Back to Blog

How To Define An Exit Strategy For Your Business - With Simon Bedard

Sep 29, 2021

Tom Bailey, founder of Succeed Through Speaking, interviews Simon Bedard.

Simon Bedard is the CEO of Exit Advisory Group, a boutique M&A firm, that also provides a range of advisory services focused on exit strategies and how to maximise company value.

Simon’s experience spans over 20 years in the finance, investment, energy and technology sectors. As an entrepreneur, Simon has started, bought and exited companies. He has also worked for one of Australia’s largest banks, as an investment advisor to high net worth clients and private companies, in their Institutional Banking & Global Markets division.

Simon has earned an MBA (with distinction) and a Diploma of Financial Markets. He is a licensed Business Broker, and is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, the Advisory Board Centre, and Family Business Australia, whilst also and sitting on a number of Boards.

Simon's passion is helping business owners understand where they want to be, then building a business that can get them there.

Why you've got to check out Simon's episode:

- Discover how Simon helps business owners who are trying to build the business to live the kind of life they want.

- Learn the biggest challenge in Simon's clients business which is typically the challenge to grow, or not growing their business with purpose.

- The importance of defining what you want in business and why you need to have that end goal defined before you start working towards it.

- How Simon helps business owners put aside all of the business lingo and instead focus on what the business owner needs out of the business to live the type of life they want.

- How to get access to Simon's resource on How To Value A Business.

Resources / Links


Tom Bailey: Hello and welcome to Succeed Through Speaking the place for experts and entrepreneurs who want high value ideas to boost business results.

Hello, I'm Tom Bailey. And in today's episode, I'll be getting to know Simon Bedard, who is the CEO of exit advisory group, a boutique merger and acquisition firm that also provides a range of advisory services focused on exit strategies and how to maximize company value. So, Simon, hello and a very warm welcome to today's episode.

Simon Bedard: Yeah. Hi Tom. Thanks for having me.

Tom Bailey: I really appreciate you being here and just out of interest, whereabouts are you in the world right now?

Simon Bedard: I am located in the beautiful city of Sydney, although I'm not seeing much of its beauty lately, cause we're all locked down.

Tom Bailey: So no, I know Sydney very well and yeah, bet you can't wait to get out and see that see the city again?

Simon Bedard: Yeah, look at it. Should time out time in, well with the warming weather. So, it should be good.

Tom Bailey: Perfect. And I just want to share a little bit more about you before we do get started. So, Simon's experience spans over 20 years in the finance investment, energy and technology sectors. And as an entrepreneur, Simon has both started broad and exited companies. His true passion now is helping business owners understand where they want to be, and then building a business that can get. The total for today's episode is how to define an exit strategy for your business. And Simon is going to show us how to do that in just seven minutes. So, question number one today is, who are your ideal clients?

Simon Bedard: Ah, look, that's an easy one. Our clients are business owners and look, you know, it ranges in size and industry and complexity and all that sort of stuff. But if you own your own business and you'll try to build that business to deliver you the life you want, then, then you'll somebody who we can probably help.

Tom Bailey: Right. Perfect. And what would you say is typically the biggest challenge that they face in business?

Simon Bedard: Well, I think the biggest challenge with businesses that there's so much noise out there telling you what you should be doing or shouldn't be doing. I think everyone talks about growth and where to go, but they're often not sure where they're growing to its sort of growth for the sake of growth. And they end up chasing lots of shiny things and not growing with purpose.

Tom Bailey: Yeah. Got it. And so, I guess, when we're not growing with purpose, what impact can this have in the long term for them?

Simon Bedard: Well, I think the odd thing is right. If you, if you know, you want to you know, swim to that island, but you know, you're really heading in the other direction. I mean, you, you're just not gonna end up where you want to go. Right. And I think that this feeds into our topic of today of talking about exit strategies, because it's really about defining what you want. And so, you know, I, I think the greatest shame for me is seeing business owners who work really, really hard. They take lots of risks, they invest lots of money and they spend a lot of time on their business. And then they kind of get to the end of that journey, which is a bit like a marathon. They're a hundred meters from the finish line and they kind of trip over you know, they don't finish the way they want to finish or should finish. And that, and that's really what we're trying to help.

Tom Bailey: Yeah. Great. Perfect. And I guess, so for any business owner listening that is starting to resonate with this message, what is the one valuable piece of advice that you might give them to really help them set themselves up for success?

