Are you thinking about selling your business?

The Colony Group
is here to help.
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Sara's Story

Sara's father started a medical equipment manufacturing company. It began small, but before he knew it, he was running a business with dozens of employees and hundreds of happy customers.

“Initially, Sara's company was appraised at $60 million…

Alongside her siblings, Sara grew up in the company. She helped it grow. When she became CEO, she helped transform it into a cornerstone of her community, providing careers and opportunities throughout the region.

Sara knows it will soon be time for someone else to take charge and lead the company into the future. The business provides the family with wealth and stability, but her children have their own careers and aspirations.

Sara wants the best for her children and grandchildren. She also cares for her employees and their families. Plus, she wants to give back to the community.

With the right team of advisors, brought together by The Colony Group, Sara is able to sell the company, provide financial security to her family for generations, and embark on the next phase of her life's journey.

When it came time for the actual sale, the value of the company had increased to $100 million.”

Life after the transaction holds many new opportunities for Sara. With a trusted team around her, Sara and her family are able to continue their tradition of hard work, success, and community service for years to come.

It's more than money. It's your family, your purpose and your future.

Sara's story and the questions she faced may feel familiar. Selling a business is a momentous decision, and it's a different ballgame from running a company. How do you value the business? What about taxes? Can you find the right new ownership which will care for the employees and community the same way? Uphold your values? And what will you do next? How do you invest for future generations? Who do you need on your team before, during and after the transaction?

That's where The Colony Group comes in. We help facilitate a team of experts — attorneys, accountants, investment bankers, wealth managers, insurance providers and other advisors — who can help make the sale, and life after it, a success.

We're there when it counts, helping Sara and people like her forge a new path, understand their new purpose, and build and protect wealth for generations.

Sara's Experience

Everyone's story is unique, but Sara's story is illustrative of how The Colony Group
can help a business owner when they decide it's time to sell.

Sara began working with The Colony Group several years before she sold her company, and it's typically recommended that business owners begin this process at least two years in advance to maximize the planning opportunities available.

  • When ownership transition planning began, Sara's company was appraised at $60 million. When it came time for the actual sale, the value of the company had increased to $100 million.

  • Two years before the transaction, shares valued initially at $22 million were gifted into a family trust utilizing their lifetime estate tax exclusion amount. These same shares sold for $36 million, further enhancing the value passed down to future generations estate tax free.

  • In addition, the $8 million in capital gains taxes generated by the sale of these shares were paid by Sara and her spouse because of how the trust was structured, further enhancing the generational wealth transfer. Overall, this allowed $44 million in estate value to be excluded from future estate tax calculations.

  • Sale proceeds were further enhanced with a tax-smart philanthropic giving strategy. Sara put shares with a $10 million transaction value into a Donor Advised Fund just prior to closing, resulting in a $2 million capital gain tax savings and charitable deduction providing an additional $3 million in tax savings the year of the sale.

A Wealth of Experience

Taking the next step with a company that's been the center of your family's life for decades — or even generations — isn't easy, but thankfully, you don't have to do it alone. At The Colony Group, we believe you deserve time, care and expert support when deciding about the wellbeing and future of your family, company, employees and community.

We've been there before, helping business owners understand the value of their companies, the process of selling, the impact on their lives and their families, and their post-transaction purpose in life.

“An important aspect of our work is to ensure business owners have a team and support that works for them before, during and after the transaction.”

John Weeks, Managing Director Family Wealth & Business Transition Planning
at The Colony Group.

The Three Stages of Selling a Family Business


Beginning as much as five years before a transaction, owners should begin assembling their team of advisors and preparing themselves, their families and their company.


This can be a high stress period, and it's important to have trusted advisors backing you up when it counts and thinking about the future.

Life After-Transaction

It's a big change, and that brings new opportunities to pursue a purpose driven life for you and your family.

Understanding the Three Clocks

There's no single formula that says when someone should sell a
business, but there are a few factors owners should consider.

One great technique is to imagine three clocks:
An industry clock, business clock, and personal clock.

“When you get all three clocks aligned and they’re all pointing at noon, it’s time.”

James Fitts, Senior Family Wealth Advisor and Managing Director
of Business Owner Services at The Colony Group.

We can help bring together a team that will get all three clocks
aligned and see you through the transaction to a bright future.

Every business owner knows that their industry may go through cycles. Sometimes it's hot, demand is high, and people are looking to invest. Other times, business may be level or there might even be a downturn in the industry. We can help people like Sara find the right partners to understand their company's value right now and the direction their industry is going in. Getting the industry timing right can help maximize value when owners do decide to sell.
Just as certain industries have their own rhythms, companies do too. The right team of advisors can help pave the way to a successful — and profitable — sale. This process could start as much as five years in advance of the transaction. The Colony Group can help facilitate a team including business consultants, investment bankers, accountants and attorneys to help maximize the value of the company when you decide it's time. Along the way, we can help create family trusts, philanthropic entities, and robust wealth management plans to maximize your net sales proceeds, minimize taxes, and protect you and future generations. At the same time, if you already have a great team of advisors whom you like, we want to work with them in this process!
The business owner and their family are our primary focus. While investment bankers, accountants and attorneys may be responsible for individual aspects of a transaction, our job is to understand the full extent of what is happening and how it will affect you and your family.
  1. Safeguarding Your Lifestyle: First and foremost, we want to make sure you and your spouse or partner have the resources you need to enjoy your post-transaction lifestyle. This means we work with you to understand how you live, your priorities, and your future plans, and then we engage in future cashflow modeling to ensure that once the transaction is completed, you'll be confident that you have what you need to live the life you want. We examine everything from major purchases and taxes to life, property and health insurance to incorporate the multiple financial levers that will play out in the future. We also work with owners to help craft a vision of the future and their new purpose in life once the sale is completed.
  2. Protecting Children and Future Generations: Many people, once they know their lifestyle will be protected in their lifetime, want to do the same for their children and future generations. While the business previously generated the majority of cashflow for the family, a sale provides an opportunity to create family trusts and other lifetime gifting strategies to ensure the rest of the family has access to resources while mitigating future tax consequences. Our role doesn't end with the transaction, however. We'll be with you and your family, providing education, guidance and family office support as much or as little as you need.
  3. Methods of Philanthropy: Finally, once owners have protected themselves and their family, we help them create strategies for giving back. Done right, using charitable entities such as Donor Advised Funds and the correct tax and gifting strategies, owners can maximize the current tax benefits while providing the means to engage in charitable giving in a significant way long into the future. This means not just ensuring the resources are there for philanthropy, but also that your philanthropic activities are focused, effective, strategic, and fulfilling for you and future generations.

Ready to learn more?

Contact us to watch our webinar for insights about topics such as:

  • M&A and Private Equity trends
  • Potential tax changes and their impact on valuations
  • Critical value-drivers owners should focus on in the five years before a transaction
  • How and when to build a team of transaction advisors
  • Tax considerations with a sale
  • Why it's important to have a vision of life post-transaction
  • How philanthropy can help your family succeed after a sale
  • How estate planning can work in concert with a sale
  • Lessons and takeaways from a successful former business owner

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This page is designed to be educational in nature; it is not intended to be, nor should be construed as, specific planning, transition, tax, or investment advice. Examples included herein are not testimonials. They are hypothetical and do not represent the actual clients' circumstances; they are presented simply to provide possible planning solutions considered by advisors and/or their clients.