Twin Cities Owners’ Forum coming up on March 6

Exit Planning Institute president and CEO Chris Snider will keynote the event

By Brian Martucci
Thu, 2017-02-16 10:35


Psst! There’s still time to register for the Exit Planning Institute’s Twin Cities Owners’ Forum, an “unmissable educational event” (EPI’s words) slated for March 6 at the McNamara Alumni Center.

Registration is normally $80, but we’re offering an exclusive discount offer for current Minnesota Business subscribers. (Check your email – it’s there.)

We teased the Twin Cities Owners’ Forum in a recent blog post about EPI’s State of Owner Readiness Survey. (If you haven’t already, take the survey! It’s your chance to provide input about the state of “exit readiness” in the Minnesota SMB community, and it’ll only take a few minutes of your time.) But, now that the big night is only a couple weeks away, we thought it was high time to provide a bit more detail about what attendees can expect.

Keynote & Breakout Sessions

Exit Planning Institute president and CEO Chris Snider will keynote the Twin Cities Owners’ Forum. According to the Owners’ Forum’s website, his address will focus on “the core concepts of value acceleration and a deeper dive into the four areas of intellectual capital that can exponentially increase a business’ brand value…measure[ing] intangible capital and…grow[ing] the value of any sized business.”

Four panel discussions follow the address:

“Assessing and Identifying Owner Readiness”: An in-depth exploration of the considerations around business valuation, the intangible and subjective factors that inform valuation of closely held firms, and takeaways for assessing owner readiness.

 “Protect, Build & Harvest Value”: A discussion of the three-step “Prepare” process that follows initial valuation: protecting, building, and harvesting business value.

“Extract Value & Transaction Options”: A look at the various exit and transition options available to SMB owners. This goes “beyond the sale” and includes post-exit plans.

“Why We Chose This Transaction Option, Challenges and Advice from Experienced Business Owners”: This is a “by owners, for owners” section led by business owners who’ve successfully exited or are currently engaged in exit transactions. They’ll discuss challenges, successes, and things they wish they’d done differently, then open the floor to questions.

Why Exit Planning Matters

Sounds like a valuable evening – that is, assuming you’re committed to a smooth, well-planned ownership transition at some point in the (maybe not too distant) future.

Are you? And, if not, should you be?

In a word, yes. According to Scott Snider, EPI’s vice president, many small and middle-market business owners focus on income, rather than building value. That’s a subtle but critical distinction that can have unwelcome ramifications when it comes time to sell.

Moreover, while business owners aren’t necessarily afraid of exit planning or the exit itself, they tend not to know how to get there.

“We advocate thinking about your transition now,” says Snider – regardless of your age or expected career trajectory. “Every day you take actions that potentially affect your exit. Ultimately, exit planning is part and parcel with good business strategy.”

Adds Julie Keyes, president of KeyeStrategies: “Business owners look at [exiting] as a ‘someday’ thing, like estate planning. We recommend that owners shift to a ‘now’ mindset and think about how to create an asset that produces benefits well into the future.”

That mindset shift can be deeply personal. Many owners find it difficult to separate their personal, private identities from their business activities.

“Some owners struggle to feel relevant in the absence of their businesses,” says Keyes. “They ask, ‘Without my business, who am I?’” This only underscores the importance of post-exit thinking – the “Extract Value & Transaction Options” panel’s wheelhouse.

In the end, says Snider, exit planning needs to incorporate three equally important legs of an imaginary stool: maximizing business value, architecting a solid personal financial plan, and remaining relevant in the next act of life.

“It all starts with education,” says Snider. “An educated business owner is a better business owner.”


EPI produced and distributed the SOOR survey with help from a slew of local partners: Exit Planning Institute’s Twin Cities chapter, CliftonLarsonAllen, KeyeStrategies, Lindquist & Vennum, MCM Capital Partners, Vercor, IWC Family Offices, The Alliance of Mergers & Acquisitions | Minnesota Chapter, Prudential Capital Group, BMO Harris Bank, and VisionOne High Performance Group. The Association for Corporate Growth, a booster group for middle-market businesses, provides ongoing support for EPI’s mission.