Common mistakes to avoid when exiting your business

25 May 2023

Starting a business can be an exhilarating and rewarding journey, but there may well come a time when you decide to exit.

Whether you’re selling your business, passing it on to a successor or shutting it down, the process of exiting a business requires careful planning and execution.

However, many business owners make common mistakes that can hinder a smooth transition and potentially reduce the value of their business. 

So, what are those mistakes?

Lack of Planning

One of the most significant mistakes is failing to plan an exit strategy well in advance.

Exiting a business is a complex process, one can take months or even years to complete successfully. Waiting until the last minute may limit your options and reduce the value you can extract from the business. 

Start planning early, considering factors such as valuation, tax implications and the most suitable exit route for your goals.

Failing to Seek Professional Advice

Exiting a business involves intricate business restructuring, and legal, financial and tax considerations. Attempting to navigate this process without expert advice can be a grave mistake. Engage professionals, such as business transformation consultants, lawyers, accountants, and business brokers, who specialise in business exits. 

They can help you navigate the legal and financial requirements, assess the value of your business, and ensure a smooth transition while minimising potential risks.

Neglecting Proper Valuation

Many business owners make the mistake of not obtaining an accurate valuation of their company before exiting.

Understanding the true worth of your business is essential to negotiate a fair price and ensuring you’re not undervaluing or overpricing it. 

Hire a professional who can assess your assets, financials, intellectual property, and market position to provide an objective valuation.

Overlooking Succession Planning

If you plan to pass on your business to a successor – be it a family member, employee, or partner – it is crucial to have a well thought out succession plan in place. Failing to identify and groom potential successors, or not providing adequate training and support, can result in a rocky transition or the collapse of the business. 

Start identifying and preparing your successors early and ensure a seamless transfer of knowledge and responsibilities.

Not Considering Tax Implications

Taxes can significantly impact the financial outcome of your business exit. Failing to consider the tax implications can lead to unexpected financial burdens. Consult with a tax advisor to understand the tax consequences of different exit options and explore strategies to minimize your tax liability. 

Proper tax planning can help you maximise the proceeds from your business sale or transfer.

Ignoring the emotional aspect

Exiting a business can evoke a mix of emotions, especially if you have invested significant time and effort into building it. Ignoring the emotional aspect and not seeking support during this process can lead to poor decision-making or feelings of regret.

Surround yourself with a supportive network, seek advice from experienced entrepreneurs or consider working with a business advisor who can help you navigate the emotional challenges and provide guidance during this transition.

Exiting a business is a critical moment in every entrepreneur’s life that requires careful consideration and planning. By avoiding these common mistakes, you can ensure a smoother transition, maximise the value of your business, and protect your legacy.

If you’d like to talk about your business’ exit needs in more detail and would like to understand how we can help you, then contact us at, call 01908 980 400 or leave a message here.