Navigator Associates

Retail Sales Consulting

Exit Strategies

Basically you can choose when you exit a business or someone else can decide for you. Even if you are not ready to make a move it is never too early to consider an exit strategy.

If there is an employee or relative that is a candidate for taking over the business in the event of an illness or death of the owner, business continuation planning may be important as a means to transfer ownership or operational control. This could also be important in the case of retirement or relocation. Most small business owners don't give this much thought. When the time comes they are totally unprepared. This is also a consideration in keeping key employees.

Most retailers and other business owners want to sell their business as a going concern. This may be possible, but the statistics aren't good. We can pursue this option with you to see if that is your best option. For a retail business the inventory is almost always an issue. You most likely have a notion about what your inventory is worth. Your accountant has another view (for tax purposes), and your banker/lender may have another. When you go to sell a business you will find that it is probably a lot less than you expect.

The valuation of your business is a complex matter, but you can use a rule of thumb to get a good idea for planning purposes. Number one, most businesses aren't worth much to a prospective buyer unless it is profitable. Some sellers seek to keep the inventory out of the valuation, and it works sometimes. Basically you need to be able to demonstrate that a new owner can make a living and make debt service out of the acquisition. Seller financing is becoming more a part of any deal, so that needs to be considered. We'll help you make that determination before any overt steps are taken to market the business.

For most retail businesses a store closing/liquidation sale will bring the highest return. The reason for this is that you are selling the business to your customers. While bulk sales to other retailers or auctions are options as well, these normally do not produce the kind of return a sale can. Gross returns of 110 to 130% of wholesale cost are realistic in most cases. By thinking creatively the return could even be higher. We work with you through the planning which includes local ordinances, creditors, customers, employees, timing, advertising, pricing, and much more. Our involvement is for as long as you want it to be. Each situation is different, and we are flexible in our approach.

We can help — give us a call at or 1-888-360-5327 or email us at