BUSINESS EXIT planning

Are you thinking about exiting a business? Our business exit planning advisory service helps define your personal goals, assesses your exit readiness and builds a business exit strategy that ensures you access the value you’ve created.

Book a meeting

TRUSTED BY businesses across the UK

WHEN SHOULD I PLAN MY BUSINESS EXIT?

It’s never too early to plan your business exit - we generally advocate that you should actually think about your exit when you start your business. If you leave it too late, you may find that when the time comes to sell your business, it’s the buyer who’s dictating the terms.

WHO DO WE WORK WITH?

We work with owner-managers of UK SMEs that are thinking about exiting their business in the coming 12 to 36 months, either because it has reached their value expectations, or the owner is ready to retire or move on to a new challenge. Our clients will be targeting an exit value of £5m or greater.

See our deals and success stories.

BUSINESS EXIT PLANNING - HOW TO GET IT WRONG

Regardless of your personal reasons, exiting a business is not a trivial endeavour and requires diligent planning. Selling your business will most likely be the largest commercial transaction you’ll experience and it’s not the time to get things wrong! A considered and professional approach is critical to ensure that you exit the business at the right price, and that your legacy is maintained after the deal is done.

Typical mistakes that business owners make when planning a business exit include:

  • Failure to take ownership of the exit process rather expecting it to ‘just happen’;
  • Failure to develop a management structure that means the business can largely ‘run without them’;
  • Lack of a plan to ‘bring along’ the key stakeholders required to facilitate the exit;
  • Poor understanding of, and limited ability to articulate, the key value drivers of the business;
  • Failure to fully understand and benchmark KPIs and industry ratios;
  • Limited understanding of the competitive landscape surrounding the business;
  • Lack of supportable business plan to demonstrate the company's future to a potential buyer.

BUSINESS EXIT PLANNING – HOW TO DO IT RIGHT

To successfully plan for exiting your business, your exit plan needs to achieve these key objectives:

  1. Set out your exit criteria, thinking carefully about your personal financial requirements and the legacy you wish to create with employees, customers and other key stakeholders;
  2. Look at your business critically through the eyes of a buyer by understanding how your business compares to competitors and industry expectations. Build on competitive strengths and address weaknesses;
  3. Develop a clear business plan that positions the business as an attractive acquisition target and gives your management team clear direction;
  4. Take a structured approach to identifying buyers that meet your criteria, understand their key requirements from an acquisition and how to achieve them;
  5. Build a PR plan to raise the profile of your business to potential buyers and therefore its  desirability;
  6. Choose your ‘go to market’ timing carefully to meet your requirements and ensure your business is in the best shape that it can be.

BUSINESS EXIT PLANNING ADVISORY SERVICE

Our ‘sell-side’ advisors can build a business exit plan to enable you to achieve your personal goals. We then increase your chances of selling your business by delivering an exit plan that generates buyer confidence in your company. This is what our exit planning advisory service provides:

ASSESSING BUSINESS READINESS FOR YOUR EXIT

We take a critical look at your business which will include an initial business valuation. This valuation is designed to measure any gap between the current value of your business and the target value. We help you identify value drags and value drivers and benchmark your performance against industry expectations.

Learn more

DEVELOPING A BUSINESS PLAN THAT DELIVERS

We will support you and your management team in developing a business plan that will clearly define your objectives and how to achieve them. We’ll focus on developing the business in the most attractive manner for sale with a clear strategy to impress any potential buyers.

Learn more

MAPPING THE BUYER LANDSCAPE

We will help you identify your potential buyers early in the process so we can monitor their M&A activity and any evolving requirements. We can help you build a strategy of brand development and profile enhancement to make sure that you are known to exactly the right people.

Learn more

ADDITIONAL BENEFITS OF USING SHAW & CO

SECTOR AGNOSTIC

Our process of exit planning is thoroughly developed to build the knowledge we need to successful develop a plan in any sector. We have the expertise and capability to help sell your business no matter what industry you operate in.

PLUGGED IN

We are continually active in the M&A markets. We are able to immediately spot any developing trends, and advise you accordingly.

PRACTICAL ADVICE

Unlike many ‘business advisors’ or ‘NEDs’ we do this all day every day. Our advice is built on real world experience of successfully selling businesses, not once, but time and time again.

RELATED AREAS OF EXPERTISE

FAQS

Why should I use Shaw & Co to help me plan a business exit?

