A Conversation With: Jason HublerBusiness broker and founder, Exit Strategy Solutions
Jason Hubler, 40, founded Exit Strategy Solutions in 2015.
He has almost two decades of experience in business planning and has also served as a business educator at various midstate universities.
Hubler has a bachelor’s degree in mass communications from York College, a master’s in information systems from Penn State and a doctorate in business administration-leadership from University of Phoenix. He is also a certified valuation analyst and soon-to-be real estate broker.
He and his wife, along with their two daughters, live in Springettsbury Township.
Q: What are some keys to a successful business transition?
A: Some things are universal. Cash flow, first and foremost – making sure that the owner cash flow matches up with what you want to get out of the business, the sale value. Assets – is the equipment up to date or is the person taking over going to have to buy all new equipment day one? And key person retention – when the new person takes over are key employees going to split and take customers with them?
What challenges do your clients find in succession planning?
The biggest challenge for sellers is that their interpretation of the value of the business might be much higher than its actual value. I usually tell owners it could be as low as one-fourth of what they think it’s worth. Properly valuing the business is one of the biggest challenges.
If you’re doing a succession plan for a relative or a key employee to take over, it’s making sure that person is prepared. Sometimes the current owner believes the relative is going to take over, believes a certain employee is going to take over, but they never ask them. Then they find out they don’t want to take over.
That’s why I started my business, so I could help owners prepare for succession planning. Nobody has coordinated things with the accountant, the attorney, the financial adviser, their estate attorney. That’s another big challenge. Are you going to have enough to retire? Sometimes when we sit down and talk they realize, I can’t sell my business because I can’t afford to not have an income. Preparing the current owner to leave is another, because sometimes they stick around too long and cause problems after the new owner takes over, especially if it’s a family member.
Why is it important to have a succession plan?
If the person is planning to retire, have they built enough value in the business to retire and replace their income? Emergency succession planning is another thing most people don’t think about. I’m planning on retiring in 15 years, but what happens if I have a stroke or heart attack or am physically disabled and can’t run the business anymore? What are you going to do when that happens? We need to look at every possible scenario. Sometimes it’s a matter of someone starting a business, an entrepreneur at 25, then at 35 they don’t want to do it anymore. They just want to build the business and sell it off. Who are you going to sell it to? Maybe the kids aren’t old enough to take it over yet. Life changes and just because this is what my plan is today doesn’t mean that’s what it’s going to be 10 years from now.
What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Going out and looking at Christmas lights with my kids, watching the expression on their face when we go around and see all the decorations.