||Silver, Lerner, Schwartz & Fertel provides services to businesses of all
sizes and at all stages of the Business Life Cycle, from the “Seed Stage”
through the “Exit Stage.”
SLSF professionals are familiar with the opportunities and challenges of each
stage of business. We understand the effects on the company, and
just as importantly, the many possible effects on the emotional, physical and
personal lives of owners, shareholders, employees and their families.
Silver, Lerner, Schwartz & Fertel professionals know that business is not
just a “numbers game.”
The stages of the business life cycle do not necessarily occur in
chronological order. Some businesses are "built to flip"; quickly
going from start-up to exit. Other businesses will choose to avoid or
delay expansion and stay in the established stage for quite some time.
Below are the various Business Life Cycle stages and how SLSF can assist
during each stage.
- SEED STAGE
- Your business is just a thought or an idea. This is the birth of a new
goal of the seed stage is to win market acceptance and pursue one niche
opportunity while matching the business opportunity with your skills,
experience and passion. Deciding on a business ownership structure, finding
professional advisors and overall business planning occurs during this stage.
With no proven market or customers, the business will first rely on cash from
owners, friends and family. Other potential sources include suppliers,
customers and government grants.
SLSF has great experience working with clients in the Seed Stage of their
business. In fact, many of our most successful clients were once seed stage
businesses. Working with your legal counsel, we assist in
determining the most appropriate legal entity for your business as well as
its ownership structure. We also assist in the development of your business
plan including the preparation of financial forecasts and projections, all
key in the pursuit of financing and investment opportunities. Through
our wealth of knowledge and experience, we assist you in understanding how
lending institutions will view your business model.
- START-UP STAGE
Your business is now a legal entity. Products or services are in production and you have your first customers.
start-up stage, you may have underestimated money needs and the time needed
to get your product or service to market. The challenge is to not burn
through your available cash. It may also be time to do a reality check
to see if your business is on the right track and that you have established a solid customer base and market presence.
During the start-up stage of your business, SLSF professionals work very closely
with management to make sure the appropriate systems and controls are in
place in order to facilitate prompt and accurate financial reporting as well
as ensuring that all federal, state and local tax obligations are being met.
We will guide you through your interim financial statements, helping
you understand what the numbers mean and how to use them to make strategic
decisions. We will also assist you in comparing your actual results to those
forecasted or budgeted as well as analyzing those variances.
- GROWTH STAGE
business has made it through the toddler years and is now a child.
Revenues and customers are increasing along with many new opportunities
and issues. Profits are strong but competition is surfacing.
Bidding for more time and money is one of the biggest challenges for
growth companies. Effective management is required and it may be time to
develop a new business plan. Learning how to hire the right people,
train your people and to delegate your responsibilities in order to
successfully navigate the growth stage is also a great challenge.
The growth stage requires a focus on running the business in a more
formal fashion in order to properly manage increased volume of sales and
customers. Better accounting and management systems are imperative
and new employees will have to be hired.
During the growth stage of your business, SLSF assists you and your business by providing expert and
timely advice to facilitate that growth. It’s not enough to just
make money; it’s about continuously creating new customers and keeping
them. During this stage of your business, we can help steer your
business away from the bumps in the road that may inhibit growth
including the design of executive compensation and employee benefit
plans to reward and retain your employees. We will also assist in
determining which level of financial reporting (compilation, review or
audit) would be most appropriate for your business. Throughout this
stage of your business, we continuously monitor the tax situation for
you and your business, keeping you informed of your potential tax
liabilities and advising you on how they can be minimized.
- ESTABLISHED STAGE
business is now a thriving company with a solid place in the market with
loyal customers. Sales growth is manageable and the life of the business
has become, to a great extent, more routine.
Resting on your laurels may be tempting, because you have worked hard
and have earned a break, but the marketplace remains competitive 24/7.
The economy, competitors or trends can quickly challenge
everything you’ve worked so hard to build. An established stage company
will be focused on improvement and productivity.
During the established stage of your business, SLSF will help
keep you focused on the big picture. We will encourage you to
implement better business practices and more efficient processes as well
as forming strategic alliances with other businesses to reduce costs and
improve productivity. We will work closely with you and key
members of your management team to ensure that each department in your
business is working at or close to its potential.
- EXPANSION STAGE
life cycle is characterized by a new period of growth into new markets
and distribution channels. This stage offers the opportunity for the
business owner to gain a larger market share and find new revenue and
Exploring and moving into new markets requires planning and research
similar to that of a business in the seed or start-up stage. New
products, services, acquisitions and market segments must complement
your existing experience and capabilities. Moving into unrelated
businesses without proper analysis and planning can often be recipes for
During the expansion stage of your business, SLSF can assist
in finding expansion stage funding including joint ventures, banks,
licensing, new investors and business partners. These services often
include the preparation of financial forecasts or
projections, which are generally more sophisticated than ones prepared
in the earlier stages of the business cycle. If the expansion of
your business includes a merger or an acquisition, we work
collaboratively with you and your legal counsel to establish the most
favorable tax treatment of the business combination. We also can
provide due diligence services to ensure that representations of the
company you are buying are fairly stated.
- DECLINE STAGE
factors, such as changes in the economy, society or market conditions,
along with internal factors, can decrease sales and profits which can
quickly end the life of many small companies.
Businesses in the decline stage will be challenged with dropping sales,
low or no profits and negative cash flow. How long the business
can support negative cash flow is the primary concern. It may be
time to move on to the final life cycle stage, the exit stage.
Since a business in the decline stage can no longer depend on profits to
sustain the company, SLSF will assist you and your management team in determining which costs can and
should be cut while at the same time finding ways to sustain cash flow.
Through our network of resources within the business and financial community, SLSF can assist a business in decline in the search for new opportunities, business ventures, investors or partners while
keeping the rate of decline in check.
During this phase of the business, monitoring the tax liabilities of the
business and its owners becomes more important in order to ensure that taxes
and estimated tax payments are minimized, thereby conserving cash flow.
- EXIT STAGE
A business approaches the exit stage
with the initial hope of selling and cashing out. However, if a buyer
cannot be found, shutting down the business may be the only viable
option. For businesses in the exit stage, SLSF assists
clients in determining which option is most viable; selling or shutting
Years of hard work may have been invested to build the company, but what
is its real marketplace value? This may be your final
opportunity to profit from the business you have worked so hard to
build. If a business is contemplating a sale, SLSF will work closely
with the owners and management to determine a realistic value of the
business. Such an assessment also includes evaluating the business
operations, management and competitive barriers all of which may impact
selling price. If requested, SLSF will assist in finding a
buyer through our network of resources. If a buyer is found, SLSF with work
collaboratively with you and your legal counsel to ensure your interest
is protected and your tax liabilities are minimized.
Should closing your business be the only option, SLSF will
assist you in dealing with the financial, emotional and psychological
aspects of such a loss.
The talented and experienced tax and accounting professionals at Silver,
Lerner, Schwartz & Fertel will advise you
every step of the way as your business moves through the business life
cycle. Our exceptional service and dedicated personal involvement
during the life of your business will not only help ease your burdens,
but will also provide you with the sound advice and direction that is expected
from your business’s most trusted advisor.
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