Business Owners

Financial advice from acquisition to exit planning

The futures of a business and its owners are mutually dependent on each other, even though sometimes the two can feel at odds. We help resolve complicated planning challenges by delivering valuable investment and strategic insight into business creation, growth, and ultimately, exits that align with the personal goals of their owners. Our specialists position businesses to fuel their owners’ Private Vistas.


Specialized services include:

Succession Planning

Turn your equity into capital. Preparing a business to transition means not only looking at developing the human resources (your people) needed to take over, but it requires looking at the financial ramifications and options to buy and/or transfer your business. This needs to be thought of in three potential scenarios: living, disability, and death.

Buyout Economics

Buyouts require evaluating the possibilities for buying out a business and quantifying the costs and benefits of available options. Do you use bank financing, or offer to keep a note? Can the business sustain the terms of the financing? Are there other ways to pay for a business using pre-tax dollars? If this is being sold within a family, there may be even bigger changes.

Valuation Discussions

Valuations are critical to establishing value. It requires looking at what you are trying to accomplish, whom you are selling to, and how this will affect you the seller. Many issues need to be factored in when coming up with the “value” of your business.

Compensation Options

You work hard to make your money, but now the question becomes how to distribute that income? Do you take it as earned income, a profit distribution, a contribution to a retirement plan, or another option? You have choices, but which combination makes the most sense for your situation? We help you evaluate options such as non-qualified retirement plans, phantom stock plans, and equity participation programs.

Retirement Plan Design

There are many plans and many designs within these plans. What objectives are you trying to achieve for employees? Are you trying to build retention? Are there key employees you would like to put more away for? Are you trying to take “profit” from the business and defer it for yourself? Strategic retirement plan design allows you to explore the choices and develop plans to fit your goals.

Key Person Incentives

While you may have built the business, you didn’t do it on your own and you need other people to keep it growing. How do you build appropriate incentives that reward key employees so they feel appreciated as the business grows?

Family Dynamics in Private Business

Building a business is hard work. Keeping a business successful through multiple generations is even harder. How do you develop your family successor? How do you sell/transfer that business to family members? How do you treat family members who are not in the business? How do you make all that work and keep family harmony? Preserve the family peace and equalize value for non-active family members.

Tax Planning

It’s hard work to make a business profitable. With strategic planning, you can keep as much of that profit as possible and pay the least amount of taxes. That’s the goal of examining business plans and different ways to pay out its income earned.

Fluctuating Income & Compensation Options

It’s nice if you have a business that makes the same amount of money each and every month. What happens if you have peaks and valleys, and you need to manage not only business cash flow but also your personal cash flow? Modeling and planning can address possible solutions to even this out and make cash flow more manageable.

Buy In to Buy Out

What happens if you are the person buying into the business? How does that work? What do you need to understand? What happens with the taxes? Looking at these issues as well as ultimately looking at what happens when you become the one who wants to sell is what this planning allows you to understand.

Private Vista in Action

The Situation

Todd built a successful construction company from the ground up. Along the way, he started selling construction equipment to those same clients. The construction business, while profitable, brought high liability and long hours. The equipment side of the business, though, had low liability and reasonable hours.

The Solution

Private Vista advisors reviewed Todd’s resources and explored the vision for the life he wanted. Todd’s Private Vista became clear: Collect the fees from the construction business and close it down, continue selling the equipment, and spend the extra well-earned time in the North Woods with his grandchildren.

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