The single, biggest threat to an independent advisory practice is not the lack of a succession or exit plan, it is the lack of a plan to protect client interests and business value in the event of an owner’s sudden death or disability. And still, relatively few practice owners have implemented a reliable continuity plan.
As you put together your own unique plan, here are six best practices to consider as you create an effective and practical continuity plan:
Put your plan in writing. Create a concise, clearly-written continuity plan so that it works under adverse circumstances, without your ongoing involvement.
Use an industry-specific valuation for market value in a transition to a third-party buyer or external continuity partner, or an equity-based valuation for equity ownership interests as is common with internal continuity partners. For situations like death or disability, it is important to quickly, and accurately determine value. Be sure the determined value comes from a credible, third-party opinion with the database and accreditation to support the result.
Update your buy-sell agreement and valuation on an annual basis. As your business grows, you’ll want to capture current value and deal terms that support an agreed upon purchase amount. A routine review of the agreement can help practice owners ensure that their document addresses changes in circumstances and provides for evolution of the plan.