Managing Stakeholders

There may be many stakeholders involved a business sale or transition, including the following:

  1. Multiple Shareholders
    With multiple shareholders it is important to secure consensus on the deal structure.  If this cannot be developed, then any dissenting shareholder needs to be bought out or at least dealt with.
  2. Key Management Team
    Often it is the key management team that will be responsible for delivering various assigned actions in the exit plan. It may be critical that they remain onboard until the sale.  In some cases, the buyer may want them to be committed after the sale.
  3. Other Critical Employees
    The may be other critical employees, such as top sales personnel, engineers, or technicians that need to be motivated to stay with the company.  Funding through an ESOP may require broad spread participation by employees.
  4. Customers
    It is important to communicate with key customers, once the exit event is near implementation, in order to assure them that the flow of products and services will not be interrupted.
  5. Suppliers
    Likewise key suppliers will need to be kept in the loop, as required.
  6. Family Members
    Any family members who work in the business or who may become recipients of the sales proceeds may need to be involved in the process.
  7. Financing Institutions
    Any current banks or financing sources having debts of the business will need to be involved and most likely their consent provided.

It may be useful to create Advisory Boards, Family Councils, or Committees which contain some or all of the stakeholders.  The value of creating these will vary from business to business, but should be considered.

If you have an exit planning consultant involved with your implementation process, they may be a valuable resource to help coordinate efforts and provide communications between the owner and the various stakeholders.