and tax efficiency in the transfer of your wealth to heirs. Colorado Business Exchange makes sure that your business exit strategy is coordinated with your personal wealth and estate plans. Together with your financial advisor and estate planning attorney we’ll devise a comprehensive plan based on your personal goals that will replace your income, protect your assets, minimize taxes, and promote harmony among family members.



call: 970.224.3339

write: [email protected]


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