Managing Director Fred Hess on Exit Planning vs. Succession Planning:
In the emerging field of Exit Planning for business owners, the terminology can be a little confusing. Many people believe that Succession Planning is the same as Exit Planning, but it is not. Either plan starts from the perspective of the business owner’s goals and objectives. It addresses a wide variety of issues that are important to business owners. Succession Planning primarily focuses on the transfer of leadership and/or management from one generation to the next within the business with the aim to maintain continuity/legacy. Exit Planning is the comprehensive analysis of all of the factors that impact a business owner when selling to a 3rd party such as value enhancements, pre-sale diligence, employee retention etc. Succession Planning and Exit Planning are not incompatible. However, many owners fail to develop a plan for their business that allows them to exit in style.
This article from BEI provides a good outline on what business owners can expect in an exit plan.