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What is keeping you awake at night?


What is keeping you awake at night?

By , August 21, 2018

Focusing on business succession and exit planning is often a matter of facilitating solutions to other more pressing problems first.

We often ask our clients, “What’s keeping you awake at night? What’s worrying you? What are the issues that you are finding difficult to solve within the business (or otherwise)?”. If these pressing issues are unresolved then there is little point in trying to provide strategic solutions or an exit strategy.

With several clients in the last few months we have had to stop our normal process and introduce one of our referral partners to solve specific issues. To complete a valuation for example, we often ask for three or four years financial statements. Occasionally, “these haven’t yet been completed by our accountant” is the response we get. This highlights a much greater problem. In my view, business owners must be surrounded by proactive advisers. In the case of an accountant, someone who is prepared to meet on a quarterly basis to review their current financial position and provide proactive advice. On this basis we recommended a change of accountant prior to finalising our strategy. This has led to substantial improvements in financial performance within the business and we are now able to use accurate and reliable information to complete our business valuation and introduce an employee share plan to fund succession planning within the business.

In another example, the business owner was very stressed and completely unable to focus on key business issues as both he and his wife were working ridiculous hours within the business. He was stressed and worried and this uncertainty and distraction had rubbed off on the staff. The business was leaderless and was basically wandering around aimlessly. As a result again, we had to stop our process and introduce a business coach who is now working on resolving these issues to allow us to have the strategic conversations we need to have in the future.

One of the greatest traps for a business adviser is to be so focused on their solution they lose sight of the fact that something else is keeping the business owner awake at night, and therefore unable to even see the solution or how it might pan out within their business.

Want to have a chat about what’s keeping you awake at night? Book an obligation-free appointment with one of our advisers today.

Craig West

Craig West

Managing Director | Succession Plus

Craig West is a strategic accountant who has over 20 years’ experience advising business owners. His background as a CPA in public practice, provided invaluable experience in the key issues of concern to business owners. Following 6 years of study to gain two masters degrees, Craig focused on Capital Gains Tax (CGT) for business sales advising on strategic management of tax issues. This experience formed a very strong view that business owners (and often their advisers) were unprepared and unaware of the steps required to prepare a business for exit.

Craig now acts as a strategic mentor for mid-market business owners and has written four critically acclaimed books on employee incentives, succession planning, asset protection and exit strategies. Craig has conducted numerous seminars and keynote presentations throughout Australia & internationally, including adviser education programs for the Institute of Chartered Accountants and CPA Australia.

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