Simon Bedard: Yeah. You know, number one, put aside all the business lingo and stuff, first starters. And actually you've got to talk to yourself, you know, the, the personal side of you and your family and understand really where do you want to go? What do you want to be doing? What are you gonna do with your time? What do you need from a financial perspective out of your business? You know, I'm a massive believer. We're not born to do business. We're born to live our lives. Your business should simply be a vehicle for delivering you the life you want. So, hey, first thing you should do is get clear on what kind of life you want.

Tom Bailey: Yeah. I love that changing perspective. It's great. Great way of looking at it. So, what valuable resource can you share with people today to really help them solve this?

Simon Bedard: Look, there's lots of resources, so I can put you in so many different directions and certainly can find some stuff on our website and reach out. But you know, getting to the heart of an exit strategy is about asking what all of those various things you need. And I'm going to give you three things to come. First of all, there's the financial evaluation side of things. Like what's your number. Everybody needs to have a number in mind that if, if Joe Bloggs walks in with an open chequebook, do you know which number you can tell him, you need that, that it actually satisfies your life's requirements. And there's a bit of work that you can do behind the scenes to work that out.

The second thing is. How long do you want to keep doing what you're doing? And that's not just working necessarily in the business, but how long do you want to keep owning the business? Because there's a whole bunch of risks and other factors that come in with holding onto assets for too long as well.

The third part is legacy. When you walk out of the room and you finish up. How do you want people to look at you and feel about you and your contribution to the world? Because that's, you know, and it's, it's not just about putting your name on the door, right? It's about how your customers and suppliers and your employees think about you and is that important for some people it's not, and if it's not that's okay, but for some people they realize right at the last minute, how important that actually is to them. And sometimes they've just not got enough time to sort of change things the way they want it.

Tom Bailey: Yeah. Perfect. That's great. Great three steps. And just on that first one, the value, and I know you've got a resource you can share, which is how to value a business. So, what I'll do is I'll post a link to that in the show notes to people click on that and they can dive right in.

Simon Bedard: That'd be awesome. So thank you very much.

Tom Bailey: And the next question from me today then is obviously you've been through lots of different sectors industries, businesses. What would you say is one of your greatest either mistakes or failures that you've made either in life or business and what did you learn?

Simon Bedard: Yeah, look, you know what I'll say? One of, and by the way, I've made tons of failures and mistakes. We could probably do a four hour show on that alone. But look, one of the things I would say is, you know, I have. Probably where my greatest mistakes and my greatest successes usually revolve around people and how I've engaged or the people I've decided to do business with. You know, I think  I've certainly had business partners who have done the wrong thing by me. They've, you know, been stolen from and set up and cheated and lied about no sorts of nasty, horrible things. And often, you know, what. When you kind of look back on those situations, you realize that you're actually just as much to blame as they are, because in some ways you've alleged to have to be in that situation.

And you've not put thought and protections in and around the way you do what you do. So hey, if you're in business with another business partner, you know, do you have a shareholders agreement? Have you looked at it in the last year, two years, three years. You know, think about your business plan, think who you're doing business with, even your customers, you know, who do you want to have around you on this journey called life and business and, and give some thought to that because it makes a very big impact to you.

Tom Bailey: Absolutely. Great, great lessons to learn along the way there. And the last question from me today is what is the one question that I should have asked today that will also bring some great value to our audience?

Simon Bedard: Yeah, look, I think the one thing that we all need to be thinking about is. No stop shift out of these things like I need to grow, I need more revenue. I need more profit. I need more. These are all these classic metrics that we're all told are you know, the be-all and end-all don't get me wrong. Very. But shift your mindset away from simple outputs to the actual inputs think value, right? Value is, and in my mind is what you get out of your business system, you know, and to that end, there's all sorts of stuff.

There's concentration risk there's you know, what is your growth potential? What are the markets? There's all these different value driver inputs that people need to be thinking about that actually drive the outcomes of revenue and. So, start to think. It's time to think with the end in mind and start to look at the value drivers that that'll get you.

Tom Bailey: Awesome. Love that. Another great shift in perspective. So, Simon, thank you so much again for your time today for coming along and sharing such great value with that audience.

Simon Bedard: My pleasure, Tom. Thanks again for having me.