We have taken many clients through this process. We are renowned experts and have many years’ experience helping owners accurately assess the value of their business. We have helped numerous clients to exit their businesses and realise their ambitions.

Learn more
What is the fastest way to increase the strategic premium of my business?

The truth is that building value takes time and there are no real short cuts. This is why starting an exit planning process early is always beneficial. An organisation can take time to change, processes can be challenging to imbed and should an element of repositioning in the market be needed, it can take several years to complete.

Learn more
When is the right time to start my business exit planning?

It is never too soon to start thinking about the exit of your business. However, our process is most effective when you are planning for your exit to be between 12 and 36 months in the future. This gives us sufficient time to deliver our process and for you to implement our recommendations which will then facilitate a significant return on your investment with us.

Learn more
How can a corporate finance advisor help me?

Corporate finance transactions are not an everyday activity and it is unlikely your team will have the skills and knowledge required to navigate a deal. We provide expert advice to ensure a successful outcome.

Learn more
Why should I use Shaw & Co to help me sell my business?

We are experts in selling mid-market owner-managed businesses and have managed sale processes on behalf of clients that have involved some of the world's largest buyers (such as Unilever), as well as much more modest companies, through to private equity and everything in between. We ensure that your business is fully prepared for the transaction and maximise its value by positioning the business with buyers in the best possible way. Our experience ensures that you aware of what is coming next so that you can stay several steps ahead of negotiations. Selling a business is the largest transaction of many business owners' lives. It is not the time to ’learn on the job‘ but the time to ensure that you have the absolute best experts alongside you.

Learn more
What sort of businesses can you help to sell?

We work with businesses looking to sell that have a value of more than £5m. We may agree to work with slightly smaller businesses in circumstances where a buyer has already been approached and the mandate falls short of a full marketing process. There is no theoretical maximum value of the businesses that we work with. Recent sales values have approached £100m and our median deal value is between £20m and £30m.

Learn more
Are you a broker?

No, we are not brokers. We are professional advisors. Whilst our role often involves the introduction of parties to a deal, our value is much greater than a simple introduction service. We support you in the development and articulation of your business case, the negotiation of terms and the management of completion - all of which materially improve the end result, adding significant value to your transaction.

Learn more
How do you get paid?

Our fees are predominantly ’Success Fees‘, meaning that we get paid on completion of the deal. We take great care to make sure our fees are aligned with your goals and we take pride in our fees always being a proportion of the value we add. A smaller proportion of our fee is structured as a ’Commitment Fee‘ which is paid monthly whilst we are working on your sale.

Learn more
How long does a business sale take to complete?

The process of preparing a business for exit, marketing the opportunity and completing a deal, take an average of around nine months. However, this all depends on the readiness of the business and the value aspirations of the owners. We have worked with business owners for several years before an exit is formally started to align business value and personal financial aspirations.

Learn more
Can you do international deals?

Yes, we have completed cross-border transactions on numerous occasions. We are fully capable of accessing international buyers and investors looking for opportunities in the UK. However, all our clients are UK based entities.

Learn more
Are you sector specialists?

We have specific sector knowledge derived from many years of collective deal making experience. However, we pride ourselves on the diversity of sectors we work with which challenges us to think creatively. This creative and challenging approach brings huge value to our clients when helping them to build robust business cases. See some of our specific sector experience.

Learn more
When Shaw & Co is involved, will I lose control over the process?

Certainly not! Our aim is to become part of your extended team keeping you up to date with all developments. All decisions are yours to make. Our aim is to make those decisions easier.

Learn more
What sort of service experience can I expect if I instruct Shaw & Co?

We take all of our clients through a carefully crafted journey. This not only ensures that we are a great match for each other but, once engaged, it helps us to deliver exceptional client service that exceeds expectations.

Learn more

LEARN MORE ABOUT SHAW & CO

Why Shaw & Co

WE MAKE DEALS HAPPEN

Our highly talented people are creative, innovative and thrive when faced with a deal-making challenge. It's no surprise that we make deals happen and turn your ambition into a greater outcome.

Learn more

Fees & charges

COMPLETELY TRANSPARENT & ALIGNED WITH YOUR GOALS

Our objective is to ensure that our fee more than pays for itself from the value we create for you and your business.

Learn more

HELPFUL RESOURCES

See all resources