The small business market in Canada makes up nearly 98% of privately-held businesses. Understandably, the business owners that fall into this category are often those that are the most reliant on a successful transition of their business someday – because it probably makes up a significant part of their retirement fund. You would think that there would be a mechanism in place to help small business owners take control of this process and achieve their best outcome, without having to fork out huge percentages of your hard-earned money. Eight years ago, there wasn’t… until EKSiT Strategies was born. But as time has gone on, we’ve come to realize that we have an opportunity – and a responsibility – to help so many more businesses as they face this challenge.
So we decided to do something about it.
We’ve created a software that will provide business owners with easy access to understanding how much their business is worth, the issues that are facing them, and how likely they are to succeed at achieving an exit. The tool is at a price point that makes the initial investment comfortable and an easy step for business owners – something that was necessary, because otherwise they won’t do it.
Historically, the only alternatives available to them have been:
1) Expensive consulting firms and corporate finance firms that, simply as a result of their own business models, have to charge small business owners rates and fees that cannot be justified at the small business level. These firms are designed to help the larger businesses—ironically, those that aren’t typically as reliant on a successful financial outcome—but these models are priced commensurately with the value of these big companies. Not something that the average valuation of a small business can even come close to being able to justify.
2) Models designed exclusively to sell small businesses. Not only are these models costly (up to 12% of the purchase/sale price in some cases), but the success rates leave something to be desired. This isn’t directly anyone’s fault; the success rates are simply a byproduct of the fact that putting a “for sale” sign on a business without first considering its weaknesses and addressing any areas of concern will not typically result in what a seller thinks they should get for their hard work – not to mention the fact that the mass dissemination of information required for this model often does not align with the desires of a small business owner.
This is why we developed the EKSiT Outlook. The EKSiT Outlook is the online application of our process that has been refined over the years of our existence. We created it because we’ve seen far too many scenarios where business owners avoided planning or executing because the process to do so was either unknown to them, too expensive for them, or too cumbersome for them. The tool allows for businesses of all shapes and sizes to access information that can play a crucial role in ensuring a successful outcome. It is designed to help our clients find out where the company stands in a discreet manner and explore how the company would present to the outside market without having to leave the comforts of their living room.
If, through their personalized company dashboard, our clients receive the feedback they were hoping for – inclusive of our proprietary EKSiT Saleability Score – they can then choose to pull the trigger right away on exploring a sale. If they were hoping for a better outlook, our intuitive application tells them which areas are currently suppressing either their value or their likelihood of a successful outcome, along with constructive ways to deal with these issues. Business owners should be making decisions based on factual information and these decisions are critical when you consider that exiting your small business will likely be the largest and most important transaction of your life.
Using our custom-built application, we can provide business owners with a snapshot of where the business is today, an assessment of its current value, what’s driving that value (either up or down), and recommendations on what they can do next to help them achieve their ideal outcome – regardless of their timeframe. We give them a crystal ball of sorts, allowing them to look at the big picture into the future, whether that’s 3 years or 15 years away.
Small business owners that need this clarity the most are currently the most ignored in this space, or forced to pay fees designed for larger companies. With those two alternatives, most small business owners tend to do nothing at all.
I recently sat down with a client who said, “I wish we’d known you existed five years ago. Our outcome could have been so much different”. It was this directness that cemented my belief in the use of technology to reach more people. We want small business owners across the country to have access to the information that will help them make informed decisions about their company today, and about their plans to exit the business in the future.
Leaving the business is typically an extremely emotional decision, and it’s common for owners to struggle with it. We are here to support you, whether you’re ready to leave tomorrow or planning with lots of time to spare, in a discreet and inexpensive way so you can take control of your future.
The Outlook provides business owners with the feedback they need to make educated decisions about the saleability of their business, and gives them the tools to help them do something about it. We provide expertise in various areas as directly or indirectly as is needed for each individual client, because at the end of the day, we’re here to make sure you get exactly what you deserve and need out of your business, in a timeline that works for you. You’ve earned it.
Author: Trevor Greenway
Trevor is the VP & Director of Client Services at EKSiT Strategies. He maintains close contact with our clients and guides them through the planning process to discover their exit options and develop a clear path to help them achieve their ideal outcome.