How to Provide Consulting Advice to Your Clients Nearing a Succession Event for Accountants, CPA’s, Attorney’s, Financial Planners and other consultants.

(Both planned and maybe – unplanned events)

Your clients are starting to think about succession and even possible exit from their business.  (Or they should be.)  But, how do you provide assistance most effectively in a way that produces higher valuations and when important, smooth family and management transitions?  7 tips for useful business exit strategy and business succession advice for Accountants, CPA’s, Attorney’s, Financial Planners and other consultants are provided below.


  1. “You Should Not Sell….” is a frequent first response of accountants and CPA’s when a client indicates they are thinking of selling. A better response is to ask why they are thinking about selling and then really listening.  Talk and listen to them and remember sometimes the human story is more important than earnings.  Then help them develop a plan to meet their goals.


  1. Business valuation for a sale is not like valuations for other purposes. It is much more driven by recent results than many other valuations.   This means that you encourage your clients get a business valuation and you should assist your client in maximizing profitability.


  1. Potential is nice, it motivates buyers, but 95% of the time it does NOT increase price. If your client’s business has untapped potential they want to be paid for – help them obtain the potential now.


  1. Due diligence is about numbers AND people. We love numbers.  People make business happen.   If your client is going to work with the buyer over time or extend financing make sure they understand the buyer’s people (and of course, the numbers.)


  1. Negotiating a sale is not like presenting testimony. Emotion is huge.  Negotiation involves finding out what prospects really want, showing it to them, and then creating fear of loss.   This is much more effective way to move prices upward than a fully rational discussion of cap rates.


  1. Help your client understand who their best buyer will be and then help them improve the business so it has what buyers will want. Usually this is profits, people, and systems.  Help them develop them.  If the buyer is a child or manager have them start conversations early.  Family transactions often take 10 years.  Five years to negotiate and five years to finance.  These can be hard conversations but encourage your client to start today.


  1. If a market sale is in order help them hire a broker. The broker will take the time to create an auction environment and negotiate with multiple prospects.  This frees your client up to continue improving the business and profits right through closing.


Help your clients start early.  It is never too early to start and be ready for both planned and unplanned exits. 

Harvest Can Help – we provide you and your clients fast and accurate business valuations, definitions of “best buyers” and of course Outstanding Business Brokerage services.

To watch a 20 minute webinar and drop down PowerPoint slides on the topic click here. 

Clients choose Harvest Business Advisors for our accurate business valuations and our consistent ability to deliver the highest price in the smoothest sale transaction possible. Harvest provides business brokerage, business valuation, and business succession planning services. We have extensive experience in the information technology and professional services, manufacturing, distribution, and contracting fields. We maintain offices in Maryland, New Jersey and Virginia. Connect with us at or 443.334.8000 to discuss selling your business, ordering a business valuation or buying a business.