Learn more about our exit planning association
WhAT DO YOU MEAN BY THE "LOWER MIDDLE market"?
XPX Members work in the lower middle market. In the U.S. this includes companies that have roughly $5 to $100 million in revenues. They are past the startup phase and have the potential to provide long-term value to their owners, employees and communities.
To understand our members' focus on this market, it's helpful to look at the attention in recent decades to the startup of new businesses. Governments and business communities around the world have built vigorous ecosystems that support startup businesses. These ecosystems provide the unique training and support that early-stage companies need. It's the nature of the startup process that some ideas fail and some succeed. In fact, roughly 50% of companies make it to 5 years. Only 20% make it to 20 years. Even fewer pass on to new management and ownership.
We believe that more attention needs to be paid to the companies after they graduate from the startup stage because these graduates have the potential to build lasting, realizable, transferable value in the long term. Companies in the lower middle market are the foundation of local economies, providing reliable employment and support of local community activities. But these companies have different needs than startups.
Until now, there has not been as much focus on the ecosystem that supports companies in the lower middle market. That has changed with the emergence of the exit planning movement.
WHY EXIT PLANNING?
Our movement uses the umbrella of "exit planning" to describe the post-startup phases in the private company life cycle. At this point, a company’s challenges shift to the need for longer-term planning, sustainable growth and a path to preserving the company beyond the founders. This journey includes three stages: business value growth, business value transfer and owner life and legacy. This journey requires attention to both the professional and personal (legacy, finance, tax) needs of all involved. Our members focus on helping Premier Private Market companies make this journey.
Why an Exchange?
Every company and owner uses multiple types of external advisors to navigate their exit planning journey. Each journey is unique. There is no one path, no one advisor, no one answer. Hopefully, owners find the right advisors for the right task at the right moment. Their options are word of mouth, industry associations and local business organizations.
But these sources provide single solutions in a piecemeal way. XPX bring Education, Professionalism and Principles to the lower middle market in a holistic way.
XPX was founded in Boston in 2007 as an exchange of advisors in the belief that there was a need for a more organized ecosystem to support private companies that had graduated from the startup phase. These local Chapters are focused on bringing together the best advisors who have a track record of working with privately-held businesses in the lower middle market. Together they develop and share resources, build deep relationships with other advisors, increase their visibility in the local market and learn the principles of private company advisor excellence. Building better advisors builds better private companies and stronger local communities.
Who Is in the Exchange?
XPX is highly focused. Our members all:
- Work directly with owners and/or senior managers of companies in the lower middle market (roughly $5-100 million in revenues)
- Are experienced advisors in one of our 12 member professions (Accountants, Attorneys, Bankers, Coaches, Consultants, Insurance Providers, Investors, M&A Intermediaries, Non-profits, Valuators, Virtual Managers, Wealth Planners)
- Share the core XPX Advisor Principles (see below)
Programming by our Chapters helps these varied advisors learn about the multi-disciplinary challenges of preparing companies for long-term success. Along the way, they gain visibility for their own expertise and build relationships with other advisors.
Who Created Your Principles?
After XPX had been around for ten years and had grown to ten Chapters, it became really clear that we all shared a similar philosophy and set of goals. So we had a series of conversations with our members and leaders to try to put these ideas on paper. The XPX Advisor Principles were the result.
It's important to remember that our members represent 12 different professions, each with their own ethical and methodological requirements. These principles describe how a good advisor goes beyond the requirements of his or her own profession and finds ways to work with the full team of advisors for the good of the underlying business and its owners. Here's the list (click here for more detail):
- Work collaboratively
- Put the client first
- Think long term
- Consider the human angle
- Always be learning
This is the journey that is the Exit Planning Exchange.
How Does the Collaborative Work?
Each XPX Chapter is an independent non-profit in a specific geography. This is important because first and foremost, our focus is on creating local ecosystems of advisors to support Premier Private Market companies.
Chapter leaders are prominent advisors in their local private company markets. Each Chapter designs its programming, membership and sponsorship activities to meet the needs and tastes of their local market. This element of local control is a critical differentiator of XPX.
Each Chapter also collaborates with other Chapters to share, learn and leverage the power of collective action through our Leadership Collaborative. Many of our most successful programs started in one Chapters and have spread across the network. The success of the Leadership Collaborative has been critical to the development of a consistent focus on our niche: principled advisors to lower-middle market private companies.
The platform for management of the Chapters and coordination of the Leadership Collaborative is provided by XPX Global LLC. Global is a for profit association management company whose business is solely focused on meeting the needs of the Chapters and our shared mission of developing local exit planning exchanges. Having a for-profit management company ensures professionalism and consistency. The current team at Global has been with us from the beginning, providing those tasks that volunteers don’t want to and/or cannot be done efficiently by individual Chapters such as administration, event registration, membership management, website management.
WHAT'S IN IT FOR YOU?
XPX attracts experienced advisors from 12 different professions. The most common reasons for coming and staying at XPX include:
- Resources – You’ll learn from great content and programming. “What I know, What I don’t know, What I don’t know that I don’t know. XPX helps me get this right.”
- Relationships – You’ll expand your network with people who are genuine, inviting and welcome collaboration. “We’re givers, not takers (and givers get more in the long run)”
- Visibility – You’ll raise your profile by sharing your knowledge in meetings, networking and contributing to our on-line Owners’ Academy knowledge base. “I know the guy/gal! who can help”
- Principles – You’ll find a group of like-minded advisors who share our values of collaboration, client first, long-term thinking, focus on the human factor and continuous learning. “It’s about the quality of the people in the room.”
Still have questions? Contact us for answers!