Dance in the End Zone: The Business Owner’s Exit Planning Playbook
On November 18, 1973, wide receiver Elmo Wright scored a touchdown and became the first professional football player to dance in the end zone. You don’t have to be a sports fan to feel the emotions and celebration of a really good end zone dance. Interviewed more than thirty years later, Elmo Wright said, “I’ve accomplished a lot in my life, but what happened in the end zone is what defines my career.”
If you own a business, you have something in common with Elmo. Business success already may have brought personal satisfaction and financial rewards. But what happens at your inevitable exit–in your end zone–likely defines your career too. An exit that falls short can cause financial disappointment, family strife or lost self-esteem. Success at exit is the crowning achievement of a career, fulfillment of financial and family dreams or the start of your business legacy.
If you own a business, this book will change your perceptions, and give you insights on why much of the conventional wisdom regarding how to plan for exit is wrong. Exit planning is not about some distant transaction but rather it’s making decisions today that build a better business and position you for success. Dance in the End Zone incorporates the author’s more than twenty years exit planning experience. It reveals the Seven Essential End Zone Questions, provides more than fifty wisdom-based tools and tactics—the plays for your playbook—and shares the real world stories of dozens of business owners like you. Whether your ideal exit is soon or many years from now, this book is a must read so you too can one day dance in the end zone.
Reviews from Amazon.com
September 28, 2014
This is an excellent book, none better for a business owner looking to exit at some point.
July 14, 2014
I wish I had read this years ago! This book has been discussed frequently in our Vistage (CEO) group. The concepts come up in various aspects every month, but this is an excellent A-Z format that lays all the exit options and issues out succinctly and in a way that’s easy for most owners to understand. We have learned much of this on the ropes with potential buyers and sellers, but this is a much more organized approach and incorporates tax issues. My only suggestion now would be a follow-up book (or series) that explores each topic in more detail. Most CPAs and investors are conservative and this helps the CEO sort through ideas they can discuss with their advisors to arrive at the optimal exit strategy and time frame.
June 13, 2013
A must read for every private business owner. A thought provoking book which make you a bit uncomfortable when you consider the planning you haven’t done vis a vis exiting your business. Very sound, practical, usable advice and tactics.
March 31, 2013
Great book. Every business owner should read this book! It is a wonderful guide, thoughtful & clear. The earlier in the life of the business these strategies are employed, the smoother the exit will be.
October 25, 2011
A true exit planning book. Dance in the End Zone may be the only true book on exit planning. Most books in the genre deal with succession planning. Some companies will deal with succession, or leadership change. ALL companies will be exited at some time by the owner and that ownership will pass to some other person or entity. Mr. Ungashick identifies that there are four, and only four, ways to exit your business and amusingly tags each one with a memorable catchphrase. You will pass it to family (Passers), sell to an insider (Innies), sell to an outsider (Outies) or “milk it” (Squeezers). More important, each selection or exit strategy has different decisions to be made along the way and tax ramifications to consider… many long before the actual event. This is a MUST READ for every business owner. Follow the ideas and steps suggested by the book and you will not only have an exit plan but you will have a much more profitable business while you own it!!
Author Patrick Ungashick
In 1991 I graduated from college and immediately joined my father’s financial services firm in New York City. I found myself a junior associate to Peter Collins, who ran the firm’s investment banking department. My arrival doubled the team size—previously the investment banking department had consisted of Peter, his computer, and a laser printer (in 1991!). I spent five years working under Peter, helping him to help business owners sell their businesses. During those years, I watched again and again owners experience deep stress, high costs, while struggling to maintain control over their desired outcomes. During those years, a thought began to grow inside me—if achieving a happy exit is so difficult for nearly every owner, there must be something wrong with the conventional methods. Frustrated for all of these business owners, I thought there must be a better way…
It was for that reason that I became a business owner myself, and ultimately created NAVIX. At NAVIX, we intend to change the world for business owners. After watching countless owners struggle to achieve successful exits, we have developed that better way. Using our proprietary process, we strive to create a world where owners achieve financial freedom, create a sustained business legacy, and exit at a time and manner of their choosing.
A Tale of Two Owners: Achieving Exit Success Between Business Co-Owners
A Tale of Two Owners is the fable of Al Beaman and Robert Gilmore, co-owners of a highly successful IT services company. As is the case with so many business co-owners, they eventually realize their exit goals are incompatible. Al reaches a point where he wishes to sell the company for top dollar, while Robert not only does not want to sell, but desires to pass his ownership to his daughter, Jessica. For the first time in their 17-year partnership, Al and Robert find themselves butting heads on the direction of their business.
It’s a fable that deals with a critical issue—how can one owner happily exit, when achieving his goals means denying a successful exit to the other? In the second part of this book, Al and Robert are provided with “The Guide to Creating Co-Owner Exit Alignment,” which will ultimately lead both the business co-owners and readers to enlightened insights into the ways to plan for and achieve successful exits.
Using the tactics in this book, my co-owner and I successfully sold our business, achieving our financial goals while protecting our people and customers. Following these steps was essential to our exit success.
—Mike Maguigan, Former Business Co-Owner, A&W Technologies Inc.
“This book is a ‘must read’ for any business owner thinking about exit planning, but particularly if the business has multiple owners. The good news is that this is an engrossing, thoroughly enjoyable page-turner.”
—Rhys T. Wilson, Partner and Co-Leader, Mergers & Acquisitions, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP
“As a CPA for more than 35 years, I have watched the scenarios in this fable happen in real life with many of business owner clients. This book offers timeless wisdom and practical steps in dealing with a very emotional and complex business reality.”
—Steve Kirschner, Partner, Kirschner Weeks LLP