What is Business Exit Strategy Consulting? | Hilton Smythe

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What is Business Exit Strategy Consulting?

Exit strategies are an integral part of an entrepreneur’s overall business strategy. Planning a proper exit is best to keep your business running and ensure that you can extract maximum financial value from your exit; so, what is a business exit consultant, and how can they help?

Exit strategies are an integral part of an entrepreneur’s overall business strategy. Planning a proper exit is best to keep your business running and ensure that you can extract maximum financial value from your exit.

Despite this, 48% of entrepreneurs looking to exit their businesses have yet to plan how to do so. Chaotic exits only hurt yourself and the business you’re departing, which is where business exit strategy consulting comes in.

So, what is a business exit consultant, and how can they help?

No, you don’t need an advisor when planning a business exit, but it’s a move that’s highly recommended. The issue goes far beyond the number of pounds you take with you. Leaving something you created is an emotional and stressful time. Relying on yourself to plan and execute that departure increases the likelihood of making the wrong decision.

Improperly planned exits can damage business operations and prevent you from claiming the fruits of your labour; and with 20% of startups failing within the first year, it simply makes sense that you would want to maximise your gains from beating the odds.

Business exit consultants understand that every exit is unique. Three key components are required to make it a success, including:

1. Owner readiness

2. Business readiness

3. Market readiness

The value of a consultant is that they can examine the current situation objectively whilst keeping your goals in mind.

If you are considering moving, the answer is to begin consulting with a business exit professional immediately. According to the latest research, 50% of advisors plan to retire within the next five to ten years, so it makes sense to begin planning whilst that expertise is still available.

Conventional wisdom implies that you should have an exit plan from day one. Although this is excellent advice, engaging a consultant largely depends on your short, medium and long-term plans.

For example, connecting with a consultant on day one makes sense if you want to create a booming tech startup to sell it to a larger entity. On the other hand, if you are launching a family business that you expect to remain within your possession for decades, you may want to hold off.

As a rule of thumb, if you are even thinking about an exit strategy, the chances are it’s time to talk to a consultant.

Business exit consultants are not designed exclusively for specific industries or types of companies. Some may specialise in particular economic sectors, but exit consultants are available for everybody.

Although the broad types of exit may exist for everybody (liquidation, going public or a simple sale), every exit is unique. This makes it essential to consult an exit strategist with experience in your sector.

Bringing on an exit planning consultant is an investment, but is this an investment with a positive ROI?

Today, the UK is experiencing an accelerated exit rate, with one in four business owners having fast-tracked their exit plans. Not enough are taking professional advice to aid them with this, meaning they’re likely leaving money on the table.

Here are some reasons exit planning consultants are critical to a smooth departure.

Help avoid mistakes

Exit planning is not just about you. It is about transitioning your role to the next generation. A smooth exit is defined as minimising disruption to the business during the planning and transition periods.

Mistakes can damage employee morale and create confusion among your existing customers. Your exit planning consultant supports you by creating a viable plan and advising on the execution.

Define goals

What do you want from your exit?

Naturally, you want to extract the most value possible. Most entrepreneurs also want to see their creations flourish long after they are gone; but exit planning consultants enable you to dig deeper.

They can provide you with insights to help you see the big picture. Alternatively, they can suggest other exit avenues that make more sense for your operations. With their years of experience, you have a wealth of knowledge to draw upon.

In many cases, exit planning consultants can highlight other options you wouldn’t have otherwise considered.

Assess readiness and timing

Exit strategists offer an objective overview of your business and whether you have the tools and resources to execute a smooth exit.

For example, a consultant may inform you that your exit would be smoother by waiting a financial quarter or two.

Moreover, they can break down your exit and the transition into manageable steps, with further advice on the timing of each step.


In many cases, there is the financial aspect. This may include financing your leaving package and providing the financial resources needed to enable your company to weather the subsequent transition.

They can advise on financing options and how to work your budget into handling the transition. For example, you may desire to sell your company, but an advisor may point out that you need more cash flow to divert internal resources to manage that.


An exit plan covers everything an organisation needs, such as internal promotions, training and operational changes.

You can have the best plan in the world, but you must remain flexible to encounter the unexpected obstacles that follow its implementation. An exit planning consultant can help you monitor the implementation of an exit strategy and provide advice to help you pivot in the face of unanticipated changes.

It’s an extra hand on the rudder as you proceed through each of the steps of your carefully formulated plan.

Take advantage of in-depth knowledge and expertise

Inside sales, outside sales, liquidation and IPOs are just some exit plans a company might pursue, but every type of exit is unique in its own way. 

If you’re new to exit planning and execution, hiring a consultant provides a genuine expert who can help you from the first to the final step. You wouldn’t avoid hiring a solicitor to deal with a legal issue, so why would you here? The principle is the same.At Hilton Smythe, we have a team of highly proficient business exit strategists and consultants possessing decades of experience collectively. If you’re planning your exit, don’t be afraid to speak to the team today.

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